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Ursa Major Awards voting ends April 18; "Jack" withdrawn

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Voting for the Ursa Major Awards for the Best Anthropomorphic Art and Literature first published during 2009 ends on April 18.

Anyone may vote, and you are encouraged to ask your friends to vote also. Visit the Ursa Major Awards web site to sign up to vote, or view the list of nominees.

On April 9, David Hopkins, the author of Jack, contacted the Ursa Major Award administrators to request that the work be withdrawn from consideration for the award in the category of Best Graphic Story. For technical reasons it must still appear on the ballot, but as the online voting system allows people to revise their choices at any time until the close of voting, those who have voted for Jack have the opportunity to select another nominee if they wish.

There are five nominees in each of the ten categories, except where there was a tie for fifth place, or fewer than five eligible nominees. To be eligible, a work must have been released during the calendar year 2009; must include a non-human being given human attributes (anthropomorphic), which can be mental and/or physical (for example the intelligent dogs in Up for the former, and Fantastic Mr. Fox for the latter); and must receive more than one nomination.

More formally known as the Annual Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Awards, the Ursa Major Awards are presented annually for excellence in the furry arts. They are intended as Anthropomorphic (a.k.a. Furry) Fandom's equivalent of the Hugo Awards presented by the World Science Fiction Society, mystery fandom's Anthony Awards, horror fandom's Bram Stoker Awards, and so forth.

The Ursa Major Awards are administered by the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association (ALAA), a membership organization dedicated to promoting anthropomorphic literature and arts. Discussions are ongoing to improve their effectiveness and expand their presence throughout furry fandom. All suggestions are invited via the Ursa Major Awards web site.

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I wonder why Jack was withdrawn?

The nominations list appears to lack the info links that were in the nomination announcement.

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Has anyone asked him? It may just be that he disagrees with the format. *shrugs*

It's kind of a pointless award.

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I asked, and he replied (and gave me permission to reprint what he said):

Well, to be clear I have nothing against the awards or anyone involved in it. I've just in general had a bad feeling for the furry fandom as a whole as of late; the way we have a horrible reputation for being a group who are at best a bit crazy in the head and at worst a group of dangerous sexual deviants. And most everyone in the fandom I've talked to is either fine with that, has given up on changing it or believes its up to everyone else in the world to give us a chance when that's just not the way a sane world works.

Now I acknowledge my own part in this in the past but I think that's a perfect vantage point for me to be able to say we've got some problems and it is up to our own ranks to fix them. I may just be turning into a prude as I get older but I'm also looking at this from a universal social standing. As long as the best word the world outside the fandom can say about us is "Psychotic" the artists that the Ursa Majors is all about honoring are going to be doomed to poverty when they should be able to make a living off of they're creativity and their talents.

"I draw furry art" shouldn't be something you have to say in hushed tones. And I'm beginning to understand that while this bad reputation lasts the more lecherous sort can get their questionable art from some good artist for (comparatively) cheap because nearly every artist in the fandom have done at least one commission they did not want to because they had bills to pay. And because there is so much fetish art around new artists decide early that this is what they must draw to become accepted and recognized, and because the Internet never forgets, they will forever have those early embarrassments hovering over them.

The long and short of all this is that I have very ill feelings about the general fandom (not specific people, just all of us in general, myself included for various reasons) and its unwillingness to want to change or get some change done.

The Ursa Majors is about promoting excellence and building up the fandom. And I felt that because of my feelings I should be disqualified from the running. Technically I'm doing a "George C Scott" or a "Micheal Moore" but, tactfully, before the Oscars take place.

I don't feel the same way about the fandom, but I agree that there's little sense in competing for an award when you're not comfortable with the fandom that it's for.

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I find these statements by Hopkins to be more or less ignorant of his own genre's history. And I'm not talking about the furry genre, either.

"the way we have a horrible reputation for being a group who are at best a bit crazy in the head and at worst a group of dangerous sexual deviants."

You write and illustrate horror comics, dude.

A genre that has had nothing but criticism heaped on it since almost the beginning of its inception as the product of sick, deranged minds for the consumption of sick, deranged minds, once labeled the "new pornography," now frequently referred to as "torture porn."

God, I continue hearing this argument again and again from freaking furries; if you want to go mainstream, don't do furry, because people are afraid of the furry fans. So, wait, furry has a built in audience and causes a strong emotional reaction? Where's the catch? The fact that that emotional reaction is negative means precisely bunk; Mr. Hopkins, whose bread is fear and butter is disgust, should be darn well aware of this.

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That honestly was going to be my next guess. I didn't really communicate my feelings towards Furry when we met at FWA, because I didn't really think it was an appropriate venue, but I get this "squicked" feeling off and on regarding what we do to our creative talent by means of who and what we accept.

You probably notice that short of my staff shirt, I didn't really dress "furry." Well, I had a badge at one point too :) It's just because for me, as an author, I don't really see Furry as a "lifestyle" but more as a "fandom." It appears that Mr. Hopkins is confusing the lifestyler's actions with the potential market of fandom.

Nobody forces people to draw fetish. Nobody forces me to write some of the very questionable things that are written out there. If you do it in search of the money, then that's a choice made.

As for unwillingness to change.. there are no greater forces in nature than a group moving its market.

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I thank him for coming forward with this, couldn't have been easy to be honest as to one's personal feeling.

Just ironic, since this is the first year that the Ursa rewards have banned nominations of works that are pornographic in nature.

http://www.flayrah.com/c/2009-ursa-majors-open-not-all

Guess as a way of avoiding being tied with furry porn, he doesn't want to be a part of something... that wants nothing to do with furry porn?

Well I hope Up doesn't win then.... winner are furfags apparently and will be shunned and never be successful. They might end up like Dreamworks! Remember what happened to them after they won in 2001 for Shrek? I really wouldn't want the same thing to happen to Pixar that happened to Dreamworks.

And Eric Garcia! He won best book in 2001. We all know he went under the radar after he one, painted as a furry and shunned from the art world forever... think what could have happened if he turned down that award? He could have had movies adapted from his books or something, but now we'll never know.

And after its victory in 2001, Usagi Yojimbo stopped publishing comics, and DarkHorse productions went out of business.

The evidence the negative publicity being recognized by the fandom gives you is damning. Everything furry touches dies. I certainly wouldn't want such a career ruining experience on my belt.

Sarcasm aside feelings are always fleeting, mostly misleading. I'm more of an evidence person.

Though, I disagree with him, I certainly hope him the best in his future endeavors.

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I can understand where Hopkins is coming from. If it were I, I would refuse to have my name attached to the Ursa Major Awards.
I just check out the entire fine offerings There were some good ones but once again there a large amount of furry porn nominated. So much for Ursa Major Awards claim of cleaning itself up.
P.S. I gave Mr. Hopkins my vote in protest to the Ursa Major Awards or should I say Ural furry porn awards.

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So to honor a person saying he doesn't want to be a part of something, you voted for him in that something they didn't want to be a part of?

Makes perfect sense...

Ironically, if what he said makes it to the ears of some of the thinner skinned fandom I'm sure they'll also be voting, but not because they agree with him, probably to grief him.

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He'll say it if he wants to I guess. It could be anything. Maybe he doesn't want his work to be dictated by a reward, like if he lost that it'd change his style, or if he won he'd be afraid to change it. Or maybe he has a good friend in the running he doesn't want to compete with, I don't think it is anything bad about the awards themselves, cause trust me, if he was trying to make a political statement about it, he certainly would be causing more fuss then just a quiet exit.

It's a curious question, probably with an uninteresting answer.

EDIT: Guess I was wrong, it was actually quite an interesting answer.

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We weren't sure if Mr. Hopkins wanted us to publish his private e-mail to us, so we figured it's better for him to give details of his reasons if he wishes. He did tell us it was an honor to be nominated, and that his decision does not reflect any ill feelings toward the Ursa Major Awards.

Thanks, I'll let the webmaster know about the problem with the nominations list. The ballot does have the links to all the nominees.

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About the author

PeterCatread storiescontact (login required)

an anthrocon art show director from Syracuse, NY

Intrigued by the late-80s CBS series "Beauty and the Beast," PeterCat discovered SF conventions and began helping out at art shows. On the Internet, he created the Furry InfoPage and in his FurryMUCK persona as Rhal, maintains a list of furry-themed MU*s.