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Tag: horror

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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Exclusive: Nordguard game and Windfall novel coming out at Anthrocon, from Tempe O’Kun.

by Patch O'Furr

tempo321In November 2014, I shared news about the very active Furry author Tempe O’kun.  Public Radio interviewed him about his writing – and they treated Furry writing as just a genre, not a “weird news” item.  Even the romance kind!  That was refreshing, and I thought he did a great job representing it.  So do other furries, it seems, because he’s been honored as an award winning Furry Writers’ Guild member and a convention guest of honor.

Tempe got in touch to share exclusive news about upcoming projects.  His novel Windfall sounds like a unique genre-mixing delight, with cute furry romance and paranormal horror.  There’s also art from the Nordguard card game below.  They’re coming out at Anthrocon 2015.  If you can’t wait to see them in person on July 9-13, here’s a taste.  I asked Tempe to round out his news with personal chat about how his year has been – and if he had stories about making projects happen.  I asked: “Are you excited for Anthrocon, and what else do you plan to do there?”

Tempe responds:unnamed

My year has been great thus far! I was guest of honor at Camp Feral 2014, and I have been invited to GoH another con in the spring.

ThinkTank Games and I started work on what would become Nordguard: Tribes of the White Land expansion before the game’s core set even came out. Originally, we’d planned it as a series of smaller expansions (about the size of Magic booster packs), but eventually took the most interesting elements from each set and combined them into a 36-card pack. It shuffles directly into the main set and, just like the original, it’s a boxed set—no buying multiple packs to get the cards you want, like in a CCG. The highlights include two canon characters (Iyoto and Manny) who were mentioned in the first book, but haven’t been seen yet. It also has Team Fortress 2-style side-grades for every character. BlackTeagan also developed an entire new tribe—the Nituuyik, arctic lynxes—for the expansion, who will later appear in the books. So this is the first time the card game will have a direct influence on the graphic novels!

We’re also reprinting the core set. We’ve gotten some great feedback over the last two years and we’re pretty confident about the streamlining we’ve done for the second edition.

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Abandoned Places – Book Review by Fred Patten

by kiwiztiger

 

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer – with pawesome assistance from Kiwi Tiger.

abandonedplaces_webThis anthology of 16 original furry horror stories was published to debut at Midwest FurFest 2014 on December 5-7. Each story has a full-page frontispiece by Silent Ravyn. To quote FurPlanet’s blurb:

“From stories about being abandoned in the heart of civilization to stories about forced abandonment for the sake of science to how abandoned places affect the mind; the stories in this anthology cover a large range of genres and types of abandoned places.
Each one with their own little piece of personal horror laying among the ruins, ready to strike when you least expect it.”

“Empathy” by Rechan doesn’t say so, but it is obviously inspired by the Kitty Genovese incident in 1964. Morty, an old man, falls on an icy sidewalk during winter and breaks his hip. He calls for help, but everyone who passes just ignores him – except the hungry rats in the garbage. The talking rat that taunts the dying Morty is what makes this a furry story. Nice but too slight.

In “Belief” by Bill Rogers, Fosse (badger) is hired by Alexander (bear) and Nicky (doe) to take them into a “spooky” abandoned mine to get video footage that can be sold to the Haunted Places TV show. There is a cave-in and Fosse is trapped alone in the black tunnel. Does he see real ghosts of miners killed long ago, or is it just his imagination? “They can’t hurt you if you don’t believe in them…”

In “Stared Too Deeply” by Tyler David Coltraine, four college students – Rick (wolf), Rodney (Rottweiler), Bella (rabbit), and Dave (raccoon) – explore an abandoned long, dark, underground service tunnel. At least one of them is not what it appears. This story should not have been placed so closely to the one before it. Read the rest of this entry »

Book review: ‘Freak’s Amour’, by Tom De Haven.

by Patch O'Furr

Flayrah News, 5/8/2013:

FreaksArmorFreak’s Amour, by Tom De Haven, is simply a masterpiece. This is some of the best weird literature that few seem to have heard of or remember. It’s been out of print for 27 years. I started it once, long ago when I was just getting into science fiction and weird genre stuff. It was a bit arty and demanding for a teenage reader, and my interest wasn’t up to the challenge at the time. Now, I have to give it very high recommendation after finding it again.

I suggest that anyone into classy lit as well as furries and pulp/pop culture go get it now, even if it takes your last two bucks. It’s one of those obscurities that could be worth quite a lot if it was less available – but it earned enough acclaim to get several printings, so it’s cheap and easy to get secondhand. (In fact, I’ve noticed a new comic/graphic novel version: info below.)
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