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Tag: space opera

Raid on Sullin, by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

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

Raid on Sullin, by Beryll & Osiris Brackhaus
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, October 2017, trade paperback, $15.99 (233 [+ 9] pages), Kindle $4.99.

Raid on Sullin is #2 in the Packmasters series. #1, The Relics of Thiala, was reviewed here last April. I concluded that review, “But this is space opera, not hard science s-f. This review covers the first 50 pages of the 190-page novel (cover by Darbaras, a.k.a. Dávid László Tóth). What will Cat, Ferret, Bear, Wolf, and Ana find on Thiala and the sleazy Vandal space station? Since this is space opera, expect mucho dramatic action and weapons fire.”

I’m a sucker for good space opera, and The Relics of Thiala is great furry space opera. I’ve been looking forward to the sequel, and Raid on Sullin is not a disappointment. I recommend starting with The Relics of Thiala, but Raid on Sullin has a very good “What happened so far” for those who don’t want to bother. Roughly, Cat (the narrator), Ferret, Bear, and Wolf are four bestiae, bioengineered anthro-animen in a far-future interstellar community. The bestiae are considered beneath contempt by most humans, and were enslaved by a cult called the Packmasters. The Packmasters were apparently all killed by the rest of humanity in a civil war a generation ago. Ana, a mistreated young adopted orphan, escapes with the help of Cat. They gather three other bestiae and discover that Ana has Packmaster powers, but instead of using them to dominate the others, they form a pack of friends with a telempathetic bond under Ana’s leadership, Cat’s guidance, Bear’s piloting, and Wolf’s muscle. They steal a luxury space yacht, the Lollipop, belonging to a corrupt human Senator, Viscount Tomori, and flee to Vandal, a distant space station towards the Fringe of the galaxy that is (what else?) “a wretched hive of scum and villainy”. But Tomori comes after them. The book ends with Tomori and Bear dead, and the others unsure of how Vandal’s laws will treat them.

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Transmission Lost, by Stefan C. Mazzara – Book Review by Fred Patten.

by Pup Matthias

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

51W5eAogqHL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Transmission Lost, by Stefan C. Mazzara.
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, September 2015, trade paperback $14.50 (unpaged [474 pages]), Kindle $6.99.

Transmission Lost is categorized as science fiction, not furry fiction. Its plot is very stereotyped, but one that a furry fan can enjoy. A human spaceman befriends an animal-like member of an alien civilization and brings peace and friendship to both cultures.

Jack Squier is a 26-year-old civilian cargo pilot with Stellar Horizons (“You have it, we’ll ship it! Lightspeed guaranteed!”) in the far future. The UN Navy, which seems to be part of a large interstellar human civilization (does UN still stand for “United Nations”?), is fighting against the alien feline Ascendancy, a.k.a. the Ailians. The UN Navy, due to running low on transport ships after ten years of war, contracts with Stellar Horizons in NYC to deliver combat supplies to the front. The route that SH gives to Jack cuts briefly through Ailian-controlled space, but he’s assured that he doesn’t have anything to worry about.

“‘The Star’s Eye is the largest cargo ship we have that still carries a one-man crew. Relax, Jack, you’re only gonna be in Ailian space for two realspace stops. The rest of it’s hyperspace until you get to the Antaeus sector. By then you’ll be well within friendly territory. Don’t worry about it. Besides, you hate working with other people, remember? Consider this a blessing.’” (p. [3])

The enemy is the Ascendancy, an alien interstellar empire somewhere around the Outer Milky Way worlds.

“First contact had been been made [when Jack had been sixteen years old] with the Ascendancy, an empire spanning several galaxies inhabited by the feline race of the Ailians. Looking as a cross between a ten-foot-tall human and Bengal tiger, the Ailians were strong, ruthless, and extremely protective of their territory. And as it just so happened, humanity had unknowingly begun to encroach upon that territory. Thus humanity had entered into war with the Ascendency, just as determined to expand their borders and claim much-needed resources as the Ailians were to retain them and take over human territory for their own.” (pgs. [3-4])

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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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Theta, by Sasya Fox – book review by Fred Patten.

by Patch O'Furr

Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer, submits this review:

Theta, by Sasya Fox

Mountain View, CA, Snowfox Press, August 2013, trade paperback $14.50 (395 [+ 1] pages), Kindle 99¢.

Theta is a formulaic but rip-roaring space opera. The titular protagonist is Jale Bercammon, the 36-year-old chief steward(ess) of the OCS Freeta, a luxury space liner in an interstellar civilization. She has served aboard the Freeta for almost twenty years, rising to the chief steward position and coming to think of her staff and the crew of the Freeta as her family. The first sign of trouble on this trip is their landing on the planet Brynton, in the midst of a violent civil war. Practically all Brynti civilians are desperate to book passage off-planet, and the Freeta is rapidly over-packed with upper-class refugees. One of them is the mysterious Miss Theta, an apparent almost-comatose adolescent who is brought aboard as a medical patient and booked into the finest stateroom on the ship. Captain Erin is personally instructed in Theta’s care, which includes giving her a prepared injection every four hours and:theta

Do NOT attempt to engage Theta in conversation.

Fine, until Jale learns that Theta is an almost-castrated male, and he is being given not medicine but Banerethin, which ship’s Doctor Jrmnia freaks out over because it is a drug so illegal that he could be executed for allowing it to be brought on board. Strangely, as the days pass, Theta becomes more rather than less coherent and amnesiac. He makes it impossible for Jale and her crewmates to ignore the order not to talk to him, but refuses to discuss who he is or what is happening to him.

Then the Freeta is captured by pirates. Their actions make it clear that they have chosen the Freeta because they learned on Brynton that it is carrying an incredibly valuable treasure, which none of the Freeta’s crew knows anything about. When the frustrated pirates cannot find any treasure, they kill a few passengers and crew, impress a few more as slaves – including Theta — and leave. When the crippled Freeta finally reaches its destination, several days overdue, it is besieged by authorities who investigate what happened in detail. Jale is given the job of telling what happened to Theta to his assigned recipient. His reaction is not anything like she expects:

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