Furry Fandom, by Wikipedians – Book Review by Fred Patten
by Pup Matthias
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Furry Fandom, by Wikipedians. Illustrated.
Limburg an der Lahn, Germany, PediaPress, —–, trade paperback $21.65 ([v +] 258 pages).
Furry Fandom is supposedly an “all that you want to know” book about furry fandom, but with a major flaw. It’s only current to around 2010. It’s a fine book at 258 well-indexed pages and with 46 illustrations (mostly photographs) to give to a non-furry who asks what furry fandom is all about. It presents a complete overview. But the fandom has grown and otherwise changed so much since 2010 that anyone becoming a furry fan today will need more information to be brought up to date.
PediaPress is a modern print-on-demand publisher in a suburb of Mainz, Germany that is closely associated with Wikipedia. According to Wikipedia, “PediaPress was established to provide an online service that enabled Web users to create customized books from wiki content, an example of web-to-print technology.” Anyone can request a book on any subject, and “the Wikipedians” will collate all the information on that subject spread throughout “the over 4 million articles on Wikipedia in English alone” into a handy book – officially.
This Furry Fandom book does not have any publication date other than a statement that this copy was printed on April 24, 2017 at 23:51 UTC. But that does not mean the book has all Wikipedia’s information on furry fandom up to April 2017. It states that Anthrocon was held from 1997 to 2009. EuroFurence and Further Confusion are covered up to 2010. The Ursa Major Awards were presented from 2001 to 2008. (p. 44) The Furry Writers’ Guild and its Cóyotl Award, created in 2010 and 2011, are not mentioned. A four-page list of active furry conventions does not include anything after November 2010. The list of furry comic strips and webcomics includes some titles that have been discontinued since 2010 and does not include some that have become major since then. There is no section on furry specialty publishers, although Sofawolf Press is briefly mentioned – FurPlanet and Rabbit Valley are not. Dr. Kathy Gerbasi and the Anthropomorphic Research Project are not mentioned.
So is Furry Fandom worthwhile if it only goes up to 2010? Yes! It’s a great time capsule of what furry fandom was like up until then. It does include the basic information of what furry fandom is all about. It’s got some great photographs; black-&-white here, but often in color if you can find the entry on Wikipedia that they are taken from.
For ongoing activities and works that were started before 2010 and are still ongoing, Furry Fandom presents an in-depth encyclopedic description. This includes conventions like Anthrocon, Internet comic strips like Kevin & Kell, Lackadaisy, and Newshounds, and activities like the Funday PawPet Show and the Ursa Major Awards. There is an excellent gallery of 15 photographs of fursuiters.
If you are active in furry fandom, you probably know all this, but it is still a handy book to have around.
Mistakes are all very trivial. “… the concept of furry originated at a science fiction convention in 1980, when a character drawing from Steve Gallacci’s Albedo Anthropomorphics started a discussion of anthropomorphic characters in science fiction novels.” (p. 1) The discussion included anthropomorphic animals in s-f, animated movies and TV, and comic books; the greater inclusivity was what helped furry fandom separate from just another s-f group. At that 1980 convention and for the next couple of years, Gallacci had only a file folder full of loose drawings. He did not begin to publish them as Albedo Anthropomorphics until June 1984. Furry Fandom says misleadingly, “The first issue of Albedo was published in 1983.” (p. 28) Yes, there was a slim prototype Albedo #0 in Summer 1983, but it was a funny-animal Bladerunner parody, not Gallacci’s serious Erma Felna of the EDF graphic novel that kickstarted furry fandom. Marc Schirmeister was Official Editor of Rowrbrazzle for its first eighteen mailings, not fourteen. (p. 31)
Presumably the lack of a publication date means that PediaPress is giving itself the option of updating Furry Fandom someday. A more up-to-date printing will be larger and more expensive, whether it acknowledges that it’s a new edition or not. Get this, and keep an eye out for an updated edition.
Even if it is outdated, furry fans will have fun poring over Furry Fandom. It’s $21.65 well spent.
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