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Tim’rous Beastie, edited by Amanda Lafrenais – review by Roz Gibson.

by Dogpatch Press Staff

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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. This is Roz’s furry graphic novel review part 6. Read in order as they were posted: 1) Myre 2) Angelic Book 1  3) Marney the Fox 4) Shanda the Panda  5) Cinderfrost 6) Tim’rous Beastie. See Roz’s tag for the rest. Roz is a community access guest and contents are hers.

Tim’rous Beastie

Edited by Amanda Lafrenais
Story and art by a whole lot of people

This is an anthology put out by a name that should be very familiar to older fans—Charla Trotman. She’s moved from being an anti-furry gadfly and troll to publishing indy graphic novels using Kickstarter to fund them, under the name of C. Spike Trotman or Charlie Spike Trotman. This particular anthology is not supposed to be furry per se, but closer to RedwallWind in the Willows and Watership Down.

The book has 18 stories, and I’m not going to give detailed reviews of all of them, just brief comments on the art and specific comments on the ones I did read. A lot of stories fell under the blanket of “too long; didn’t read,” (People really need to take to take to heart the ‘less is more’ school of storytelling.) There was also a repeated theme of cute animals with a “surprise!” twist ending where something awful happens, or the characters discuss profound philosophical ideas.

The first two stories, A Pig Being Lowered into Hell in a Bucket and Better Nature are both philosophical discussion. The first is exactly what the title says, with very toony style art, and the second has some nice art but a ‘meh’ story, unless you’re into philosophical discussions. The third story, Burrows, has some very nice artwork of Watership Down-style rabbits. This falls under the “Surprise! Something grotesque happens to cute animals” theme. The story after it, Chosen Ones, also follows that trope, but has dialogue spoken in rhyme which was kind of neat. That was one of the handful I actually did read.

Chimera, about a colony of ants, has a very interesting art style. It’s a bit too busy, and it’s difficult to tell what’s happening in a number of the panels, but still… cool art. The story is another variant of the “Surprise!” one. The Flavor of the Sky was “Too long; didn’t read,” but seems to feature the world’s fattest mouse, and I kept thinking of An American Tail when I saw it.  The Farthest Shore was also TL:DR, although it did have some neat art. What I could make out of the story, which stars some interesting critters that are either goats or deer or deer-goats, would fall under the Philosophy umbrella. It also has one of the tiny deer-goats somehow being able to push a giant catfish the size of a whale into the water by itself.

The first page of A Long Way shows a white rabbit in samurai armor with a samurai sword, but unfortunately the art does not have the clean line and appealing characters of Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo. This was definitely a TL:DR, so I have no idea what the story was about. Track, featuring a bunch of rats, looks like it was drawn with a grease pencil during an all-night binge, but at least it was easy to follow and not overly long. The Long Bridge is also TL:DR, but it has an appealing stark black-and-white style that’s reminiscent of Russian folk art.

Rainmaker was overly long as well, with an art style that skirts very close to too busy. From what I could tell from skimming the story, it’s a variant of “Surprise!” featuring frogs, toads, mice and bats. Myths of the Wild Bassets is probably the best story in here, with excellent art and a compelling SF story about a family of basset hounds struggling to survive on their own. The plot shares a lot with Angelic, including an enigmatic cat character.

The Tadpole Twins was another TL:DR, with very toony art that is reminiscent of either Spongebob Squarepants or The Amazing World of GumballThe Feasting Star is about dogs in a lab (ala The Plague Dogs), and has a very nice art style. The story is definitely of the “Surprise!” variety. Lost and Found is a wordless story with excellent, sharp artwork. The story, such as it is, is mostly an excuse for playing around with designs and is best described as a surreal experiment.

The Silk Crown has really cute artwork and stars a really cute jumping spider. The spider reminded me a lot of that cute jumping spider that’s been in a number of animated shorts on the web (pun not intended) but I guess there’s only so many ways to draw a cute spider. The story is yet another variant of “Surprise!” A Tail of Trouble has some good cartooning and a snake that looks like a cross between Sir Hiss and Kaa. This just seems to be a fun little romp about a semi-powerful lizard witch. Pests has excellent grayscale art, although the ‘possum is a bit huge compared to the (coyotes? dogs?).

Tim’rous Beastie might be worth getting just for the sheer variety of art styles, but since the average person will find only a few of the stories interesting (bearing in mind each person will find interest in different stories) it’s probably not the best bang for your buck.

– Roz Gibson

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In Flux, Edited by Rechan – Book Review by Summercat

by Pup Matthias

In Flux, from Furplanet and edited by Rechan, is an adults-only story anthology with four stories that feature transformation, which is, ahem, a personal favorite of mine. Yet despite two of the stories featuring kinks of mine, that are rarely touched upon, I find myself hesitant to recommend the anthology to the general transformation fetishist audience because I feel it may miss the mark.

This is not a knock on the technical writing skills of the four authors. Each story is well written and clear in their descriptions. The authors know their craft well and it shows. However, in terms of making subject matter for their audience, I can’t help but feel the anthology is lacking.

In Flux contains four stories.

Aesop’s Universe: Savages In Space, by Bill Kieffer, is a science fiction story involving a colony ship on its way to a new world that will be colonized, in part, by a tribal society of lions who are well aware of their technological setting. Huntress Thandiwe is horribly injured while hunting due to the ship becoming damaged from an accident, and her body becomes regenerated using her genes and DNA. This results in a fix to her eyes, but also an androgyn issue that went unnoticed, turning her male. This threatens to complicate issues with her Crewman boyfriend, the lion Bobby.

I love this story. Female to Male is something I enjoy, but more than that, the story goes into how the Thandiwe handles her new body and the changes, set in a backdrop of a major problem with the ship that she helps Bobby with. The story has a satisfactory, for me, ending, and manages character growth in the short few pages it has. The transformation itself isn’t described as much, but there is a video timelapse the character watches.

Wild Dog, by Franklin Leo, is a first person modern day story told from the perspective of Riley, an African Wild Dog. Shifting in this universe is common apparently, as any anthro can infect another anthro with their species. This serves as the center of the drama with his relationship with the dalmation Samantha when she nips him.

I did not like this story. The opening was promising, but the outcome when Riley confronts Samantha about the change being forced on him when he has tried to be courteous about not changing her just upsets me, and the ending feels like an out of character action for both Riley and Samantha. While transformation was at the core of the story, the actual transformation was minimal in description as it served as a plot device for the conflict.

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Tales from the Guild: World Tour, Edited by Ocean Tigrox – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Tales from the Guild: World Tour, Edited by Ocean Tigrox.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, July 2018, trade paperback, $9.95 (210 pages), eBook $4.95.

This says, “Edited by Ocean Tigrox. Co-edited by Madison Keller, George Squares, and MikasiWolf”. Giving credit to everyone involved.

This is not a sequel, but it is the second Tales from the Guild book. The first was Music to Your Ears, edited by AnthroAquatic, and published by Rabbit Valley in September 2014.

The Guild is the Furry Writers’ Guild, founded in 2010 by Sean Silva. In 2012 it created the Cóyotl Awards, voted on by the FWG members annually for the best anthropomorphic novel, novella, short story, and anthology of the year. The FWG currently consists of over 180 members; most of the authors who write the stories that fill the anthologies and novels from the furry specialty publishers. Tales from the Guild is a showcase of the writing of its members, published as a fundraiser for the Guild.

World Tour consists of eight stories set all around the world. “But how would these tales change if, instead of humans, the world was populated by anthropomorphic creatures?”

“She Who Eats” by Frances Pauli is set in Ternate, East Indonesia. Kittitas Jones, a calico cat, travels from Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, to Ternate where her mother has just died:

“The boat railing pitched again, making the Molucca Sea a diagonal slash of blue and turning Kit’s stomach inside out. She clenched both paws around the wood and closed her eyes tight against the vertigo, the sense that her world was toppling overboard.” (p. 11)

Kit’s mother was a scientist who left modernized Jakarta for Ternate ten years ago to study the native customs, and never came back. Kit, traveling there to wrap up her mother’s affairs, finds that Ternate is inhabited by Monitor lizard natives who still practice their old culture, including the eating of meat.

“‘I was hoping to be quick.’ She flicked her tail against the back of her legs and pressed the tips of her claws against her pants leg. ‘I’m not here to sightsee.’

‘These things take a while,’ the tiger [the captain of her boat] insisted. ‘You’ll see. Island animals don’t move like city animals, don’t do anything like city animals. He shuddered, prompting her curiosity despite her intentions.

‘What does that mean?’

‘Island life is slow,’ he said. ‘But Ternate is different. Some say, in the shadow of Gamalama, they still eat the meat.’ He grimaced, showing a mouthful of yellow-stained fangs.

‘That’s ridiculous.’ Kit sniffed and then pressed a paw pad over her nose. She mumbled, trying not to let the smell in. ‘My mother wouldn’t have stayed if they did.’” (pgs. 12-13)

Kit and her mother were vegetarians. “’Predation was eradicated through generations of adaptation, through study and dietary modification…’” (p. 31) Kit learns that her mother went native and became She Who Eats, the high-priestess/goddess of the lizards’ religion, which included eating fish; and that the natives want her to become her mother’s successor.

It’s a good story, but I’m not sure how it shows “instead of humans, the world was populated by anthropomorphic creatures”. According to Wikipedia, Ternate and its natives are modernized. Kit wouldn’t have to take a small boat to get there. “During the 2011 eruption [of Gamalama], Indonesia closed a domestic airport near the volcano for several days”. The story looks like a fantasy in more than turning Ternate’s inhabitants into anthro Monitor lizards.

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Dwale’s critical review of “Red Engines”: When furry fiction becomes islamophobic propaganda

by Patch O'Furr

Dwale is a member of the Furry Writers Guild whose story “Behesht” won a 2017 Coyotl award. Follow them on Twitter. Thanks to Dwale for this guest post! Here’s a few previous articles about the anthology. – Patch.

Dwale continues – and see an update from Furplanet at end.

Disclosure: I have a story in this anthology. This analysis will contain spoilers.

I’ve been making my way through “Dogs of War II: Aftermath”, edited by Fred Patten and have now almost finished. I had thus far thought it more or less innocuous. Then I read the second to last story.

I’m not going to beat around the bush: I found “Red Engines” to be an offensive, even dangerous work of fiction. It is a nakedly Islamophobic diatribe, the publishing of which, while not surprising given today’s political climate, is saddening.

The story is told from the point of view of an AI-controlled robotic bird who calls himself Hughin. Hughin comes to an unnamed village in an unnamed part of the Muslim world; desert country (these kinds of stories never take place where the land is green).  He sees the dust trails of an approaching army identified as the “Allies.” He perches on “the town minaret” (I guess this is a one-mosque town?), then flies down to a school.

At the school, he meets Aisha, a young girl, and asks her if there are other children present. She takes him inside where he meets and questions the others, recording their answers. Hughin, you see, comes from an island of artificial intelligences and has been told to collect as much data as he can from these kids before they are killed. The reason he does this is to preserve them in some fashion. He is not part of the conflict, we are told, he is supposed to be a neutral observer.

From this information, Hughin constructs within himself what he calls a “djinn,” a virtual representation of what he has learned from the children. Throughout the remainder of the story, this “djinn” spouts off phrases such as “Eat the Jews!” And while Hughin admits that this pseudo-mind is a “nasty parody,” the reader is never really offered much of a counterpoint.

They hear an explosion nearby, and when the children ask who is attacking, Hughin says, “The allies.” He thinks to himself, but does not say, “and you’re all going to die.” This makes clear that the coming battle is not a surgical strike. It is to be a wholesale massacre.

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Zoion, a magazine to promote furry art, is launching on Kickstarter.

by Patch O'Furr

Postcards handed out at Furry Weekend Atlanta

On Kickstarter: an Anthropomorphic Art Magazine is being launched by Zoion Media and its creator Pulsar. (It ends on April 29, so don’t wait to support.)

Our goal is to create a contemporary, well designed, image-driven magazine focusing on clean, evocative, highly artistic, well developed and well executed anthropomorphic art and themes. We want to make something the average furry is proud to show their non-furry friends to give them an idea of what furry art is all about.

Pulsar talked about inspiration for a print magazine to promote furry fandom creators and artists:

“I’ve always been an artist and I read a lot on contemporary fine art. I remember standing in the bookstore browsing Juxtapoz and Hi-Fructose and thinking, ‘there needs to be something just like this for furry art’.”

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What the Fox?!: Fred Patten’s Latest Anthology

by Pup Matthias

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

What the Fox?!, edited by Fred Patten, will be published by Thurston Howl Publications on March 3, 2018. The book can be pre-ordered from Thurston Howl Publications. It will be for sale on the THP online catalogue afterwards.

What the Fox?! is an anthology of 21 original short stories and two reprints, of anthropomorphic animals in humorous situations. This is designed to appeal to both s-f & fantasy fans, and fans of fantasy humor. Each story has an illustration by Tabsley (the cover artist) or Jeqon.

The anthology is available in two editions. The regular edition is in trade paperback, and the illustrations are in black-&-white and grayscale. The deluxe edition is in hardcover and the illustrations are in full color. Each edition has a different cover.

From a llama barbershop quartet to a lupine generation gap, a rabbit king battling a dinosaur (or is it a dragon?), a human with a spider fiancée, a dog-hating postal deliveryperson turned into a werechihuahua, inept wolf Vikings, a dog movie screenwriter, and more; these are stories for your imagination and enjoyment. Plus: each author’s favorite animal joke, and a recommended reading bibliography.

Contents:

FAPD, by Sofox
Perfect Harmony, by Jaleta Clegg
Counter-Curlture, by Televassi
The Carrot is Mightier Than the Sword, by Nidhi Singh
A Web of Truths, by James Hudson
Suddenly, Chihuahua, by Madison Keller
Kenyak’s Saga, by MikasiWolf
Rapscallions, by Mary E. Lowd
Dazzle Joins the Screenwriters’ Guild, by Scott Bradfield
A Late Lunch, by Nightshade
Riddles in the Road, by Searska GreyRaven
The Lost Unicorn, by Shawn Frazier
Boomsday, by Jennie Brass
Oh! What a Night!, by Tyson West
Moral for Dogs, by Maggie Veness
Broadstripe, Virginia Smells Like Skunk, by Skunkbomb
A Legend In His Own Time, by Fred Patten
The Cat’s Meow, by Lisa Pais
Woolwertz Department Store Integrated Branch Employee Manual: Human-Furred Relations, by Frances Pauli
A List of Erotica Clichés You Should Avoid in Your Heat Submission, by Dark End
The Best and Greatest Story Ever, by Mog Moogle
Self-Insertion, by Jaden Drackus
The Best and Greatest Sequel: Pron Harder Damnit!, by Some Guy Who Is Definitely Not The Main Character

Regular edition: $18.00. Deluxe edition: $25.00. 291 pages. Cover by Tabsley; 28 interior illustrations by Tabsley and Jeqon.   Regular ISBN 978-1-945247-30-9. Deluxe ISBN 978-1-945247-31-6.

Fred Patten

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Arcana: A Tarot Anthology, Madison Scott-Clary, ed. – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Arcana: A Tarot Anthology, Madison Scott-Clary, ed. Illustrated by Joseph Chou.
Lansing, MI, Thurston Howl Publications, November 2017, trade paperback, $17.99 (xi + 423 pages).

The tarot cards, according to the Preface by editor Scott-Clary, were introduced to Europe in the 15th century. They have been used for fortune-telling since the 16thth century, if not earlier. There are four suits of 14 cards each, plus 22 “major arcana” cards. The arcana have individual names: The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Hierophant, and so on. Arcana: A Tarot Anthology presents 22 stories, one for each arcana card, featuring anthro animals. Each is illustrated by a full-page portrait in the style of an anthro arcana card by Joseph Chou.

The first story, “The First Step” (The Fool) by editor Madison “Makyo” Scott-Clary, is less a story than a tutorial on how tarot fortune-telling works. Avery, a shy young mountain lion, is sent by his mother to a nameless older badger fortune-teller by his mother. Avery, the narrator, is just about to leave home for college, and his mother insists that he find out from the tarot cards what the future will bring. The motherly badger is as much a lay psychologist as a fortune-teller. “The First Step” is unusual in being narrated in the present tense:

“She leans in close to me, stage-whispering, ‘I’ll let you in on a secret. None of the cards in the swords suit – in any suits – show blood. Death, yes. Change, definitely. But no blood.   It’s hardly hacking and slashing.’

‘But they’re still –‘

She holds up a paw. ‘They’re still swords, but they’re tools. Swords show work. Strife, sometimes, sure; striving toward a goal. But what they is show work. These swords aren’t working right now, they’re just standing there. So where is the striving?’

‘Behind them?’ I ask. “They figures are all facing away from something.’

‘Or toward something.’

‘So,’ I say hesitantly. ‘I’m going to go on a journey?’” (p. 11)

“Cat’s Paw” (The Magician) by Mut is narrated by a nameless desperate were-dog who accosts a lion-man wizard and his date in a bar to get his curse removed. But nobody is what they seem. Very sardonically amusing:

“So here’s the secret to spotting a wizard: look for the one with a body that’s just too perfect. There’s a stud who’s six three, muscles fighting to escape his shirt, not a hair out of place? Wizard. Or a porn star, maybe, but probably a wizard.

[…]

I’d been trawling through bars for a wizard all evening, ad it was getting close to the deadline. I’d found a couple of almosts and one obvious poseur, but nobody with real magic. This guy, though, he was unmistakeable. He hadn’t even bothered to keep it human – too green to know better, or too powerful to care. He was a lion, with a mane and golden fur and whiskers and everything. There was even a tail flicking away under the barstool.” (pgs. 21-22)

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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.

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Fred Patten’s Five Fortunes – book review by Greyflank.

by Patch O'Furr

Guest review submitted by Bill Kieffer, AKA Grayflank (author of The Goat: Building a Perfect Victim.)  Guests are invited to submit articles to: patch.ofurr(at)gmail.com.

Fred Patten’s Five Fortunes (FurPlanet, 2014, $19.95) is a collection of five novellas from some of the best writers in the G-rated Furry Fandom.

  • Chosen People by Phil Geusz
  • Huntress by Renee Carter Hall
  • Going Concerns by Watts Martin
  • When a Cat Loves a Dog by Mary E. Lowd
  • Piece of Mind by Bernard Doove

I am not sure how well the theme of “fortune” applies to the five works, so on that level the collection doesn’t feel all that well tied together, but then with five long works it’s not a heavy criticism. It’s not like there’s a lot of “destiny” fans out there. Each story approaches the nugget of self-determination from a different vector from being mindful of doing the right thing (Geusz) to the finding themselves (Hall) to finding a way to survive the week (Martin) or one’s condition (Doove).

It’s a furry sampler of longer works; perfect for people who don’t always like short stories because the story’s over just as they get to know a character. If, somehow, you don’t know these writers or their universes, then this is a good place to start learning.

CHOSEN PEOPLE by Phil Guesz

The cover story.

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Tales From the Guild 2: World Tour is OPEN FOR SUBMISSION

by Pup Matthias

tales-from-the-guild-music-to-your-ears-edited-by-anthroaquatic-67102“Our world is one rich with diversity and culture, but how would civilized animals change that?”

That is the question Ocean Tigrox asks for you to write about in the upcoming anthology, Tales From the Guild 2: World Tour. Building from Tales From the Guild: Music to the Ears, the purpose of Tales is not just to have another outlet for Furry stories.

…we want to showcase great furry stories and show what we as a guild support. In addition to that, we want to help fund the guild while paying authors for their hard work. Thirdly, we’re using the anthology to help teach others about what goes into working a slush pile and editing an anthology.

This is what the Furry Writers Guild uses to help support themselves and showcase what they are all about.

In the words of the Guild itself, “The purpose of the Furry Writers’ Guild is to promote quality writing in anthropomorphic fiction and to inform, elevate, and support its creators.” The guild is there for others to come together to learn and support each other in our craft as well help promote our work and what we love about furry literature.

But how did the theme World Tour come about as the next entry for the book?

Because it was the guild anthology, we let the guild help out in choosing what theme to use. We had members of the guild suggest themes and voted on it. It was a very close vote with the runner up being “The Beast Within – Species issues within a modern world” which could be used for the next Guild Anthology theme.

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