Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Tag: aliens

They Are Smol: creating a fan community — guest post by TPH.

by Dogpatch Press Staff

The genesis of a community is today’s furry news. TPH (TinyPrancingHorse) asked if I could cover his humorous science fiction series that features several anthropomorphic species. I sent back an offer: Let’s see your own story that covers — (1) The content that makes the community’s backbone — (2) Proof of how it gets support like money or views —  (3) Nuts and bolts of how it got going — (4) Earned experience from doing it. I hope this inspires YOUR creation. (- Patch)

They are Smol has a main page here, and the first chapter can be found here.

What’s it about?

When people think of their favorite series – be it Star Wars to Tolkien, Discworld to Dune – there’s always a sense of mystery and nobility to how those series began. It starts with Men and Women, taking their life experiences, war stories, deep thoughts and desperate hopes, and pulling from that mysterious aether of the “could be” and bringing it into the real world.

Then there’s my series, Smol.

They are Smol was not created out of the desperation of homelessness, the pain of war, the desire to preserve culture, or any other number of excellent and moving reasons. They are Smol was created during a mental breakdown at work, where the author – on a throwaway reddit account – ended up tapping into something interesting in the human psyche.

All too often, in popular media – games, movies, books – humanity is depicted as this ascendant demigod given form, and they often have a cute sidekick character to play off of and highlight these traits. Think Rocket Raccoon, or if you’re in the Monster Hunter universe, the Palicoes. Something cute to headpat, something small to protect, yet noble in their own right.

Make our species that cute.

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Fred Patten on mythical creatures and Happy Science of Japan.

by Patch O'Furr

From the archive: Fred Patten, who passed away in late 2018, was a furry fandom founder who was also key for importing anime to the USA in the 1970’s and preparing it for English speaking audiences. As a historian and fan, Fred spoke to fellow researchers overseas. This led to discussing obscure traditions and customs. Occasionally they would come up about stories he was considering, but were too footnotey to add to the main articles. Below is the first of two interesting side topics, Happy Science of Japan. Coming next is Mandaean religion of Iraq, with 60-70,000 members worldwide. Fred suggests its mythology could be “a whole new area for furry artists and writers”. – Patch

From a story by a Japanese reporter about a visit to a 1994 “Happy Science” ceremony at age 15. The religious leader, riding on a dragon stage prop, ranted about a Japanese term for pornography which reveals the hair of a woman’s nether-regions.

Fred’s Happy Science story (6/25/15)

Dear Patch;

I don’t think I’ve ever told you about my encounter with the Happy Science religion.

This is more anime than furry-related.

Around 1995, give or take five years, I was contacted by a Japanese group.  They had just released an animated theatrical feature in Japan that was #1 at the box office for two weeks, and they were trying to get U.S. distribution for it.  They were about to have a Japanese-community screening of an English-subtitled print.  Did I want to attend it?  I did.

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The Companions, by Sheri S. Tepper – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

THCMPNNS2003The Companions, by Sheri S. Tepper.
NYC, HarperCollinsPublishers/Eos, September 2003, hardcover $25.95 ([vi +] 452 pages), Kindle $9.99.

In the far, far future, the galaxy is being explored and colonized, and Earth is incredibly overpopulated. The Worldkeeper Council government, supported by the humans-only IGI-HFO political majority, declares that all animals (only pet dogs, cats, and small cage birds are left by this time) are to be exterminated because they take up too much room and use up too much air. The tiny underground movement that wants to keep the animals alive, called arkists because they have accumulated spaceships to use as arks to evacuate the remaining animals from Earth, decide to take them to Treasure, the moon of a newly-discovered and poorly-explored world covered in moss, where they can be hidden in safety. Jewel Delis, the narrator, is an arkist who goes from overcrowded Earth to care for the “companions” of humans, especially the dogs.

The Companions contains dialogue, but mostly Tepper writes in long, blocky narrative paragraphs:

“Earth scared me at first. The towers were huge, each a mile square and more than two hundred stories high. Podways ran along every tenth floor, north on the east side of each tower and south on the west side. Up one level, they went west on the north side and east on the south side. They stopped at the pod lobbies on each corner, so when you were on one, it went woahmp-clatter, rhmmm, woahmp-clatter, whoosh. That’s a pod-lobby stop, a slow trip across the street, another pod-lobby stop, then a mile long whoosh, very fast. The pod-lobbies were full of people, too, and that’s the clatter part, the scary part. Taddeus and I saw more people in one pod-lobby than we’d ever seen together anywhere on Mars, and many of them were dressed in fight colors: Tower 59 against Tower 58, Sector 12 against Sector 13, all of them pushing and shoving and tripping over each other. Often they got into fights or screaming fits. It took us a while to figure out how to dodge them and keep out of their way, but when we got good at it, it turned into a kind of game, and we rode the podways for fun. It was a lot safer than it sounds, because there are so many monitors on the pods that people are afraid to do anything really wicked unless they’re over the edge. Tad and I thought part of the fun was spotting people that were about to go over the edge. We could almost always tell.” (p. 18)

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Cat’s Pawn and Cat’s Gambit – book reviews by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

“Dear Patch; Here is an unpublished old review, written years ago for Cubist’s Anthro site and left unpublished when Anthro folded.”

Cat’s Pawn, by Leslie Gadallah.
NYC, Ballantine Books/del Rey, March 1987, paperback 0-345-33742-5 $2.95 (262 pages).

Cat’s Gambit, by Leslie Gadallah.
NYC, Ballantine Books/del Rey, March 1990, paperback 0-345-36478-3, $3.95 (247 pages).

1eb34310fca09d58533ba010.LDespite being action-packed, this duo of space operas is unusually pessimistic, even despondent. Cat’s Pawn begins with a framing story set on Terra centered on Talan, the Oriani ambassador to Terra, glumly failing in his mission to win support from the Terrans in their struggle against the interstellar spreading Kazi. Symptomatic of the problem is that the Oriani do not wear clothes and look like large, bipedal housecats; and what Terran can take a funny-animal cat seriously?

The majority Terran attitude is similar to the American isolationists in 1940 who did not see any need for America to get involved in World War II. Talan stoically watches a TV interview with an average Terran:

“‘Now, you see, that’s just what I mean. They’re not people at all; they’re furry sons-a-bitches. They’re all over the place, trying to take over – furry ones, scaly ones, long ones, round ones, and some with nineteen legs. I tell you, mister, I like my people to look like people. And that’s all I got to say.’ He relinquished the mike, waved at the camera, and strode off.” (p. 11)

Cat’s Pawn opens with Melissa Larkin, a Terran woman who needs to see Talan because, fifty years earlier, he knew her now-dead grandfather, Bill Anderson, one of the few Terrans who ‘went native’ on the Oriani homeworld, Omnicron Orionis. Talan cannot help her, but the query introduces the reader to the Oriani:

“She was determined not to stare, though talking person to person with someone who looked a lot like a big-headed pussy cat gave her a funny feeling. Of course he was rather large for a pussy cat. The tips of his big ears came level with her nose and would have been higher except for the slightly forward posture balanced by the long, swinging tail.” (p. 1)


“55 kilos of highly intelligent being with long fangs that hung down below the line of his mouth like ivory daggers was nothing to giggle about.” (p. 5)

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Huvek, by James L. Steele – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Huvek, by James L. Steele
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, July 2014, trade paperback $19.95 (247 pages).Huvek-Cover

(Publisher’s advisory): This is a mature content book.  Please ensure that you are of legal age to purchase this material in your region.

“Loy emptied his clip, ejected it and crouched below the wall as he yanked another from his vest and popped it in. He braced himself on the sandbags piled midway up the wall for a firing platform, stood up straight and started shooting again.

His entire battalion was firing into the line of massive reptiles from behind the city’s defensive wall. They had previously succeeded in clearing the Kesvek out, but now the reptiles were coming back and they had never looked more intimidating.” (p. 5)

In an interstellar future, a spreading humanity first met another sentient life form, the massive reptilian Kesvek, over forty years earlier. The Kesvek immediately started killing all humans. They were not interested in negotiations. Humanity abruptly found itself being annihilated from its hundreds of newly-settled frontier worlds.

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