Plowed, edited by Andres Cyanni Halden – book review by Fred Patten.
by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Plowed, edited by Andres Cyanni Halden.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, December 2014, trade paperback $19.95 (212 pages), e-book $9.95.
This is a mature content book. Please ensure that you are of legal age to purchase this material in your state or region. (publisher’s advisory)
The catchphrase for Plowed is “Ten Foxes – Ten Farms – Loads of Plowing”. This is an anthology of “ten saucy stories” all featuring foxes on farms with much explicit m/m sex.
The fox in “A Little Drop of Poison” by editor Andres Cyanni Halden is narrator Taslim Hajjar, a 20-year-old fennec. Since fennecs are North African foxes, it makes sense that Taslim is a Muslim. He’s the son of a rich Saudi father who is specializing in acquiring European vineyards and selling expensive wines to restaurants. (The Qur’an just says that Muslims shouldn’t drink alcohol; not that they can’t raise and sell it to unbelievers.) Tas is with his father inspecting a vineyard he intends to buy. The bored youth sneaks off to relax alone in the solitude of the vineyard’s wine cellars. He’s found there by one of the vineyard’s workers, “a very large, jet black bull setting down a wine cask beside one of the large racks.” The massive bull, Leeroy, can scent that the little fennec is very aroused by him. And Leeroy is a dom while Tas is a sub.
“‘Now,’ he said, his free paw trailing up my arm, across my shoulder, all the way up to lightly brush across one of my ears. ‘I’ve always been told fennec foxes like having their ears rubbed.’ He ran his rough finger along the edge, his touch surprisingly delicate. ‘Friend of mine told me it gets ‘em all hot and heavy.’” (p. 12)
That’s only the beginning of a very NSFW scene.
“Academic Fulfillment” by Danath is almost the opposite. The two main characters are Gerrard, a large Falkland Islands fox (extinct since 1876 in real life) often mistaken for a wolf (“Gerrard was handsome. Tall at six-foot-three, he was mostly muscle, topping in at 210 pounds. Despite the thickness of his pelt, his muscles were visible underneath […]” – p. 23), taking time out from college to work at a large North American ranch that caters to tourists; and Anthony, the bored 20-year-old, cute, openly-gay mouse son of a couple of the tourists. (“Anthony stared at the fox’s chest for a few moments before he realized he was almost drooling. Dragging his eyes away from the display, he blushed and returned to pick at the salad on his tray.” – p. 29) Gerrard and Anthony get to talking, and Gerrard invites Anthony to join some of the other genuine ranchhands. They get high smoking pot, and after the others leave, get into their NSFW romance; but as equals, not dom/sub. Gerrard decides to return to college as Anthony’s roommate.
“Aspirations” by K. M. Hirosaki also has a college fox working on a ranch. Sitka is an arctic fox interning on a ranch for the summer. But he’s afraid he’s made a mistake.
“Then, of course, there was the heat. He knew it would be uncomfortable, and he’d thought he’d braced himself for it, and he’d been wrong. Being an arctic fox in the middle of the desert was bad enough, and having to wear denim pants over his fur, and then leather chaps over the denim made him feel like he was broiling underneath all his clothes.” (p. 41)
Besides roasting and having harder labor than he’d expected, Sitka had hoped to get some m/m action with one of the handsome regular ranchhands — Checo, a coyote; Javier, a kit fox, or Greaser, another coyote. But it doesn’t look at first like any of them is gay. Boy, is he wrong! This is another dom/sub tale, with Sitka as the sub.
The protagonist of “Foxtrot” by Tym is Harold Allende, a Darwin’s fox. This is another college-student-at-a summer-job-on-a-ranch. The difference is that it isn’t entirely voluntary, and the setting is the Argentine Pampas. Harold’s grandparents came to San Francisco from Chile. He decided to see where they came from during summer vacation; took a ship to Buenos Aires and was taking a train to Santiago; was robbed partway and took a job on a ranch in the Pampas to make enough money to either finish his journey or go back to Buenos Aires and call his parents to bail him out.
Harold meets Llewellyn Sinclair, a brown horse globetrotting after being discharged (honorably) from the U.S. Army. The two English-speakers get together, and NSFW erotica ensues. After, Llewellyn leaves to continue his globetrotting, but he gives Harold enough money to return to Buenos Aires. Under other circumstances, this could be a Most Unforgettable Character I Ever Met story.
“Irony and Woodwork” by Whyte Yoté is the first real story here, rather than just an erotic incident. The setting is the rural Midwest shortly after the Civil War. The narrator is Zach, an adolescent maned wolf farmboy. Maned wolves are really tall foxes, whose visible sexual differences are so small that it’s difficult to tell the males and females apart except by a close look. Whyte Yoté takes advantage of this for his story.
“‘Sir, please,’ I protest, paws up in defense, though I’m still smiling. ‘It’s my fault you’ll be up late. Pop’s already fit to skin me if I don’t get a move on. He’d be awful pleased to find out I helped. Even more if we get done early.’ I can’t keep the double meaning from sneaking in, but no point in trying to cover it up. We both know my reputation, even if Pop’s oblivious. Thank the Lord.” (p. 79)
Other characters besides Zach are Spiller, a big black stallion, and Morgan, a bison. Will it be a threesome, or will they take turns?
“Services Rendered” by Jeeves takes advantage of modern farming, which is no longer profitable except for large, commercial farms. Dale is a late-20s bat-eared fox (fennec?) auto mechanic answering a call from Carmichael, a 41-year-old Doberman farmer. His tractor engine has died; he’s frightened tat the old engine can’t be repaired any more; he can’t afford a new engine and without his tractor he can’t save his crops… It’s lucky that the two characters are gay and can commiserate with each other.
In “Sticky” by D. J. Fahl, Charlie DeCroix is a gray fox recently hired as a cook on a Vermont farm. The farm is snowed in during winter, but the kitchen is warm and Charlie doesn’t worry while he prepares dinner. Then Tom, the farmer, comes in.
“The wolverine got closer to the fox as he growled lowly, ‘The hands are stuck in town. Road is closed down.’
‘Oh dear,’ Charlie looked at the oven. ‘Then I made way too much food for just the two of us.’
Charlie jumped as he felt a large paw land on his shoulder and squeezed. ‘You didn’t hear me right, fox boy. I said the hands are stuck in town.’
‘Uh,’ Charlie gulped a bit, feeling the wolverine pressing closer into his big bushy gray tail.” (pgs. 139-140)
Tom is a dom. It’s lucky that Charlie is a sub.
The protagonist of “The Fox Says Neigh” by Ajax B. Coriander is Layton, a chubby red fox who is steaming because “his ex decided to run off with a dumb blonde twink whore and torch three years of their life together” (p. 151), also leaving him with a reservation for a weekend of kinky sex at a farm bed and breakfast for doubles. Even though Layton is no longer part of a couple, he goes alone. “Owner” is a Saint Bernard dom with a whip who calls Layton a pony and whips him on all fours into the barn with the rest of the ponies – King, a husky, and Little Princess, a big stallion. Much NSFW BDSM horseplay ensues.
The fox in “Weekend Pass”, by Andres Cyanni Halden again, is Siberian with black and silver fur, but he’s American. His name is only “Mrs. Samson” because he’s married to Mr. Samson, a giant stallion, and he likes “Mrs. Samson” to wear a dress and play the wife of the farm. But there doesn’t seem to be any secret about “her” real sex, and when Mr. Samson, Carson, is away from the farm on business, “Mrs. Samson” runs everything – and “she’s” free to share sex with any of the farmhands, who include handsome horses, dogs, wolves, cougars, and “her” favorite, Carlos, a ram. Sometimes Mr. and Mrs. Samson have a threesome, and M. Samson lets “her” pick the third.
“Weeping Bear Valley” by Ajax B. Coriander again features Pablo, a crab fox, thrown out of his home at 19 for being gay, and Jack, a slightly older badger. Jack works on a ranch and gets Pablo a job there, too. Pablo keeps his sexuality a secret. A few years later, some missing cattle are reported seen in far-off Weeping Bear Valley, and Jack and Pablo ride out to fetch them. This story is more active than most, with Jack saving Pablo’s life, but the payoff is the same: Pablo’s gayness is revealed, Jack turns out to swing the same way, and there is a happy NSFW climax.
Okay. I don’t swing the m/m way, so Plowed (cover by Soros) isn’t meant for me. I can say that all ten stories have good writing, but the repetitive fox-on-a-farm/ranch setup becomes tiresome. This reader became more interested in seeing what type of fox and in what role he will appear in the next story. The worst aspect (to me) is that, except for Whyte Yoté’s story, they’re all just setups for extensive explicit m/m erotic scenes; often very brief setups. There’s no followup. Plowed is an anthology for those interested in lots of explicit m/m sex, rather than in stories that go anywhere.