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Tales of the Firebirds, by Kyell Gold – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Tales of the Firebirds, by Kyell Gold. Illustrated by Tess Garman.
Mountain View, CA, 24 Carat Words, June 2018, trade paperback, $14.95 (167 [+ 1] pages), eBook $6.99.

Kyell Gold is the author of the five mega-popular “Dev and Lee” novels, published by Sofawolf Press between 2009 and 2016, featuring the homosexual lovers Devlin Miski (tiger), a football star for the Chevali Firebirds, and Wiley Farrel (fox), a gay rights activist and football talent scout: Out of Position, Isolation Play, Divisions, Uncovered, and Over Time. Tales of the Firebirds is Gold’s own collection of twelve short stories about Dev, Lee, and their friends (mostly Dev’s Firebirds teammates), written to answer readers’ questions and to fill out their personalities.

Gold says in his Introduction, “Spending a decade in the Out of Position world inevitably led to me thinking about things that might have happened off the stage of the novels, first to the main characters Lee and Dev, and later to a number of the side characters. Many of the stories in this collection were published elsewhere; some were written just to explore certain characters, and one was written to round out the collection about a character who won a Twitter poll.” (p. [1]) Most were published somewhere, some appeared only on Gold’s website, and a couple is original.

Three of the stories feature Dev or Lee, mostly before they met each other. The other nine focus upon one of their friends, enemies, Lee’s father, or Coach Samuelson: Jay Cornwall (stag football player), Colin Smith (fox religious bigot), Gerrard Marvell (older coyote football player), and so on.

Since the Dev and Lee novels are about both gay relationships and football, those are the main themes of these stories. From “Halftime Entertainment” featuring Jay Cornwell:

“Later, after the game, there’ll be a quiet dinner in Crystal City’s gay neighborhood, where a big coyote and stag blend in pretty well with the rest of the gym rats from the beach. There’ll be a few drinks in a bar, maybe dancing in a club where the lights stay low and we can bump and shove without football pads between us. There’ll be time to undress slowly at his apartment, to look at each other and touch each other, to make comments on workouts and the injuries of the season, my sore shoulders, his sore knee. And there’ll be, maybe, a little time tomorrow morning before my team’s plane leaves. This moment here is all about the game and the sex, the need and the release, the here and the now, but it doesn’t stop me thinkin’ about the other stuff while I’m getting’ my hands on him.” (p. 24)

From “Heart” with Hal Kinnel (fox sports reporter):

“Chevali’s quarterback – Aston, the wolf – is not top-five. But he doesn’t turn the ball over a lot and he’s got a good arm. He’s not accurate, but his misses are usually low or out of bounds, not the kind of misses that turn into picks. The wolverine at running back gets compared unfairly to Gateway’s wolverine (Bixon, the one Lee was talking about), which is kind of like comparing me to the star of that new vampire movie because we’re both swift foxes. But Jaws is better than average, and when you factor in his durability, he’s probably top-five in the league. Maybe number six, depending on if you count Yerba’s tandem as one.

Aston marches them down the field and then the drive stalls. But they punt with good field position and pin the Pilots back inside their ten, and it’s on that series that Miski gets to make a play.

It’s second and four, and the quarterback zips the ball to the tight end. The rabbit grabs it cleanly and turns to run upfield –

–and Miski is right there, wraps him up and drives him down to the ground. There’s a hiss from near the front; I look up and see Lee at the end of a fist-pump, and realize that the hiss was the end of him saying ‘Yes!’

He catches my eye and grins, and I can’t help but grin back. His eyes sparkle and he walks over. ‘If you want to make another easy twenty,’ he says in a fox-whisper, ‘go lay some more money on the Firebirds. We’re gonna win.’” (p. 106)

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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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Love Match, Book 2 (2010-2012) by Kyell Gold – book review by Fred Patten

by Patch O'Furr

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

Love Match, Book 2 (2010-2012) by Kyell Gold. Illustrated by Rukis.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, February 2018, trade paperback, $19.95 (316 pages), e-books $9.99.

This is book 2 of Gold’s Love Match trilogy. Book 1, titled just Love Match, was published last year in January 2017, and the final volume will presumably be published in early 2019.

Gold’s Love Match trilogy is a loose follow-up to his five “Dev and Lee” novels, set in his Forester University world; but its theme is tennis instead of football. Young (14 years old) Rochi “Rocky” N’Guwe, a black-backed jackal from the African nation of Lunda, is brought to the States with his mother in 2008 on a scholarship from the Palm Gables Tennis Center, a leading tennis college. During the two years of Book 1, Rocky matures, realizes his homosexuality, and develops a romance with his best friend, Marquize Alhazhari, a cheetah from Madiyah. He is horrified to discover that his younger sister Ori, to whom he is devoted and who has been left behind in Lunda, is being betrothed by their aunt in an arranged marriage. Rocky tries to earn enough money to bring Ori to Palm Gables. At the end of Book 1, Rocky and Marquize leave the Palm Gables Center and are thrust into the world of professional tennis.

And that’s about all that I can say about Book 2 without giving away major spoilers. There is a six-page Prologue set in the present (2015), during a climactic game between Rocky and his ongoing rival Braden Longacre, before getting into the main story. It establishes that both will get into tennis’ top ranks. But for the three years of Book 2, 2010 to 2012 – well, nothing much happens.

The story is narrated by Rocky N’Guwe, and it’s about him growing up from 16 to 18 years old in the environment of professional tennis. His friendship/gay romance with Marquize ebbs and flows. Rocky’s mother, who at first is always present as his chaperone and coach, leaves him to the care of a professional tennis coach while she concentrates on getting Ori into the States. He briefly crosses paths with Braden Longacre. Rocky, under his coach’s care, travels to tennis tournaments in several cities and develops new friendships among the other tennis players. In his free time on his own, he explores gay bars and clubs.

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The Tower and the Fox by Tim Susman – review by Summercat

by Patch O'Furr

Thanks to Summercat for this guest post.

The Tower and the Fox is the Kyell Gold novel I’ve been waiting for him to write for years, and it has been worth the wait.

Like many people, I was entranced with The Prisoner’s Release and the rest of the Volle stories, but most of Kyell Gold’s work did not resonate with me, as he primarily wrote for the genre of “Coming of Age Gay Romance”. There’s nothing wrong with the genre, and the struggle to find one’s place in the world in the context of romance (and lots of gay sex) certainly can speak to multiple generations of furries.

Only, I never had those struggles and I tend to skip sex scenes in my furry novels. The prevalent nature of the genre has turned me off to a lot of written Furry fiction, even to the point I hesitate to read what I know would be clean. Yet even then, I enjoyed Kyell’s worldbuilding and storytelling. I felt Shadow of the Father was a fine novel that would have been improved by the removal of the sexual content, and had hoped to one day see Kyell’s skill turned towards a more traditional fantasy.

There’s not even a romance subplot in The Tower and The Fox, and the story is stronger for it.

The Tower and The Fox takes place in an alternate and magical history, set sometime after the Napoleonic Wars have ended. The North American colonies remain part of the Empire, with the only mention of a historical figure being John Adams. However, this is a world of humans, and the Calatians – magically-created animal-human hybrids – are a minority, and an ill-treated one at that, for many humans see them as naught but beasts, with many rights denied to them.

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The Tower and the Fox, by Tim Susman – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

The Tower and the Fox, by Tim Susman. Illustrated by Laura Garabedian.
Dallas, TX, Argyll Productions, June 2017, trade paperback $17.95 (265 pages, ebook $9.95.

Grump! This begins in media res, with 19-year-old fox-Calatian Kip Penfold grasping the locked gate of Prince George’s College of Sorcery in New Cambridge, Massachusetts in the early 1800s. Anything further that I say about it would be a spoiler.

Well, if the book’s blurb can give away several spoilers, so can I. The setting is a world like ours, but with magic. Think Harry Potter. Magic has apparently always existed. There were Sumerian and Akkadian sorcerers. The first Calatians (anthropomorphic animals) were created by magic in 1402. Magic helped win the War of the Roses in 1480. There has not yet been an American Revolution, and the British North American Colonies are still loyal to the Crown, although some people are restive about that. Others are unhappy with the social order of the times: Europeans › Colonists › Irish › slaves/Negroes › women › Calatians. The social order of the last four is uncertain; maybe females rank slightly higher than male Irish or Negroes, or Calatians are higher than them. But all four are definitely inferior to human Caucasian menfolk, Continental or Colonial. (Where the American Indians stand in this is uncertain.)

“He turned on his heel. Emily shouted after him, ‘Why do we have to prove ourselves?’ but he did not respond, nor turn, and this time she did not pursue him.

Kip felt a sinking feeling in his chest, watching the sorcerer walk away. ‘Because we always have to prove ourselves,’ he said. ‘Because of how we look.’

‘Rubbish,’ Emily said. ‘We’re living in the age of enlightenment, for God’s sake. There’s no reason a woman can’t be a sorcerer. Nor a Calatian, for that matter.’

‘I hope not.’ Kip rubbed his paws together. ‘But none has, not ever.’

Because of people like him.’ She didn’t have to specify whom she meant. ‘Because of people who think men are the only capable creatures God made. Only men can own property or have a voice in government. Can you own property?’” (p. 11)

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The Time He Desires, by Kyell Gold – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Time He Desires, by Kyell Gold. Illustrated by Kamui.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, December 2016, trade paperback $9.95 (113 pages), Kindle $7.99.

Kyell Gold’s novella The Time He Desires and novel Love Match have been written simultaneously, so neither one is a spinoff of the other. Aziz Alhazhari, the cheetah protagonist in The Time He Desires, is the father of Marquize Alhazhari, the protagonist’s best friend in Love Match.

Both are set in Gold’s anthropomorphic Forester University universe. Aziz is a 45-year-old Muslim from the nation of Madiyah who immigrated to the Union of the States with his wife Halifa and his young son Marquize two decades ago. He settled in Upper Devos (read: Brooklyn), bought a pawnshop that grows to a chain of four pawnshops, joined a mosque, became active in the community, and has been living more-or-less happily ever after.

Now he is confronted with a major cultural change combined with a midlife crisis. His son, now a teenager, has declared his homosexuality and walked out. He and his wife have been drifting apart; they are still friends but are no longer in love, and have developed separate interests. Aziz is interested in his pawnshops and his mosque – he goes there for evening prayers every day – while Halifa has gotten active in local charities.

Most importantly, and what brings the crisis to the present, is that the Vorvarts group, a huge developer, has been moving into the community. Vorvarts had previously bought two whole blocks for an Upper Devos Homeporium super-mall, “a six-story blue glass and chrome monster” that clashes with the old brownstone apartment buildings and small shops of the neighborhood. Vorvarts had to get approval from the Upper Devos Business Council, the local homeowners’ association, which had been easy. Vorvarts had promised that the fancy Homeporium would bring lots of new shoppers and trade to the community.

“But that had been five years ago, and as it happened, the people […] who’d been forced to find somewhere else to live when their buildings had been bought, they had been part of the neighborhood not easily replaced. The people who lived and shopped at the Homeporium generally stayed there, not venturing outside to quaint old Upper Devos, and when they did come into the pawnshop, distinctive in their clean, crisply cut clothes, they gawked about with the air of tourists visiting a historical monument. Aziz’s business had fallen off; few of those people were hard up enough to have to pawn their possessions, or interested in buying someone else’s memories.” (p. 1)

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Love Match, by Kyell Gold – book review by Fred Patten

by Patch O'Furr

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

Love Match, by Kyell Gold. Illustrated by Rukis.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, January 2017, trade paperback $19.95 (378 pages), e-books $9.99.

Kyell Gold is arguably the best author in furry fandom. He has won many literary awards inside and outside the fandom. Even those who do not like adult explicit writing have been won over by the high quality of his fiction.

Many of his books are set in what is loosely called his Forester University world. The best-known are the five “Dev and Lee” novels, chronicling the meeting of Devlin Miski, tiger football star, and Lee Farrel, fox gay activist, during their senior year at Forester U.; their becoming homosexual lovers, at first secretly and then openly; and their graduation from college and their first year out. Dev becomes a professional football player and Lee becomes a professional football talent scout to stay with him. Readers of the five novels became immersed in the details of professional football as Dev and Lee firmed up their personal relationship.

Now Kyell Gold has started a new series, projected at three novels. It is superficially similar, except that the sport featured is tennis, not football; and the main characters are, at the beginning, too young to have a sexual orientation. There are references to the Dev and Lee books.

Love Match is narrated by Rochi N’Guwe, a black-backed jackal from the African nation of Lunda who is brought to America the Union of the States with his mother on a scholarship from the Palm Gables Tennis Center. Rochi is immediately nicknamed Rocky by the other students, including Marquize, a cheetah from Madiyah who becomes his best friend. The Palm Gables Center, a leading tennis institution, has scoured the world for promising young players, and has brought Rocky and his mother to the States when he is only 14. (Probably. Lunda is casual about recording births.)

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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.

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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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What’s Yiffin’? February 2017 edition – now syndicating the monthly furry news program.

by André Kon

Greetings, readers of Dogpatch Press. I am André “Dracokon” Kon. Maybe you’ve heard of me as I’ve made my rounds in the fandom over the past decade.  If not, here’s the fastest crash course I can give you. I began as a purveyor of written reptilian smut, got invited to speak at a couple of conventions, was admin of the late Herpy website, had work read in an NYC art show, was briefly on SoFurry’s staff, joined the musical stage act Attractivision, and became the host of a livestream called Gatorbox.

With Gatorbox, I’ve helped spearhead a new breed of entertainment through Twitch. With the assistance of my long-time writing counterpart Rob “Roastmaster” Maestro, one show we brought to this channel is What’s Yiffin’?. What’s Yiffin’ began as a one-off bit in September 2015.  The viewer response prompted us to bring it back the following month… and the one after that. The show has been a staple of Gatorbox ever since, with a brand new installment rolled out almost every month.  Now I’m honored to have the series syndicated, adding bonus commentary just for Dogpatch Press.

ENJOY THIS MONTH’S EPISODE

We usually don’t lead with self promotion, however since the Ursa Major Awards have just now opened for nominations, this month’s video lets you know we’re eligible for nominations in the “Magazine” and “Website” categories.  For a good many of you this is probably going to be your first exposure to us and I’m simultaneously excited and profusely apologetic for that. In the name of good journalism, I’d like to provide you with the show’s official playlist on YouTube to give you a better idea of our scope and coverage over the past two years.

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Waterways is why I Love the Furry Fandom

by Pup Matthias

6412912I love the Furry Fandom. I love how weird, crazy, silly, creative, and open-minded the fandom is. Just like how every other fandom says they’re weird, crazy, silly, creative, and open-minded. But in all seriousness, I do appreciate what the fandom is and what it keeps trying to do. I am indebted to the Furry Fandom. My life would not be where it is today because of it. If I had any regrets in life, one of them would be to wish I knew about the fandom earlier so I could spend more years exploring it, but that’s wishful thinking, and in all honesty, would undermine my personal growth.

The first time I’ve ever heard about the fandom was during a countdown on Animal Planet’s “Weird, True & Freaky” around 2008. Before that, I knew I loved the concept of anthropomorphic animals. Mainly through the Redwall book series and TV show, which was my only “Furry” fix growing up. I don’t really remember if there were other factors like Disney’s Robin Hood or Bugs Bunny, Crash or Ratchet, Swat Kats or Road Rovers. But I do know when Weird, True & Freaky showed Furries I wanted to know more.

I don’t remember much about the segment. I know it was talked about during a countdown of humanimals, looks at how far humans include animals into their lives. The fandom only made number 4 or 3 out of 7, and while it did bring up the topic of sex, it wasn’t the main reason it made the list. Just the whole, “Can you believe people dress up in fursuits? Look at how quirky and weird these Furries be…” blah, blah, blah. In hindsight, considering what most media depictions of Furries were like at the time, this one was fairly open. But once it aired I didn’t really look into it more. I was a senior in high school. My life was more focused about college, scholarships, and getting ready for our high school production of Grease.

It wasn’t till after I started college in the fall of 2009 that I remember the segment about Furries, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember what the fandom was called. So I had to do some really weird Google searches to remember what those fluffy people in suits that pretend to be walking, talking animals called themselves. I began to find results through the web comic scene with works like Better Days, Jack, and Fur-Piled. Which in term lead to me discovering what these weirdoes called themselves and the creative sites dedicated to them. I had found the Furries.

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