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Tag: sci-fi

D’Arc: A Novel 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.

D’Arc: A Novel from the War With No Name, by Robert Repino. Illustrated by Sam Chung and Kapo Ng.
NYC, Soho Press, May 2017, hardcover $26.95 (386 pages), Kindle $14.99.

I don’t usually quote other writers’ blurbs, but how could anyone resist this from Corey Redekop, the author of Husk, on the front cover:

“Think The Fantastic Mr. Fox, with advanced weaponry, Charlotte’s Web, with armed combat, The Wind in the Willows, with machetes. D’Arc is all this and way more besides.”

S-f author Paul DiFilippo compares D’Arc to Cordwainer Smith’s Underpeople, David Brin’s Uplifted dolphins, Puss in Boots, and Brian Jacques’ Redwall. If I looked hard enough, I could doubtlessly find many comparisons to Animal Farm and Watership Down as well.

D’Arc is a sequel to Mort(e). Almost the first thing that you learn in D’Arc is a big spoiler for Mort(e): yes, Mort(e) the cat, the renamed Sebastian, does find Sheba, the pet dog who he was searching for all through that novel.

The first chapter, though, introduces Taalik and his Sarcops. They will appear again later. They are not Changed animals, but a new mutation. To quote a later description of them: “Part fish, part crab, part cephalopod. A bulbous head. Black eyes. Segmented armor on the spine, with four tentacles unfurling from within. Two jointed claws extending from the shoulders, with longer ones at the pelvis that could be used for walking. A long tail with spikes on the end of it.” (p. 54)

Mort(e) and Sheba appear in Chapter 2. Mort(e) does not join either the Changed animals or the remaining humans. He strikes out on his own – with Sheba. The “strange technology” of the ant Queen that Changed all natural animals into anthropomorphic animals in Mort(e) was actually a pill that the unnoticed ants inserted into each animal; and the Queen had not given this pill to Sheba in order to control Mort(e). After the Queen’s death and the disintegration of the Colony, Mort(e) and Sheba sail up the Delaware River, where Mort(e) gives Sheba the pill that Changes her. They continue past the abandoned ruins of Philadelphia, and finally leave the river and trek into the Pocono Mountains.

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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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MoonDust: Falling From Grace, by Ton Inktail – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

MoonDust: Falling From Grace, by Ton Inktail
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, December 2015, trade paperback $14.99 (380 [+1] pages), Kindle $4.99

This is one of the best science-fiction novels I’ve ever read.

It’s also one of the best furry novels I’ve ever read. Humanity is extinct; transgenic animal people, created for the war effort, are all that are left. The protagonist, Imogene Haartz, is a young caribou (reindeer)-human hybrid; she shaves her fur when sent by the military to a hot climate, and takes prescribed drugs to suppress her antlers’ growth. Who needs antlers in the Army? Everyone is a boar or a rabbit or a ferret or an otter or a tiger or some other animal, whether the species is specified or not.

It’s also one of the bleakest novels I’ve ever read. Everyone is miserable until they die. (Metaphorically.) Imogene has grown up in the mid-22nd century in the rubble of Helsinki. The world has evolved until there are only two super-powers left, the UNA (United Nations of America) and the Pan-Asian Federation. If they aren’t in a shooting war, they’re in a cold war so frigid that everyone expects it to boil over at every moment. Imogene’s father was killed in the last active fighting.

“Imogene stared up at her mother’s apartment building. Old and gray, it rose to ten stories of utilitarian serviceability. Of the four buildings that had surrounded a small park, only it survived. Two others were rubble, while the fourth clawed at the sky with broken, concrete fingers.

Most of Helsinki was like that. Twelve years after the United Nations of America ‘liberated’ the city, the cleanup effort was far from complete. Especially away from the wealthy neighborhoods. Imogene couldn’t remember what it was like before the UNA. Derelict buildings and mounds of broken concrete seemed the natural state of things.” (p. 11)

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Monkey Wars, by Richard Kurti – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Monkey Wars, by Richard Kurti
NYC, Delacorte Press, January 2015, hardcover $17.00 (409 [+1] pages), Kindle $10.99.

Monkey Wars has been described as “a dark fable in the tradition of” – different reviewers have compared it to several other adult talking-animal novels; but almost always including Animal Farm and Watership Down. The British edition was nominated for two literary awards. It has been translated into French, German, and Japanese.

The novel, set in India, is based on the proliferation of wild street monkeys, usually rhesus macaques, in Delhi and Kolkata. They travel in troops and attack people if they are disturbed – sometimes when not provoked. The specific event that inspired Monkey Wars was from The New Delhi Times for 21 October 2007: “In a sinister development, the deputy mayor of Delhi, S. S. Bajwa, died this morning after being attacked by a gang of rhesus macaques.” But whenever the authorities try to curb the monkey problem, they are attacked by devout Hindus because all monkeys are believed to be sacred to Hanuman, the monkey god. Authorities have tried importing langur monkeys, a larger species, to scare the rhesus monkeys away, but with mixed success.

(This is still a problem. The New Indian Express reported on April 6, 2017 the discovery of a wild naked girl about 8 to 10 years old living with a troop of monkeys in the forests in northern India. When local police tried to remove her, they were attacked by the monkeys acting as though they were protecting one of their troop. The story was almost immediately disproven – the girl was wearing rags, and the monkeys ran away without attacking anyone. Authorities now believe that the girl, who is severely retarded, was recently abandoned by her family. But the story of a wild child being adopted and raised in the forests for years by monkeys was considered plausible.)

“They struck at noon.

Monkeys shrieked in confusion as langur fighters sprang down from the cemetery walls, howling in an attacking frenzy. As they stormed through the tombs, fear and panic flashed everywhere. And with the screams came the smell of blood.” (p. 5)

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Celebrity Dish, by M. R. Anglin – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Celebrity Dish, by M. R. Anglin
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, March 2017, trade paperback $4.99 (100 [+ 1] pages), Kindle $1.99.

M. R. Anglin has written five previous books in her Silver Foxes series. The foxes with metallic, silvery fur who controlled electricity had made themselves and their nation of Expermia the masters of the world of Clorth. 1,500 years ago the other nations of Clorth joined together in invading Expermia and killing all the silver foxes. They have been extinct until now. J. R. Dunsworth (wolf), a criminal with a soft heart, rescues two orphaned fox kits and raises them as his own children. When Xenatha (Xena), a gray fox, approaches puberty, her fur begins to turn silvery and she develops electrical powers that she can’t control. The first four Silver Foxes novels tells what happens to Xena; her younger sister Kathra; their foster father J. R.; Hunter, the boyfriend Xena finds; and the villains who plot to kill the others and control Xena’s powers for themselves.

Book 5 is the small 79-page Interlude, and it does seem like an interlude in the series. J.R. takes the others to hide on the Isle de Losierres, the most exclusive and richest vacation resort on Clorth. He hadn’t revealed that the wolf businesswoman who runs the Isle is his long-suffering sister Chloe. Xena and the others finally have a chance to relax and bond as a family. Xena’s adolescent foster cousin Mira (wolf) introduces her to her friends (Shandra, a tigress, Dori, a chameleon, and Katie, a raccoon), and Xena, still hiding her silver fox nature, begins to live as a normal teen. Xena’s enemies search for her, apparently in vain.

Celebrity Dish, the sixth Silver Foxes book, is a second interlude. Jessica, the hottest pop superstar on Clorth, comes to the Isle de Losierres for a vacation and to give a concert. Jessica is a bird, but what kind is a mystery and part of her mystique – she constantly appears in new costumes to keep everyone guessing.

“One was a tan mongoose [her manager] and the other a bird of … indeterminate species. She had the yellow feathers of a canary, but her tail had the shape of an ostrich’s. Those tail feathers filled the seat so that the mongoose sat tilted toward the door. The feathers on her head curled and swirled around her face, and a crest of three feathers extended beyond them. She had the curved beak of a red-tailed hawk. Her arms – wings, really – rested on her lap. She wore a red, asymmetrical dress that grazed her upper thigh. The dress was so short that Alex, the mongoose, feared that any movement would show of [sic.] her … “treasures” … so he insisted she wear black tights underneath.” (p. 14)

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The Laputan Factor, by Tristan Black Wolf – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Laputan Factor, by Tristan Black Wolf. Illustrated by Dream and Nightmare.
Bloomington, IN, AuthorHouse, June 2015, trade paperback $16.95 (viii + 193 pages), Kindle $3.99.

Chapters 1 and 2 feature “the large, muscular tiger” shown on Dream and Nightmare’s cover. He is Lieutenant Ambrose Bierce “Night” Kovach, a space soldier aboard the Heartwielder, a huge star cruiser sent to the region around Gorgonea Tertia.

“Gorgonea Tertia was not exactly one of the top stars in everyone’s constellation list, but there were some reports from that general region that might indicate some trouble for travelers going within a short distance of the place. A contingent of Starhawks was to check out the area and report back; orders were strictly recon, no contact and no engagement unless exclusively defensive.

[…]

Kovach was to be part of this team of six, designation Snake Lady, with the call code Medusa, in honor of the most famous of the gorgons. He was to be Medusa Six, covering everyone’s tail – a job he knew how to do very well indeed. He met up with his contingent at the SimCenter shortly after the briefing. It made sense to warm up a bit before going out in the deep cold of space.” (p. 5)

Medusas One through Five, his contingent, are Lentz, a black panther; Tolliver, a German shepherd; Perryman, a hard-looking lop-eared rabbit; Rains, another tiger; and Baptiste, a female Husky. They all answer to Sgt. Sumner, a grizzled bulldog who chomps on a conspicuously unlit cigar.

But in Chapter 3, Night wakes up relaxing on a beach next to his lover, Donovan, a hyena. He’s had a particularly realistic dream, the result of getting hit in the head by a volleyball, he says. He and Donovan are on vacation; two weeks he’s earned from Waveforce Biosystems Technology after being in a coma for two days after testing the experimental SimCenter at work. Donovan doesn’t want him to go back, but he’s okay …

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The Right to Arm Bears, by Gordon R. Dickson – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

51icewnyell-_sx327_bo1204203200_The Right to Arm Bears, by Gordon R. Dickson
Riverdale, NY, Baen Books, November 2016, trade paperback $16.00 (384 pages).

Several years ago I had a review published on Flayrah of The Right to Arm Bears, by Gordon R. Dickson. It wasn’t a new book then, being published by Baen Books in December 2000. It’s gone through several printings so it’s remained available (with a slightly modified cover), but I don’t know how many furry fans have sought it out.

Guess what! Baen Books has reprinted it again this November, as a large trade paperback with a new cover by Kurt Miller. My old review will become pertinent again. Here it is.

The Right to Arm Bears, by Gordon R. Dickson
Riverdale, NY, Baen Books, December 2000, paperback $6.99 (431 pages).

This “novel” collects Dickson’s three light space-opera adventures about humans, the bearlike Dilbians, and the jovial-but-sinister Hemnoids: Spatial Delivery, first published as a novel by Ace Books, November 1961, 123 pages; Spacepaw, first published as a novel by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, February 1969, 222 pages; and “The Law-Twister Shorty”, a novelette in The Many Worlds of Science Fiction, edited by Ben Bova (E. P. Dutton, November 1971, pages 51-105).

Back-cover blurb: “Planet Dilbia is in a crucial location for both humans and their adversaries, the Hemnoids. Therefore making friends with the Dilbians and establishing a human presence there is of the utmost importance, which may be a problem, since the bearlike Dilbians stand some nine feet tall, and have a high regard for physical prowess. They’re not impressed by human technology, either. A real man, er, bear doesn’t need machines to do his work for him. But Dilbians are impressed by sharp thinking, and some have expressed a grudging admiration for the logical (and usually sneaky) mental maneuvers that the human “shorties” have used to get themselves out of desperate jams. Just maybe that old human craftiness will win over the Dilbians to the human side. If not, we lose a nexus, and the Dilbians will learn just how unbearable Hemnoids can be….”

These three adventures betray their Cold War time-period. The Humans (Americans) and the totalitarian Hemnoids (Soviets) are both expanding through the galaxy, trying to win over the unaligned planets like Dilbia to their spheres of influence. “‘We must influence Dilbians like that chap or the Hemnoids are going to get the inside track on this planet. And the Dilbian system, as I’m sure your hypno training didn’t omit to inform you, is absolutely necessary as a supply and reequipment stage for further expansion on any large scale beyond the Belt Stars. If the Hemnoids beat us out here, they’ve got the thin end of a wedge started that could eventually chop our heads off.’” (pgs. 6-7) The problem is that the Dilbians resemble nine-foot-tall lanky Kodiak bears, and while they prefer to stay neutral in the rivalry between those whom they call the Shorties and the Fatties, they naturally feel more akin to the eight-foot-tall Hemnoids:

“… John saw, a sort of enormous robed, Buddha-like parody of a human being. The Hemnoid was a good eight feet in height, enormously boned, and while not as tall as the Dilbians themselves, fantastically padded with heavy-gravity muscles.” (p. 5) Compared to the Dilbians and the Hemnoids, the humans look like puny weaklings. Also, humans smell bad to Dilbians. The Dilbians’ attitude to the humans is one of friendly but condescending superiority.

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Furplanet Debuting Over 25 Books at Anthrocon.

by Pup Matthias

REPOST!  Sorry, this went out by mistake with half of the info unfinished.  – Patch

Anthrocon is coming! Where Furries far and wide come together to hang out, make friends, attend panels, dance, drink too much alcohol, and spend way too much money. I am so jealous of you guys. Stupid adult responsibilities keeping me away from all the fluffies. And the fine Fluffer Nutters at Furplanet have not 1, not 5, not 12, but 25 books debuting at AC. A combination of novels, anthologies, comics, and art books from a who’s who of writers and artist.

We at Dogpatch Press now present to you an easy to follow catalogue of all that will be available. So take a look and visit the Furplanet table to support Furry Writers and Artists. Or pre-order now for those like me who can’t. Pre-Orders will begin shipping out on July 22nd. I hope you find your next reading obsession soon and have a nice day.

NOVELS:

rukis-legacy-dawn_smLegacy: Dawn by Rukis ( Mature Hardcover $29.95 and Softcover $19.95)

Kadar was born into one of the lowest castes in his society—the laborers. That is, until a series of unfortunate events trapped him in the only life worse, that of an indentured servant.

Literally collared by the powerful hyena clan that holds his contract, Kadar now finds himself facing a dangerous decision.

Live as a slave, or fight for freedom.

Joined by a hyena held captive by his own kind, a guard with a grudge against the very people he works for, and an indomitable cheetah, Kadar faces an uncertain future in a land where centuries of dependence on slavery and warfare make real freedom of any kind, for any caste, a dream that might be worth dying for.

From the world of “Red Lantern.” Written and illustrated by Rukis.

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The Companions, by Sheri S. Tepper – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

THCMPNNS2003The Companions, by Sheri S. Tepper.
NYC, HarperCollinsPublishers/Eos, September 2003, hardcover $25.95 ([vi +] 452 pages), Kindle $9.99.

In the far, far future, the galaxy is being explored and colonized, and Earth is incredibly overpopulated. The Worldkeeper Council government, supported by the humans-only IGI-HFO political majority, declares that all animals (only pet dogs, cats, and small cage birds are left by this time) are to be exterminated because they take up too much room and use up too much air. The tiny underground movement that wants to keep the animals alive, called arkists because they have accumulated spaceships to use as arks to evacuate the remaining animals from Earth, decide to take them to Treasure, the moon of a newly-discovered and poorly-explored world covered in moss, where they can be hidden in safety. Jewel Delis, the narrator, is an arkist who goes from overcrowded Earth to care for the “companions” of humans, especially the dogs.

The Companions contains dialogue, but mostly Tepper writes in long, blocky narrative paragraphs:

“Earth scared me at first. The towers were huge, each a mile square and more than two hundred stories high. Podways ran along every tenth floor, north on the east side of each tower and south on the west side. Up one level, they went west on the north side and east on the south side. They stopped at the pod lobbies on each corner, so when you were on one, it went woahmp-clatter, rhmmm, woahmp-clatter, whoosh. That’s a pod-lobby stop, a slow trip across the street, another pod-lobby stop, then a mile long whoosh, very fast. The pod-lobbies were full of people, too, and that’s the clatter part, the scary part. Taddeus and I saw more people in one pod-lobby than we’d ever seen together anywhere on Mars, and many of them were dressed in fight colors: Tower 59 against Tower 58, Sector 12 against Sector 13, all of them pushing and shoving and tripping over each other. Often they got into fights or screaming fits. It took us a while to figure out how to dodge them and keep out of their way, but when we got good at it, it turned into a kind of game, and we rode the podways for fun. It was a lot safer than it sounds, because there are so many monitors on the pods that people are afraid to do anything really wicked unless they’re over the edge. Tad and I thought part of the fun was spotting people that were about to go over the edge. We could almost always tell.” (p. 18)

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Scarlett: Star on the Run – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

scarlett_COVERfinalwebScarlett: Star on the Run, by Susan Schade and Jon Buller. Illustrated by Jon Buller.
NYC, Papercutz, November 2015, trade paperback $14.99 (173 pages), Kindle $8.81.

Here is another all-ages novel by Susan Schade & Jon Buller (wife & husband) in their signature format of alternating chapters in comic-book format and in traditional-novel text. (I reviewed their three-novel The Fog Mound in 2007.) It is mostly for 8- to 12-year-old children, but it has aspects that adult furry fans will enjoy. This would be a simplistic talking-animal comic book/novel for young children, if it weren’t for the revelation that the talking animals have been scientifically made intelligent and given speech.

Is Shane Pafco, the dictatorial owner of Pafco Studios, a movie producer/director or a Mad Scientist? What year is Scarlett set in, with futuristic cars and flying spycams? When Scarlett, the cat movie star of Pafco Studios, gets the chance to escape, she is quick to take it even into a snowy, freezing outdoors. She is lucky enough to be taken in by grouchy old Frank Mole, a half-crazy, gun-waving hermit who doesn’t trust any people and hears voices. He believes that a talking cat is only part of his delusion; and when Scarlett finds out that Trotter, Pafco’s experimental talking dog, has followed her, she fast-talks Frank into believing that he needs a dog, too. Scarlett wants to be a natural cat and catch mice, until Frank’s messy, vermin-filled cabin gives her the opportunity to do so.

“I don’t know,” she muses. “Something about all that SKIN and HAIR is making me lose my appetite.” (p. 29)

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