Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Category: Books

Fans get new shows, but who profits? #DisneyMustPay demands fairness for Alan Dean Foster — and a ConFurence founder remembers him as guest of honor.

by Patch O'Furr

Via an author I follow.

I almost forgot my own report about Alan Dean Foster, the accomplished science fiction author who is being cheated by Disney.

It was buried by news about shows and movies with extra furry appeal. Irish animated feature WolfWalkers is just out for streaming. There are deaths to remember: Thomas “Tiny” Lister (voice actor in Zootopia) and Richard Corben (comics artist whose ROWLF was pitched for a furry feature by Hayao Miyazaki.) There’s announcements from Disney and Pixar — an animated TV series, and a feature of incredible furrybait.

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#DisneyMustPay Alan Dean Foster — A fight with furry fandom influence.

by Patch O'Furr

I LOVE THAT SONG

First published in 1983-1987, Alan Dean Foster’s Spellsinger fantasy series struck a chord for a burgeoning fandom. It features a law student, Jon-Tom, with janitor work and rock and roll dreams. He wakes up in a strange land after smoking something weird to escape mundanity, where he meets a rabble-rousing otter (Mudge) and turtle wizard (Clothahump). His new talking-animal world sets a stage for learning to channel magic with music… but only once per song. Playing Pink Floyd’s Money on his “Duar” guitar can solve a problem once… if he even gets it right.

Loaded with epic fantasy, humor, cartoonish characters, and even moments to make an imaginative reader read extra hard (hot tiger-women and gay unicorns!) — It was the right kind of story that reached the right fans at the right time. The animals weren’t just for kids; they drank, stabbed, screwed, and swore! It made me a 90’s furry before I knew there was a fandom for it.

Foster’s writing was pure fun, spiked with a threat of apocalyptic invasion and a race to defeat it in classic quest mode. I’d assume this was mid-list bookstore fare; not bestselling but solid original work for a productive author. Bigger pay would come with franchise adaptations — his novels for Star Wars, the Aliens movies, and Star Trek.

Making canon work for such big properties should earn secure income for a challenging career of genre writing. That is, if Disney would honor what Lucasfilm agreed to owe, after they acquired the company in 2012 for several billion dollars.

SOUR NOTES FROM DISNEY

Disney isn’t paying Alan Dean Foster his due. Foster shouldn’t have to sing a magic spell to get what he’s owed. It sounds like plain power abuse because they can afford to run up expenses in court (we’re all familiar with Trumpian bullying now, right?) It’s a story with a roots creator as David vs. a corporate Goliath for the fandom today. This should hit a nerve for anyone deeply in tune with the Furry Thing. (I wish fandom founder Fred Patten was around to comment.)

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The Sprawl volume 1-3 — graphic novel review by Roz Gibson

by Dogpatch Press Staff

The Sprawl was reviewed with a creator interview a year ago: “my favorite furry webcomic and certainly ranks among my favorite webcomics of all time” — so enjoy a fresh take. Welcome to Roz Gibson, furry artist and animator in Southern California. Roz was guest of honor at Confurence and created the Jack Salem comic character that first appeared in Rowrbrazzle in 1987. Roz is a community access guest and contents are hers. See Roz’s tag for more reviews.

The Sprawl volume 1-3 
Written and Illustrated by Snowdon
Published by Ringtail Café productions

I picked these three volumes up at AnthroCon last year. There are not a whole lot of new furry comics coming out, particularly if you’re looking for something other than porn, slice-of-life or gay interest, so I decided to give this series a try.

The back blurb describes this as “Sci-Fi/Horror meets Dark Fantasy on a dead world. It’s only inhabitants are  the descendants of an ill-fated colonization mission, now huddled together in an ever-growing mega-city known as The Sprawl.” But the story turns out to be closer to Bladerunner meets The Thing, with something from the original Heavy Metal movie thrown in for good measure.

Volume 1 is pretty simple: a survey team is sent to a distant part of the dead planet (referred to as the “South Pole”) to look for another survey team that vanished. You see boobs early on, as the female characters are either topless or wearing really skimpy clothing. The two female surveyors are apparently along solely to hump the guys, which they get to doing as soon as they leave on the mission. When there’s an explosion on the ship and they have to evacuate, the guys are all fully dressed, but the bunny girl bails out wearing nothing but bikini panties. When they arrive on the frozen, snowy surface of the South Pole, someone gives her a jacket that she never bothers to zip up, so she’s wandering around Antarctic cold in panties and an open jacket with her boobs hanging out. I think this is known as ‘pandering to the audience,’ which might have worked if the bunny girl was attractive, but all the characters are squishy lumpy with big Bugs Bunny-type feet.

While I waited for the bunny girl to either die of hypothermia or her bare feet to turn into frozen blocks, the team reaches the prerequisite spooky mysterious abandoned ruins with dead bodies. The previous survey team is dead and one of the characters– without even touching or examining the bodies–declares that they killed each other.

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Oldest science fiction book store burns in Minneapolis uprising, fandom feels the heat

by Patch O'Furr

Dr. Peter Venkman This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.

Mayor What do you mean, “biblical”?

Dr. Raymond Stantz What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.

Dr. Peter Venkman Exactly.

Dr. Raymond Stantz Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!

Dr. Egon Spengler Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…

Winston Zeddemore The dead rising from the grave!

Dr. Peter Venkman Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

Mayor All right, all right! I get the point!

– Ghostbusters (1984)

Can you feel it? The Covid-19 pandemic makes it dangerous to give hugs (the furry handshake.) A new Great Depression might be on the way with millions unemployed. People are rising for justice while cities burn.

Uncle Hugo’s burned. It was a book store in Minneapolis, the oldest independent science fiction book store in the USA. One of the furry fandom’s original members worked there since it opened in 1974. Ken Fletcher was co-founder of Vootie, the voice of “The Funny Animal Liberation Front”, which helped to launch the furry fandom. He’s out of work for now (and might do a Q&A with me soon).

Directly south of the store, nine blocks down Chicago Street, was where the fire got a reason to start. On the corner at East 38th, Officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. Viral video of the incident showed bystanders begging for help while other police stood in the way. It spurred national outrage against a white-on-black power flex. Soon, nothing could hold back the wrath of half a city rising against injustice, and burning a police station and more.

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Animosity #4, The Walled City — graphic novel review by Roz Gibson

by Patch O'Furr

Welcome to Roz Gibson, furry artist and animator in Southern California. Roz was guest of honor at Confurence and created the Jack Salem comic character that first appeared in Rowrbrazzle in 1987. Roz is a community access guest and contents are hers. See Roz’s tag for more reviews.

Animosity #4, The Walled City (graphic novel compilation of issues 14-18)
Written by Marguerite Bennet, art by Rafael De Latorre, Ornella Savarese and Elton Thomas.
Published by Aftershock Comics

The  scenario of animals suddenly developing sentience has been used recently in at least two comics (Squarriors and Animosity) and two novels (The Awareness and the Mort(e) series). Animosity  has been ongoing for several years, chronicling the journey of young human teenager Jesse, her devoted bloodhound ‘father’ Sandor, and their group of companions, including a Pallas cat, goats, a bison, a ring-tailed lemur and Kyle, an adult human who may or may not have Jesse’s best interests at heart. 

The group is traveling from New York City to San Francisco, where Jesse can hopefully find her half-brother. Sandor is eager to make the trip as quickly as possible, since he’s old and is afraid he’ll die before getting Jesse to safety. The landscape is typically post-apocalyptic, and they encounter various obstacles and allies along the way. While this is volume 4, you don’t necessarily need to be familiar with the other chapters to pick it up, since it does contain a complete story arc and there’s a helpful synopsis of ‘what has gone before’ at the beginning of the book.

During their journey Jesse and Sandor encounter groups where animals are dominating humans, animal-only enclaves, and, in this volume, a place where humans still own animals. At the end of the previous volume, Kyle has kidnapped Jesse, ostensibly to ‘save’ her from Sandor, whom he does not trust. Kyle has heard of a human-only enclave called the Walled City in the south, where he thinks Jesse will be safe. Now, in volume 4, when they arrive at the Walled City, and find the inhabitants are eager to take in any female of childbearing age—and not so interested in taking single adult men. Too bad for Kyle.

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The Snow Cat Prince by Dina Norlund — graphic novel review by Roz Gibson

by Patch O'Furr

Welcome to Roz Gibson, furry artist and animator in Southern California. Roz was guest of honor at Confurence and created the Jack Salem comic character that first appeared in Rowrbrazzle in 1987. Roz is a community access guest and contents are hers. See Roz’s tag for more reviews.

The Snow Cat Prince
Written and illustrated by Dina Norlund
Published by Hushbird publications

The Snow Cat Prince is a gorgeous hardcover graphic novel by Scandinavian artist Dina Norlund. I received my copy through a Kickstarter campaign, but it is available from her website: Hushbird.com (and the furry book sellers would be smart if they picked this up for sale at conventions). Unlike most of the graphic novels I’ve reviewed, this is not a zillion-volume series that will never get done — story is self-contained in this one book. What a pleasant surprise that was!

The plot is a standard “Prince searching for an artifact so he can reclaim his kingdom.” And it is definitely an all-ages title, with minimal violence (but some threat and peril).  After a short introduction setting the background, the titular Snow Cat Prince is introduced. Syv, the youngest of seven brothers, will probably not inherit the throne, and he’s okay with that.  But his six ne’er do-well brothers are concerned because he’s popular with the human inhabitants of the city, so they decide to send him on a wild goose chase to find the lost crown.

In the introduction we’re told how the evil shapeshifting foxes stole the crown from the first, mighty snow cat king, and if the crown can be found and returned the snow cat’s city will once again flourish. Syv is kind but very naive, and doesn’t question why his more powerful brothers would send him off on this important quest. Almost as soon as he leaves the city he comes across Kit—a red-haired elfin sprite who invites herself to tag along. The rest of the story follows their adventures and perils, as Syv learns a lot about the world and the real history of what happened to the crown.

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Fred Patten’s FURRY TALES — put this on your holiday gift list!

by Patch O'Furr

Furry Tales is now available here from McFarland Books.

Fred Patten, a fandom historian and one of the best supporters that furry literature ever had, passed away one year ago at age 78. Here’s a rememberance post for Fred. But he left more than good memories and a lot of his news and reviews here at Dogpatch Press. His last book is finally here.

From McFarland Books:

Tales featuring anthropomorphic animals have been around as long as there have been storytellers to spin them, from Aesop’s Fables to Reynard the Fox to Alice in Wonderland. The genre really took off following the explosion of furry fandom in the 21st century, with talking animals featuring in everything from science fiction to fantasy to LGBTQ coming-out stories.

In his lifetime, Fred Patten (1940–2018)—one of the founders of furry fandom and a scholar of anthropomorphic animal literature—authored hundreds of book reviews that comprise a comprehensive critical survey of the genre. This selected compilation provides an overview from 1784 through the 2010s, covering such popular novels as Watership Down and Redwall, along with forgotten gems like The Stray Lamb and Where the Blue Begins, and science fiction works like Sundiver and Decision at Doona.

Inside is a Foreword by Kyell Gold, almost 200 pages about the books, and lists of Nonfiction Works, Author and Chronological Lists, Awards, and Furry Specialty Publishers.

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Murder: All Edge, No Cut — comic review by Enjy

by Enjy

Sometimes review books come here from outside of furry fandom. ‘Murder’ is a comic about an animal-rights antihero, where “animals mysteriously begin linking telepathically” and there’s a “powerful new plant-based badass”. It’s now in issue #2. “‘Murder’ takes readers into the darkest corners of animal agriculture, as one species at a time they begin to hear each other’s thoughts. Only one human, The Butcher’s Butcher, is able to hear their thoughts. As the animals revolt and the world’s food supply comes into jeopardy, the animal-rights activist is forced to decide between his vegan ethics and a world dependent on meat.”

Thanks to Enjy for big effort as always, check out her past writing, and remember we’re fiercely independent enough to be critical sometimes, but with hugs! – Patch

Murder: All Edge, No Cut

Murder is a comic created by the folks at Collab Creations (https://collabcreations.bigcartel.com/) which is billed as an “animal rights antihero” work centering on a vigilante activist and his wife, who fight to inflict the same pain on food company CEOs and ranchers as they inflict on animals ready for slaughter. It is written by Matthew Loisel with art created by Emiliano Correa, who also did work on the excellent Hexes series by Blue Fox Comics. We at DPP were given the first two issues for review.

The first thing you will do, when you open page one of Murder #1, will be laying eyes upon someone gassing an entire building of innocent people because they are working at a meat plant. In the next few pages, you’ll see something that’s meant to be taken seriously, but is unintentionally hilarious to the point where you have to read it over a few times to make sure there isn’t a joke being set up. The protagonist who just committed a literal war crime brutally murders a CEO with a steer, and then we’re led to believe this is the man we should be rooting for.

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Ironclaw: The Book of Monsters, by Tempe O’Kun and Ursula Vernon – Review by Sha

by Pup Matthias

Welcome to Sha of Red Furros — the Spanish language furry news site out of Mexico City, founded in 2009. Some articles will be translated for other readers to enjoy, with light editing to make it smoother. – Patch

Here’s an addition to our articles about Ironclaw, the anthropomorphic role-playing game in it’s 20th anniversary. Recently, Ironclaw’s “The Book of Monsters” was presented at Anthrocon. It’s a bestiary for the base game.

This book originally began its Kickstarter on Aug 21th, 2018 where it quickly reached its funding goal.

It’s a collaboration between Tempe O’Kun (Windfall, Sixes Wild) as the writer, and Ursula Vernon (Digger, Dragonbreath series) for illustrations.

For Sanguine Games Book Of Monsters, Tempo and Ursula reimagine the world of Ironclaw with the premise that in a world where animals can talk and form societies, why wouldn’t plants be able to walk and hunt?

Imagine a tree that can walk and transform into any other character, or fungi that attacks using toxic mist. These imaginative scenarios can make for very funny situations (like being chased by a maniacal, murderous onion), to very creepy ones with a tree-clone of a recently-deceased loved one following you around.

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What’s Bred in the Bone: Not Quite Reaching Liftoff — book review by Enjy.

by Dogpatch Press Staff

A request came in for furries to review a non-furry author’s book. Many thanks to Enjy for offering her thoroughly attentive writing. Find What’s Bred In the Bone at Amazon, see the author’s art and writing at her site or read a brief cover summary and another short review in the Twitter thread. (- Patch)

Enjy’s review:

Cover art by Jody A. Lee

What’s Bred in the Bone is a novel written by Jan S. Gephardt, a multi-talented artist and author who has been in the science fiction fandom for most of her long life.

The story, which is the first part of a trilogy, centers around canine police officer Rex Dieter-Nell and his human partner Charlie Morgan as they attempt to solve an explosion on a ship. Rex is a sort of genetically engineered canine resembling a German Shepherd, but much larger, called an “XK9”. Through harrowing and abusive training, he and his Packmates, the other XK9s, gain insane amounts of intelligence alongside their normal dog abilities. This all takes place in a campy future setting, as shown by the cover art done by Jody Lee. It has an aesthetic that reminds me of the old Mega Man boxart from the NES, so this sci-fi is less Alien and more Logan’s Run or Flash Gordon. It has outlandish alien species, gadgets like brain links and vocalizing collars for the dogs, and outfits for the higherups that are described as garish and colorful, Fifth-Element style.

While these ideas can all combine into something great, Gephardt leaves a lot of ends loose to the point where it can leave the reader feeling left behind as we are zoomed from half-idea to half-idea.

Indeed, Gephardt has put quite a bit of effort into world building. Aliens have their own pronouns, there are inter-stationary politics abound, and the author does an excellent job of setting a scene visually. One of the most frustrating things holding back this world building is that it does not seem that we, the reader, are ever allowed an explanation for things Gephardt knows, but we do not. For instance, she is very gender-inclusive in the book, in one instance having Rex address a gathered assembly as “Gentlepersons”. However, this also leads to a sense of confusion with the other aliens, with pronouns like “k’kir” and “nem” that are never fully explained and hard to keep track of. On top of this, there are concepts like a capital-F Family that seems to differ from what we now consider one, although how I could not tell you because it is not explained, and also an “Amare,” which I assume is someone you love, but this is also not delved into.

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