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Tag: war

Dwale’s critical review of “Red Engines”: When furry fiction becomes islamophobic propaganda

by Patch O'Furr

Dwale is a member of the Furry Writers Guild whose story “Behesht” won a 2017 Coyotl award. Follow them on Twitter. Thanks to Dwale for this guest post! Here’s a few previous articles about the anthology. – Patch.

Dwale continues – and see an update from Furplanet at end.

Disclosure: I have a story in this anthology. This analysis will contain spoilers.

I’ve been making my way through “Dogs of War II: Aftermath”, edited by Fred Patten and have now almost finished. I had thus far thought it more or less innocuous. Then I read the second to last story.

I’m not going to beat around the bush: I found “Red Engines” to be an offensive, even dangerous work of fiction. It is a nakedly Islamophobic diatribe, the publishing of which, while not surprising given today’s political climate, is saddening.

The story is told from the point of view of an AI-controlled robotic bird who calls himself Hughin. Hughin comes to an unnamed village in an unnamed part of the Muslim world; desert country (these kinds of stories never take place where the land is green).  He sees the dust trails of an approaching army identified as the “Allies.” He perches on “the town minaret” (I guess this is a one-mosque town?), then flies down to a school.

At the school, he meets Aisha, a young girl, and asks her if there are other children present. She takes him inside where he meets and questions the others, recording their answers. Hughin, you see, comes from an island of artificial intelligences and has been told to collect as much data as he can from these kids before they are killed. The reason he does this is to preserve them in some fashion. He is not part of the conflict, we are told, he is supposed to be a neutral observer.

From this information, Hughin constructs within himself what he calls a “djinn,” a virtual representation of what he has learned from the children. Throughout the remainder of the story, this “djinn” spouts off phrases such as “Eat the Jews!” And while Hughin admits that this pseudo-mind is a “nasty parody,” the reader is never really offered much of a counterpoint.

They hear an explosion nearby, and when the children ask who is attacking, Hughin says, “The allies.” He thinks to himself, but does not say, “and you’re all going to die.” This makes clear that the coming battle is not a surgical strike. It is to be a wholesale massacre.

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Dogs of War book, edited by Fred Patten, is launching at Further Confusion.

by Pup Matthias

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

patten09_smDogs of War, edited by Fred Patten, is launching at Further Confusion 2017 in San Jose, California over the January 12-16 five-day weekend. The book can be pre-ordered from FurPlanet Productions. It will be for sale on the FurPlanet online catalogue afterwards.

Dogs of War is an all-original anthology of 23 short stories and novelettes of anthropomorphic animals (not just dogs) in military scenarios, from battle action to boot camps, on land, at sea, and in space. This is designed to appeal to both s-f & fantasy fans, and fans of military s-f.

From a rabbit army’s training camp, to a human army turned into wolves, praying mantises in spacesuits, rattlesnake troops, prejudice against uplifted rat sailors, multi-tailed fox warrior priestesses, and more; these are stories for your imagination and enjoyment.

Contents:

  • Nosy and Wolf, by Ken McGregor
  • After Their Kind, by Taylor Harbin
  • Succession, by Devin Hallsworth
  • Two If By Sea, by Field T. Mouse
  • The Queens’ Confederate Space Marines, by Elizabeth McCoy
  • The Loving Children, by Bill McCormick
  • Strike, But Hear Me, by Jefferson P. Swycaffer
  • End of Ages, by BanWynn Oakshadow
  • Shells On The Beach, by Tom Mullins
  • Cross of Valor Reception for the Raccoon, Tanner Williams, Declassified Transcript, by John Kulp
  • Last Man Standing, by Frances Pauli
  • Hunter’s Fall, by Angela Oliver
  • Old Regimes, by Gullwolf
  • The Shrine War, by Alan Loewen
  • The Monster in the Mist, by Madison Keller
  • Wolves in Winter, by Searska GrayRaven
  • The Third Variety, by Rob Baird
  • The Best and Worst of Worlds, by Mary E. Lowd
  • Tooth, Claw and Fang, by Stephen Coughlan
  • Sacrifice, by J. N. Wolfe
  • War of Attrition, by Lisa Timpf
  • Fathers to Sons, by MikasiWolf
  • Hoodies and Horses, by Michael D. Winkle

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Price: $19.95. 455 pages. Wraparound cover by Teagan Gavet.  ISBN 978-1-61450-346-0.

Fred Patten

The Dogs of War: military fiction anthology OPEN FOR SUBMISSION

by Pup Matthias

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Art by SabretoothedErmine

War. War never changes. Obvious Fallout reference aside, and yet it’s a subject that our fandom never fully explored. Especially in an anthology, but that changes. The new war theme anthology The Dogs of War is OPEN FOR SUBMISSION. Headed by our own Fred Patten, this anthology, as stated, covers the topic of war, but that doesn’t mean every story has to be your typical “war” story.

These [stories] may be serious or humorous, featuring battle action or the boredom of peacetime, from grim battlefields to recruiting stations.  Warfare from Bronze Age battles to Middle Ages warfare to far-future interstellar battles.  Anything with a military or army (or navy) theme and animal characters.  

You are free to tell your war story the way you want. You can do an All Quiet on the Western Front or a MASH. Do something modern or travel to the past or future. Plus any genre of your choosing from sci fi to fantasy to steampunk to whatever your creative mind can come up with. But that leaves us with a question. How did Fred come up with doing a war theme anthology?

Frankly, it was by accident.  Wikipedia ran an 1876 political cartoon by John Tenniel about the then-current political/military tensions in the Balkans that was based on Shakespeare’s famous line about “the Dogs of War” from his Julius Caesar.  I realized that none of the furry specialty presses had published an anthology of military stories yet.  I proposed it to FurPlanet before someone else used the theme.

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The Sage of Waterloo: A Tale, by Leona Francombe – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

518uaB1pVpL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_The Sage of Waterloo: A Tale, by Leona Francombe
NYC, W. W. Norton & Co., June 2015, hardcover $22.95 (x + 224 pages), Kindle $11.99.

This leisurely novel will tell you more than you want to know about the famous Battle of Waterloo of June 17, 1815. To the rabbits who live there today, it’s the only exciting thing that ever happened there. They never tire of hearing about it, in detail. William, the narrator, is one of those rabbits.

“Waterloo is where I was born, and where I spent the first three years of my life. Well, technically it wasn’t Waterloo itself but the ancient Brabant farm of Hougoumont, one of the iconic battle sites situated in the fields a few kilometers farther up the Chaussée de Waterloo. In 1815, this long, forested avenue funneled weary streams of humanity back and forth between the battlefield and the city – between destiny and deliverance.” (p. 5)

This may be the last generation that Hougoumont knows as a farm. William describes its decline from a working farm to a forgotten relic. “I was happy at Hougoumont. The last farmer to live there was not like the aristocrats who had once owned the chateau (there was no more chateau – the French had shelled it). He raised cattle, and seemed far less interested in rabbit and pigeon dishes than his predecessors. He was, thank heavens, a frozen–food sort of man, and thus our existence was blissfully irrelevant.” (p. 7) The rural village of Waterloo has expanded into a modern small city, and the old farm with its rabbit hutches and dovecotes will soon be torn down.

“I am no longer young. I’ll be eleven in a few months, which not only requires math well beyond my skills to calculate in human years, but also obliges me to press on with my storytelling. Those of you who are already experiencing the adventure of aging may have discovered that this part of the journey does not only entail unexpected dips and fissures in the road, aches in the limbs, problems reaching those hard-to-clean areas (Old Lavender gave them up early on) and so forth.” (pgs. 12-13). William describes his hutchmates in detail. “Jonas, a distant cousin, was a rash, handsome buck infamous for his preening, scheming, and disreputable tail-chasing.” (p. 13) “Boomerang, a slightly crazed uncle, had the obscure habit of throwing himself sideways against the barrier, bouncing off at ever-more-interesting angles.” (p. 14) “Caillou was the runt (his name, fittingly, meant ‘pebble’).” (ibid.) And others. “Most of us followed the general rules that defined the Hollow Way. Yield. Bump ahead. No left turn. That sort of thing. It was a predictable sort of life, vigorously stamped with the colony’s imprimatur: milling, eating, nudging, nipping, dozing … milling, eating, nudging, nip …You get the idea.” (p. 16)

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Did the Axis Have Any Funny Animals? – WWII history from Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

  • SEE BOTTOM: At Fred’s request, a gallery of rare book illustrations from Van den Vos Reynaerde was scanned for this post by the UCRiverside Library.
  • Animal fables traditionally tell morals – this article shows a historically fascinating misuse of anthropomorphism for fascist and Social Darwinist goals.
  • “Dear Patch; This is basically rewritten from my article for Flayrah, Retrospective: Talking Animals in World War II Propaganda.

Did the Axis Have Any Funny Animals?

Yes. Whether the Nazis and Italians did is technically debatable, but the Japanese certainly did.

(Oops! I am reminded that many younger people today do not know what “the Axis” was. “The Enemy” during World War II. Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy signed a mutual defense treaty on October 25, 1936 that Italy’s Benito Mussolini described in a speech on November 1 as putting Europe on a Rome-Berlin axis. Imperial Japan joined in 1937. On September 27, 1940, Germany, Italy, and Japan signed a Tripartite Pact and formally declared themselves the “Axis powers”. They were joined during the next month by Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. “The Axis” during World War II meant Germany, Italy, Japan, and their allies.)

There were more funny animals assigned to them by American cartoonists for anti-Axis propaganda than there were of their own. The best-known today are probably the Leon Schlesinger/Warner Bros. animated short cartoons The Ducktators and Scrap Happy Daffy, and MGM’s Blitz Wolf.

In The Ducktators, directed by Norm McCabe and written by Melvin Millar, released on August 1, 1942, Adolf Hitler and the Nazis are ducks, Benito Mussolini is a goose, and “the Jap” (a stereotypical “Jap”) is presumably also a duck (although he looks more like a coot).

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