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Tag: novel

The Relics of Thiala, by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus – book review by Fred Patten

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Relics of Thiala, by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, February 2017, trade paperback $15.99 (190 [+ 10] pages), Kindle $4.99.

Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus, two retirees “in the very heart of Germany” according to their website “The Adventure of Romance”, have already written five other books, four in English and one in German. The two Smilodon Pride novels, Softpaw and Sunchaser, feature werecats, werewolves, and vampires, although they all spend most of the time passing as humans.

Now with the Packmasters space opera series, more obvious furries are featured in an unusual premise.

“Twenty years ago, the evil Packmasters used their genetically engineered bestiae in an attempt to seize control of the galaxy. The Core Worlders wiped them out, scorched their planets and kept the few surviving bestiae as trophies.” (blurb)

Really? The protagonists of The Relics of Thiala are Cat, Ferret, Bear, and Wolf, four rare bestiae — anthropomorphic animals — who had been kept as pampered pets or arena gladiators by the human elite. They are “liberated” by a human girl, Ana, to form a new pack. Ana has become aware that the reality she sees does not match “what everyone knows” about the Packmaster-Core Worlds war. The victors write the history books, and from what Ana can see, the Core World masses (not the rulers) might have been better off if the Packmasters had won. Ana – a mysterious adopted orphan who may be a Packlander child – runs away to steal three bestiae pets and one savage arena warrior to form a new pack, and go in search of what really happened to the Packmasters – and what the Packmasters really were (and Ana is).

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The Guardian Herd: Windborn, by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez – book review by Fred Patten

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Guardian Herd: Windborn, by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez. Illustrated by David McClellan; maps.
NYC, HarperCollinsPublishers/Harper, September 2016, hardcover $16.99 ([xvii +] 340 [+ 3] pages), Kindle $9.99.

When we last left the flying horses of Anok, Starfire had finally united the dissident pegasi of the five separate Herds just in time to meet his two opponents’ Black Army and Ice Warriors, both under the command of Nightwind the Destroyer, the immortal, evil stallion from 400 years ago, for a sixty-page battle climax. As this fourth Guardian Herd novel, Windborn, begins, Star seems to have defeated all his enemies. He has integrated the former Black Army into his United Army. But Star is temporarily separated from his United Army, and when he returns, he finds that his pegasi have been captured by Nightwind and have disappeared.

While looking for them, he meets his deadly enemy, Frostfire, the former commander of the Black Army. Nightwind has discarded Frostfire as a loser and taken Petalcloud and her Ice Warriors to be his troops. Nightwing has vanished along with Star’s herd plus Frostfire’s mate, Larksong, and their colt. As both Star and Frostfire have to find Nightwing and the missing pegasi, they reluctantly agree to search together.

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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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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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Skeleton Crew, by Gre7g Luterman – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

gre7gSkeleton Crew, by Gre7g Luterman. Illustrated.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, August 2014/October 2016, trade paperback $8.95 (259 pages), Kindle $3.99.

This is the first hard science-fiction novel I’ve ever read with absolutely no humans in it. The cover by H. Kyoht Luterman (the author’s wife) shows two of the main characters; Commissioner Sarsuk, a kraken, holding Kanti, a geroo. All of the other characters in the novel are geroo. There are over a dozen full-page illustrations, most by Rick Griffin of Housepets! fame, showing such geroo characters as Kanti, Saina, Tish, Captain Ateri, Chendra, and more.

The geroo are unclothed, with thick tails and fur. There are frequent mentions in the text of twitching ears, tail rings, and the like. Kanti is called Shaggy for his unruly fur.

Skeleton Crew is set entirely on, or within, the huge generation exploratory starship White Flower II in interstellar space. There is a two-page cutaway diagram of the White Flower II by Brandon Kruse. Four centuries earlier, the krakun came to the primitive planet Gerootec and offered to hire thousands of the overpopulated geroo as their starship crews. The geroo who went into space and their descendants would never see Gerootec again, but they would live in luxury compared to the backward geroo on their homeworld. Technically, the White Flower II belongs to the krakuns’ Planetary Acquisitions, Incorporated, with a mission of finding new planets that can be colonized.

New planets for the krakun. Never for the geroo.

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Domino, by Kia Heavey – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

51tou2Wni4LDomino, by Kia Heavey.
Greenwich, CT, Unfiltered Creative, January 2016, trade paperback $11.95 (267 pages), Kindle $3.49.

Domino is a large black-&-white barn cat on the Browns’ farm, encouraged to roam it for rodent control. He is unneutered to make him more aggressive. He is complacent as one of the socially dominant cats in the nearby residential neighborhood prowl, along with his best friend Flufferdoodle and others such as Tiger, Cricket, Mister, Lady, Rudy, and Izzy.

Then two new cats enter the neighborhood. Celine is a black field stray who likes a free life, living outside of being a housecat. She becomes Domino’s equal, supporter, and eventually mate. Socrates is a supercilious but charismatic Siamese intellectual who spellbinds most of the other cats with the philosophy that all animals are transcendent – they can transcend their feral instincts if they only try. They all have souls and similar emotions. The cats all have humans who feed them, so they don’t need to go hunting for prey. Domino is amused at first, then alarmed as he sees more and more of his friends listening to Socrates. He is gradually isolated and sidelined as a social boor and killer of helpless wildlife. Domino suspects that Socrates and his housemate, Max the dog, have an ulterior motive, but he can’t figure out what it is.

Then Socrates introduces the rats.

The cover by Damon Bowie shows that either Domino is a small cat, or those are large rats. Domino is a very large cat.

Heavey writes clever dialogue:

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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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Demonic Anthology Seven Deadly Sins – OPEN FOR SUBMISSION

by Pup Matthias

_the_seven_deadly_sins_

Art by Open-Face

Halloween is upon us. The air is getting chillier, the leaves are changing, and our darkest thoughts start to bubble to the surface. While this isn’t a Halloween or even fully a horror anthology, this one offers a look at our own twisted minds to fulfill our most primal needs. And isn’t that what Halloween is all about? Thurston Howl Publications is proud to present its new demonic anthology, Seven Deadly Sins and they are open to your submissions.

The theme should already be clear to anyone with a passing knowledge of religion, but for those wondering what to base their story on…

Seven Deadly Sins has been a literary trope for centuries, popularized by Italian poet Dante. They are as follows: pride, greed, lust, wrath, gluttony, envy, and sloth. This collection will be divided respectively into the seven parts. We want to see anthro-animal characters at their darkest and weakest moments: at the whorehouse, at the chopping block, in the morgue, in the dining room with the candlestick.

Edited by Thurston Howl, the inspiration for the anthology comes from his own experience.

The inspiration for this anthology came from a personal struggle. Recently, I felt a smoldering rage toward a close acquaintance of mine who had a particular habit for causing local trouble. Instead of acting on that anger, I tried to pick apart whether what I was feeling: wrath…or envy…or even just an insult to my pride. Gradually, I thought of a couple of short story ideas for a few of the seven deadly sins, and then it hit me to edit a furry anthology with the theme.

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Poem Anthology Civilized Beasts 2016 – OPEN FOR SUBMISSION

by Pup Matthias

2237d0_279de4e132234f0dbc1eb187f7931614When most of us think of Furry writing we think of your standard novels, novellas, short stories, even comics, but one form that doesn’t get the same attention is poetry. Mainly cause there hasn’t been too many opportunities in the fandom to showcase anthropomorphic poems. There are a few exceptions like Heat and the soon to be released anthology Wolf Warrior III which offer collections that mix poems with short stories, but there hasn’t been an anthology dedicated to poetry alone. Until last year when Laura “Munchkin” Govednik released Civilized Beast. Now she’s back again for round two. Civilized Beast 2016 is open for submission.

So where did the idea of doing a poem anthology come from?

The idea for Civilized Beasts started in the Furry Writer’s Guild.  I was surprised to find there were other members and future members who also had a high interest in poetry and hoped to see more of it in the community.  Through various discussions, I realized that a poetry collection about animals for animals could be a great way for people in and out of the furry community to connect.

When it comes to theme, Civilized Beasts does the same thing as Heat by having a generally open theme for everyone to play with.

The theme this year is the same as last year: Animals, be it the outside observation of animals, in the mind of an animal, or the symbolism of an animal.  By leaving the theme so open, it allowed poets a lot of freedom last year, and an incredible variety of poetry was submitted because of it.  It is my hope that poets will be just as inspired this year, so I decided not to limit the theme.

Munchkin is looking for all kinds of poems. Whether they are your traditional rhymes, sonnets, haiku, or free verse. You are free to write what speaks to you. Munchkin wants you to think outside the box. To go wild. There’s even no word count limit to your poems.

For anyone interested, there’s no maximum or minimum line count, though longer poems will be looked at more critically since we only have so many pages to work with. 

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