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Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Tag: science fiction

Redeeming Factors, by James R. Lane – book review by Fed Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Redeeming Factors, by James R. Lane. Illustrated by Eugene Arenhaus.
Morrisville, NC, Lulu Press, August 2016, trade paperback $19.99 (356 pages), Kindle $2.99.

This should emphasize 2nd Edition or revised edition more. Redeeming Factors was first published by Xlibris Corp. in September 2000, one of both the original self-published books and of furry fandom’s novels. Lane has revised it for this edition. The cover and interior art by Eugene Arenhaus are from the first edition.

In the very near future, the jumperdrive is invented, giving Earth not only cheap and easy space flight but interstellar flight.

“[…] most people bought their own personal starships the way they bought RV motor homes, travel trailers and small pleasure boats. […] For less than five thousand New Millennium UN dollars a person could have his very own basic spaceship, taxes and local license fees extra, space suits and common sense not included. […] The resulting first contact discoveries with distant alien worlds, alien creatures – and above all, alien sentients, with all the biological hazards and culture shocks such events must entail – were quick to follow.” (pgs. 11-12)

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Nova Seed movie review- a rare find of sci fi animation.

by Patch O'Furr

Gonzo, trippy, visionary sci-fi is a rich mine for cult movies. A new gem has come to light.

Nova Seed is a great hand-drawn cartoon. You can’t tell from the high quality, but it was animated to feature length (63 minutes) by just one guy in 4 years. (There were a few helpers for stuff like music).  I’m writing for furry fans, and furries love art that’s not mainstream but is full of guts and talent. That’s how this movie works inside limits to exceed expectations.  If your animation gold standard is a blockbuster like Zootopia, gold is common compared to a gem like this.

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The Earth Tigers, by Frances Pauli – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Earth Tigers, by Frances Pauli
Moses Lake, WA, Gastropod Press, February 2017, trade paperback $7.99 (165 pages), Kindle $0.99.

The Earth Tigers is Star Spiders, Volume One. Pauli considers it to be s-f, not furry, but it has talking spiders in it. Volume Two, tentatively titled Sky Fires, will be published in 2018.

The Earth Tigers is dedicated:
For all the eight-legged beauties, big and small.
Without them, we’d live in a much less friendly
environment.

Unfortunately for reviewing, The Earth Tigers begins in the midst of deliberate confusion and only gradually reveals what is going on. So any traditional plot synopsis would be full of spoilers.

It starts with a spider, Horatch, who is looking for a human to become a “candidate”. He (there is a reason for him to be a male rather than a female spider) choses Milyi, a young girl alone in a forest.

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Kismet, by Watts Martin – book review by Fred Patten

by Patch O'Furr

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

Kismet_lgKismet, by Watts Martin
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, January 2017, trade paperback $17.95 (323 pages), e-book $5.99.

Kismet, by Watts Martin
Dallas, TX, Argyll Productions, January 2017, trade paperback $17.95 (323 pages), e-book $5.99*.

This is a first for furry publishing, as far as I know. The only differences between these two editions are the publisher’s name and illustrated logo on the title page, the ISBN number, and the cover by Teagan Gavet. Both are dark blue and feature the protagonist in a spacesuit in deep space, but the Argyll cover displays her at a distance without showing what she looks like, and the FurPlanet cover is a closeup showing that she is a rat-woman. The FurPlanet edition is marketed as furry science fiction; the Argyll edition is marketed as just science fiction, for those outside furry fandom who may buy s-f but not a furry book.

Whichever it’s read as, hard s-f or furry fiction, Kismet is a winner. Several hundred years in the future, mankind has settled the Asteroid Belt. Mankind has also developed advanced bioengineering that enables people to have themselves bioengineered into anthropomorphic animals. There has been the mix of social acceptance and rejection that this results in for over a century. At this present, most of Earth is human and most of the anthropomorphs have migrated to the Asteroid Belt. In the Belt, the humans are called cisforms and the anthropomorphs are totemics.

Gail Simmons is a rat-woman totemic in the Ceres Ring, with her AI spaceship Kismet. She’s a salvage operator, a salvor, doing odd jobs of space hauling and space junk reclamation. She’s basically a hermit, living inside Kismet; the ship smart-AI brain is her only friend. Gail is contacted by an old childhood acquaintance who she hasn’t seen in two decades; he’s a yacht charter pilot now, and he’s just seen what looks like a derelict spaceship while making a chartered flight. His customer won’t give him the time to check it out, so he’s notifying Gail. Gail and Kismet find what appears to be an abandoned or sabotaged spaceship and two dead bodies. When Gail reports this, it leads to her being accused of theft and murder, and the missing cargo to be a handheld databox – a Macguffin – that holds information that at least one party will kill to get, that can mean “the end of the human race”.

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Furry literature: Advertising it outside of furry fandom – with Fred Patten and Phil Geusz.

by Patch O'Furr

WPbanner1(Patch:) The Furry Writers’ Guild Coyotl Awards have just opened for voting by members.  This is a good occasion to talk about furry publishing.  Committed operations are putting out a regular stream of content by fans, for fans – but is it healthy enough to support professionals? Can any of them smoothly transition between this niche and the mainstream, to be as well-rounded as they can be? Here’s a look that builds on past stories like:

Let some of the most experienced voices in furry tell you more.  Here’s Fred Patten, with comments by Phil Geusz.

(Fred:) Watts Martin’s January 2017 novel, Kismet, is being published under two imprints: at FurPlanet Productions, as furry fiction for the furry market, and Argyll Productions, as science fiction for the larger s-f market or mainstream sales; with two different covers, both by Teagan Gavet, tailored for those markets.

This sounds ambitious and imaginative. But how well will it work in practice? The record isn’t encouraging.

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Last Dance of the Phoenix, by James R. Lane – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

product_thumbnailLast Dance of the Phoenix, by James R. Lane
Raleigh, NC, Lulu Press, August 2016, trade paperback $14.99 (254 pages), Kindle $2.51.

This s-f novel is set in the near future. Thomas Barnes has an Artificial Intelligence in his home, but he also wears a dark blue NRA ball cap, eats at a McDonald’s, drives on Florida’s Highway I-95, drinks Gatorade, and is familiar with the TV program Final Jeopardy.

Two years previously, Earth was discovered by aliens (in flying saucers) and welcomed into the galactic community. The four spacegoing species of aliens that humans meet just happen to look like anthropomorphic foxes, cheetahs, otters, and rabbits.

Convenient? Maybe too convenient? Barnes thinks so.

“No bug-eyed monsters, no giant slugs, spiders, dragons, demons, birds – nothing else. Aliens that didn’t seem so alien after all, apparently guaranteed not to terribly upset ape-based humanity’s rabid xenophobia. To me and a lot of others it just seemed too damned pat. Somebody – or something – had to have engineered all this. Cute.” (p. 10)

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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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Goddess, by Arilin Thorferra – book review by Greyflank.

by Patch O'Furr

Goddess by Arilin Thorferra – guest review submitted by Bill Kieffer, AKA Grayflank (author of The Goat: Building a Perfect Victim.)  See also Fred Patten’s review of Goddess.  Guests are invited to submit articles to: patch.ofurr(at)gmail.com.

GoddessA childhood full of monster of the week movies made me into the horse I am today. As a horror fan, giants hold a very special place in my heart. Giants played no small (ahem) part in helping me see monsters as more often dangerously misunderstood creatures than outright evil figures.

And, yet, I don’t particularly find myself attracted to the giant mythos. Not that I’m against Macrofurry stuff. I do like transformation stories and I do like submissive characters; so there’s quite a bit of overlap there with size shifting.

In this tale, set in a furry universe in a vague period prior to Hawaii’s statehood, Russel the cougar is looking to become a literature professor at a very posh American University in San Francisco. It’s probably in the 1950’s, even if the villain of the piece, Cornelius Bennett, is known as a “rail baron.” The first few pages felt nearly as staid and boring as any academic event that one might expect, but when the curvaceous otter Kailani enters the scene, things to pick up. I enjoyed every scene Kailani was in; even the scene where they are discussing The Great Gatsby. She is simply one of those people who are larger than life. *ahem*

And it’s to the authors credit that Kailani’s robust presence doesn’t overshadow the other characters in the scene with her. Russell becomes a bigger personality when he’s with her and, later, trying to be with her. Often in stories with this type of transformation from quiet protagonist with a plan to hero of the tale, the author relies on the cast to tell the hero/heroine that she changed. Here, I felt it.

No one had to tell me.

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FUTURE FURSUITING: furry’s most original creations and the rise of tech-enabled smart suits.

by Patch O'Furr

The most original creations of furry fandom.

Here’s a fun feature about the future.  But first, let me make a bold claim about fursuiting.

Male-Peacock-displayingMascots and costuming have been around forever. But furries are doing something new. They don’t just play with generic icons from myths and media. They add original fursonas and custom craft for everyone. It makes a subculture with personal expression beyond anything else.

Of course, many furs don’t have (or want) fursuits.  But the ones who do make a photogenic face of fandom. Other groups do art and writing like this one, but I don’t think anyone else does costuming in such a specialized and devoted way.  So there’s nothing wrong with the way the fursuiters stand out.  Everything else is imagination – they bring it to life and help to define the tactile name of “furry”.  And the quality is developing beyond anything you can buy commercially.  Some dedicated makers now have careers by fans, for fans, leading a Furry Economy with an exciting future.  Look forward to amazing things.

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Dawn [and] Edward by Marcus LaGrone – book reviews by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

product_thumbnail-phpDawn, by Marcus J. LaGrone. Illustrated by Minna Sundberg.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, December 2011, trade paperback $14.95 ([1 +] 192 pages), Kindle $3.95.

Edward, by Marcus LaGrone.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, January 2013, trade paperback $9.95 (314 pages), Kindle $2.99.

The Highlands of Afon series must be science-fiction since the novels are set on the planets Afon and Ramidar in the far future, when humans have spread throughout the galaxy. But they read more like adolescent funny-animal dramatic fantasies featuring Afon’s dominant felinoid “race”, the Taik. (They aren’t just on Afon; they too have spread through the galaxy. See the complex “Introduction to the races and cultures”.) There are also the Shukurae, oversimplified as huge (9’ tall) muscular warthogs, intimidating but loyal to Taik leadership, and the Gelkin, short, squat, bearlike, and militaristic; both also spacefaring peoples.

Dawn is the story, in flashback, of Dawn Winteroak. She’s the Taik teenage schoolgirl in the middle on Minna Sundberg’s cover. Besides other adolescent problems, she’s embarrassed because her fur is “boring. Black and plain, not a spot or stripe to be seen. All her sisters had wonderful coats with spots and rosettes, a fact they used to take some pride in pointing out to her.” (blurb)

Dawn has worse problems. Her story begins: “As Dawn cracked open her eyes, she realized one thing immediately: she hurt. From the tip of her pointy ears to the end of her fuzzy tail she hurt. Even her fur hurt. How does fur hurt? she wondered. Well she wasn’t sure, but it certainly did. She sat up only to find that it was possible to hurt even more! Her ears rang and her head throbbed as she straightened up her spine. Looking down she noticed her jet black fur was horribly tousled and her dress, a gift for her fourteenth birthday all of a week ago, was now in tatters. Shredded and charred, it still stank of smoke.” (p. 3)

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