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2014 Ursa Major Award winners announced at Morphicon 2015

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Ursa Major Awards banner by EosFoxxThe 2014 Ursa Major Awards, for the Best Anthropomorphic Literature and Art of the calendar year in eleven categories, were announced and presented at an awards ceremony at the Morphicon 2015 convention, in Columbus, Ohio on Friday, May 1 from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. EST.

The Ursa Major Awards are a popular-vote award. 2,851 ballots were cast in eleven categories between March 15 and April 15, 2015. Not everyone voted in all categories, although there were fewer single-category votes than usual. All voters were required to state what country they were voting from, and about 90 countries were named. Some, such as Care-A-Lot, were obviously fictitious, but those that appeared to be genuine by e-mail domain names included Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Taiwan (Republic of China), Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The most votes came from the United States, followed by Taiwan (the Republic of China).

Winners and runners-up after the break:

Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture

Live-action or animated feature-length movies.

Guardians of the Galaxy
(Directed by James Gunn; Marvel Studios; July 31)
Runners-up:

Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short or Series

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

"Furry Force"
(College Humor, parts 1 and 2)
Runners-up:

  • 2. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (Directed by James Thiessen and Jim Miller for Hasbro, Season 4 Episode 8 to Season 4 Episode 26)
  • 3. Bojack Horseman (created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg for Netflix, August 22)
  • 4. Littlest Pet Shop (supervising director Dallas Parker and directed by Joel Dickie, Season 2 Episode 11 to Season 3 Episode 16)
  • 5. The Beach Bears (by MaxGoof, "The Trip to Alberta" chapter 137-170)

Best Anthropomorphic Novel

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

Off the Beaten Path
By Rukis (FurPlanet Productions, July 4)
Runners-up:

  • 2. Huntress, by Renee Carter Hall (in Five Forturnes, edited by Fred Patten, FurPlanet Productions, January 16)
  • 3. Chakat in the Alley, by James R. Jordan (CreateSpace, June 17)
  • 4. The Forges of Dawn, by E.M. Kinsey (CreateSpace, September 15)
  • 5. Impossible Magic, by J.F.R. Coates (Jaffa Books, August 18)

Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction

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

"When a Cat Loves a Dog"
By Mary E. Lowd (in Five Fortunes, FurPlanet Productions, January 16)
Runners-up:

  • 2. "A Real Stand-Up Guy", by Daniel & Mary E. Lowd (in Allasso volume 3: Storge, edited by Brian Lee Cook; Pink Fox Publications; April 23)
  • 3. "The Best Puppy Ever", by Mary E. Lowd (in AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review; May 5)
  • 4. "The Wharf Cat's Mermaid", by Mary E. Lowd (in ROAR volume 5, edited by Buck C. Turner; Bad Dog Books; July 3)
  • 5. "The Carousel of Spirits", by Mary E. Lowd (in Sorcerous Signals, February-April)

Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work

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

Blacksad: Amarillo
By Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido (Dark Horse Press, graphic novel, October 8)
Runners-up:

  • 2. Abandoned Places, edited by Tarl Hoch (FurPlanet, December)
  • 3. The Sakai Project: Artists Celebrate Thirty Years of Usagi Yojimbo, by various (Dark Horse Books, July 23)
  • 4. Five Fortunes, edited by Fred Patten. (FurPlanet Productions, anthology, January 16)
  • 5. Tales from the Guild: Music to Your Ears, edited by AnthroAquatic (Rabbit Valley Books, anthology, September)

Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story

Includes comic books and serialized online stories.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
IDW Publishing, issue 15 to 26
Runners-up:

  • 2. TwoKinds, by Tom Fischbach (Internet, January 8 to December 23)
  • 3. Slightly Damned, by Sarah “Chu” Wilson (Internet, page 626 to 674)
  • 4. Furthia High, by QuetzaDrake. (Internet, from page 364 to 381)
  • 5. Endtown, by Aaron Neathery. (Internet, January 1 to December 31)

Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip

For newspaper-style strips, including those with ongoing arcs.

Housepets!
By Rick Griffin (Internet, January 2 to December 30)
Runners-up:

  • 2. Freefall, by Mark Stanley (Internet, January 2 to December 30)
  • 3. Savestate, by Tim Weeks (Internet, February 5 to December 31)
  • 4. Carry On, Kathryn Garrison (January 1 to December 31)
  • 5. Doc Rat, by Jenner (Internet, January 1 to December 31)

Best Anthropomorphic Magazine

Edited collections of creative and/or informational works by various people, professional or amateur, published in print or online in written, pictorial or audio-visual form.
In-Fur-Nation
Edited by Rod O’Riley (Internet magazine; January 1 to December 31)
Runners-up:

  • 2. Flayrah, edited by Laurence “GreenReaper” Parry (Internet magazine; January 1 to December 31)
  • 3. Fursday, edited by Stuart Otterson (Internet magazine; October 3 to December 31)
  • 4. Dogpatch Press, by Patch Packrat (Internet, April 11)
  • 5. Allasso, Volume 3: Storge edited by Brian Cook. (Pink Fox Productions, April 23)

Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration

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

Midwest Furfest 2014 convention book wraparound cover
By Sabretoothed Ermine (December 4)
Runners-up:

  • 2. Off the Beaten Path wraparound cover, by Rukis (FurPlanet Productions; July 4)
  • 3. Chakat in the Alley wraparound cover, by ABlueDeer (CreateSpace; July 17)
  • 4. "I Won't Die Here" animated drawing, by WhiteMantis (FurAffinity; May 8)
  • 5. Five Fortunes wraparound cover, by Terrie Smith (FurPlanet Productions; January 16)

Best Anthropomorphic Game

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

Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire
Developed by Game Freak, published by Nintendo and The Pokémon Company, November 21
Runners-up:

Best Anthropomorphic Website

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

Fur Affinity
Furry art specialty site; January 1 to December 31
Runners-up:

  • 2. Equestria Daily (My Little Pony specialty site; January 1 to December 31)
  • 3. WikiFur (general furry information/history; January 1 to December 31)
  • 4. Inkbunny (furry art specialty site; January 1 to December 31)
  • 5. Furry Writer's Guild (writer support; January 2 to December 26)

Comments

Your rating: None

Some notes:

-My movie of the year takes the award; I think that's in the Bible as a sign of the apocalypse, so we have that to look forward to, then.
-MLP:FiM takes its first loss.
-Ironically, MLP:FiM also takes its first win, making IDW's comic book series the first since 2007 to not be fandom created to win, and the first since 2008 to be an offline, physical comic book to win its category.
-Flayrah seems to have an off year every other year. Oh, well, I voted for Rod, too (and even did some campaigning for him).
-I feel like Five Night's at Freddy's probably suffered from competing, in essence, against itself; it's hard to tell for sure from the voting if it would have mattered, but those games have gotten an surprising amount of fanart fairly quickly, and I there was nothing particular about this last pair of Pokémon games that stand out from any of the others.
-On the other hand, Mary E. Lowd doesn't seem to have suffered much from competing against herself.

Your rating: None

On the gaming aspect, kind of called it: https://www.flayrah.com/6013/voting-2014-ursa-major-awards-now-open#comment-63416

And not to jump ahead, but it's probably going to happen next year too seeing as FNAF 3 released on March 2nd and FNAF 4 seems slated for a fall release.

Though I'm not going to be complaining too much right now because, well, Armello so far I think would be the one to beat in 2015. However, I'd hope it would win as it'd be the first time a board game won the Best Game catagory (Remember when there were board games in there competing with video games?). Oh sure it's a video game, but it's probably the closest a board game would get to winning the category.

As far as Furry Force beating MLP, I have to say I'm sort of shocked. Though I know some site owners with particular influence were pushing for it, I was skeptical that they would actually pull ahead of the Ponies. Particularly after their strong 4th season, which I think was one of the better in the series.

The even funnier part is, the creators of Furry Force are probably going to take more notice of it than the MLP animation staff... or maybe even the bronies (who are not furries). Since humor is what they do, I think the best way to take this award would be humbly, gracefully, and most importantly with at the very end of the humble acceptance end it with three simple words "Suck it, Bronies".

Then watch the hooves fly.

Your rating: None

As far as Furry Force beating MLP, I have to say I'm sort of shocked. Though I know some site owners with particular influence were pushing for it, I was skeptical that they would actually pull ahead of the Ponies. Particularly after their strong 4th season, which I think was one of the better in the series.

The even funnier part is, the creators of Furry Force are probably going to take more notice of it than the MLP animation staff... or maybe even the bronies (who are not furries). Since humor is what they do, I think the best way to take this award would be humbly, gracefully, and most importantly with at the very end of the humble acceptance end it with three simple words "Suck it, Bronies".

Haha... it was cool to see CollegeHumor put out their own promotion urging votes for this award. SySable commented that a lot of new voting came in when I gather it typically gets only a small few thousands of votes. One mention connected to a 3,000,000 viewed video must really tip that. MLP is obviously a huge level above, but they didn't put out any such notice.

It's kind of amazing, because it's semi-mainstream "fursploitation" (closer to CSI or reality shows than fan created) that specifically notices this subculture- but they actually put care into a relationship with us. Is it a first?

Animation creation is so time consuming that fans don't put out a lot that could compete - the only fan product for that award was audio-only.

As a comedy website, you know they will probably play this up afterwards, in some ways it's like getting a Razzy award. I will ask them how they feel about it. It's good for the Ursas to be valued!

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The creators of "The Furry Force" have been very enthusiastic in e-mails that they won, and want to know how they can get their trophy since they weren't at the Morphicon to get it in person. I don't recall that the creators of "My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic" ever gave any sign of caring about their win.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Quick note: "A Real Stand-Up Guy" was actually written by Daniel & Mary E. Lowd.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Thanks, I've added the credit!

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

The 2014 UMA results have been announced on File 770. The comments on them are becoming somewhat controversial.

http://file770.com/?p=22279#comments

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

Well, it's got someone who says they're Taral Wayne with a claim about the UMAs being restricted to a single convention that's a decade out of date. Not sure that counts as controversy. (They commented before about its relevancy, and also dismissed FA as having "a couple of thousand members"; I think they might be stuck in a time-warp there, too.)

I agree that furry resembles a group of city-states; however, I don't see diversity as a negative, in awards, websites, or creators. Whether said awards matter is debatable for both furry and sci-fi. I'm sure plenty of people who consider themselves "sci-fi fans" could not name a single Nebula award-winner – even if they'd read the work concerned.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Hilarious how he was absolutely right until the point where he said we all liked MLP. He give us too much credit on solidarity there.

Your rating: None

As far as relevancy is concerned, of the eight movies nominated for Best Picture by the Academy Awards for 2014, only one (American Sniper) played at my nearest theater. Now, obviously, a bit geographically challenged, as my recent comments on comic book shops illustrate, and last year was a really extreme example, but relevancy has nothing to do with awards.

Unless there's an award for "Most Relevant," but that would be stupid.

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Of course, now there's a "controversial" discussion on the UMA's own list!

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Sounds like his argument is that the creator of the work has to be a furry. In that case MLP, Pokemon, Five Nights at Freddy's also have to go.

If his argument is that the work should contain furries, then his anger about Furry Force doesn't stand. Sure his stance on Avatar is valid. He doesn't even mention the Vampire DLC of Skyrim beating Dust: An Elysian Tail...

Are there flaws to the URSAs? Yes. Is Furry Force one of them? No.

If anything, I think it shows that we as a fandom can laugh at exaggerated portrayals of the culture; as long as those portrayals are not done with malicious intent.

Because the difference between good and evil is merely the ability to laugh at one's self.

As a disclaimer I picked the fourth season of MLP over Furry Force.

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No, he's just angry he lost (Max de Groot = MaxGoof = 5th place out of 5).

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Oh, well technically I lost too. I had a short story that was published in 2014 which didn't get nominated :)

Dang you statistics, you're so unfair! Burn it to the ground!

Your rating: None

Actually, we're both losers for the same thing, if you count Flayrah.

So you're a double loser, while I'm only a loser.

That means I win at losing, right?

(Actually, I submitted two stories to an anthology that was nominated, and both were rejected, so, actually, congratulations on beating me there!)

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

No, I win at losing because I lost more :)

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

I think WikiFur, Inkbunny, and Flayrah count as a triple. ;-)
Of course, Mary E. Lowd had four nominations that didn't win!

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Oh, we're only counting nominations? Then all I got is Flayrah, and even then I'm mostly just some guy on the credit role, so at most .5 losses.

But you win at losing more than me for sure.

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As I read it, the crux of his argument was that the UMA shouldn't support work which makes furry look bad; and that their promotion was inappropriate (compared to his) because their goal must have been to make the UMAs/furry look bad. Also, that they'd keep winning because they were popular; and I think he was hinting that a significant amount of the votes were not from furries and therefore should not be considered eligible.

He did try to draw a distinction between internal criticism by, say, Shawn Keller - I didn't think that was particularly convincing because, if anything, Shawn's work was more controversial at the time. In addition, it was suggested that votes had come in for many other categories, not just the one containing Furry Force.

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You know what, honestly, as a guy who has criticized the UMAs in the past, and started up a monthly column that I even implemented effectively a whole year (a whole year, you guys!) and, bit less effectively another ... two, I think it was? ... to try and semi-sorta game the system. Anyway, he would have valid points, (maybe), but, as the guy who lost, he is in the worst possible position to make them.

I'm just very much reminded of California Chrome, the horse that most recently almost won the Triple Crown (or more specifically, his owner). Watching the Belmont Stakes, the program showed the owner presenting himself as a kind of good ol' boy just pleased to be there. Then the horse lost the race, and the guy instantly dropped the act and started a rant about how it was impossible to win the Triple Crown. The illusion instantly dropped; he had a valid point in that it is impossible (though that's also probably missing the point, so if anything bear guy at least has better ground to stand on), but, sorry guy. You're just being a sore loser. Try harder next year.

Or even Michael Keaton at the Oscars this year; he recently joked on Letterman how he lost the Oscar for Best Actor because the guy who won it played a historical character with a disease, and those always win. Which is true. And on top of that, I was rooting for Keaton! But it was still either a dick move, because, come on, just let it go, dude, or it was really stupid, because there's no way it doesn't look like sour grapes.

(Also, Shawn Keller sucked.)

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

"It is intended as Anthropomorphic (a.k.a. Furry) Fandom's equivalent of the Hugo Award"

Anyone else find that something of an ironic statement this year?

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

No worries, Ursa puppies are far more happier than Hugo puppies.

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So, are you talking about the apparently very politically reactionary (and apparently racist/sexist) slate of nominees this year?

I'd heard it was supposed to be bad.

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

Yes, and yes.

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But how can you vote against puppies? (Or broad-chested heroes, perhaps…)

Then again, I 'won' SpinDizzy's 2013 mayoral election with a campaign for No Mayor. It wasn't pretty, but politics rarely is. (The organizers decided not to have that option next year.)

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

I think it's kind of silly to remove oneself from a catagory because the person you're running against has a different viewpoint, especially if bigoted... I mean, isn't the point of being in the catagory to run against the person in that catagory? What idiot would think that because you are nominated along with this other guy that means you hold this other guy's ideals?

(Godwin's Law imitate) That would be like saying Paul von Hindenburg is associated with Hitler because he ran against the guy in a ballet. Did he go "I want off this ballot if he's on it?". Heck no. He, in poor health and in his 80s (in the 1930s mind you) said "I have to stay on the ballot BECAUSE Hitler is on it, despite my wish to retire..."

In a way if your work promotes social tolerance and or justice and you leave because the one you're running against is promoting intolerance and or justice for only a privileged few, then your leaving does not prevent the later from winning, it promotes it to happen.

That being said... who knew that a system where you pay to vote would eventually cause a system where mostly entitled individuals had more control over who wins?

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That's kind of oversimplifying the issue. Some of it is that the works in question got on the ballot as part of a slate, and many object to slates in principle as being against the spirit of the awards, and to these slates in particular because they were clearly created for the purpose of furthering political/ideological agenda in protest rather than recognizing quality work. (Which is what the puppy folks accuse the other side of doing with the Hugos.)

It's a mess, and a complicated one to try to explain succinctly, but in a nutshell, sf/f fandom now is aware that the Hugos can be gamed without technically breaking any rules. From the sound of some of the comments I'm seeing elsewhere, some furries are now realizing the same thing about the UMAs.

Your rating: None

The UMAs were not gamed; this is one guy upset he lost to a non-furry comedy site making fun of furries (or probably just upset he lost, period). Said comedy site didn't game the system; they put up one video saying "vote for us!" (which also contained almost the exact quote "don't vote for us," by the way), which, if that's "gaming the system," Flayrah is just as much a "gamer of the system," and that didn't work out so well for us.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

I think what they didn't want was to be included on a third-party slate of preferred authors to vote for, some of whom they disagreed with and didn't want to be associated with; but what you describe might have happened as well.

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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