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2015 Ursa Major Award final ballot

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Ursa Major Awards logo by FoxenawolfVoting for the 2015 Ursa Major Awards, for the Best Anthropomorphic Literature and Art of the 2015 calendar year in eleven categories, is now open. The voting is open from March 15 to April 30. The awards will be announced at a presentation ceremony at What the Fur 2016, in Montreal, Quebec, on May 20-22, 2016.

The eleven categories are: Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture, Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short or Series, Best Anthropomorphic Novel, Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction, Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work, Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story, Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip, Best Anthropomorphic Magazine, Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration, Best Anthropomorphic Game and Best Anthropomorphic Website.

Voting is open to all! To vote, go to the Ursa Major Awards website and click on "Voting for 2015" at the left. You will receive instructions on how to register to vote. You do not have to vote in every category. Please vote in only those categories in which you feel knowledgeable.

This final ballot has been compiled from those works receiving the most nominations that were eligible. Please check the dates of publication next year to make sure that your nominations are only for works published during the calendar year (January through December) in question.

Update (22 May): The results have been announced.

Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture

Live-action or animated feature-length movies.

Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short or Series

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

  • Danger Mouse (Directed by Robert Cullen; Season 1 episodes 1-16)
  • Harvey Beaks (Directed by C. H.Greenblatt; Season 1 March 29 to November 15)
  • Littlest Pet Shop (Directed by Joel Dickie and Steven Garcia; Season 3 episode 17 to Season 4 episode 9)
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (Directed by James Thiessen, Jim Miller, and Denny Lu; Season 5 episode 1 to Season 5 episode 26, April 4 to November 28)
  • Tiger’s Eye (Audio Drama Podcast) (Directed by Alexander Shaw; episodes 1 to 25, May 13 to October 29)
  • We Bare Bears (Directed by Manny Hernandez; Season 1 episode 1 to episode 25, July 27 to November 19)

Best Anthropomorphic Novel

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

Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction

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

Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work

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

Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story

Includes comic books and serialized online stories.

Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip

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

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.

Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration

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

Best Anthropomorphic Game

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

Best Anthropomorphic Website

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

Comments

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Am I early? The voting link on the website isn't working.

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Probably; I noticed that, which is why it isn't directly linked up in article. Fred wanted me to please get it out as soon as possible, so ... I may have been a bit too effective.

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The correct link appears to be http://ursamajorawards.org/voting2015/ so I've put that in the article. The UMA front page links to http://ursamajorawards.org/Voting.htm which doesn't exist anymore. A redirect would probably be a good idea - especially if that link has been posted anywhere else, but also to preserve search engine presence.

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Heh!

Thank you!

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Funny thing, I actually clicked on the voting link a day early, and the novel category originally had Kyell Gold's Uncovered as a nominee.

I guess Gold's step-down is still in effect and they had to fix the mistake quickly.

Your rating: None

Not exactly. The day-early list was the raw data that we received, which was never intended to be published. Kyell Gold's disqualifying himself didn't stop several fans from nominating his works. They were not accepted for the final ballot, according to his wishes; so to say that we mistakenly included them on the original final ballot is not true.

Fred Patten

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I'm not sure why he's even given that option. It's our choice what the best works are, not his. (Well, he gets a vote.)
Now the UMA is "the best furry work that isn't too controversial and whose creator hasn't won enough".
[Yes, yes, I should just make my own awards if I want to make the rules. It's tempting!]

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Speaking personally rather than giving the ALAA's majority decision, I agree that allowing a nominee to disqualify him- or herself sabotages the award's goal of showing what is the most popular title of the year. It also sets up an atmosphere of, "----- may have won, but everyone knows that ¶¶¶¶¶ was really more popular and would have won if its author hadn't withdrawn it."

Fred Patten

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Man, I haven't seen ¶ in so long. We need to bring it back!

Kyell doesn't seem to have been talking about the UMAs, but clearly staying quiet about it hasn't stopped people liking his work and thinking it should be on the list. Perhaps another way to approach this would be for him to urge people to nominate and vote for other work? This seems like it would further the same goal of increasing the diversity of winners. (Though I guess it might be awkward with respect to his publishers.)

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Heh. Back in the 1970s, in the pre-home computer days, I had a typewriter with a European keyboard. I was so proud of being able to type ¶ and § and £ and all those symbols that nobody else around L.A. could. Today with home computers, everyone has all of them and more.

Fred Patten

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In speaking of which, I'm pleasantly surprised at the diversity of the short stories authors this year. I think it bodes well that we can get a variety of authors in there organically and not have to psudo-demand (also see: moan and gripe) about one person running the board to gather competition.

Back when I started writing years ago, one of my long term goals was to try and see if I could not break the Gold dynasty. In hindsight, yes, that's quite a whopper of a goal, and bombastic and kind of an odd thing to do so, especially since now a days I just do it for the sake of enjoyment. It's a far cheaper hobby than videogames.

But long term goals are an important stepping stone, even if they do seem oddly short sighted.

I suppose that doesn't mean that someone other than Mary will win with her nominated story, per say. But if she does, at least I can have confidence that I can call these things over a year in advance now .

Your rating: None

At least that's finally an admission that the UMA honors the most popular work of the year, not the work of the highest quality or merit.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

The Ursa Major Awards have always been a popular-vote award with no pretense of consideration for artistic or literary merit. This has been announced since 2001, so I don't know what you mean by "that's finally an admission that the UMA honors the most popular work of the year".

It's not exactly a secret that if the ALAA administrators could have thrown out the nominations and votes in 2009 for "Avatar" on the grounds that Big, Blue Aliens are not anthropomorphic animals, and given the award to the stop-motion "Fantastic Mr. Fox" instead, we would have done so. But "Avatar" was the clear favorite with the voters.

Fred Patten

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I still think the bigger sin was the Skyrim: Dawngaurd (aka Vampire based expansion) beating Dust: An Elysian Tail.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

For anyone interested in reading my nominated works, I'm making e-books of In a Dog's World and The Necromouser and Other Magical Cats available for free through Smashwords while voting is open.

In a Dog's World
Coupon Code: CJ98M
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/601414

The Necromouser & Other Magical Cats
Coupon Code: JW97Y
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/601627

Also, my short story "Lunar Cavity" is available to read for free on the web-zine Deep Sky Anchor: http://deepskyanchor.com/lunar-cavity/

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Sorry that I can't offer anything for free, but I'm very proud that four of the five short fiction finalists are in my anthology "The Furry Future", trade paperback available from FurPlanet and e-book available from Bad Dog Books; and "The Furry Future" itself is an Other Literary Work finalist. Go, thou, and vote.

Fred Patten

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Thanks for that, and particularly the link to "Lunar Cavity", which I missed finding when adding links. It's in the story now.

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I was feeling guilty for not putting in links, but I thought speed was of the essence, and maybe I'd put them in later. And now you've done all the work, and I feel even guiltier. Thanks, GR!

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Got to love awards season. Free ebooks! Think I've got four now from people giving them away during nominations. I still need to actually read them though. I much prefer reading books in paperback (I don't like hardcover much. It's too heavy.) but I suppose that would be a problem to give away.

"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

I shall take a look at those, thanks! I hate voting without knowing.

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Excellent! We need more informed voters.

You live in Madrid; right? Have you seen anything in Spain in the furry line that we in North America won't have seen? Any BRB animation movies? (There is supposed to be a "Dogtanian" CGI feature in production; dunno when it's supposed to be completed).

Fred Patten

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For instance, I see that volume 3 of “La saga d’Atlas & Axis” was published in France last November. It’s available internationally on Amazon.fr. Do any furs read French? Does anyone else surf the French comics websites for new French animalière bandes dessinées?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkV2byQ6eC8

http://www.bdgest.com/

Fred Patten

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I would also be particularly interested in any Dogtanian news, for obvious reasons :)

~ Huskyteer

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Holy shit! I knew nothing about that! It's aimed at a release in late 2016. This is the latest reel by BRB Internacional: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAzHtrUF5eY&t=3m51s

Aw but traditional drawn animation looked much better.

Around the World with Willy Fog; Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds; The World of David the Gnome; good times good times *sobs*

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Thanks for this trailer. It's in English, so someone thinks it has a chance in English-speaking territories -- probably a British theatrical release, since "Dogtanian" has always been unknown in the States.

I still think that Dwight Decker's "muttsketeers" is a better translation of the Spanish "muskeperros" than "muskehounds". The Spanish pun doesn't really translate into English.

Fred Patten

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Hmmm. Do all of the "My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic" fans know about BRB's "Filly Funtasia"?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsb0F7tCEBE

It is nice to see that BRB is doing its own CGI animation in Spain today instead of subcontracting it to Japanese animation studios. When anime fans first saw these in the 1980s from videos from Japan, it looked like TV cartoons like "Dogtanian" and "Willy Fog" were entirely Japanese productions. We didn't know that they had been commissioned by BRB for Spanish TV, and were only shown on Japanese TV because the Japanese animation studio had them available. It is obvious in retrospect that a Japanese studio wouldn't have picked funny-animal adaptations of European novels like "The Three Musketeers" and "Around the World in 80 Days" for Japanese TV on its own.

Fred Patten

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They'd need someone versed in English to notice that. I agree 'muskehounds' sounds awful. It's like cheap Engrish. Even wuffsketeers sounds better.

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For those who don’t know, “musketeers” is English and “mousquetaires” is French. In Spanish it’s “mosqueteros”. Dogs in Spanish is “perros”, so BRB’s pun for Spanish TV was “mosqueperros”. Try translating that into English. “Muskehounds”? Almost every English-speaking fan of the series has come up with a better translation, such as “muttsketeers” or “wuffsketeers”.

The French originated the word when the King’s Musketeers, “les Mousquetaires de la maison militaire du roi de France”, was created by Louis XIII in 1622, although there had been companies of soldiers with muskets in several other nations by then.

Fred Patten

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Can I plug my website? I'm gonna plug my website!

http://muskehounds.com/

It looks horribly dated now but it was the first Dogtanian fansite on the web, and my character descriptions ended up on the UK DVD release.

~ Huskyteer

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Surely! I love everything about "The Three Musketeers", including turning it into a funny-animal TV cartoon.

One of the things that particularly impressed me about Dumas's writing, which doesn't come through in any of the movie adaptations or the cartoons, is that he always says how heroic the King's Musketeers are and how evil the Cardinal's Guards are, but his descriptions make it clear that they were both just gangs of teenage bullies with noble sponsors, going around showing off their dueling skills on anybody whom they could accuse of insulting them. And that Louis XIII and Cardinal Richelieu were, if not friends, very close political allies, and that neither could care less what trouble their Musketeers got into.

Dumas' "The Count of Monte Cristo" is great, too.

Fred Patten

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And, of course, I am honored to be nominated for Magazine once again. Thank you ^^

www.infurnation.com

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Cool to have contributed to more than just Flayrah on the listings this year. Have short stories in the Furry Future and Inhuman Acts. Hope to continue to contribute more this year.

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Don't forget that my "Gods With Fur", to be published by FurPlanet at Anthrocon 2016 at the end of June, is still open for new stories until May 1st.

This is an open invitation to anyone else who wants to try writing a publishable furry short story in the 2,000 to 20,000 word range.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

In a true expression of the wiki spirit, some dog has edited my photo onto a 'personal' appeal for votes for WikiFur.
Let's just hope it's as successful as Wikipedia's similar campaigns

Your rating: None

This is a refreshing change from 2004, when a certain Ursa Major winner commented, "What is this Ursa Major Award, and who cares if I 'won' one? Nobody ever heard of it. It's just some clowns trying to make themselves sound important." That's an approximation of what he said; my computer hasn't saved e-mails that old. But I've never forgotten it.

Things are happily different today. The Ursa Major Awards have gotten some respect.

Fred Patten

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Why are there only four nominees for illustrations? Isn't there usually five for each category?

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

Usually, yes. This year, there were four clear nominees and four ties for the last nominee. If they had all been included, the final ballot would have had eight nominees. It was felt that it would be better to have only four finalists than eight. Six finalists is okay, but the rules state that when there are excessive ties for last place, the final ballot may have less than five rather than including too many.

Fred Patten

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I'm glad to hear that! Was certain it was not enough nominated art. Because I'm cynical.

Also, having Internet trouble, so sorry Fred about story in queue.

Your rating: None

Can't believe no one has said who they're voting for and why yet! I guess I'll start that off.

MOTION PICTURE

Haven't seen any of those so I'm not voting. However, Inside Out is not furry! I know the Ursa Majors are anthropomorphic in general but I think it should be a furry award. Similarly, Peanuts is not furry. One character does not a furry movie make, it needs to be a significant aspect of the movie. If I had to guess I'd probably say The Lion Guard or Shaun the Sheep should win.

DRAMATIC SHORT WORK OR SERIES

I'm a brony, so MLP it is! It is a really good show though and inspired a really creative community.

NOVEL

Sadly, I haven't read any.

SHORT FICTION

As above.

OTHER LITERARY WORK

Here I have read Furries Among Us, I even lent it to my aunt. I'll give it my vote but, because of the different authors, it's a mixed bag. Some I really disagree with, no surprises, and some are not great. I admire Fred but the publishing history seemed particularly dry. However the essays from the IARP members were very interesting and helped me see some aspects of the fandom in a different light.

GRAPHIC STORY

Not read either.

COMIC STRIP

Only read Housepets! and I'm giving it my vote just like every year. :)

MAGAZINE

Obviously Flayrah comes first! Then Dogpatch Press as second. I see the InFurNation bits here but I seldom read them and I'm familiar with Heat only by reputation. I'm a bit disappointed not to see [adjective][species] there as it does some really cool things, even if most of what they say is wrong. :p

PUBLISHED ILLUSTRATION

Some really beautiful choices there. It was a close call between Kenket and Rukis but since I went to EF21 and had a great time, I'm giving Kenket's work the top spot. It's followed by Rukis' and Teagan Gavet's.

GAME

I've not heard of Yo-Kai Watch but I know all the others. But I've not actually played any. People say Undertale is amazing but the look and price put me off buying it. FNAF3 and Armello didn't sound too great. Ori and the Blind Forest looked beautiful in the bits I did see and I'm pretty sure it would've got my vote if I'd played it.

WEBSITE

SoFurry should get the top spot, although I am a SoFurry ambassador so not entirely unbiased. I use Wikifur a lot when I'm writing articles or need to check something so I find it a really useful, if very incomplete, reference. It gets my second vote. I know some people really hate it but E621 does make finding porn really convenient... >.< It gets a spot for that.

"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~

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I believe [adjective][species] still considers itself a "website;" however, it hasn't even made the recommended list two years in a row, but in 2013, it was still listed as a website. Also, I seem to remember them running an article badmouthing the Ursa Majors like the week after nominees were announced last year; it was a bit of bad timing, what with the lack of a nomination last ear. Looked like sour grapes (though I really doubt it had much to do with their lack of nomination).

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This one? It had some criticism but seemed overall positive about the concept - and it was posted two weeks prior to the closure of nomination, and encouraging people to nominate them. They just didn't make it that year. I'd say it was because they weren't on that year's Recommended list - but then nor was the winner, Fur Affinity.

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JM is so passive aggressive, that constitutes a scathing condemnation by [a][s] standards. Though I did remember wrong; who knows if it actually had any effect. It still feels like sour grapes after being snubbed the year before.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

I still don't get what [adjective][species] is for... It has surveys, but the Anthropomorphic Research Project is more complete... It has some news but other websites cover them more / better... It has opinion pieces that I don't really find that interesting... they're written as deep but they fall flat, as in, they're not really that substantial, I don't feel like I've learned much... from what I've read so far.

That's my impression. Also, I find the layout design horrid, and not conducive to discussion. It's better than nothing, I guess.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

Have I told you I like your comments. Because I really like your comments.

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

I can't say I agree there. IARP is more professional but the [a][s] yearly survey is much bigger. And don't forget that the [a][s] furry survey predates both [a][s] and the IARP by a two years. I don't really see them doing much news but they do do opinion pieces. And, yes, not all of them are good but it's something that I don't see on many other sites. They're making a discussion about aspects of furry which I think are lacking elsewhere but are necessary.

"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: 3.5 (2 votes)

Well, we can comment on JM's latest article if you like, here, because it's easier than doing it there.

Animal Farm, by George Orwell.

JM: "I have re-read Animal Farm, but I’m not recommending to the Furry Canon. Read something else."

Starts as a promising article, if only because it's not a mainstream opinion, and so I wanna hear what he has to say about that. Personally, I don't like Animal Farm. I read it once, and I thought it was boring. Meanwhile, I've read 1984 several times, particularly the transformation of the main character from a strong-willed individual into a decrepit accommodating carcass of a person, which I find fascinating.

But then, JM:

"I simply don’t think that Animal Farm [is] a furry book. Which got me thinking about what constitutes a furry book."

He argues a number of points to support this statement, most of which are ridiculous. JM: "For starters, I think that furry is escapist by nature." The furry 'genre' is not 'escapist'. Furry is a meta-genre. This means that it encompasses any cultural depiction where animal anthropomorphism is used, across different genres (with no other fixed staple). Maus by Art Spiegelman is an example of a furry work, the furry here used as tool by a non-furry author, to tell a biographical (of sorts) Holocaust story he wanted to tell. I've heard some people argue Maus is not a furry work, and I guess you could argue that to some extent. But this isn't their position.

In a previous article introducing what they attempt to do at [adjective][species] by defining "The Furry Canon" (somewhat dissenting with the assessments made by Fred Patten), they say:

"JM (editor horse-in-chief of [a][s]) and I were talking about Fred Patten’s article "What The Well-Read Furry Should Read," which features what Fred considers to be the top ten classics of the fandom. It’s not a bad list, but we had a number of questions. How did Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Animal Farm make the list, but Maus and The Wind in the Willows did not?".

So Maus is not escapism, but they call it furry. Quod erat demonstratum.

It's the kind of pseudo-depth I observe in their articles, which is like, using an analogy, "I'm attempting to give a closer look at this issue, but my glasses are permanently foggy".

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Firstly, a minor quibble: "Animal Farm" is a novella, not a novel by word length, even if it is published by itself.

Now the main argument: of course, "Animal Farm" is furry! J.M.'s opinion is his own, which he's entitled to. But saying that "Animal Farm" isn't furry is like Sanrio Ltd., the makers of "Hello Kitty", saying that "Hello Kitty" (or Kitty White, the anthropomorphic cat-girl) isn't a cat; she's really a human girl. Which Sanrio has done recently, and they should know because she's their creation and their copyrighted character, isn't she?

Fine, but how many people agree with Sanrio? To the vast majority of the public, "Hello Kitty"/Kitty White is a cat.

Almost everyone would agree that "Animal Farm" is furry, except those who feel that "Animal Farm" is Literature and "furry" is a specific subcategory. Aside from general literary categorization, the animals in "Animal Farm" do not talk only to each other. They negotiate with other humans in the story. They buy land from a neighboring human farmer to enlarge their farm. So, unless you insist on pigeonholing "Animal Farm" as political allegory instead of furry, or you feel that a literary work must be by a furry-fandom writer &/or published by a furry-specialty publisher (or by a print-on-demand publisher like CreateSpace or Lulu), it meets the generally-accepted definition of furry.

J.M. is apparently one of those who feels that "Animal Farm" is clearly political allegory, so it can't be furry. (Also, it predates furry fandom.) I believe that it can be both at once, and that it should be considered a basic work of the Furry Canon.

It's amusing to consider what Eric Blair/George Orwell would have thought. Somehow I doubt that he would have been sympathetic to furry fandom. "Animal Farm" is still furry, in my opinion -- and, I think, in most furs' opinions.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

Both Animal Farm and Maus fall into the "furry category" of having anthropomorphic animals. Animal Farm seems to be more "furry genre" than Maus, though, because Animal Farm makes repeated references to the animal nature of the characters, whereas in Maus (as I recall) the difference is purely a visual indication of ethnicity.

"Furry didn't exist then" is a silly argument. What next, Robin Hood isn't furry?

Your rating: None

For what it's worth, the definition of furry is something I have disagreed with JM over on multiple occasions. It's nice to have people think about it but pretty much every possibility floated on [a][s] is terrible. I already wrote my own article on what I think the best definition of furry should be and explained it in a talk at Eurofurence. All of that material is available on Flayrah. You might also be interested to know I wrote a whole article specifically criticising and disagreeing with JM's ideas about the furry fandom: https://www.flayrah.com/5499/opinion-new-furry-much-old-furry

Edit: After glancing at some comments there, what happened to Perri Rhoades?

"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: 3 (2 votes)

That's a good article that shows the degree of absurdity of [a][s]. To me at this point that site is a personal blog, unfortunately disguised as authoritative. And the fan vs. lifestyler line of thought is fucking stale. I suppose I'm more concerned / uneasy about its authoritative disguise (that 'professional look' the website has).

Your rating: None

Woof! Dogmatism does smell like something's rotten in denmark. It's good to see it noticed independently. Here's another one. http://dogpatch.press/2015/09/08/revisiting-debate/

Your rating: None

Well, I think the mystery of "why was [a][s] not nominated?" is kind of solved; quite a few people don't like them, period, even some of the people who do like them have major disagreements with them, and, also, well, they don't like the Ursa Majors themselves, so they probably aren't voting for themselves.

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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