Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week Day

Tag: literature

Vote for the 2018 Ursa Major Awards to support the best works of furry fandom.

by Patch O'Furr

Go here to vote for the 2018 Ursa Major Awards. The deadline is March 31.

Before nominees were chosen, the 2018 Recommended Anthropomorphics List made a much longer collection of suggested works. It’s useful as a guide for those looking for new furry stuff (and those interested in the recently added fursuit category may want to see the special requirements there.)

Please share this announcement, and help raise attention for the furry fandom equivalent of the Hugo awards for science fiction. They’re chosen by fans, not committee. Volunteers do the hard work of publicizing, organizing, counting votes, and mailing out engraved awards. These volunteers are the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association (ALAA), a membership organization dedicated to promoting works that furries love. They welcome suggestions for how to expand this effort.

The ALAA is supported by donations via PayPal (paypal@ursamajorawards.org) with 100% of the money going towards cost of the awards. Please consider donating.

The ALAA has done this for many years with only very modest help, and previously had stories here about lacking resources. One of the founders, Fred Patten, has recently passed away. In March 2018, member Bernard Doove commented:

The ALAA has needed volunteers for years, but we have lost members rather than gained, and we are all doing as much as possible to keep the Ursa Major Awards running. I’ll be donating money from my personal funds once again for the 2017 Award trophies, and I will be flying up to Queensland where the awards ceremony will be held at FurDU this year in order to run the event. The cost of that comes out of my own pocket too. I’m willing to do my bit for the cause, but we desperately need more people with the skills required to improve it.

Check out the UMA tag to learn more about them. Here’s the nominees for 13 categories. Winners will be announced on May 23–26 at AnthrOhio 2019.

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A complaint: Furry fan publishing is overlooked – by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

I feel like complaining, and I’m not sure who to complain to.

It’s about the review of the recent FurCon in Science Fiction/San Francisco #161, (PDF), Spring 2015, “Furries in the Fog: Further Confusion 2015” by Christopher Erickson, reprinted in the DP newsdump of April 16. It’s a typical review today of a furry convention for the general public, both accurate and highly favorable. But Erickson said, “I was also able to see all of the dealer room. There was a lot for sale. There were numerous artists to choose from. There were also dealers selling ears and tails. There was a stand with puppets. One stand was selling custom collar tags and license plate covers. Others were selling artisan crafted soaps and lotions. I purchased a few pieces of badge art from one dealer that featured various fandoms.”

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Bête, by Adam Roberts – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Bête, by Adam Roberts
London, Gollancz, September 2014, hardcover £18.00 (311 [+ 1] pages). download (2)

“As I raised the bolt-gun to its head the cow said: ‘Won’t you at least Turing-test me, Graham?’

‘Don’t call me Graham,’ I told it. ‘My wife calls me Graham. My mum calls me Graham. Nobody else.’

‘Oh, Mister Penhaligon,’ the cow said, sarcastically. We’ll have to assume, for the moment, that cows are capable of sarcasm. ‘It won’t much delay you. And if I fail, then surely, go ahead: bye-bye-bos-taurus. But!’

‘You’re not helping your case, ‘ I said, ‘by enunciating so clearly. You don’t sound like a cow.’

‘Moo, ‘said the cow, arching one hairless eyebrow.” (p. 3)

Graham Penhaligon is a farmer. Farmers traditionally slaughter their cattle and serve them at family meals. So Farmer Penhaligon kills his cow, despite its pleading to him to spare it.

And finds himself arrested for maybe-murder. Which he expects.

Bête is set in the near future, when the animal-rights movement – specifically an organization called Deep Blue Deep Green (DBDG) – is going about surreptitiously raising some animals’ intelligence – specifically, in this case, Farmer Penhaligon’s cattle – to force the courts to decide whether an animal with artificially raised intelligence is a thinking animal no different from a person, and thus a legal person. The courts have declared a moratorium on the killing of such animals while the legal debate goes on; which has been going on for seemingly forever, as such social movements tend to do.

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The Labyrinth, by Catherynne M. Valente – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

The Labyrinth, by Catherynne M. Valente. Introduction by Jeff VanderMeer.
Germantown, MD, Prime Books, April 2006, hardcover $29.95 (181 [+1] pages).download (3)

The introduction and blurbs emphasize this slim novel’s surrealism. Publishers Weekly reviewed it as, “…a female Theseus details the bizarre landscape of the Minotaur’s maze and its unique flora and fauna. […] Readers who luxuriate in the telling of a tale and savor phrases where every word has significance will enjoy the challenge of this fantasy. Others may find its maze of language an impenetrable mystery.”

You can put me among those who find its maze of language an impenetrable mystery. The jacket-flap blurb is, “A lyrical anti-quest through a conscious maze without center, borders, or escape–a dark pilgrim’s progress through a landscape of vicious Angels, plague houses, crocodile-prophets, tragic chess-sets, and the mind of an unraveling woman, driven on by the mocking guide who seeks to destroy as much as save.” The book’s murky cover by Aurélien Police fits it wonderfully. Can you tell what this is about?

But The Labyrinth is undeniably richly anthropomorphic. The nameless (or manynamed) narrator wanders through a maze filled with Doors. Each opens into a different dimension that threatens to sidetrack her from the Labyrinth’s end. And many are inhabited by an anthropomorphic animal.

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Book review: ‘Freak’s Amour’, by Tom De Haven.

by Patch O'Furr

Flayrah News, 5/8/2013:

FreaksArmorFreak’s Amour, by Tom De Haven, is simply a masterpiece. This is some of the best weird literature that few seem to have heard of or remember. It’s been out of print for 27 years. I started it once, long ago when I was just getting into science fiction and weird genre stuff. It was a bit arty and demanding for a teenage reader, and my interest wasn’t up to the challenge at the time. Now, I have to give it very high recommendation after finding it again.

I suggest that anyone into classy lit as well as furries and pulp/pop culture go get it now, even if it takes your last two bucks. It’s one of those obscurities that could be worth quite a lot if it was less available – but it earned enough acclaim to get several printings, so it’s cheap and easy to get secondhand. (In fact, I’ve noticed a new comic/graphic novel version: info below.)
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