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Tag: horror

Dissident Signals, Edited by NightEyes DaySpring and Slip Wolf – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Dissident Signals, edited by NightEyes DaySpring and Slip Wolf.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, July 2018, trade paperback, $19.95 (349 pages), Kindle $9.95.

“Everyone wants to create a perfect world.

Whether crafted by benevolent computers or drafted in the boardrooms of corporations that own all we ever know, shining cities and indomitable Empires have risen to reveal the very best of us. The leaders we choose, and those forced upon us, can create hell or paradise. Sometimes they create both at the same time.” (blurb)

Of course, things don’t go as intended. This anthology contains “sixteen dystopian stories about greed, power, and control from worlds like ours but not ours. Stories about hope, despair, and those willing to stand up to their oppressors to resist.” (blurb)

The frame, created by the editors and illustrated on the cover by Teagan Gavet, is of a nameless individual holed up in a ruined building, broadcasting sixteen accounts of what went wrong all over the world.

In “0.02%” by Faora Meridian, 0.02% is the amount of the world population that is immune to Core’s brainwashing additive to the air, called Whimsy, making everyone happy and peaceful and docile. Since Core can’t Whimsy-fy the entire atmosphere of Earth, people are brought inside enclosed Colonies all around the world. The 0.02% of the population who are unaffected by Whimsy are considered unmanageable and warlike, and are regretfully euthanized. Jordan Mulley and her brother Blake are freedom fighters among the 0.02%, trying to infiltrate Core Colony Sixty-Two to rescue a youth about to be tested for his susceptibility or resistance to Whimsy. The characters debate whether a world where 99.9998% of people are happy and peaceful in a idyllic setting is bad, if the other 0.02% are killed.

“Chasing the Feeling” by Mog Moogle is like the previous story, but much bleaker. Mirra is also inside an enclosed dome, but the entire world outside is uninhabitable:

“The reddened sky dissipated over the wall. Behind the emitters, the deadly cloud was repulsed and the original shades of night stretched on in its place. With a hiss, the access hatch opened and the vixen crawled in.” (p. 39)

Again, everyone is brainwashed, but the regimentation is much harsher. Mirra also fights against the system, but subconsciously rather than deliberately, and it is implied that it is too late to oppose the system if any life is to survive. “Chasing the Feeling” is better-written than “0.002%”, but more depressing. Both “0.02%” and “Chasing the Feeling” are funny-animal stories. Their characters are described as anthropomorphic animals, but they might as well be humans.

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Infurno: The Nine Circles of Furry Hell, Edited by Thurston Howl – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Infurno: The Nine Circles of Furry Hell, edited by Thurston Howl. Illustrated by Drkchaos.
Lansing, MI, Thurston Howl Publications, April 2018, trade paperback, $14.99 (278 [+ 1] pages).

Infurno certainly looks like a descent into Furry Hell. It’s printed in white type on black paper – all 278 pages of it. The full-page illustrations by Drkchaos (identified in the blurb as Joseph Chou) add to the book’s grim aspect.

Actually, Infurno makes a good companion volume to the publisher’s Arcana: A Tarot Anthology, edited by Madison Scott-Clary and also illustrated by Joseph Chou. But where that anthology was weird-horror, this one is more horror-disgusting.

Infurno presents 14 stories themed around the Nine Circles of Dante’s Inferno, divided by a Prologue, eight Interludes, and an Epilogue; unsigned but presumably by the anthology’s editor, Thurston Howl. There are one each for Limbo, Lust, Heresy, and Fraud, and two for Gluttony, Greed, Wrath, Violence, and Treachery.

Kyle (sub, jackal) and Terry (dom, squirrel), two gay lovers working alone at Feral Electronics at night, are summoned to the building’s ninth basement floor. (The building doesn’t have nine basements.) There Atha, a mysterious gazelle, leads them further down a staircase.

Atha, their guide into the Inferno, tells them they must witness the final memories of 14 damned souls. Some of the Interludes are more horrific than the stories:

“A three-headed dog as large as a skyscraper loomed over the ocean. The waves themselves, though high and mobile, were thick and viscous, oily yet solid. Breaking the surface all around the dog were drowning souls. When one would breach the surface right below one of the massive heads, the head would swoop down and grab the unfortunate spirit by its head, fling it around it, chew it, and swallow it.” (p. 48) {The sea is shit, not water.]

In “Blur” by Weasel (Limbo), they meet Ely, a white lab mouse who has gotten sick of always giving blow jobs for money and tries to leave that life. “But you can’t stay a whore forever. I started getting tired of sucking dick. The taste of cum started to burn my stomach each time I swallowed.” (p. 18)

In “A New Toy” by Tarl “Voice” Hoch (Lust), Anderson, a fox pornography store owner, is offered ten new Lovecraftian sex toys. “The first impression the toy gave me was of something vagina-pink that I couldn’t make heads of tails of. There were multiple holes that looked like insertion points for a penis, but their locations didn’t make any logical sense.” (p. 38) Moral: don’t stick your prick into any hole if you don’t know where it leads.

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The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion, by Margaret Killjoy – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion, by Margaret Killjoy
NYC, Tom Doherty Associates/TOR Books, August 2017, trade paperback, $14.99 (127 pages), Kindle $3.99.

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion is the first novella in the new Danielle Cain horror series, “a dropkick-in-the-mouth anarcho-punk fantasy that pits traveling anarchist Danielle Cain against vengeful demons, hypocritical ideologues, and brutal, unfeeling officers of the law,” as a blurb says. #2 will be The Barrow Will Send What It May, to be published in April 2018. This is not a furry series; #2 will pit Danielle against zombies. But this #1 is fantasy-animal-related, although not anthropomorphic.

Danielle is the foul-mouthed narrator, a late-twenties now-cynical anarchist, no longer looking for the idealized commune where everyone loves everyone else and anarchy really works. As The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion begins, she is hitchhiking in rural Iowa to such a rumored commune, and she has to pull a knife on the car’s driver who does not want to let her out in the middle of “nowhere”.

“Ten years of putting up with shit like that from drivers. It was getting old. Hell, at twenty-eight, I was getting old. Ten years ago I’d talk to drivers about anything and love them for it. I loved the nice ones for their kindness, I loved the crazies for their stories, and sure, I hated the racist pieces of shit, but if nothing else I got to feel like I had the pulse of this racist, piece-of-shit country. But a decade is an awfully long time, and whatever shine I’d found on the shit that is hitchhiking had long since faded. Still, it got me where I wanted to go.” (p. 12)

Freedom, Iowa is a commune of about two hundred squatters and anarchist activists in an abandoned ghost town. But why Danielle wants to go there is:

“It was the last place Clay had lived, the last place he’d spent much time before he’d found his way west and his hand had shown his razor the way to his throat. No warning signs, no cries for help.

I had a lot of questions. If there were answers, I might find them in Freedom, Iowa.” (p. 13)

Danielle encounters the first horrific animal near the town right away.

“After a hundred yards and a couple turns, when the trees were getting thick enough to cast the whole of the road into shadow, I saw a deer on the shoulder ahead, rooting at something on the pavement. The beast was crimson red. Bloodred. I didn’t know deer even came in that color.

I crossed to the far side of the street so I wouldn’t disturb him, but I couldn’t help staring. A rabbit was dead on the ground beneath him, its belly up, its rib cage splayed open. The deer looked up at me then, his red muzzle dripping red blood.

On the right side of his head, he bore an antler. On the left side of his head, he bore two.” (ibid.)

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Bleak Horizons, edited by Tarl “Voice” Hoch – book review by Fred Patten

by Patch O'Furr

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

Bleak Horizons, edited by Tarl “Voice” HochDallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, March 2017, trade paperback $19.95 (338 pages), e-book $9.95.

Tarl Hoch states on Amazon that he “is a Canadian writer of primarily horror, mythos and erotic fiction”, with stories of his own in several non-furry horror anthologies. Bleak Horizons is his second book for FurPlanet. His first was the 2014 Abandoned Places, a furry horror anthology. Bleak Horizons is also a horror anthology; “fifteen stories about what horrors lie waiting for those who look to the future.”

Ha! To me, the horror is that most of these fifteen are just funny-animal stories that might as well be with humans. But they are all – well, fourteen of the fifteen — good s-f technological suspense stories.

“Adrift” by Kandrel distinguishes fear, terror, and panic through Evan, an anthropomorphic cat passenger on a starship with his wife Mia and his young son Sammy. There is a disaster:

“The hall is blocked by a family of warthogs trying to drag luggage with them. Stupid, he thinks. You can’t bring luggage into the life pods. There’s no room. This isn’t a time to worry about your things. Leave them. The burly male shouts something as Evan leaps over shoulders and uses the wall to get height. With a bound, he climbs over the unfortunate’s head. A hairy fist swings wildly but misses. He spares no more thought for the warthogs. They’d probably be too slow anyway.” (pgs. 10-11)

Evan, Mia, and Sam make it to the life pod and launch into space. But something goes wrong. Evan wakes from cryosleep in the faulty made-by-the-lowest-bidder life pod while his wife and son are still frozen. Can Evan fix it, or must he watch his wife and toddler die? There are references to Mia’s long horns and muzzle before it’s revealed what she is, but obviously she’s no cat (so what is Sammy?). There’s a plot point to Evan and his wife being different species, which makes “Adrift” more than a funny-animal story.

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reWritten, by Jako Malan – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

reWritten, by Jako Malan
Plainfield, CT, Goal Publications, April 2017, trade paperback $15.00 (200 [+2] pages).

The setting of reWritten is a world from which humans have disappeared and been replaced with anthropomorphized Mammalœ.

It’s best not to dwell on the confusing background. The Mammalœ are aware of man’s past existence:

We are, indeed, not the first to call this world our home. Bright-eyed and naive, our earliest ancestors wandered forth as the sun set on the age of man and rose for Mammalœ. The ruins of their magnificent civilization would be both the foundation and inspiration for our own.” (p. 1)

What happened to man? It doesn’t sound like man became extinct through war, unless it was a war that didn’t include blast damage – the Mammalœ consider man’s ruins to be “magnificent”. Have the Mammalœ (the narrator is an anthro jackal; others are aardvarks, meerkats, springboks, rats, rabbits, mongooses, servals, cheetahs, etc.) evolved to replace man? That would take millions of years. Surely there wouldn’t be anything of man’s left to seem “magnificent”. The Mammalœ civilization seems like a rundown funny-animal imitation of man’s; a smoky city that includes coal power, rickety electric trams, hand-cranked automobiles for the rich; most Mammalœ riding bicycles… The Mammalœ such as the rat and zebra are all the same size, presumably human. It’s easier to just accept that man was here but is gone now, and anthro mammals (Malan is South African; so is the setting – the Mammalœ currency is even rands, not dollars) have replaced him in early-20th-century-style cities.

Professor M. (for Makwassie) van Elsburg (a jackal), head of the Department of Anthropology and History at Mammalaœ University in Bridgend (apparently a major Mammalœ city), is approached at a reception by rich Mr. Oberholzer (a hyrax), the patriarch of the Bridgend Energy Cartel. Prof. van Elsburg recognizes him as one of the most influential and notorious mobsters in Bridgend. (He flaunts it; what’s the point of being influential and notorious if everyone doesn’t know it?) Oberholzer is also interested in the history and disappearance of man, and he has a private museum in his mansion. Five months earlier he and an associate had organized an expedition to the ruins of a human city that they hoped would provide more information. The expedition disappeared; simultaneously Oberholzer’s private collection was burglarized, and his servants began being followed. Oberholzer wants Prof. van Elsburg to lead a second expedition to the ruins, to find the hoped-for information and any clues to the vanished first expedition. Elsburg objects that he’s late-middle-aged and sedentary, without any experience in exploring, but Oberholzer’s request is similar to Don Vito Corleone’s offer that can’t be refused.

“‘Take the train to the Ashton precinct.’ Mr. Oberholzer’s last instructions interrupted my train of thought. ‘That is as far as the railways will take you. In town, I will arrange for my associate to meet you. He will brief you from there onwards. I have already contacted him with the particulars of the assignment. Be vigilant, Professor. Don’t discuss your task with anyone. And don’t disappoint me.’” (pgs. 31-32)

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Furry Nights movie review – a crowd pleaser for lovers of campy indie horror.

by Patch O'Furr

Do you love trash like I do?  In the 1970’s, exploitation movies became a thing where trash and sleaze were loveable qualities. They had fun doing stuff the mainstream wouldn’t do.  Along with the bad, came good access for audiences that Hollywood didn’t represent, like minorities and subcultures.  Now “Fursploitation” is creeping into popular awareness. I characterize it that way if it portrays “furries” with off-the-rack, poorly fitting mascot costumes and orgy jokes.  That stuff may not play well with furries, but it can.  They’ll probably dislike it if it has low effort at research, or feels carelessly opportunistic or mean, but it helps to be indie and share inside references to laugh together. A success would be CollegeHumor’s “Furry Force”, which the fandom took with good humor.

Furry Nights is an indie horror movie directed by J. Zachary.  It premiered in late 2016 with a theater show in Atlanta. I heard from several very happy furry watchers who attended.  Then Zachary asked me to tell you about it.

Furry Nights is now available on iTunes. Here’s the synopsis from the official website:

“What begins as a carefree weekend amongst a group of camping teens soon takes a strange turn when the gang discovers they are not alone in the forest.  FURRIES have rooted camp just across the nearby lake.  Not worried about the “party animals,” the kids sleep soundly that night, only to be woken by a real life horror — A BEAR!  One of the teens shoots and kills the grizzly monster, but quickly realizes the tragic truth — HE HAS SHOT A FURRY . . . Now, the maniacal furries will stop at nothing to make them pay . . .

CAN THE TEENS SURVIVE THE REVENGE OF THE FURRIES?!”

@KaiWulf said: “Indy film, very campy. We had a good laugh.” And here’s another happy watcher.

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The Goat: Building the Perfect Victim, by Bill Kieffer – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Goat: Building the Perfect Victim, by Bill Kieffer
Manvel, TX, Red Ferret Press, September 2016, trade paperback $13.95 (158 [+ 1] pages), Kindle $3.99.

This book boasts – or warns – in a back-cover blurb that it delves into “the darkest, deepest reaches of human nature.” It isn’t pretty.

Frank, the narrator, seems like a total loser. He’s sullen, gloomy, depressed, works at a junk yard, and is in an abusive marital relationship. He keeps walking out on his domineering wife Kim, getting into a good relationship with some other woman, then Kim finds him, throws out the other woman, and starts her game of psychological dominance again.

He’s escaped from Kim again (only temporarily, he’s sure), gotten drunk at Phil’s Liquor Locker, and is walking back to his junker car when he sees a gang of wolfboys shoving around a gay man.

“Oh, they weren’t real wolves, but try to tell them that. The six or seven of them were trans-anthropomorphic teenagers from that private wizard school, Matthias.” (p. 18)

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The Goat: Building a Perfect Victim, by Bill Kieffer – review by Howl.

by Patch O'Furr

Howl of Thurston Howl Publications sends this guest review.  Thanks Howl!

REVIEW OF THE GOAT: BUILDING A PERFECT VICTIM BY BILL KIEFFER

goatShock. From beginning to end. If you ever want a book to slap you in the face as hard as possible, this…this is for you.

Frank is a car worker. He is not gay. To verify this, he would not hesitate to glare you down. He would not hesitate to hit you. He would not hesitate to force you into his car. He would not hesitate to force your head on his cock and eventually force you to swallow. This is how he started to develop a relationship with Glenn.

Glenn is a cybermancer, strong with technological pseudomagic but not so great at wards like Frank. Loving the utter dominance Frank forces onto him, Glenn enters into an S&M relationship with the mechanic. However, the main story arc occurs when Glenn reveals that he is species-dysmorphic: despite being born in a human body, his natural identity is that of a goat. Unable to pass the necessary ani-mage tests, he can only dream about becoming a goat. However, Frank is a little better with magic…

This book is by NO MEANS a kinky romance. This is, as the author claims, horror erotica. Even as a Stephen King and Clive Barker fan, I was cringing so hard from the beginning and ending of the book, and I’m not sure I will fully recover in the next week. I might have to read My Little Pony fanfiction to survive in fact.

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Windfall, by Tempe O’Kun – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

windfallWindfall, by Tempe O’Kun. Illustrated by Slate.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, July 2015, trade paperback $19.95 (325 pages), electronic edition $9.95.

This is a mature content book.  Please ensure that you are of legal age to purchase this material in your state or region. (publisher’s advisory)

It has been six months since the popular TV series Strangeville was cancelled after five seasons. The cast has split up and gone their own ways. For Max Saber (husky) and Kylie Bevy (otter), teenage supporting actors who played a high-school boy & girl on the series, this has meant returning to their homes across America. Yet they have remained in touch through texting, and after six months, both are wondering whether their TV romance might have been more serious than they realized. When Max, on his parents’ Montana ranch, gets an invitation from Kylie to spend a three-week vacation in her old New England town of Windfall – the town that the creepy, surrealistic Strangeville was modelled upon – he takes it. Yep, their romance is real. So is the horror of Windfall.

As readers of my reviews know, I don’t think much of funny-animal novels in which the characters are really humans with superficial animal features. But Windfall presents them in depth. There are constant mentions of fur, wagging tails, perked or drooping ears, the female otters’ whiskers and webbed paws. A teen rhino fan asks Max to autograph his horn. “The otter threaded her tail through the hole in the [car] seat and popped the key into the ignition.” (p. 41) Max calls Kylie “rudderbutt”. Some of it is occasionally anthro-specific, as when Kylie finds a deer’s skull while she and Max are camping in the woods:

“She knew that [the deer had been feral]. The eyes were too far to the sides and the neck attached at the wrong angle, leaving little room for the brain. Still it looked enough like a sapient deer’s skull to give her the creeps.” (p. 57)

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Inhuman Acts: A Collection of Noir – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

51i6Fzbl+wL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Inhuman Acts; A Collection of Noir, edited by Ocean Tigrox.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, September 2015, trade paperback $19.95 (316 pages), Kindle $9.95.

According to the publisher, this is a horror anthology. “Explore thirteen anthropomorphic noir stories about betrayal, corruption and deceit from award-winning authors and up-and-coming writers. Pour your favourite whiskey and light up a cigarette as Stanley Rivets, PI shares with you his collection of case files from dim to dark to downright ugly.” (blurb)

Stanley Rivets, the stereotypical sable P.I. who tells these stories — “A sable in a long beige trench coat sits behind the desk, dark ears perking at the entrance of the newcomer. The wide brim of his fedora raises to see what visitor would stop by this late at night.” –p. vii. He wears his trench coat and fedora while sitting in his office? Well, maybe he’s just returned, exhausted, from a case — appears only in the very brief Foreword and Afterword. Too bad. It would have been nice to get a full story with him.

Rivets tells 13 stories; not cases of his own, but 13 that he’s heard of. Ocean Tigrox has started out with one of the best here; “Muskrat Blues” by Ianus Wolf. It’s specifically a pastiche of The Maltese Falcon, with Mike Harrison, a pig P.I., investigating the murder of his best friend, another P.I. – a muskrat; two prey animals in a grim & gritty city where the prey animals are usually at the bottom of the anthro-animal social pole. But Alex Richards didn’t take any guff, and neither does Harrison. Wolf packs a neat summary of Hammett’s novel (or Warner Bros.’s movie; take your pick) into a taut 25 pages of noir, with enough originality that even if you’re a fan of The Maltese Falcon, you’re not likely to guess whodunit. And enough presence of predator & prey animal traits to make this a satisfying furry story, too.

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