A complaint: Furry fan publishing is overlooked – by Fred Patten.
by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
I feel like complaining, and I’m not sure who to complain to.
It’s about the review of the recent FurCon in Science Fiction/San Francisco #161, (PDF), Spring 2015, “Furries in the Fog: Further Confusion 2015” by Christopher Erickson, reprinted in the DP newsdump of April 16. It’s a typical review today of a furry convention for the general public, both accurate and highly favorable. But Erickson said, “I was also able to see all of the dealer room. There was a lot for sale. There were numerous artists to choose from. There were also dealers selling ears and tails. There was a stand with puppets. One stand was selling custom collar tags and license plate covers. Others were selling artisan crafted soaps and lotions. I purchased a few pieces of badge art from one dealer that featured various fandoms.”
This is all too typical of reports of furry conventions by non-furries that praise furry fans’ creativity for making fursuits, original art, puppets, theater, composing music, dancing, etc. – but that NEVER have any mention of furry booksellers or the furry specialty press. Further Confusion is one of the major furry conventions each year, and the three leading furry specialty publishers — Sofawolf Press, FurPlanet Productions, and Rabbit Valley — all have dealers’ tables there. All three attend many furry conventions each year. There are furry book dealers at EuroFurence and at Australian furry conventions. Some conventions such as RainFurrest are quite writer-oriented, with specialty books, or new books debuted at their conventions, and panels on how to write and/or sell furry fiction. Kyell Gold, a leading furry author, has been a popular speaker (and often a guest-of-honor) at furcons all around North America and in Europe and Australia. But you wouldn’t know it from these con reports.
Sure, furry books and writing are just a minority interest amidst the totality of a furry convention. But they aren’t nonexistent, or invisible. The implication from these convention reports is that furry fans are only interested in fursuit making & wearing, badge art, knickknacks like furry earrings, clocks, soaps and license plate frames, and items that go with outgoing furry social life — nothing literary. As a writer of furry book reviews and an editor of furry short fiction anthologies, I’m both insulted and dismayed by this ignoring of furry literature.
I’m not sure what to do about it, except to urge the fans at a furcon to, when asked by a mundane what furry fandom is about, mention the literary stuff, too.