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Tag: FurPlanet Productions

Tales from the Guild: World Tour, Edited by Ocean Tigrox – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Tales from the Guild: World Tour, Edited by Ocean Tigrox.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, July 2018, trade paperback, $9.95 (210 pages), eBook $4.95.

This says, “Edited by Ocean Tigrox. Co-edited by Madison Keller, George Squares, and MikasiWolf”. Giving credit to everyone involved.

This is not a sequel, but it is the second Tales from the Guild book. The first was Music to Your Ears, edited by AnthroAquatic, and published by Rabbit Valley in September 2014.

The Guild is the Furry Writers’ Guild, founded in 2010 by Sean Silva. In 2012 it created the Cóyotl Awards, voted on by the FWG members annually for the best anthropomorphic novel, novella, short story, and anthology of the year. The FWG currently consists of over 180 members; most of the authors who write the stories that fill the anthologies and novels from the furry specialty publishers. Tales from the Guild is a showcase of the writing of its members, published as a fundraiser for the Guild.

World Tour consists of eight stories set all around the world. “But how would these tales change if, instead of humans, the world was populated by anthropomorphic creatures?”

“She Who Eats” by Frances Pauli is set in Ternate, East Indonesia. Kittitas Jones, a calico cat, travels from Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, to Ternate where her mother has just died:

“The boat railing pitched again, making the Molucca Sea a diagonal slash of blue and turning Kit’s stomach inside out. She clenched both paws around the wood and closed her eyes tight against the vertigo, the sense that her world was toppling overboard.” (p. 11)

Kit’s mother was a scientist who left modernized Jakarta for Ternate ten years ago to study the native customs, and never came back. Kit, traveling there to wrap up her mother’s affairs, finds that Ternate is inhabited by Monitor lizard natives who still practice their old culture, including the eating of meat.

“‘I was hoping to be quick.’ She flicked her tail against the back of her legs and pressed the tips of her claws against her pants leg. ‘I’m not here to sightsee.’

‘These things take a while,’ the tiger [the captain of her boat] insisted. ‘You’ll see. Island animals don’t move like city animals, don’t do anything like city animals. He shuddered, prompting her curiosity despite her intentions.

‘What does that mean?’

‘Island life is slow,’ he said. ‘But Ternate is different. Some say, in the shadow of Gamalama, they still eat the meat.’ He grimaced, showing a mouthful of yellow-stained fangs.

‘That’s ridiculous.’ Kit sniffed and then pressed a paw pad over her nose. She mumbled, trying not to let the smell in. ‘My mother wouldn’t have stayed if they did.’” (pgs. 12-13)

Kit and her mother were vegetarians. “’Predation was eradicated through generations of adaptation, through study and dietary modification…’” (p. 31) Kit learns that her mother went native and became She Who Eats, the high-priestess/goddess of the lizards’ religion, which included eating fish; and that the natives want her to become her mother’s successor.

It’s a good story, but I’m not sure how it shows “instead of humans, the world was populated by anthropomorphic creatures”. According to Wikipedia, Ternate and its natives are modernized. Kit wouldn’t have to take a small boat to get there. “During the 2011 eruption [of Gamalama], Indonesia closed a domestic airport near the volcano for several days”. The story looks like a fantasy in more than turning Ternate’s inhabitants into anthro Monitor lizards.

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Camouflage, by Kyell Gold. Illustrated by Rukis – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Camouflage, by Kyell Gold. Illustrated by Rukis.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, December 2017, trade paperback, $19.95 (293 pages), Kindle $9.99.

Camouflage is a spinoff of Kyell Gold’s popular five Dev and Lee novels. It features tiger footballer Devlin Miski’s cousin Danilo in a very different plot. That puts Camouflage into Gold’s Forrester University world.

Danilo is an adolescent English 19-year-old white tiger, currently studying at the Student Center of the Université Catholique in Tigue, Gallia, on the Saône River.

“Tigue, like many Gallic cities, contained many identities within her borders. The main campus of the Université Catholique lay on the edge of one of the newer parts of the city, a small suburb that had been built up twenty years ago, stretching sleek glass and elegant steel skyward. Old photos of the Université’s stately limestone buildings from before the expansion showed their red clay roofs over grey-white arches amidst of modest forests and fields. In the Presqu’Ile campus in the heart of old Tigue, ancient limestone and red clay dominated, broken up by cold grey churches, and through them, modern cars honked along the rain-slick street, though down on the riverbank, the babble of the crowd faded next to the light hiss of rain into the river.” (p. 13)

“Currently” is the year 2008, when Dev has just had his press conference in the States announcing that he’s homosexual. Danilo is much more private and withdrawn, and he’s not interested in sports. He hasn’t announced his homosexuality yet, although he does have a gay lover; Taye, a mouse Romany fellow student. (Actually he’s bisexual, but he doesn’t realize that yet.) Readers of Out of Position, the first Dev and Lee novel, will know that Dev was forced to “come out of the closet”. Danilo resents the notoriety-by-association that makes it harder to conceal his own sexual orientation.

“Gah, this was going to drive Danilo crazy. All because some cousin he’d only met a couple times decided to make his sexual preference public. Who did that, anyway? There was a question he could ask: why would you do that, declare that you’re gay in a big spectacle for everyone to see? Nobody needed to know. Maybe when you were a big football star, you lost sight of the fact that not everyone cares about your private life. Maybe you didn’t stop to think about the other people who would be affected by your actions, like your cousin across the ocean who had used you as a shield because he couldn’t play footer, and nobody in this country wanted to play cricket.” (pgs. 14-15)

Danilo’s sister Lena is thrilled by the news (“He’s the first professional athlete to come out. He’s a homosexual. Isn’t it wonderful?”), and is determined to tell everybody, which makes him feel even more exposed. He tries to get away from his classmates by retreating to a private spot he’s found, underneath an old stone bridge across the Saône.

And then suddenly, impossibly, he’s transported back in time to 1508 A.D.

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Intimate Little Secrets, by Rechan – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Intimate Little Secrets, by Rechan
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, March 2017, trade paperback $9.95 (163 pages), ebook $6.95.

Intimate Little Secrets is a collection of nine “sensual” short stories by Rechan, published for Furry Fiesta 2017. The book is publisher-rated NC-17, for adult readers.

Robert Baird describes the nine stories in his Introduction as “alternately touching and titillating; tantalizing and tender. They invite us to explore the inner lives of characters consistently defined firstly by their refreshing believability.” (p. 7) Some of these stories originally appeared online, on Rechan’s SoFurry and FurAffinity accounts.

Indeed. I have complained before about authors whose characters are only funny animals; animal-headed humans. Rechan never lets that happen. His characters are anthropomorphic animals; a blend of humans and the species that they are described as.

“Fanservice” features Robin and Dean, two shy young mink, office workers on their first evening date. Robin dresses as Veronica Tamas, a TV actress she knows Dean likes. “Part of the problem was Tamas, as a deer, had wonderful legs put on display by the mini-dress lab coat and the sleek knee high black boots. With the longer torso and shorter limbs of a mink, Robin wasn’t pulling it off.” (p. 9)

Robin tries to make it up in other ways:

“For a moment Dean only squeezed her shoulder, then his digits inched up to graze her throat. A faint chirr bubbled up as he stroked her so-soft fur, and she reached out to caress his wrist and forearm.

When his touch moved up to her cheek and muzzle, Robin closed her eyes and tilted into it, a soft breath escaping from her. The scent of him drew her in, her body easing closer to his until they bumped.

That caress lasted only a moment longer before he cupped her cheek, her whiskers brushed his, and she instinctively moved into the oncoming kiss.

Their teeth knocked together.” (p. 14)

They eventually get it right. They never get out of their office that evening. The most unrealistic aspect of “Fanservice” to me was that Robin would go all the way on a first date.

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Otters in Space III: Octopus Ascending, by Mary E. Lowd – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Otters in Space III: Octopus Ascending, by Mary E. Lowd
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, July 2017, trade paperback, $9.95 (227 pages), Kindle $6.99.

Otters in Space III follows right after Otters in Space II, published four years ago. There’s not even a brief What Has Gone Before. Unless you have a really good memory, you had better reread the first two books before starting this.

The series is set in the far future, after humans have uplifted cats, dogs, and otters (and some others), then disappeared. The dogs and cats run Earth, and the otters run everything in space. The protagonist is Kipper Brighton, the tabby cat sister of Petra and Alastair Brighton. Alastair has just run for Senator of California, and despite cat voters outnumbering the dogs four to one, the dogs who control the results announce the dog nominee has won in a landslide. Alastair and Petra must decide whether to challenge the vote and risk starting a cat-vs.-dog civil war. Meanwhile, Kipper has gone into space and is aboard the Jolly Barracuda, an otter merchant spaceship on a supply run to the Jovian colonies. They find the colonies under attack by aliens that turn out to be raptor dinosaurs who have already conquered an octopus space civilization that the cats, dogs, and otters didn’t know about. Otters in Space II ends with the cats and dogs of Earth uniting to oppose the dinosaurs, while Kipper commands a spaceship full of rescued cat refugees returning to Earth.

(I hope that Lowd plans to eventually republish the three books of Otters in Space as a single novel.)

Otters in Space III begins with Jenny, an otter, and Ordol, the leader of the octopi (that’s them on Idess’ cover), flying back from the Persian cat colony of New Persia on Europa in a stolen spaceship, to the Jolly Barracuda hidden in Jupiter’s Red Spot:

“As they flew toward Io, Ordol’s tentacles continued to work in Jenny’s peripheral vision, running scans and taking readings. The ship’s computer displayed the results in a language Jenny couldn’t yet read. Sharp angular letters clustered erratically into words – or so Jenny assumed – and scrolled senselessly across the computer screens arranged beneath the central viewscreen.

The sight of the alien language made it impossible for Jenny to forget: this ship was stolen. They had disabled the homing signal to hide it from the original owners, but it was stolen nonetheless.

Ordol could read the writing, at least, a little of it. He’d been a slave to the aliens who’d built the ship. Before it was renamed Brighton’s Destiny; the aliens who wrote the inscrutable language that filled its screens and who still enslaved the rest of his people.” (p. 10)

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