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Tag: historical

The Adventures of Peter Gray, by Nathan Hopp – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

The Adventures of Peter Gray, by Nathan Hopp.
Green Bay, WI, Written Dreams Publishing, April 2018, hardcover, $25.50 (248 pages), trade paperback $16.99.

The Adventures of Peter Gray is told as an autobiography, being written by an elderly Peter Gray, a wolf Furren, in a retirement home in New York City, presumably in the 1960s or later. (The Epilogue gives a specific date.) There is a reference to watching I Love Lucy on a color TV. He seems to be strongly religious:

“No one stops playing their fancy radios, singing ‘Top of the World’ or watching I Love Lucy on their colored televisions to ever be thankful for what’s been given. Or is to be given. Nobody kneels down and thanks the Lord for how much a single year can impact who you are, who you have become, and who you love. No one even thanks Him that much anymore.” (p. 8)

The autobiography begins on New Year’s Day, 1899, when Peter is a homeless 12-year-old street orphan freezing in the alleys of lower Manhattan. His descriptions make it clear that this is a funny-animal world. There are humans, but they are rare compared to the Furren, who seem almost exactly like the humans:

“A Catholic raccoon, Lance Turner was no taller or older than me, but he was more dedicated to his faith. He was also one of my best friends. We’d known each other for nearly five years, and the raccoon and I had gotten some real bruises from our meets. He was a funny guy when not quoting scripture, though I couldn’t say the same about his older twin brothers.” (p. 15)

“As the she-wolves gathered the items they needed, I glanced at the Furren helping them. It was Alan himself, a six-foot mouse with black fur, an unpleasant face, and covered in burly muscles. I knew the guy, and had once stolen a package of cheese from him earlier in my youth. I prayed the mouse didn’t recognize me.” (p. 16)

“‘Hey, cub. Would ya’ like a new pair of boots?’ a raccoon vendor asked me after he’d crossed the road. He had a single tooth and his musky stench made me gag. I didn’t try hiding my distance. ‘These are made of the finest leather in all of the East Coast, and I’ll give half –’

‘—and I’m a Crown Prince of England. Not interested,’ I mumbled, passing by. ‘We can’t even wear boots.’” (p. 19)

So the Furren don’t wear footwear, at least. The humans are roughly analogous to the African-Americans:

“‘Gosh…’ Lance gasped. ‘Are those…?’

‘Humans?’ I nodded, still staring. I’d heard of them, but had never seen two this close. ‘What else could they be?’

Humans were a very strange species, having no fur or tail as a distinct feature to the bodies, nor any claws or large fangs to hunt. Their short, angular noses didn’t smell as good compared to wolves or bloodhounds. I remember once reading in a newspaper that humans were scattered across the planet and often thrived in bands like packs, keeping together. Others preferred the cities over countryside, but humans were kept far below the Furren in the food chain everywhere. Always under the Furren, especially the carnivores.

It wasn’t until decades ago that they were freed from the chains of slavery in America, thanks to a powerful wolf in the White House. Some, mainly canines, still look down on them as dirtier than sooty snow, but I chose not to. As long as they had a stove and coal, any human was a friend of mine.” (pgs. 21-22)

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Trick or Treat, Volume 2: Historical Halloween – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

(I considered holding this for October – but Fred reminded me that Trick or Treat Volume 3: Pranks, Parties, and Pumpkins will be out – so enjoy it now!) – Patch

trick-or-treat-volume-two-historical-halloween-edited-by-ianus-j-67211Trick or Treat, volume 2: Historical Halloween, edited by Ianus J. Wolf.
Las Vegas, NV, Rabbit Valley Books, October 2014, trade paperback $20.00 (373 pages).

This is Rabbit Valley’s second annual (2014) Halloween theme anthology; “something for the adults to enjoy”, as last year’s volume said. It presents ten new stories; six scary horror “tricks” and four “delectable romantic and erotic” treats. The book’s fine wraparound cover is again by Stephanie “Ifus” Johnson.

Wolf points out in his Introduction that “historical” is treated liberally. “It is also worth noting that much of the original history of Halloween and its roots of Samhain that we ‘know’ are actually still debated in most academic circles.” (I can personally attest to its evolution. When I went to school in the late 1940 and early ‘50s, you were ‘wrong’ if you spelled Hallowe’en without the apostrophe between the two e’s. Today, nobody bothers with it.) “So relax, have some fun, and don’t think too much of this as a history lesson.” (p. 2)

The anthology is again divided into two parts, each presented by one of the anthropomorphic hosts. Trick the wolf gives us six scary “tricks”, and Treat the black cat follows with four erotic “treats”.

“Jenny-Burnt-Tail” by Huskyteer is set in the British trenches during World War I. A Scottish (terrier) trooper carves a turnip into a jack-o-lantern on All Hallows Eve, and Captain fox tells his men a seasonal reminiscence from his childhood. This story isn’t as scary in itself as the way that Huskyteer tells it, with convincing 1915 British accents and slang. The mud and mist and cold and wet, with enemy snipers all around and maybe poison gas – you really feel that you’re there; never mind any spooks that may also be there. It’s educational, too; you’ll learn a half-dozen regional names for will-o’-the-wisps (including Jenny-Burnt-Tail, which is genuine despite sounding like it was created for this anthropomorphic world). A superb mood piece. Read the rest of this entry »