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2011 Ursa Major Awards voting now open

Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (5 votes)

Ursa Major Awards banner by EosFoxxVoting for the Ursa Major Awards for the Best Anthropomorphic Literature and Art of 2011 is now open, and takes place until May 4. The winners will be announced at a presentation ceremony at CaliFur VIII in Irvine, CA on June 2. Anyone may vote, and you are encouraged to ask your friends to vote also — please help spread the word!

There are five nominees in each of eleven categories, except where there was a tie for fifth place. To be eligible, a work must have been released during the calendar year 2011; must include a non-human being given human attributes (anthropomorphic), which can be mental and/or physical; and must receive more than one nomination.

Read on for the nominees . . .

Best Dramatic Series or Short Work

TV series or one-shots, advertisements or short videos.

Best Motion Picture

Live-action or animated feature-length movies.

Best Novel

Written works of 40,000 words or more. Serialized novels qualify only for the year that the final chapter is published.

Best Short Fiction

Stories less than 40,000 words, poetry and other short written works.

Best Other Literary Work

Story collections, comic collections, graphic novels, non-fiction works, and convention program books.

Best Graphic Story

Includes comic books and serialized online stories.

Best Comic Strip

Newspaper-style strips, including those with ongoing arcs.

Best Magazine

Professional magazines, amateur zines, fanzines, internet-only magazines.

Best Game

Computer or console games, role-playing games, board games.

Best Published Illustration

Illustrations for books, magazines, convention program books, cover art for such, coffee table portfolios.

Best Website

Online collections of art, stories, and other creative and/or informational works. Includes galleries, story archives, directories, blogs, and personal sites.

Note: There was some confusion over whether Nordguard, Book One should go into the Best Other Literary Work or the Best Graphic Story category. It was pointed out that previous book collections of graphic stories have been collected reprints of works already serialized separately, whereas Nordguard, Book One is the first publication of this graphic story. After consideration, the majority of the ALAA has decided to leave it in Best Other Literary Work.

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 website. The Ursa Major Awards are now on Facebook.


Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

I suppose there's no reason to worry about secret votes so I'm going to share mine.

Best Motion Picture
1. Bitter Lake
I haven't seen it but it's everything a furry movie should be, or at least try to be. It's made by furs, using fursuits and is for furs.
2. Puss in Boots
Out of the three that I have seen (Rango and Rio being the others) I found this to be the most enjoyable and entertaining.
3. Rango
I don't remember it being all that great but it was different to what I expected and it does deserve a reward for that. If I remember it showed dead bodies without some silly sentimental nonsense. Also Rio was very predictable and musicals need their own songs. Adding pop songs to an animation just doesn't fit. Lion King (and all early Disney) would not have been nearly as good without personalised songs.

Best Dramatic Short Work or Series
1. My Little Pony
It's a brilliant show, even if I have some uncertainty in whether it's truly furry or not.
I don't know the others well enough to vote for anything else, although I think I know Simon's Cat and that was good.

Best Graphic Story
1. Red Lantern
The artwork in that comic is just beautiful. Don't see that kind of quality too often and the story hasn't felt too bad either.
Don't know any of the others again but they'd have to be pretty exceptional to knock off Red Lantern as my top choice.

Best Comic Strip
1. Housepets
Loved this since I found it. Great jokes and really nice style, which has just got better.
3. Ballerina Mafia
It's the only other one I've read and I'll give it third place. No real story that I picked up on but it's certainly had some entertaining moments, particularly when I learned that tiny cats live between walls.

Best Magazine
1. Flayrah
I'm a bit biased here but Flayrah is awesome.

Best Published Illustration
1. Cover of Nordguard
I'm only giving Blotch one vote to be fair to everyone else. I think this was the better looking cover though both were extremely well drawn.
2. Cover of Red Sails in the Fallout
To me it was the second best quality after Blotch. Actually probably on par in terms of quality but I still preferred Blotch's style.
3. FBA 2012 Season Opener
I really didn't see anything special in the other two but this one did have talent. Very different style to my other two choices though.

Best Website
1. Inkbunny
It's come very far in such a short amount of time, works well and has some interesting exclusive features.
2. Wikifur
Lots of information on aspects of the furry fandom. Could be more complete but is surprisingly in depth at places.
I can't pick a third as the only other one I know is FA which shouldn't be winning any awards. It's spent the last few years stagnating, has done very little to improve and the more you hear about it's inner workings the more messed up it seems.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Thanks for sharing your vote with us. I hope that you voted on the UMA ballot as well.

When you say that you don't know some of the nominees, have you checked the 2011 Anthropomorphic Recommended List for weblinks to their sites? You can see samples of many of the nominees this way, at least to the nominees that are on the Internet.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

I could use links but I don't think a quick look will give me a proper idea of how good something is, I made an exception for the illustrations though as those aren't going to change at all. There is time to read a new comic or hang out on a website but chances are if I'm not there already it's because there's been nothing drawing me there. I'd rather only vote on things I know well and leave the rest for people that can properly judge how good they are and how they have performed over time.

And yes, I voted properly as well.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

I believe all the songs in Rio were in fact original, or at least the majority. It was only one of two movies to be nominated for "Best Original Song" at the Oscars, after all.

Your rating: None

Oh. :/ That's worse then. I just didn't feel like the songs fitted. Maybe it's cause it wasn't the characters singing but to me they just felt like they were tacked on instead of finding something that would fit with everything else.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Well, in your defense, the vocal talent singing were mostly pop stars, and the musical style was kind of hate it/love it.

I kind of give it middle marks for "degree of difficulty;" it was trying to do a Disney style musical while still being unique. It didn't pull that off, however.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Naturally, I'm pleased to see Flayrah and WikiFur on the ballot (and Inkbunny, as I'm a mod there). Please vote for us! :-)

It's unfortunate that Prequel didn't get in. The art is simplistic, but not trivial, the lead character is endearing, and the concept of reader participation in directing the story is intriguing. I guess Best Graphic Story is always competitive.

On the plus side, I'm seeing several works that I've never heard of before, but which I'm interested in looking at further (which is of course one point of the Ursas). Endtown is a case in point; the current strip really speaks to me for some reason.

It's also interesting to see two MLP-based nominations. I doubt they'll win without an influx of fans, but it's good to see them represented. (WikiFur has had a category for My Little Pony multiplayer worlds since 2006 – guess we should have seen the brony thing coming.)

I'm surprised not to see Heat #8 up against Flayrah this year. Then again, Sofawolf didn't promote its works for Ursa Major nominations, so that's probably why. I was sad to see that South Fur Lands ceased publication last December, but 57 issues is a good run.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

"It's also interesting to see two MLP-based nominations. I doubt they'll win without an influx of fans, but it's good to see them represented. "

Why is it I feel the bias will be the other way around?

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

I'm with Sonious; I'm not in the business of predicting those categories, but I would take MLP:FiM to win Best Dramatic Series or Short Work if someone were actually running an Ursa Majors pool.

I've said it before, but bronies scare me. The amount of power the ponies wield over them is unnatural.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Well, we'll see . . . I tipped off Equestria Daily to their nomination a few hours ago.

Apparently they've read it, given this obscure reference - although it could just be a wild coincidence:

There are some things in life that really shouldn't be messed with: an angry Ursa Major for example...

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Wild coincidence.

I know because, by wild coincidence, that is the only episode of MLP:FiM I've seen.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Five for five!


Your rating: None Average: 2 (3 votes)

Have you seen "My Little Brony - Friendship is Tragic:" yet? I have just recommended it for the 2012 Recommended List.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

A bit obvious, but I think the funniest part is you have an average of two stars from three votes.

Yeah, there's no furry/brony crossover at all.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Alas, we all have things we wish had gotten in. It's a crying shame that Fanboy confessional isn't in the running; it's really the best documentary about the fandom that's been made so far! Running against Bitter Lake would've made for an interesting competition. Comics-wise, I was also rooting for The Abominable Charles Christopher and Footprints, although the latter was a long-shot. And I wish one or two of the fandom's podcasts were in there. Oh well. :P

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Podcast. Where do podcasts fit, anyways? How about music, soundtracks, even DJ? How about best author, artist, performer, promoter/personality? Lifetime recognition award? They could do more to give a better picture of the messy pile of stuff under the umbrella of "furry."

It's funny, they only just added a "best website" category and almost all of the other stuff is geared towards more traditional media. Sounds like maybe the awards are run by greymuzzles harkening back to the olden days of sci-fi fandom. That would be an interesting dichotomy with so much of fandom based on internet activity and people in their 20's.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

The Ursa Majors celebrate works featuring anthropomorphism, not the general creativity of people who happen to be fans of anthropomorphism. What's anthropomorphic about music? What would it take to have a "furry song"?

Part of the point of the award is to introduce furry fans (old and new) to material which they may not be aware of. I could see podcasts being included under that, but regular personal awards seem inappropriate for this purpose.

The awards are run by these people. Some were involved in furry fandom before the average furry fan was born.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (3 votes)

Furry music: hmmm... ? I can't imagine fursuiting without dancing playing a significant part. I know at least one music furry I'd give an award for introducing me to the fandom in the first place, thru a stand-alone monthly fursuiter dance. Debatable, maybe...

Correct me if there's something written about this, but the Ursa Major site doesn't seem to define the point of the award like you said. It says, "These Awards are decided by the fans, not by a committee." It doesn't say anything about stuff that "fans aren't aware of". It seems arbitrary about mixing stuff that's DIY vs. mainstream high-budget studio product. (Can you get more apples and oranges than Bitter Lake vs. Dreamworks? Does Puss in Boots really need more recognition?) If it already includes DIY stuff, why not highlight more with broader categories?

It says:
"To be eligible, a work must have been released between January 1 and December 31 of the calendar year for that award, and must include a non-human being given human attributes (anthropomorphic), which can be mental and/or physical (for example the intelligent rabbits in Watership Down for the former, and Bugs Bunny for the latter.) Simply including an animal character is not sufficient to qualify. Non-animal characters such as Wall-E are also anthropomorphic."

Isn't anthropomorphism implicit by using a "fursona"? Then it could be more about how good it is, rather than how literally furry the content is.

"Some were involved in furry fandom before the average furry fan was born." That doesn't mean much to me. Don't communities evolve as they gain new members doing new things?

Considering how few people are involved in voting (is it just a few thousand?), is the award's value outside the fandom much of an issue at all?. Keeping things G or PG rated, OK... I understand the concern about that.

I don't actually analyze every nominee... just stirring the pot about why some things can get awards, and other neat things can't. :)

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

"The Ursa Majors celebrate works featuring anthropomorphism, not the general creativity of people who happen to be fans of anthropomorphism."

See, but with furry websites being nominated now, that to me already kind of blurs the line between having furry content or merely the content is geared toward "furry community".

I mean, this site isn't necessarily a work that features anthropomorphism more then a news site geared toward a community that likes anthropomorphism, and if Flayrah can go in why can't musicians whose target audience is the same?

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Look at the front page and tell me how many anthropomorphic animals you see featured. :-)

We review and otherwise discuss work featuring anthropomorphic animals on a regular basis. So do many podcasts. A song which covered the topic seems like it would count as well. But just generic songs/music?

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

I think that's kind of what they mean, there are songs which do contain lyrics dealing with fandom/anthroporhics at this point. Are there enough of them produced in one year to get an award? I'm not sure, but I'm sure the musicians would know better then I. Something tells me there probably would be though.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Well, the way to get them in would seem be to submit them to the reading list under miscellaneous and then complain nicely when there are enough of them. Worked for us!

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Speaking of "promotions for Ursa Major nominations," did Bitter Lake run any kind of FYC ads, like on FurAffinity?

In case you haven't noticed, I'm using FYC ads for column art, and I'd really like to have a Bitter Lake one.

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

What does FYC mean?

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

For Your Consideration

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Well, the reddit cannons were fired, though I didn't see it on the front page of /r/mylittlepony, so who knows how it will turn out.
And yes, I voted ponies.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

My votes:

Best Motion Picture
Puss in Boots. Because, what a sexy movie.
Kung Fu Panda 2
Bitter Lake (For initiative that I hope other furries will follow)

Best Dramatic Short Work or Series
Regular Show. This show, man. This show.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Seriously, the bronies got me. I used to watch the older generations, but this is freaking cute, too.
Thundercats. They're a little too humanoid for my tastes, but I still like the style and the voice-acting.

Best Comic Strip
Faux Pas

Best Magazine

Best Website
WikiFur (I fuckin' love WikiFur, man. I might be a bit biased since I'm on the site nearly every day...but who cares?)

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Am sad that FursuitTV didn't get into the final nominee list.

Your rating: None

Furry video blog FurReview has asked the "Best Website" nominees why they think they should win.

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

Well, here's my votes.

Best Motion Picture
1. Rango
Easily the most original and interesting movie of the bunch.
2. Puss in Boots
Not only is it a spin-off that doesn't actually fall on its face, it does an okay job on its own.

Best Dramatic Short Work or Series
1. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Okay, I know I'm being a bit biased on this, being a fan and all. But it's the only show in the bunch that combines the traditional humor actually for the whole family as well as the attention to music and new animation techniques. Definitely deserving of my vote.
2. Mongrels
The late series was coined as a Sesame Street meets Family Guy, and for the most part, it did just that. Great puppetering and humor.
3. Regular Show
Branching off from the likes of Adventure Time, this show can stand off on its own. And it has some incredibly funny moments.

Best Graphic Story
1. Prequel
Oh wait...

1. Lackadaisy
It has its own fandom for a reason.
2. Red Lantern
Just a work of beauty. No more needs to be said.

Best Comic Strip
1. Housepets!
Still a juggernaut for furry comics, despite it's new serious tone.

Best Magazine
1. Flayrah
Practically the best news source in the fandom. With a surprisingly lower amount of cute animal stories and overused advice columns.
2. Allasso
I may be biased because my friend has a work published in this, but I still like it. :c

Best Published Illustration
1. cover of "Norguard, Book One"
Probably the emotional piece of the five.
2. cover of "Red Sails in the Fallout"
The most epic of the five.
3. FBA 2012 Season Opener
Nothing you wouldn't see in a large scale commission on FA, but it's still pretty well drawn.

Best Game
1. Pokemon: Black and White
Best Pokemon game in a long while.
2. Sonic Generations
In my opinion, this is the culmination of Sonic's comeback.
3. Star Fox 64 3D
Come on. It's Star Fox 64.

Best Website
1. Wikifur
Debate all you want, but it's one of the most used and quoted sites in the entire fandom, and it's importance needs some recognition.
2. Equestria Daily
The site is the biggest site in the largest growing fandom. Controversies aside, it's taken that role very well.
3. Furry Writers' Guild
Absolute great resource guide. It's too specific to get my first choice, but it should be noted as the start of something new in the furry writing subculture.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

I'm a bit weirde out by all the "I'm a fan so I'm biased" posts.

Guys, that's kind of the point.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

It may indicate the tension users/readers/etc. have deciding between a work that they see as technically "the best" vs. their personal favourite. If I'm really fond of a comic, I might forgive its dubious plot or haphazard artwork.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Sean Allen has responded to his nomination by offering Death Drop for free until May 4 (download links).

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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