Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Tag: Otter

Marta the River Otter – the adorable fursuit mascot of King County, Washington.

by Patch O'Furr


This otter does public service in a proper fursuit, commissioned by local government. (Tip: Zeigler Jaguar.)

kingKing County has two million people in the region around Seattle.  Their Department of Natural Resources and Parks has a new mascot who’s a uniquely Furry example of public funding for art and education.

On Twitter, Chrissy B asked who built the suit.  They answered: “Beetlecat Originals helped create Marta for river safety public outreach.”

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The Mancer Series (Books 1-6): Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

Ace PYRMNCR1992Pyromancer, by Don Callander. Map by the author.
NYC, Ace Books, May 1992, paperback $4.50 ([v +] 292 pages)

Aquamancer, by Don Callander. Map by the author.
NYC, Ace Books, January 1993, paperback $4.99 ([v +] 289 pages)

Geomancer, by Don Callander. Map by the author.
NYC, Ace Books, January 1994, paperback $4.99 (v +] 257 pages)

Aeromancer, by Don Callander.
NYC, Ace Books, September 1997, paperback $5.99 ([iii +] 289 pages)

Marbleheart, by Don Callander.
NYC, Ace Books, July 1998, paperback $5.99 (278 pages).

The Reluctant Knight, by Don Callander.
Cincinnati, OH, Mundania Press, June 2014, paperback $12.95 (204 pages)

pyro newCurious … The first five of these were published without a series title, between 1992 and 1998. They were reprinted by Mundania Press in 2013 as the Mancer Series, with a sixth in 2014. By Don Callander, but ISFDB says that he died before that. Donald Bruce Callander, March 23, 1930 – July 26, 2008.

What’s more, the copyright dates of the first three 2013 reprints agree with the Ace editions, 1992, 1993, and 1994. But for the last two they are 1995 and 1996, not 1997 and 1998 when the Ace editions were published, and with The Reluctant Knight © 1995 (and Marbleheart © 1996) even though it wasn’t published until 2014.

Ace Books published a lot of whimsical light fantasies in the 1990s, by authors such as Piers Anthony, John DeChancie, Esther Friesner, and Craig Shaw Gardner. Most of them have talking animals in supporting or minor roles, such as Gardner’s 1990 Revenge of the Fluffy Bunnies, but none are really memorable. (Maybe Scandal, the wisecracking kitten, who is a major character in Friesner’s Majyk trilogy.) But Callander’s Marbleheart Sea Otter, a furry sidekick in the original series, was popular enough to win his own starring sequel in 1998.

0441028160.01.LZZZZZZZI won’t say that Callander’s fantasies are bad — they aren’t, really, for those who like light fantasies. But they are very – I’m not sure whether “cute” or “twee” fits them better. They are the type of fantasies that other fantasy writers make fun of; full of singing and dancing pixies and elves and fairies and friendly animals. And furniture & utensils. Here is dinnertime at Wizard’s High, a wizard’s cottage:

“Shortly they sat down to a feast and were regaled by the antics of the salt and pepper shakers and the serious, droll sayings of the Gravy Boat, who also chanted Sea songs and seamen’s ditties for them.

A pair of fire tongs did a clattery clog dance on the hearth, and Blue Teakettle herself acted as ringmistress over it all and kept the good food hot and savory, coming at just the right pace and intervals. Toward the end the entire chorus of pots and pans sang old favorites with the crocks and cutting board humming along in perfect harmony. And never once did Douglas consider how odd this little household was.” (Pyromancer, p. 10)

Douglas Brightglade, a lively and cheery lad, answers a wizard’s advertisement:


To learn the MYSTERIES and SECRETS of

WIZARDRY in the Discipline of FIRE




And learn Douglas does, from the wizard Flarman Flowerstalk over four novels and five years. He meets all sorts of talking animals and objects, from Flarman’s busybody, clattery Bronze Owl doorknocker, to the seagulls Cerfew, Tratto, and Trotta (she’s a girl; a Gullfriend), to the porpoises Skimmer, Leaper, and Spinner, to Oval, the Giant Sea Tortoise, to the evil Ice King’s spies:

“‘It is best we become more circumspect in our comings and goings from now. I’ve seen some suspicious crows hanging around the top of the High lately.’

‘Yes, I noticed them and told Bronze Owl about them. He said he didn’t like the cut of their pinions.’” (Pyromancer, p. 81)

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Waterways is why I Love the Furry Fandom

by Pup Matthias

6412912I love the Furry Fandom. I love how weird, crazy, silly, creative, and open-minded the fandom is. Just like how every other fandom says they’re weird, crazy, silly, creative, and open-minded. But in all seriousness, I do appreciate what the fandom is and what it keeps trying to do. I am indebted to the Furry Fandom. My life would not be where it is today because of it. If I had any regrets in life, one of them would be to wish I knew about the fandom earlier so I could spend more years exploring it, but that’s wishful thinking, and in all honesty, would undermine my personal growth.

The first time I’ve ever heard about the fandom was during a countdown on Animal Planet’s “Weird, True & Freaky” around 2008. Before that, I knew I loved the concept of anthropomorphic animals. Mainly through the Redwall book series and TV show, which was my only “Furry” fix growing up. I don’t really remember if there were other factors like Disney’s Robin Hood or Bugs Bunny, Crash or Ratchet, Swat Kats or Road Rovers. But I do know when Weird, True & Freaky showed Furries I wanted to know more.

I don’t remember much about the segment. I know it was talked about during a countdown of humanimals, looks at how far humans include animals into their lives. The fandom only made number 4 or 3 out of 7, and while it did bring up the topic of sex, it wasn’t the main reason it made the list. Just the whole, “Can you believe people dress up in fursuits? Look at how quirky and weird these Furries be…” blah, blah, blah. In hindsight, considering what most media depictions of Furries were like at the time, this one was fairly open. But once it aired I didn’t really look into it more. I was a senior in high school. My life was more focused about college, scholarships, and getting ready for our high school production of Grease.

It wasn’t till after I started college in the fall of 2009 that I remember the segment about Furries, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember what the fandom was called. So I had to do some really weird Google searches to remember what those fluffy people in suits that pretend to be walking, talking animals called themselves. I began to find results through the web comic scene with works like Better Days, Jack, and Fur-Piled. Which in term lead to me discovering what these weirdoes called themselves and the creative sites dedicated to them. I had found the Furries.

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Black Angel, by Kyell Gold – Book Review by Fred Patten

by Pup Matthias

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

BlackAngelFrontCoverBlack Angel, by Kyell Gold. Illustrated by Rukis.
St. Paul, MN, Sofawolf Press, March 2016, trade paperback $19.95 (vii + 379 pages).

Black Angel is the conclusion of Kyell Gold’s Dangerous Spirits trilogy that began with Green Fairy (March 2012) and continued with Red Devil (January 2014). The three novels are a powerful mixture of spiritualism, drugs, and adolescent angst, shifting between centuries and societies. They are also set in Gold’s larger Forester University anthropomorphic-animal alternate universe, with clear parallels to our own. Each of these three is complete, but assuming you will like Black Angel enough to want to read the others, readers are recommended to start all three from the first.

Solomon Wrightson (black wolf), Alexei Tsarev (red fox), and Meg Kinnick (otter) are three very troubled seniors at Vidalia’s Richfield High School. All three have left home. Sol, who has just realized that he is gay, is constantly nagged at home by his father to excel at sports. Alexei, who has come from Siberia on a student visa, is concerned by the silence of his sister back home; he is sure that their parents are intercepting their mail. The mannish Meg has gotten her parents to let her move into a decrepit apartment to be an artist. Her apartment has become a social center for the three. Sol’s traveling into the past in Green Fairy, and Alexei’s being haunted by a ghost in Red Devil, may be due to external causes in those novels, or – as the rational Meg scoffs – it’s all in their imagination.

“Hi. I’m Meg. I’m nineteen, and I’m fucked up.

That’s not a big secret, by the way. Pretty much anyone who knew me from about fifteen to now would tell you the same thing. Only back then I thought it was a good kind of fucked up.” (p. 1)

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Windfall, by Tempe O’Kun – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

windfallWindfall, by Tempe O’Kun. Illustrated by Slate.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, July 2015, trade paperback $19.95 (325 pages), electronic edition $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)

It has been six months since the popular TV series Strangeville was cancelled after five seasons. The cast has split up and gone their own ways. For Max Saber (husky) and Kylie Bevy (otter), teenage supporting actors who played a high-school boy & girl on the series, this has meant returning to their homes across America. Yet they have remained in touch through texting, and after six months, both are wondering whether their TV romance might have been more serious than they realized. When Max, on his parents’ Montana ranch, gets an invitation from Kylie to spend a three-week vacation in her old New England town of Windfall – the town that the creepy, surrealistic Strangeville was modelled upon – he takes it. Yep, their romance is real. So is the horror of Windfall.

As readers of my reviews know, I don’t think much of funny-animal novels in which the characters are really humans with superficial animal features. But Windfall presents them in depth. There are constant mentions of fur, wagging tails, perked or drooping ears, the female otters’ whiskers and webbed paws. A teen rhino fan asks Max to autograph his horn. “The otter threaded her tail through the hole in the [car] seat and popped the key into the ignition.” (p. 41) Max calls Kylie “rudderbutt”. Some of it is occasionally anthro-specific, as when Kylie finds a deer’s skull while she and Max are camping in the woods:

“She knew that [the deer had been feral]. The eyes were too far to the sides and the neck attached at the wrong angle, leaving little room for the brain. Still it looked enough like a sapient deer’s skull to give her the creeps.” (p. 57)

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