Fred Patten’s new book is a first for fandom: Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989-2015.
by Patch O'Furr
Fred Patten‘s Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989-2015 is out.
Until now, if you looked up “furry” at a mainstream book store, you might find a tiny handful of drawing, costume making or novelty books, but little about the fans themselves. You would have to sift the sands of the internet. This kind of recognition has been a long time coming. (We had TV specials in the early 90’s!)
“This is the first study of furry fandom published by a publisher outside of the furry specialty press itself. It indicates that furry fandom is becoming an accepted subject for academic study. Dr. Kathy Gerbasi of the IARP introduces it (she wanted to write a Furword rather than a Foreword.) I worked on this for more than three years.”
Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989-2015 is from McFarland, a well-known publisher of histories and academic reference books. It’s $39.95, with 242 pages, illustrated in black-&-white and 8 pages in color, with an index and over 50 illustrations of furry con graphics. It covers all furry fandom conventions around the world, from the first in January 1989 to the end of 2015.
Data about conventions could be a ‘read between the lines’ experience for those seeking a narrative story of the roots, and how this crazy thing blew up. Get it as a companion for more great things to come in publishing this year. Cleis Press is publishing Joe Strike’s Furry Nation, and Grubbs Grizzly has his Furry Book in the works. This is what comes after “The Year of Furry” in 2016 (with Zootopia, the Fursonas movie, and positive press like never before.)
And how can I not mention furry publishing? 2017 is also bringing Thurston Howl’s Furries Among Us II. (I loved getting invited to contribute!) It will expand the first essay collection that won the Ursa Major, and even led the award committee to establish a new award for nonfiction.
Buy Fred’s book here from McFarland.
Furry fandom—an adult social group interested in anthropomorphic animals in art, literature and culture—has grown since the 1980s to include an estimated 50,000 “furries.” Their largest annual convention drew more than 6,000 attendees in 2015, including 1,000 dressed in “fur suits” or mascot-type animal costumes. Conventions typically include awards, organizations, art, literature and movies, encompassing a wide range of creative pursuits beyond animal costuming.
This study of the furry subculture presents a history of the oft-misunderstood group and lists all conventions around the world from 1989 through 2015, including organizers, guests of honor and donations to charity.
About the Author:
Fred Patten is a noted expert with awards in animation and science fiction, and is one of the founders of the social subcultures of furry fandom and Japanese anime fandom. He lives in Los Angeles, California.
This book is going to be a touchstone for future academic discussions about Furry as an art and culture movement. It shows the growth (and high water mark, and decline) of many regions and their investment and involvement in the movement. Where it thrives and where it has gently petered out.
I found it fascinating, and for those of us who attended many a furry convention in our youth, a great way of lining up old memories to specific events.
If you’re serious about your research and history of the furry art movement, this is an encyclopedic must-have for your library.
There has been much publicity for my “Furry Fandom Conventions”, but almost none for the cover artist, Yamavu. He ought to get a mention, too.
Yamavu is a Viennese artist and fursuiter. He has a biographical note on WikiFur.