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2011 Ursa Major Award winners announced at Califur VIII

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (4 votes)

The winners of the 2011 Ursa Major Awards for the best anthropomorphic literature, artwork and websites published in 2011 were announced June 2 at a ceremony during Califur VIII.

1,782 ballots were cast in this year's voting, an increase of almost 30% on last year.

Only the winners were announced at the ceremony. However, due to a policy change voted upon by the ALAA Committee, the vote order of all nominees is available on the UMA website.

Read on for results. The story includes contributions from Fred Patten.

Ursa Major Awards banner by EosFoxx

Best Anthropomorphic Novel Isolation Play, by Kyell Gold [wiki]
Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction "How to Get Through the Day", by Kyell Gold (Gold Standard)
Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work Nordguard, Book One: Across Thin Ice, by Tess Garman & Teagan Gavet [review, interview]
Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story Furthia High, by QuetzaDrake [wiki]
Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip Housepets!, by Rick Griffin [wiki]
Best Anthropomorphic Magazine Flayrah, edited by Laurence 'GreenReaper' Parry [wiki, staff]
Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration Cover of Nordguard, Book One, by Blotch
Best Anthropomorphic Game Pokémon Black and White (Game Freak) [review, wiki]
Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture Kung Fu Panda 2, directed by Jennifer Yuh [review, wiki]
Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short Work or Series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, directed by James Wootton, developed by Lauren Faust [wiki]
Best Anthropomorphic Website Equestria Daily, led by Shaun Scotellaro [wiki, staff]
ALAA's Choice Award Red Lantern, by Rukis and Alector Fencor [preview, wiki]

Complete nominee list - Compare: 2010 UMA winners - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - prior years - more UMA coverage

The Ursa Major Awards, administered since 2004 by the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association, are intended to feature the "best" furry fandom has to offer, as decided by the fans – similar to the Hugo Award for science fiction and fantasy.

Flayrah's editor GreenReaper, who lives in Texas, was the only winner in attendance at CaliFur VIII to accept his trophy in person. The other recipients will have their trophies sent to them.

This year, the first ALAA’s Choice Award was presented, for an outstanding anthropomorphic work of 2011. The ALAA’s Choice Award, unlike the Ursa Major Awards, is selected by a vote among the fifteen members of the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association.

This year's Awards were featured prominently on WikiFur and Flayrah, both of which became eligible this time around. They are accompanied by an anthology of past Best Short Fiction nominees and winners, which goes on sale at Anthrocon 2012 (mail pre-orders are available).

While nominations for next year's Awards have to wait until January, submissions to the ALAA's Recommended Reading List can be made today.

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

Its impressive that My Little Pony and Equestria Daily won. I bet the bronies are excited to hear that. I love that show.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Somewhat excited, yes. It is the year of the pony!

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

No surprises here.

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

Ooh, Green Reaper!

Did you give an acceptance speech? Did you thank Jesus? Did they play the music? Were you interrupted by any contreversial hip hop artists?

Also, THREE FOR THREE, BITCHES!

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

I did give an acceptance speech, in a jacket and tie no less; I believe RainRat may have proof. Jesus was not thanked, just our staff plus Rod, Timduru, Aureth and Frysco. There was no music or interruptions, commercial or otherwise. I received a nice plaque, which is now hanging on my wall.

I did consider mentioning your prediction for "Best Motion Picture", but it was edited out for lack of time – there was a wolf hanging around with one of those curly-handled canes in case my speech ran long . . .

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

The above post lists the cover of Isolation Play as best published illustration, but the UMA website lists the cover of Across Thin Ice as the winner.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

You are correct. The cover of Nordguard, Book One, Across Thin Ice, is the winner of the Best Published Illustration Award, not Isolation Play. This is announced correctly in the ALAA press release about the results, but the Flayrah report was submitted separately and got it wrong.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Fixed, thanks. I thought Nordguard had (effectively) won two awards. Turns out Blotch got two nominations as well, and I'd copied the wrong one in the rush to get to the airport.

Interestingly, the cover of Isolation Play came second as well. Blotch is clearly the master of Published Illustrations, having won the category in four of the last five years.

Your rating: None

It's also a bit biased. Blotch is involved in the competition but was also commissioned to do the cover for that Ursa book, or did it free. Either way there's a small conflict of interest there.

"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

Voting for the 2011 Ursa Major Awards closed on May 4. The first publicity for The Ursa Major Awards Anthology with the announcement that the cover of the book was by Blotch was not until May 20, so the fact that Blotch was doing the cover for the book cannot have affected the previous voting. The cover was commissioned, not free. (How many fans wish that Blotch would do a full-color painting for them for free!)

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

I wasn't worried about the voting. The potential conflict is between Blotch and the Ursa panel, all of whom no doubt knew long before the announcement. There's the risk someone would try improve Blotch's chances as payment for the art or that Blotch would not do their best if they didn't win or something like that. I'm not saying anything like that happened, I really doubt it did and I do think Blotch deserved the win but I'm just saying I'm not sure it's a good idea for a group awarding prizes to then be commissioning someone who's eligible for one. That's where problems can crop up.

"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

And yet, why wouldn't you commission a cover from the people who've consistently won Best Illustration in previous years?

In a community that's still relatively small, it's hard to avoid that issue. Flayrah has had significant contributions from Rod O'Riley (via In-Fur-Nation) and Fred Patten – two of the three founding members. Should Flayrah be excluded because of that? (Perhaps more relevant for ALAA's Choice . . .)

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

I'm not saying it should be excluded or that anything bad happened but that it's a potential conflict of interest and it's just something worth bearing in mind. Like if you write about Inkbunny you have loyalty both to Flayrah and Inkbunny. It's not saying you can't do it but it's worth keeping in mind.

If the anthology cover was organised by the publisher then it's probably not that important but it's still an issue that people should bear in mind. Blotch is a great choice for doing a cover but perhaps the timing would've been better either before any voting was opened or after the results were out.

"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

The cover for The Ursa Major Awards Anthology was commissioned and paid for by FurPlanet, the publisher. Neither the ALAA nor I had anything to do with it, except that I enthusiastically approved when Teiran told me that they wanted to get Blotch to do the cover, if Blotch would accept the commission.

I was responsible for sending the other publisher, Legion Printing & Publishing, to Roz Gibson for the cover of Already About Us, although I put them in contact with a half dozen or so Furry artists -- Sara Palmer, Dark Natasha Mleynek, Heather Bruton, Ursula Vernon, Blotch, Kacey Miyagami, some others -- whose work I like for the cover. Legion P&P is a new publisher in Birmingham, AL with no experience in Furry publishing. About the only preference that I gave Legion was that I did not want an abstract-art cover. If you look at any s-f anthology of the 1950s through the 1980s or so, most of the Hugo or Nebula winner volumes or the original-fiction series like Orbit and Stellar and Universe and so on, they had meaningless graphics that did not suggest anything. I do not know how many of the artists I recommended Legion actually contacted, but I am very happy with Roz's cover.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

Best Motion Picture
I said: Bitter Lake
Won: Kung Fu Panda 2 (I got 2 and 3 correct)

Best Dramatic Short Work or Series
I said: My Little Pony
Won: My Little Pony

Best Graphic Story
I said: Red Lantern (It came second)
Won: Furthia High

Best Comic Strip
I said: Housepets
Won: Housepets

Best Magazine
I said: Flayrah
Won: Flayrah

Best Published Illustration
I said: Cover of Nordguard
Won: Cover of Nordguard (My number 2 came 3rd but I only considered one of Blotch's pics)

Best Website
I said: Inkbunny
Won: Equestria Daily (I got number 2 correct)

4/7 isn't bad, especially with some of the runners up. Well-done me.

"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

A disappointment to see the FBA being passed up again for an UMA, but Rosenthal's spectacular FBA poster was up against stiff competition. From the comments I read here, I think many fans were looking at art medium rather than concept or design. The drawing of 23 unique characters of different species, sizes, and personalities along with colorful jerseys and pro-quality team logos all 100% designed by the fandom was overshadowed by the drawing style being cartoony. I thought the earlier comment of the piece being "Nothing you wouldn't see in a large scale commission on FA" was particularly dismissive of the unique contribution of so many individuals in designing the piece. Rosenthal may have been the pair to put down the pixels, but dozens of furries designed the characters, the teams, the uniforms, the logos... it's a shame that much effort is so easy to dismiss.

It was a delight to see the UMA staff recognize the unique contribution of Rosenthal's piece to the fandom, and I hope to FBA continues to be recognized. And a big congratulations to this website for receiving an award! Flayrah most certainly deserves it.

...and that's a swish.

Your rating: None

Thanks for your thanks, but the "UMA recognition" depends on the votes that the individual Furry fans cast. Get more FBA participants to nominate next year if you want to get more FBA titles onto the final ballot.

That said, one of the purposes of the new ALAA's Choice Award is so that the UMA staff can recognize more high-quality work that we regularly see losing out to more popular nominees.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

The ALAA's Choice Award is a great idea, and it's wonderful to see it go to someone who has poured so much talent into the fandom. That category ought to prove very exciting to watch in the coming years!

I'll be sure to push my fans harder next year! :) But hopefully the FBA can earn recognition on its own merit. There are plans in the works that will hopefully mean a big step in the development of the project.

Still, FBA superstar Xavier Knutten (Squirrel, G/F, SPO) is quite upset.

Zip-Nut

Drawn by Rosenthal

...and that's a swish.

Your rating: None

It got my vote; I'm pretty sure my first, too. I could be misremembering, but it also got my single vote on the Flayrah poll, so if it wasn't my first place vote at the time, it got there.

Your rating: None

I sincerely appreciate the support! While the new layout makes it fun to see how well each nominee did in the voting, it's a little painful to see Rosenthal's work be second to last. But it just makes me appreciate the support the FBA gets even more!

FBA bigfur Hassan Kamal (Camel, F/C, HNT) thanks you!

Hassan Kamal

Drawn by Rosenthal

...and that's a swish.

Your rating: None

As someone who considered it a large-scale commission, I didn't know of the extra work that went into the final piece. With that, I think that you guys could do something bigger and something more audience-aware.

Therefore, if you're running next year, I think that you guys should scrap the single-piece illustration and rather make a mock program to show all the designs that go into a single season.

Just a thought.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Of course Equestria Daily won.

God dammit, bronies.

Your rating: None

Want to break the internet? Have a vote between who should be president: Twilight Sparkle or Ron Paul.

Your rating: None

Actually, Applejack would be the perfect compromise coalition candidate for both sides.

Applejack: The Pony Conservative

Your rating: None

I wouldn't call pokemon anthropomorphic :/

Your rating: None

I could name so many examples just off the top of my head of Pokemon that would be perfect posterchildren for anthropomorphism as furries view it.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Except canon pokemon can't be anthropomorphic if there isn't a non-anthropomorphic pokemon, otherwise they are just ordinary pokemon.

"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

And yet, "ordinary pokemon" may themselves be anthropomorphic as a species. They can speak amongst themselves, express complex emotions, and in many ways act as more than the mere animals from which their designs originated.

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About the author

GreenReaper (Laurence Parry)read storiescontact (login required)

a software developer and Norn from London, UK, interested in wikis and computers

Small fuzzy creature who likes cheese & carrots. Founder of WikiFur, lead admin of Inkbunny, and Editor-in-Chief of Flayrah.