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Tag: fiction

Franko: Fables of the Last Earth, by Cristóbal Jofré and Ángel Bernier – review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Franco_front-cover_SC-lgFranko: Fables of the Last Earth, by Cristóbal Jofré and Ángel Bernier
St. Paul, MN, Sofawolf Press, July 2016, hardcover $39.95 (v + 128 pages), trade paperback $19.95.

Franko: Fables of the Last Earth is a collection of six cartoon-art fables written by Ángel Bernier and illustrated by Cristóbal Jofré, printed in full color on glossy paper. The word “fables” is carefully chosen; these are gentle, mystical adventures in the tradition of “magic realism” favored by many Latin American authors.

Franko is a young anthropomorphic lion adolescent living in the Atacama Desert of Chile at the “end of civilization on Earth”, with his slightly older lion friend Shin. The Atacama is known as the driest place on Earth, but as backpackers and other travelers will tell you, the deserts have their own special beauty. These six short fables display it with a quiet wonder.

Franko and Shin are lion farmers at the opposite ends of adolescence – Franko appears to be a thirteen-year-old, while the more irresponsible Shin appears about nineteen (and is addicted to gambling). Both embody the exuberance of youth. They and Mana, the ghost of Shin’s grandmother, are the only recurring characters. Mana is the voice of wisdom who tempers the rashness and naïvete of the two youngsters.

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Dazzle Resplendent: Adventures of a Misanthropic Dog, by Scott Bradfield – a book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

41vJbrcNeyLDazzle Resplendent: Adventures of a Misanthropic Dog, by Scott Bradfield.
London, Red Rabbit Books, January 2017, trade paperback $9.99 (174 pages), Kindle $4.99.

Scott Bradfield has been a professor at universities in California, Connecticut, and London. He is also a literary reviewer, and an author of short stories. This is a collection of his eight Dazzle stories, originally published in literary magazines and Fantasy & Science Fiction between 1988 and 2011. Many of them have been also collected in earlier Bradfield collections, but this is the first collection of all eight of them.

Dazzle has been described as a wise-cracking talking dog, but he is more accurately a sardonic motor-mouth who talks incessantly whether anyone is listening or not. Here is how I described “Dazzle Redux” in my review of Bradfield’s Hot Animal Love: Tales of Modern Romance, for Anthro #10, March/April 2007:

“Dazzle, now living as a feral dog in the mountains around Los Angeles with a complacent bitch and her pups, is happy; but could be happier if he would learn to just shut up!

“Maybe I’m not all I should be in the family skills department,” Dazzle confessed that night to his erstwhile mate, Edwina. “But getting through to those kids of yours is like having a conversation with a block of wood, I swear. If I try to instruct them in the most basic math and science skills, they’re not interested. If I try to teach them which way to look when crossing the street, they’re still not interested. If I try to point out the most obvious cultural contradictions of multinational capitalism, why, just forget about it. They’re really not interested. If you can’t eat it or fuck it, it’s not important; that’s their attitude.”(Etc., etc.; Edwina is sleeping through all this. pg. 31)

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Housepets! Don’t Ask Questions, by Rick Griffin – book review by Fred Patten

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

housepets_book7_cover-preview-237x300Housepets! Don’t Ask Questions (Book 7), by Rick Griffin
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, November 2016, trade paperback $13.95 (52 pages).

Here, right on schedule, is the new annual collection of the Housepets! online comic strip by Rick Griffin. Housepets! has appeared each Monday-Wednesday-Friday since June 2, 2008. It has won the Ursa Major Award for the Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip for every year since! – for 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Book 7 contains the strips from June 16, 2014 to June 1, 2015; story arcs #78, “Heaven’s Not Enough, part 2”, to #90, “All’s Fair, part 1”, plus the one-off gag strips before and between these.

Housepets! presents the adventures of the dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, and other pets of Babylon Gardens, a typical residential suburban neighborhood – in an alternate universe. The animals are larger than in our universe (but not human-sized), can talk, are usually bipedal, and address their human owners as “Mom” and “Dad”. Their status is somewhere between pets and children. Points established over the years are that humans can bequeath their belongings to their pets, who do not need a human guardian; human storekeepers are not allowed to sell catnip to cats; human police forces have an auxiliary of Police Dogs who are not all police dogs; the pets comment sardonically on how they can go naked in public but their human “parents” can’t; and – lots of other stuff.

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Sythyry’s Journal: A World Tree Chronicle of Transaffection, Adventure, and Doom, by Bard Bloom – review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

9781451562934_p0_v1_s192x300Sythyry’s Journal: A World Tree Chronicle of Transaffection, Adventure, and Doom, by Bard Bloom
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, April 2010, trade paperback $25.00 (626 pages).

The opening paragraph of this dense, 626 pages of small type is:

“My exceedingly old and exceedingly famous grandparent just gave me this notebook as a going-to-school present. Zie says that zie wishes zie had had one when zie was growing up, but of course nobody knew how to do enchantments then, and there probably wasn’t time to do a lot of writing, what with all the fighting cyarr and nendrai and everything.” (p. 5)

Sythyry is a small, pale blue dragonet (actually a Zi Ri) “of impeccable lineage, considerable wit, and overwhelming inexperience, off alone at college for the first time. Zie must face terrible dangers: roommates, friends, courses in enchantment and flirtatious dance, deadly monsters, minor nobility, war, and, most dreadful of all, romance.” (blurb). The Zi Ri are hermaphrodites with pronouns to match, avoiding the “him” or “her” of the single-sex genders. The cover by Tod Wills shows zir at an Academy Buttery party surrounded by zir roommates Dustweed the Herethroy (the green grasshopper-like being at lower right) and Havune the Cani (the overdressed dog-like being at upper left), and friends Oostmarine the Orren (the otter-like being at upper right) and Anoof, another Cani (at lower left).

When Bard Bloom and his wife Victoria Borah Bloom created the World Tree role-playing game in 2001 (its cover by Mike Raabe was a finalist for the first Ursa Major Award in 2001 for Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration), LiveJournal was just getting started. Bloom explains in his “Author’s Forward” [sic.] that his own life made uninteresting reading. “So I decided to write from the point of view of a World Tree character.” – Sythyry the young Zi Ri. This book consists of Bloom’s LiveJournal entries from 2002 to 2007, as edited into novel format by Victoria Borah Bloom. Further LiveJournal entries to 2016 have been novelized in four Kindle books; Dragon Student, Ambassador to a Monster, Wizard’s Vacation, and City of Advanced Magic.

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Interlude: A Series of Shorts, by M. R. Anglin – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

51rarobPhyLInterlude: A Series of Shorts, by M. R. Anglin.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, August 2016, trade paperback $5.99 (79 [+ 1] pages, Kindle $1.99.

This fifth book in Anglin’s Silver Foxes series is only eight connected short stories of about ten pages each. It is an interlude, taking place between the action of the third and fourth novels and, presumably, the next to come.

The first five stories are set at the Isle de Lossierres, the Kingdom of Drymairad’s most exclusive resort. Xenatha (Xena), the adolescent Silver Fox (it’s a secret) who was the protagonist of Into Expermia, and her family are the “guests” of her foster father J.R.’s unwilling sister Chloe, the wolf businessman sister who owns the island.

The Isle is a rich, luxurious vacation spot, but they are there to hide out, not to enjoy themselves. It’s J.R.’s old family home. Xena wears an illegal image generator to pass as an ordinary gray-furred fox.

Although they are hiding out, they also have their first chance since they all came together to relax a bit as a family. J.R., a notorious criminal to the world, is their wolf Daddy. Xena and her younger sister Katheraine (Kathra), a white fox 11 years old, are his foster kits. Xena has an extremely rare genetic disorder that makes her build up metals in her fur, giving her the Silver Fox appearance and an attraction/control of electricity. Karalaina, a vixen with salmon-colored fur, is the girls’ mother who has just rediscovered them after ten years and came to claim them. They persuaded her to stay and join their family. Chloe Dunsworth is a rich wolf businesswoman, J.R.’s sister who is outraged when he shows up after so long with the others, asking to stay quietly on the family’s island resort.

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A Decade of Gold: A retrospective of the works of Kyell Gold, by Thurston Howl.

by Patch O'Furr

Thanks to Howl, of Thurston Howl Publications, for his guest post. I’m told it was approved by Kyell.  Enjoy.

Few authors have captivated the mainstream furry audience as famously as Kyell Gold. From his 2004 short story publication, “The Prisoner’s Release” to his upcoming novella, The Time He Desires (Dec 2016), Gold’s works have been award-winning pieces of fiction that have even attracted the attention of non-furry readers. Throughout the past twelve years, Gold has gone through a multitude of genres and such unique characters. Below, I hope to detail many of his milestones over the past almost-decade as well as provide a primer on Gold’s work.

pros_cover_lg

Gold’s debut to fiction was his Renaissance-era novel series set in the fictional universe of Argaea. While it technically started with his “The Prisoner’s Release,” which was published in Heat #1, it later became a novel series, starting with Volle (2005). The series follows a red fox, titularly named Volle, as he undergoes a spy mission, pretending to be a lord of a small area participating in negotiations in the kingdom’s political mecca. The catch is that Volle is a hypersexual fox who struggles to keep his sex life separate from his political life, neither of which allow him to use his true identity. This series is a prime example of how Gold can meld genres. In this case, historical fiction meets homosexual furry erotic romance in a way that is both believable and evocative. The Argaea series has received stellar reviews and widespread reception. So far, the Argaea series includes the following titles: Volle, Pendant of Fortune (2006), The Prisoner’s Release and Other Stories (2007), Shadows of the Father (2010), and Weasel Presents (2011). While not all of these stories follow Volle, they are all set in the same universe. All except for Weasel Presents (which was published by Furplanet Productions) were published by Sofawolf Press, with Sara Palmer being the primary illustrator for most of these.

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Peter & Company: A Comic Collection, by Jonathan Ponikvar – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

51NDvBrHhlL._SX398_BO1,204,203,200_Peter & Company: A Comic Collection, by Jonathan Ponikvar.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, June 2012, trade paperback $17.99 (unpaged [74 pages]).

Although it doesn’t say so, this is volume 1 of what is now Ponikvar’s online bi-weekly comic strip. It covers Peter & Company for its first 100 strips; from its beginning on January 1, 2005 to December 17, 2007. Volume 2, Of Cats and Crushes, is “coming soon”.

Peter & Company, drawn with anthropomorphic animal characters, is about Peter (cat), a 12-year-old geek and social loner who gets Seth (duck) as a cross between an imaginary friend and a guardian angel. Seth is invisible to everyone except Peter, but like the ghosts in Thorne Smith’s Topper, he can make his presence felt by others when he wants to.

Ponikvar calls Seth and his compatriots “Guardians” rather than “guardian angels” to remove any religious aspects from the strip, and to present them more imaginatively than in the format of standard religious doctrine. Seth is more like a senpai, a big brother, than a messenger from God. He’s sarcastic, and often openly manipulative to force Peter to do something like studying that he doesn’t want to do.

Ponikvar is also more original in his use of Guardians. Not everyone has a Guardian; only those who need one. Peter can not only see Seth; he can see the Guardians of everyone else who has one – and those who have Guardians can all talk with them. (With exceptions, which are explained in the strip.) The Guardians sometimes get together and “talk shop” without their charges. Peter talks openly to his “imaginary friend”, which increases his reputation as a “freak boy” and gets him sent to Mr. Betrug (dog), the school Counselor.

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Culdesac; A Novella from the War With No Name, by Robert Repino- review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Culdesac; A Novella from the War With No Name, by Robert Repino.
NYC, Soho Press, November 2016, trade paperback $9.99 (110 pages + an 11-page preview of D’Arc), Kindle $7.99.

CuldesacThis is a side-story to Repino’s Mort(e), reviewed here in June 2015. In Mort(e), the ants declare a war of extinction against mankind. In addition to fighting humanity by themselves, including producing human-sized ant warriors, they use their “mysterious technology” to transform all animals into anthropomorphic intelligent beings. “Suddenly, farm animals, ferals, and pets could think and speak. Their bodies changed, allowing them to walk on their hind legs and use their hands like a human.” (p. 1)

The protagonist of Mort(e) is Sebastian, a pet housecat. When he is transformed, he takes the name Mort(e) and becomes a warrior in the elite Red Sphinx guerilla company under Captain Culdesac, a bobcat. When the ants and animals win, he is given ownership of the home he used to live in as a pet. But he remains a loner, skeptical about the animals’ alliance with the Colony, the underground ant super-nest; and about the animals’ ability to build a new society more successful than the humans’ had been. When the last human survivors resume the war with a new weapon, Mort(e) rejoins the Red Sphinx. The conclusion of the novel reveals whether the animals’ new world is stable, what the Colony’s true goal is, and what happens to Mort(e).

Culdesac takes place during Mort(e). It focuses upon the bobcat commander of the Red Sphinx, who is only a minor supporting character in Mort(e). Unlike Mort(e), who had known humans as a pampered pet and had doubts about turning upon them, Culdesac was a wild predator who grew up knowing only the law of kill-or-be-killed. He brings that attitude to the Red Sphinx.   “Relentless, bloody, and unforgiving, Culdesac is the story of an antihero with no soul to lose, carving a path of destruction that consumes the innocent and the guilty alike.” (blurb)

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Call for submissions: The Symbol of a Nation, a new anthology edited by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer. This goes out a little late (sorry). You might also be interested in others announced here at Adjective Species. 

Goal Publications is announcing its first original short story anthology.

Title: The Symbol of a Nation. Theme: national animals. Deadline: December 1st, 2016.goal-publications-full-white-bg

Wanted: original short stories (no reprints) of 2,000 to 15,000 words, featuring furries that are the national animals of countries, such as Afghanistan’s snow leopard, Algeria’s fennec, Australia’s red kangaroo, Bangladesh’s tiger, Canada’s beaver, Denmark’s swan, Eritrea’s camel, France’s rooster (fighting cock), Germany’s black eagle, Honduras’ white-tailed deer, Italy’s wolf, the U.S.’s bald eagle … There are over 200 countries and most of them have a national animal.

For this anthology, we are extending the theme to the official animals of provinces and states. There are several animals such as the koala (Queensland) and platypus (New South Wales) of Australia, or the giant squirrel (Maharashtra) and red panda (Sikkim) of India, or the coyote (South Dakota) and raccoon (Tennessee) of North America that are not national animals, but are the official animals of provinces or states.

But: this is limited to the officially adopted animals (including birds) of national or sub-national entities only. No sports team mascots, corporate mascots like the NBC peacock, political party mascots, or breakfast cereal mascots. No fictional official animals or countries like Transylvania and vampire bats. However, some countries have both a national animal and a national bird, such as Chile – its animal is the huemal, an Andean deer, and its bird is the Andean condor. We will accept stories featuring either or both.

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Doglands, by Tim Willocks – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten

51YDnSOQT-L._SX344_BO1,204,203,200_Doglands, by Tim Willocks
NYC, Random House, September 2011, hardcover $16.99 (308 [+1] pages), Kindle $9.99.

This has been published by Random House Children’s Books, but packaged to look like an adult title. Most reviews (non-furry) have compared it to London’s The Call of the Wild crossed with Adams’ Watership Down. The dogs in it talk to each other, which qualifies it for reviewing here.

“Once upon a time in the Doglands, a blue greyhound gave birth to four pups in a prison camp that the dogs called Dedbone’s Hole. The blue greyhound’s name was Keeva and she named her firstborn Furgul, which in dog tongue means ‘the brave.’ Keeva loved Furgul from the moment she saw him, but as she licked his newborn body clean and gave him her milk to drink, her heart was filled with fear. Furgul had been born with a terrible secret. And she knew that when the masters discovered his secret, they would take him away.” (p. 3)

Furgul is born into a puppy farm, specifically a greyhound breeding farm whose purpose is to produce as many greyhounds for dog racing as possible:

“When the pups no longer needed Keeva’s milk, they joined the other hounds in the exercise yard and Furgul got a better look at Dedbone’s Hole. A lot of greyhounds lived here, in a compound surrounded by a high wire fence. Outside the fence he saw a junkyard and some shacks. Inside the compound the greyhounds were locked in crates – one crate each, where each hound lived all alone – which were even smaller than the whelping cage that Furgul lived in. For just one hour a day the hounds were released from the crates to feed and exercise. The masters made sure there was never enough food for all the hounds, and so the hounds had to fight one another, snarling and biting at the filthy troughs of grub to get enough to eat. The older dogs said the masters starved the dogs on purpose to make them compete, so they could find out who was weak and who was strong and who might make a good racer. They did it to teach them that it was stupid to make friends. They did it because they were bullies who thought it was fun to feel so powerful.” (pgs. 4-5)

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