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Review: 'Holidays', edited by Ajax B. Coriander and Andres Cyanni Halden

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FurPlanet Productions, November 2011
Trade paperback $19.95 (238 pages)
Illustrated by Aggro Badger

The Holidays are special, but everyone celebrates them differently. People bake cakes, sing songs, and others make love. They celebrate with the ones they have, the ones they lost, and find new love to share.??

Some days are meant for miracles.?
Some days are meant for family.??

And some days you have to find your own reasons to celebrate, but any day can be a special day, even just for a moment.??

Join Whyte Yoté, Rechan, Jeeves the Roo, Andres Cyanni Halden, Pyrostinger, Sanada Mutt, Fraust Dogger, Vendetta Leopard, Brathor, and Ajax B. Coriander as they tell stories alongside ten illustrations by Aggro Badger of the High Holy Days, both old and new, filled with hope, family, loneliness, and love.

Aw, that’s pretty! The book also is rated “adult readers only” for “graphic sexual situations”.

The eleven holidays featured are el Día de los Muertos, Easter, Midsummer, Thanksgiving, the 4th of July, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween, Hannukah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. Guess which does not have its own illustration.

In “Death Is For the Living” by Whyte Yoté, Fresne (rat) really wants to help his lover Gil (husky) get over his deceased former lover Caber (red panda), but after almost a year the dog will not stop grieving. As the Day of the Dead approaches, Fresne becomes exasperated when Gil grows increasingly morbid.

What the rat had found on his phone was confusing. For all the research he did, he couldn’t find a single instance where mourning took precedence over celebration. The Día de los Muertos was all about fondly remembering loved ones and inviting their spirits back with food, gifts and memoirs. Gil had spent the day crying over Caber, and while he could chalk it up to just more grief, Fresne thought it a waste to go the entire day without something positive. (p. 12)

An intimate sex session helps Gil to move on. [I am probably excessively old-fashioned, but I cannot get used to people doing their information research over their cel phones.]

In “Resurrection” by Pyrostinger (or pyrostinger), lioness Adriennne helps drunken lion Eliot to reform. This story must exhibit really true love, because Eliot comes across as a chronic loser who ought to get dumped.

“An Instant in Time” by Jeeves The Roo (“Summer Solstice” is the holiday, not the title) features two hot lesbian lovers, Tilly (housecat) and Claire (deer) who plan to celebrate the moment of the solstice by making passionate love as it goes by. To ensure that they don’t miss it, they make hot, nonstop love throughout the story:

It was at some point during that ongoing, impassioned romp together, that the very instant of midsummer actually passed by. Not in that frozen, seemingly perfect moment as they awakened their passions for one another. Nor in the split second that had so captivated them when Tilly first began to physically pleasure her girlfriend. Indeed the instant in which it took place was utterly lost to both Claire and Tilly, just one of an infinite number of instants in time during which the pair were locked together in joyous, carnal adoration. (p. 51)

All anthropomorphic animals are fantasy, but to have a dominant housecat who is much larger than her diminutive deer lover just seems weird.

“To Be Thankful” by Sanada brings lion Taylor to his hyena gay lover Dennison’s parents’ home for a Thanksgiving dinner. Denny’s extremely liberal parents! ‘Nuff said.

In “Fireworks” by Rechan, gazelle paid escort Desiree is hired by nervous stag David to pose as his girlfriend at a family dinner in a futile attempt to convince his parents and siblings that he is not gay. Desiree feels obliged to go a little further than David expects, not for the masquerade but to give him his money’s worth.

I don’t have a heart of gold, as the cliché says. But I want to try and meet the client’s needs. He wanted to look good for his family, but underneath that I could see a hunger for acceptance and intimate contact. He wanted to be wanted. (p. 98-99)

“Our Valentine” by Fraust Dogger begins with two bear couples, West and Karen Huddleston and Victor and Emelia Naplot, wife-swapping. When the wives get pregnant, what was fun & games takes on a new meaning.

In “Liquor, Saints, and Secrets” by Jeeves The Roo, college students Laura (lynx), Jean-Pierre (wolf), John (rabbit), Sasha (zebra), and Sammy (hyena) at a St. Patrick’s Day party get drunker and lustier than they had expected to. After a night of graphic sexual experimentation, they are divided into two bitter individuals and a committed M/F/M threesome.

“Trick or Sheathe” by Vendetta Leopard is the only story to add magic to the anthropomorphization. When tigress Kate and her non-‘morphic pet Labrador Frank go out Halloween trick-or-treating, the last thing she expects is for Frank to transform into a handsome, studly – and doggy-uninhibited -- ‘morph-man.

In “Mazel Tov” by Andres Cyanni Halden, Mordechai Cohen (caracal) is less nervous at bringing a gay boyfriend (Tyler, raccoon) than a non-Jewish friend home for the Hannukah holidays. Here the sex is less important than the religion.

In “Christmas in Ghost Hall” by Brathor, Eric Hudson (Canaan dog) comes to live in a liberal college’s more-than-liberal student dorm, where he meets cat twins Jaime (brother) and Alex (sister). Eric and Alex fall into a normal romance, then decide to bring shy Jaime in to make it a threesome.

In “364 Days …” by Ajax Baback Coriander, Ebony (skunk) really wants to get intimate with his boyfriend Conal (bear), but unpleasant memories from an extremely abused childhood keep getting in the way. Conal gently helps him overcome them.

In these eleven stories, the holiday is sometimes important and sometimes only casually incidental to the eroticism. In some stories the sex scenes predominate, while in others they could be removed without affecting what is really important; the characters’ personal relationships. In some, the cast really seem like anthropomorphized animals while in others they are barely-costumed humans.

Aside from the fact that each story is X-rated, “Holidays” presents a nicely varied package of “human”-interest tales. This anthology will make a good stocking-stuffer for a liberal-minded friend.

A few words on the packaging. Firstly, although this is not the first Furry book to do so, this really emphasizes that all the authors are using Fursona pseudonyms. Whyte Yoté. Pyrostinger. Jeeves The Roo. Vendetta Leopard. Aggro Badger.

Secondly, there are glaring spelling inconsistencies in some of these authors’ names between the table of contents, the story title pages, and the ‘about the authors’ listing. Is it whyteyote or Whyte Yoté? Is it Sanada or Sanada Mutt? Is this a result of the sloppy editing that confuses the title of one story with its holiday, or are the publishers calling attention to the fact that these are ‘secret’ authors using phony names?

Thirdly, this is the first Furry erotic book that I have seen that tells on the table of contents what kind of eroticism each story contains (but not between which species of animals): M/M. F/F. M/F. M/F/M. Furry adult books are getting more in-your-face blatant all the time.

Comments

Your rating: None

Amusingly, some names appear to have been created purely to hide the author's 'real' fandom identity. Others may have been used for precisely the opposite reason (Jeeves, for example has an established reputation).

Watts was not particularly complimentary when it came to FurPlanet's editing, so I would mark inconsistencies up to that.

As for the tags, I guess the editors wished buyers to know the book had what they were looking for. It's a usability feature!

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

Usability? It's a book, not a tool. Or is it? Well, if it's so obviously a masturbation aid, then why not laminate the pages ... that will increase the usability even more :) I go with the original authors opinion: I find it unecessarily blatant - it's simply not good style. But at least it's not all gay romance - which has really been getting a bit old lately.

Your rating: None

Lamination would cost too much. (Besides, you can rip out pages from stories you don't like and use them as tissues . . . OK, OK!)

My point was that it was a decision of function and product promotion over style. These books are in a highly competitive marketplace – including online venues of free stories, such as SoFurry, which clearly tag their work. If it means the difference between making and losing a sale, it becomes merely good business to include them.

Some anthologies do promote style over function (FANG springs to mind, though at least they tell you who's included on the back). However, you then have to do more work to sell it.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (2 votes)

Good grief, of all the BIG ISSUES to not bring up in what is clearly porn, it would probably be, well, all of them, because seriously, thinking and porn, not good bedfellows.

But child sexual abuse; yeah ...

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About the author

Fred (Fred Patten)read storiescontact (login required)

a retired former librarian from North Hollywood, California, interested in general anthropomorphics