Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Month: December, 2015

Furry Christmas and Yappy New Year!

by Patch O'Furr

Hugs for everyone and stay fluffy.  Dogpatch Press will be back after a short break for holidays.

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GeneStorm Book 2, Fort Dandelion, by Paul Kidd – Book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

51KhMhw5tWL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_GeneStorm. Book 2, Fort Dandelion, by Paul Kidd
Raleigh, NC,, Western Australia, Kitsune Press, 11/2015, trade PB $23.11 (347 pages), Kindle $7.95.

Gene Storm: Fort Dandelion follows closely after Book 1, City in the Sky. It is also “set in the Australian ‘weird-lands’ 150 years after the GeneStorm plague has transformed the world entirely. Everyone is a mutated hybrid. The protagonist is Snapper, a female half-human, half-shark. She rides a giant cocatoo,” as I said about Book 1. See the cover, unsigned but presumably also by Kalahari. Or this from the first page:

“Jemima Haversham Greyfin – known to all and sundry as ‘Snapper’ – pushed back her helmet and gazed lovingly off towards the south, towards the far off ruins. She patted the neck of her great pink riding cocatoo and dragged in a breath, savouring the rich, alien scents in the air.” (p, 5)

Other major characters include Kitterpokie, a female giant mantis with four arms (two with hands, two with pincers); Beau, a fox/golden pheasant hybrid; Throckmorton, a conglomeration of green, leafy flying plants with three pairs of wings, plus vines with heads that resemble pink and orange flowers and that carry a notebook, a crossbow, and a squeeze-powered air horn; and Sparkle, a massive crocodile/wild boar/rat hybrid. I could fill this review just describing all the minor characters, many of which have to be imagined to be believed.

Snapper and the first four are residents of Spark Town, a Wild West-type settlement isolated in a deep valley, somewhere in what was Australia before the collapse of civilization in the GeneStorm that mutated everyone into a hybrid of human and god-knows-what – no two alike — 150 years before. This was several hundred years in our future, as is obvious by the ruins of giant holograms, fusion reactors, aerodynes, and the like. Spark Town and the villages around it have been cut off from the rest of the world by the mountainous walls of the valley plus swaths of deadly radiation, until the events in City in the Sky.

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Typewriter Emergencies, Edited By Weasel – Book Review By Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Typewriter EmergenciesTypewriter Emergencies, 2015 Edition [edited by Weasel]
Manvel, TX, Weasel Press, October 2015, trade paperback $16.95 (179 pages), Kindle $3.99.

The blurb says, “Welcome to the first release of Typewriter Emergencies, a collection of psychologically damaging and hard hitting furry literature.” The implication is that this is the first of an ongoing series of furry stories that the blurb goes on to describe as “gut-wrenching”. “Weasel Press is proud to have our first furry collection on the books and we hope you will enjoy every moment this intense anthology has to offer.”

The 13 stories, with a cover by Kala “Miryhis” Quinn, are a quality mixed-bag of tales by furry veteran authors, non-furry writers who are nonetheless experienced authors, and at least one new writer. Several are examples of experimental writing.

“The Dying Game” by Amethyst Mare shows this in its second line. “Great Britain crawled into December like a raindrop tricking down glass.” (p. 9) Heather Rees, a “young, two-legged palomino equine”, seems determined to be miserable. “The bridge was crusty with moss and lichen, the green and yellow reminding her of disease ridden flesh, something that ate away at the outside of a fur while the inside lost the will to live.” The writing emphasizes a “gut-wrenching” vocabulary. “Cars on the road to her right snarled past, lifting her straightened mane up from her neck and into her face in a rush of angry air.” (p. 10) Heather is on her way to see Mikey, a young cat lover who has been horribly maimed by a passing train. “Michael had done no wrong. He had only been spraying graffiti. Where was the harm in that?” Well … “Michael had to be all right for her. He could live without an arm or a leg. He had to.” Notice that Michael has to be all right for her. The story is a blend of poetic wordplay (“Outside, the sky dipped its paintbrush into the grey-blue that was twilight, drawing a fresh scene across its daily canvas.”) and “psychologically damaging” descriptions, such as Michael’s hospital bed’s “sickly green curtain”, his husky nurse’s “clinical smile permanently fixed on her face [that] never reached her eyes”, and Heather’s mare mother screaming at her (ignoring the hospital’s rule for quiet) for wasting her time at Michael’s bedside instead of earning money at her job. Read the rest of this entry »

Fur fun in video and photo – gypsy bears and Chewbacca’s sex roar. NEWSDUMP (12/21/15)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Guest posts welcome. Tips:

Midwest Furfest 2015 – More than 5,000 gather in Chicago. (Via Furrymedia.)

The International Business Times has tons of great fursuit photos. You may find a few more in a slideshow from the same Reuters photographer. Enjoy a con video from Vox Fox and a music video from Kiba Wolf.

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Buzzfeed’s worst of 2015, Furry Chic in 2016, and Fred’s birthday. NEWSDUMP (12/18/15)

by Patch O'Furr

Headlines, links and little stories to make your tail wag.  Guest posts welcome. Tips:

Fred Patten’s birthday was December 11 – Happy 75th, Fred!

300px-Fred_PattenRead an interview with Fred about the founding of Furry fandom, by esteemed novelist Phil Geusz.  Thanks Fred for bringing so much content that helps Dogpatch Press to put out Furry News every week day.  Sorry that this went out too late to share Furplanet’s weekend birthday discount sale for Fred’s titles.  But check them out:

“Accidental Guests of the Midwest Fur Fest” – outsider appreciation gets viral views.

This personal blog post got lots of love.  The Healthy Not Nuts blog covers a husband and wife’s thoughts on recipes, diet, health and photography.  It’s lovely when Furries add spice to the mundane!  “…how can you not love these creatures that look so cute, cuddly and happy all of the time?”  The post earned 267 comments.  The writer shared an appreciation letter for the post, where he mentioned getting over 20,000 views.

Furries in Buzzfeed’s “The 50 Worst Things On The Internet In 2015.” (NSFW)

Use this archive link (so they get no incentive to publish unforgivable crap).  Furries are in items 14, 20, 31, and 46.  There’s also bonus bronies, puppy and pony players. Whether it’s love or hate, at least things are never boring…

Goodbye to Furnation.

FurnationFurnation was one of the first visible Web presences for Furry fandom. It helped many to discover their fursonas in the 1990’s. Reddit calls it “the end of an era.” Flayrah gave it a feature under it’s tag for collected coverage. Social network Furrtrax made a generous offer of free hosting to keep it online.  I tried helping, but got the feeling that Furnation’s admin was too burnt out with health problems to devote an ounce of effort for community moderation. I also assume the build of the site might be antiquated and burdensome (perhaps technical, or with copyright for content built by individuals.) It’s influence lives on in places like FurPlanet (formed from Furnation Magazine), one of the 3 main Furry publishers.

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The Necromouser and Other Magical Cats, by Mary E. Lowd – Book Review By Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

NecromouserThe Necromouser and Other Magical Cats, by Mary E. Lowd.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, September 2015, trade paperback $9.95 (131 pages), Kindle $6.99.

This collection of 13 cat short stories by Mary E. Lowd contains nine reprints and four original tales. It also contains all of her popular “Shreddy” stories, including a new one written just for this collection; six in all.

Shreddy is an overweight tabby housecat; one of three pets – the other two are Cooper, a moronic labradoodle, and Susie, an idiotic spaniel — of a Red-Haired Woman enamored of electrical devices that she doesn’t really understand. Shreddy would undoubtedly take exception to being called a “pet”. He is an independent individual who just happens to share a house with her and her brain-dead, slobbery dogs. He is constantly in a battle of wits with the Red-Haired Woman (which she doesn’t notice), using her electrical devices (that he doesn’t understand, either). Whether Shreddy is using the Red-Haired Woman’s printer to reanimate dead mice (“The Necromouser”), using her smartphone’s games to bring deceased mice (“‘Brains!’ they all squeaked back in chorus”) and neighborhood dogs back from the dead as zombies (“Shreddy and the Zomb-Dogs”), using a TV dish to hatch a griffin’s egg (“Shreddy and the Silver Egg”), dueling with Whisperquick, the ghost mouse (“Shreddy watched with eyes dilated like a kitten high on catnip, wondering whether the Red-Haired Woman and the dogs could see the ornaments constantly rearranging themselves. Surely the Red-Haired Woman must notice that one of her Santa ornaments was wearing six hats while five others went hatless?”) for control over a plastic-&-metal Christmas tree (“Shreddy and the Christmas Ghost”), inadvertently entering a PlayCube (“Shreddy and the Dancing Dragon”), or coming to an accommodation with a Venus flytrap with a sweet tooth (“Shreddy and the Carnivorous Plant”), Shreddy is always determined to defend his turf, even if it almost kills him. Read the rest of this entry »

Mad Dogs and Englishmen, by Paul Magrs – Book Review By Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Mad_Dogs_and_EnglishmenMad Dogs and Englishmen, by Paul Magrs.
London, BBC Books, January 2002, paperback £5.99 (249 pages).

Doctor Who is massively popular, but his adventures do not seem to offer much for furry fandom. But they do overlap in “The 100th Novel in the Record-Breaking BBC Worldwide Doctor Who Series”, to quote the back-cover blurb. Mad Dogs and Englishmen features the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann, 1996-2005) and his Companions at the time, Fitz Kreiner and Anji Kapoor. The novel is also a parody of J. R. R. Tolkien’s writing of The Lord of the Rings.

The first chapter is about Professor Reginald Tyler, a reclusive British university don who spends his life from 1917 to his death in 1974 writing and rewriting his magnum opus The True History of Planets, “an epic of dwarves and swords and wizardry. And definitely no poodles. Or at least there weren’t when the Doctor read it.” (blurb) When Prof. Tyler dies, his widow takes his towering manuscript to a publisher.

“She was the one who had hoiked out the dusty manuscript of the ongoing book and promptly sold it for a bomb.

One that set off reverberations everywhere.

Up and down the length of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries on Earth, and other worlds besides.

Notably the dogworld.” (p. 3) Read the rest of this entry »

The Cat, by Pat Gray – Book Review By Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

“Here is another of my reviews that was published ten years ago, edited in a manner that I didn’t like.  This is my original review, so it’s a bit different from the printed version.”

USThe Cat, by Pat Gray.
Sawtry, Cambridgeshire, UK, Dedalus Ltd., March 1997, trade paperback £6.99 (124 pages).
U.S. edition: Hopewell, NJ, The Ecco Press, November 1998, hardcover $19.00 (124 + 1 pages).

“A dark comedy with universal appeal, The Cat is the Animal Farm of the post-communist 1990s,” says the American dust-jacket blurb, while a Scottish review of the original British edition says that, “Gray’s reworking of the Animal Farm concept brings in a post-Thatcherite twist.” Animal Farm may live forever, but is The Cat really a modernization of Animal Farm for Britain of the 1990s?

“Chez Maupassant” is the typical British suburban home of the Professor and Mrs. Professor, their pet the Cat, and the presumably unnoticed Rat and Mouse. All live very comfortably, since the Professor is a gluttonous slob who leaves rich food everywhere.

“The cheesecake seemed to glow, luminous and fantastic, as the Professor skillfully slid it off its plate and cradled it in his large hand to prevent it breaking apart as his mouth closed in upon it. A look of childish pleasure crossed the Professor’s face, then a look of guilt, then he rammed the entire cheesecake into his mouth and began to eat.” (pg. 11)

The pampered Cat, the brash Rat, and the peevishly ineffectual Mouse (the latter two living under the house or within its walls) are best friends. Unfortunately, the Professor dies of a coronary three pages into the story (though leaving the fridge open). The animals are mildly distressed, but see no reason to fear a change in their lavish lifestyle — until Mrs. Professor moves to Brighton, leaving the Cat behind. Read the rest of this entry »

Koa of the Drowned Kingdom, by Ryan Campbell – Book Review By Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

koa the drowned kingdomKoa of the Drowned Kingdom, by Ryan Campbell. Illustrated by Cooner.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, September 2015, trade paperback $9.95 (146 pages), electronic edition $6.99.

Koa of the Drowned Kingdom is the tenth of FurPlanet’s “cupcakes”; novellas instead of novels. It seems at one point to be a variant of the Cinderella legend, but that’s misleading.

The setting can be taken variously as another world, as completely imaginary with funny animals, or somewhere in Melanesia in the far future. It’s a civilization of giant mangrove trees rising out of the Southern Sea, inhabited by anthropomorphic fruit bats (flying foxes), otters, wallabies, and monitor lizards. (No other Melanesian fauna like rhinoceroses or monkeys, though.) Their money is the rupiah, the real life currency of Indonesia. Magic is real, though officially only practiced by the bats.

The society is developed in rich detail. Each mangrove tree is a huge separate Kingdom with homes and shops upon its branches, with the trees all locked together by rope bridges and boat travel at the bottom. Each giant tree is divided into habitats ranging from the Crown at the top, down through the Head, the Shoulders, the Belly, the Knees, and the Toes at the bottom which are the mangrove’s roots rising above and sinking beneath the ocean. The trees’ branches are Arms. The habitats are also divided socially, with the Crown inhabited by the flying fox aristocracy who set great prestige on their ability to fly, down through the Shoulders relegated to the upper classes, the Belly to the merchants, and the Knees to the lowest class, the otters who are fishermen. Nobody lives on the Toes, which dip into and out of the ocean. Different Kingdoms are the Kingdom of Titan, the largest tree; the Kingdom of Beards, whose branches are covered in beardlike moss; the Kingdom of the Great Drinker, a bulbous hollow mangrove with a large pool of drinkable water collected from rain and dew in its belly; and others – including the Drowned Kingdom, Atlas, once the mightiest of all until it was uprooted by the Great Storm and toppled beneath the Southern Sea. Kingdom can also refer to the social strata, with the Crown as the elite of the Upper Kingdoms and the Knees as the least desirable of the Lower Kingdoms. The division is not just social; the flying foxes use magic to keep other animals out of the Crown and Head Kingdoms. Read the rest of this entry »

The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame – Book Review By Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

witwThe Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame. Frontispiece by Graham Robertson.
London, Methuen & Company, October 1908, hardcover 6/- ([vi] + 302 + [ii] pages).

The Wind in the Willows is world-famous today. It was almost immediately world-famous. President Theodore Roosevelt praised it in 1909. Yet until Grahame died in 1932, he did not think that the entire book could be illustrated. The sole illustrations published during Grahame’s lifetime were of the famous “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” chapter featuring the god Pan. Paul Bramson illustrated the 1913 edition showing Rat and Mole gazing at Pan as natural unclothed small animals, even though they get to him by rowboat and by implication have been of human size and wearing clothes just before that. Ernest Shepard’s illustrations in 1933, Arthur Rackham’s in 1940, and the Walt Disney animated feature The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad in 1949 made it “illustratable” – but usually by omitting the Pan scene.

The reason is because the narrative segues so often between Mole, Rat, Otter, Badger, the weasels and field-mice and hedgehogs and rabbits as natural English riverbank and woodland animals, and their being imitation humans – not just Toad in stately Toad Hall, but each having a small, furnished home – sometimes tiny, sometimes of human size; rowing a boat, presumably wearing clothes (Toad certainly wears clothes and is of human size when he disguises himself as a washerwoman, yet is of toad size when he enters Rat’s riverbank hole), capable of driving a motor-car and of being tried in court. Everyone was aware of the disparity, but because Grahame’s writing was so lyrical, everyone was willing to gloss over the disparity.

Natural woodland animals? The book begins with a blending of the animal and human worlds:

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