Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Month: July, 2015

Pet Noir, by Pati Nagle – book review by Fred Patten.

by Pup Matthias

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

coverPet Noir, by Pati Nagle.

Cedar Crest, NM, Book View Café/Evennight Books, August 2013, trade paperback $14.39 (iii + 180 [+ 1] pages), Kindle $4.99.

In an undated far future, Leon is a kitten biomodified to talk and with an opposable thumb. Here he’s being taken by his handler at four weeks old from the industrial lab where he was born to his new home, in a cat carrier:

“I could just see his face if I pressed up against the wire. He watched me, looking kind of wary.

‘So what’s this Gamma Station?’

‘It’s a transportation hub out near Cygsee Four. It’s where I live and work.’

‘Sounds boring.’

‘No, it’s a nice place. You’ll like it.’

‘Cygsee Four. That’s Cygnius 61 C IV, right?’

‘Yes.’

‘That’s in the middle of nowhere.’

‘Nowhere’s a relative term, Leon. It’s got a lot to offer. Better than living in a lab.’

‘Got elephants?’

‘Well, no. But there’s a nice park. You can run on the green grass.’” (pgs. 3-4)

Leon has been modified to become an undercover detective on Gamma Station, a smaller transportation hub to the outer space colonies. Smuggling of bioenhancers has been taking place, and the smugglers have escaped detection so far.

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A Whisper of Wings, by Paul Kidd – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Pup Matthias

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

A Whisper of Wings, by Paul Kidd. [Second edition]
Raleigh, NC, Lulu.com/Perth, Western Australia, Kitsune Press, June 2015, hardcover $51.95 (557 pages), trade paperback $31.34, Kindle $8.99.

Whisper CoverThe first edition of A Whisper of Wings was arguably the first professional furry specialty press book ever published, by Vision Novels in October 1999. Anything before that was really a fanzine calling itself a book.

Kidd basically gave his manuscript to Vision just to get it published, after being told by the editors of all the major publishers for years, “A serious adult novel with funny-animal characters? Nobody will ever buy it.” Vision got out two trade paperback novels with anthropomorphic animal characters, both by Paul Kidd, before disappearing in 2001, and A Whisper of Wings has been almost unknown since then. Now Kidd has republished it through his own Kitsune Press, with Terrie Smith’s unused 1997 cover painting. If you never read it before, get it now!

A Whisper of Wings is pure fantasy. It is set in an Australian wilderness more mountainous and forested than the Outback desert, inhabited by the butterfly-winged foxlike Kashra, an alpine aboriginal tribal people. The Kashrans possess a psychic force, the Ka, that the more powerful Kashrans use to enhance their wing-power to make themselves better flyers and hunters. There is also an ïsha world-force, a “Mother Nature” spirit that some Kashran can use to get closer to the forest’s ecology. This Kashran society is thousands of years old and has become rigidly stratified – really ossified. Their civilization is divided into numerous male-dominated tribes, each ruled by a hereditary aristocracy and all under a traditional priesthood. Each tribe is supported by its elite hunters, and by its lower-class artisans who make trade goods. Each tribe is more-or-less self-supporting, coming together for only the annual jiteng games (roughly an aerial soccer tournament) and ceremonial tribal gatherings, at which each tribe tries to outdo the others in lavish feasts and similar displays of conspicuous consumption. Read the rest of this entry »

Furry internet history, tragic accident takes RedSavage and Milofox. NEWSDUMP (7/29/15)

by Patch O'Furr

Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Guest posts welcome. “Local correspondents” wanted to talk about your local networks. 

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Media and Fandom news.

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New from “Culturally F’d”: how the 1990’s internet made a Furry phenomenon.

I highly endorse this Youtube series, which investigates everything this blog is for!  Host blackbird, Arrkay, sent this.

(Arrkay:) “This week we are “Ctrl:F’d.” Culturally F’d looks at furries and the history of the internet.

The episode was later than expected for 2 reasons: 1) I was hosting a Drag Party (Howl Toronto‘s “Fierceness Party”,) where I recorded footage to feature soon where we discuss the commonalities of fursuiting and drag queens. 2) It’s our longest episode so far, and will probably be the longest of the season!

As Michael from VSauce recently pointed out, on the internet, no one know’s if you’re a dog. This meme was originally from the July 5, 1993 edition of the New Yorker. No group on the internet holds this adage more closely than furries.

MUDs, MUCKs, and early chat rooms made Furry visible in the first online communities of the 1980’s and 90’s. That happened before computers were widely accessible, and even before the mega-infrastructure of the internet was built.  This aspect of the fandom grew largely from colleges and universities, equipped with online connections and computers that were still far too expensive for home-use.

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Fursuiters were kings at Andrew WK’s Pizza Party in San Francisco.

by Patch O'Furr

Of course this happened in San Francisco – “Furry Mecca”. (Sorry, Pittsburgh… you can borrow that title for one weekend a year, but you have to give it back.)

Andrew WK’s Pizza Party was planned for July 3.  Furries called up the venue, 1015 Folsom, and arranged to be part of the show.  The show managers went out of their way to accommodate fursuiters and help them change. There was a strong turnout for such an awesome happening.

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Thousand Tales; How We Won the Game, by Kris Schnee – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Thousand Tales; How We Won the Game, by Kris Schnee.
North Charleston, SC, CreateSpace, June 2015, trade paperback $8.49 (2thousand45 pages), Kindle $2.99.

The chapters are years in which this takes place; from “2036: The Early Adopters” to “2040: Thousand Tales”.

The blurb is helpful. “The mad AI Ludo is taking over the Earth… but she just wants everyone to have fun.” But it’s not that simple.

Paul Kostakis is a high-school graduate who wants to go to college. However, in this regimented 2036, all youths are required to serve a government-approved social service to qualify for admission to higher education. Paul is assigned to a Green Communities Youth Initiative work camp across the country in Arizona, a shelter for the homeless and unemployable. Its coordinator is a friendly-appearing sadist who obviously intends to fail Paul. When he stops a madman with a gun from killing anyone in the cafeteria, she records Paul’s actions as “excessively violent”. When he tries to study for his college’s entrance exams, she wastes his time by ordering that he play an endless video game, supposedly to relax and socialize better.

Paul does so very reluctantly, but the Thousand Tales game turns out to be brand-new, controlled by an equally new Artificial Intelligence, Ludo. Ludo, appearing as a fantasy beautiful woman, intrigues Paul by tailoring an imaginary world to his specifications. “She” gradually reveals to him that she intends to follow her programming to help her players enjoy themselves, by immersing them in increasingly-complex fantasy worlds tailored to their desires; and she wants Paul to help recruit new players who need her aid. “In return for a few little favors, she’s offering ‘brain uploading’. She can fatally dice your brain, scan it, and recreate you in a virtual-reality heaven she controls. You can do anything in there: become a griffin, upgrade your mind, fall in love, or go mad.” (back-cover blurb)

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The Painted Cat, by Austen Crowder – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Painted Cat, by Austen Crowder.Painted-Cat-Thumbnail
Dallas, TX, Argyll Productions, April 2015, trade paperback $19.95 (273 pages), e-book $9.95.

“I started painting myself up to look like a toon for two reasons. First, I was bored and needed a new hobby during my summer break as a teacher. Second – and far more important, in my opinion – was that my friend Valerie thought I’d look good as a cat, and I had always wondered what could have been if I had turned toon like she did. That she brought all the supplies, prosthetics, and paint we could possibly have needed sort of sealed the deal.” (p. 9)

The Painted Cat is more like Gary K. Wolf’s 1981 novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, or Disney’s 1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit movie based upon it, than the average anthropomorphic novel. It omits the Disney crazy comedy, but in this world, the toons – and they are called toons — are live cartoon animals, not anthropomorphized “real” animals, who are socially lower-class living among humans; plus those humans who turn themselves into toons with special paint and prosthetics – see the deleted “pig head” sequence from the Roger Rabbit movie. Janet Perch, the protagonist, straps on a cat tail very like the artificial fox tails on sale at every furry convention, and within moments it attaches itself to her spine and she can move it like any cat can do with its tail.

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Furry Force 3 is out, and I can’t stop larfing! Interview with the animators.

by Patch O'Furr

Furry Force part 3Furry Superheroes Are the Grossestis the new animated comedy short from CollegeHumor.  It did confusing things to my body.  I didn’t know whether to laugh or barf.  Let’s call it larfing.  If you’ve ever been hangry, you get what I’m trying to say.  Or if you’ve ever sharted… never mind, because that’s gross.  If you don’t like gross, don’t watch this.  Run away.  Furry Force 3 pushes the silly, teasing grossness of the first two shorts way past sick and twisted.  It might go too far for most of us.  But for some asstronauts at the outer limits of taste, that’s exactly where they wanted to go.

They went this far because the Furry Force series won unexpected demand.  The response surprised even the creators, who had no idea they would get appreciation by satirizing furries.  (Read my interview with writer Adam Conover and what he says about it.They even won the highest Furry award, the Ursa Major!  CollegeHumor laughed with furries while laughing at them, by campaigning to win the Ursa Major.  This new episode comes fresh after being voted Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short of 2014.

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Anthrocon Anthrocon Anthrocon! Fluffsplosion of hype. NEWSDUMP (7/20/15)

by Patch O'Furr

Tips: patch.ofurr@gmail.com

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Guest posts welcome. “Local correspondents” wanted to talk about your local networks.  

This week’s Newsdump: Everything Anthrocon!  There was SO MUCH of this news, and it was such a busy month, that I will be playing catch-up for a while with it… I’m not able to read all of these links.  Good job catching all this attention, AC!  Has there ever been this much?  Some of it is national (the Onion A.V. Club and NPR notice seems particularly cool.) It was quite a coup to parade outside on the Pittsburgh street for the first time.  5,000 regular public watchers came out to see the furries, and they went nuts for it.  I hope the crowd doubles in the future.  I’d love to interview Uncle Kage about the planning and reception. (Official Anthrocon wrapup report.)

Onion A.V. Club: Watch almost 1500 furries strut their stuff at this year’s Anthrocon.

The official count of members in the Anthrocon 2015 Fursuit Parade Group Photo is 1,460.  This reminded me of a neat aspect of the con.  All that show value!  These costumes represent so much investment… we could do a few estimates to figure out how much.  In a previous post, “$3 million sale raises furry auction topic”, I came up with an arbitrary $2,320.51 per fursuit represented in Anthrocon’s parade.  Multiply by the count of 1,460 members this year to reach a (rough guesstimate) value of $3,387,944.60 in fursuits.

NPR: The Furries Have Landed — And Pittsburgh Is Giving Them A Bear Hug.

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French animation and the César Awards, by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.  This article is a companion to Fred’s series on French anthropomorphic animal movies.

cesarawards__140228172355The César Awards, presented by the Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma (Academy of Arts and Techniques of Cinema) since 1976, were frankly designed to be French cinema’s answer to the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars. The trophy of “l’Académie” was designed by the sculptor César Baldaccini (1921-1998) and is named after him.

The Césars are presented at a posh televised “Nuit de César” dinner and ceremony each February, by l’Académie but endorsed by the French Ministry of Culture; currently held at the 19th-century Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. Technically all films distributed in France during the previous calendar year, not just those produced in France, are eligible for nomination, but the winners are usually French-made. See the Wikipedia article for the details on how the nominees are selected and on who votes for the Awards.

The first César Awards were presented in 1976 in 13 categories. There are 22 categories today. The César for “Mellieur Film d’Animation” (Best Animated Film) is a newcomer, only created in 2011. Significantly for furry fandom, all of the winners except for the first have been anthropomorphic films.

  • 2011 (36th Césars), for 2010 films – L’Illusionniste; Sylvain Chomet
  • 2012 (37th Césars), for 2011 films – Le Chat du Rabbin; Joann Sfar and Antoine Delesvaux
  • 2013 (38th Césars), for 2012 films – Ernest & Célestine; Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar and Benjamin Renner
  • 2014 (39th Césars), for 2013 films – Loulou, l’Incroyable Secret; Éric Omond
  • 2015 (40th Césars), for 2014 films — Miniscule, Hélène Giraud and Thomas Szabo

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Needle, and Through The Eye Of A Needle, by Hal Clement – book reviews by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Dear Patch; Here is my review of Needle and Through the Eye of a Needle by Hal Clement that I wrote for Cubist’s Anthro several years ago.  Maybe only one fan in a hundred will take the trouble to track these down, but they’ll probably be glad if they do.  Another way of looking at it is that Dogpatch Press will have the only mention of these proto-furry books before there was a furry fiction genre.

Needle, by Hal Clement.
Garden City, NY, Doubleday & Company, March 1950, hardcover $2.50 (222 pages).

NEEDL1950Hal Clement, whose real name was Harry Clement Stubbs (1922-2003), often told of how he wrote Needle as the result of a dare. John W. Campbell, Jr., the editor of Astounding Science Fiction, the most prestigious s-f magazine in the 1940s, was given to making lofty pronouncements that were understood by his writers to be dares to disprove them. On one occasion, Campbell had said that it was impossible to write a genuine science-fictional mystery story. Any such would turn out to be a standard mystery with s-f trappings, such as being set in the future or around a superscientific macguffin; but stripped of those elements, it would turn out to be just a standard mystery. Clement wrote Needle, which Campbell conceded was a genuine mystery that could only exist as also a genuine s-f story. Campbell bought it as a two-part serial for Astounding in its May and June 1949 issues.

Needle begins with two spaceships streaking toward Earth. Their alien occupants are, for the reader’s benefit, referred to as the Hunter and the Quarry. They are a jellylike or amoeboid lifeform, used to living inside a larger lifeform in a symbiotic relationship:

“The Hunter was a metazoon – a many-celled creature, like a bird or man – in spite of his apparent lack of structure. The individual cells of his body, however, were far smaller than those of most earthly creatures, comparing in size with the largest protein molecules. It was possible for him to construct from his tissues a limb, complete with muscles and sensory nerves, the whole structure fine enough to probe through the capillaries of a more orthodox creature without interfering seriously with its blood circulation. He had, therefore, no difficulty in insinuating himself into the shark’s relatively huge body.” (p. 15)

The Hunter’s people live within the bodies of animals called perits in a symbiotic relationship evolved on their world over eons. By themselves they look rather like jellyfish, and the Hunter briefly impersonates one on Earth. The metazoons provide the intelligent direction and the perits provide the physical mobility. When the Hunter’s spaceship, pursuing the Quarry, crashes into the South Pacific Ocean, his perit is killed and he is forced to move into an Earth host body:

“The Hunter’s attitude toward the animal [perit] resembled that of a man toward a favorite dog, though the perit, with its delicate hands which it had learned to use at his direction much as an elephant uses its trunk at the behest of man, was more useful than any dog.” (p. 12)

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