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Review: 'Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989 - 2015' by Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989 - 2015 Since their origin in panels and meets at science fiction conventions of the 1980s, furry cons have grown in membership and popularity. Today, they are found on every continent except Antarctica (now there's a challenge). Anthrocon, the world's largest furry convention, welcomed 6,389 attendees in 2015.

Fred Patten's book is the most complete published work (OK, OK: it's the only published work) to cover the history and status of furry fandom get-togethers across the world.

McFarland, January 2017, 260 pages. Available on Amazon and Google Play.

A convention is differentiated from a more casual furmeet by elements including a committee, paid memberships, and a structured event schedule. Most cons last more than one day and take place in a hotel, convention centre, or sometimes camp site or youth hostel.

The book comprises an alphabetical listing of conventions, so events in North America rub shoulders with Asia and Russia, and big hitters like Eurofurence appear next to smaller conventions like EAST (Episches Abfeiern Streunender Tiere).

Browsing the convention names, what you'll notice above all is furry's passion for puns, with Baltimore-based Fur the ‘More and Canada’s Fur-Eh! leading the pack and an honourable mention to The Maltese Fur-Con. While most con names include the word ‘fur’ - the F section takes up around a fifth of the book - others use ‘anthro’ or ‘critter’, or, like Megaplex and Oklacon, eschew signposting.

Some aspects of furry conventions, like the PawPet Show and the Dealers' Den, have been adopted by cons across the world, while others are unique to a single convention, like Camp Feral!’s scavenger hunts.

Because the information has been collated from reports sent in by organisers and attendees all over the world, the style can be a little variable, and information sparse. There are a couple of occasions when personal opinion peeks through the factual report, especially when the behaviour of individual attendees is significant enough to get a mention. These little glimpses of convention goings-on no doubt elicit a knowing nod from those who were there, and are often tantalizing for those of us who weren't.

A selection of convention banners, posters and logos is reproduced in black and white, with eight full colour pages at the centre of the book, and there is a 'Furword' by social psychologist Kathleen C. Gerbasi.

Whether or not you attend conventions yourself, this is an interesting read that will broaden your horizons and improve your knowledge of geography. It's nice to think that on almost any given weekend, somewhere in the world, furries are having fun.

Comments

Your rating: None

Part of me wants to get it but I keep hesitating since it's really expensive and sounds like it's just a list of conventions. That's a useful reference or random browsing material but not really something you can easily read and learn from.

"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

Fingers crossed for an ebook. It's my preferred method of buying from small presses, as it's cheaper and there's no postage to worry about!

~ Huskyteer

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Oh no, I like real books.

"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

Here's a link to the eBook on Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=nkMODgAAQBAJ&source=productsearch...

eBook ISBN is 978-1-4766-2688-8

Your rating: None

Yarst. I didn't know myself that it was available as an e-book. Thanks, FuzzWolf.

Fred Patten

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Nice work, Fuzz!

~ Huskyteer

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McFarland specializes in reference-type books that are more for college, university, and public libraries than for the general public. Furry fans might recommend that their school or public libraries get my book from Amazon instead if they can't afford it themselves. (Although this may not help Rakuen if he's at a university in Austria).

Huskyteer mentions the banners, posters, and logos that are reproduced in black-&-white throughout the book, but there are also eight pages in full color.

Fred Patten

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Sorry, Fred, I don't know how I failed to mention the colour section! I'll edit now. (I'll also post this to Goodreads and Amazon.)

~ Huskyteer

Your rating: None

Aha! The color/colour difference. Thurston Howl has instructed me to use only American spellings in "Furry Frolics", the anthology that I'm editing now for Thurston Howl Publications; despite the fact that I'm getting submissions from at least two former British colonies. (Besides the U.S.A., I mean.)

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

Amazon is selling it at a 18% discount. You can also see a large portion of it free on the "Look inside" function.

Fred Patten

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Bought the book as part of a large order from Ed Zolna's Second-Ed site. I think I did see some critiques from Mark and Rodney about the Confurence entries, but I can't recall where I saw 'em.

Your rating: None

Fred, I read and enjoyed many of your convention reports during my involvement in the Rowrbrazzle fanzine. Does the content of your new book draw from those reports or are they considered too specific to the conventions covered?

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

I unfortunately did not have access to my Rowrbrazzle convention reports when I wrote this book. I was in my convalescent hospital by then, while my copies of Rowrbrazzle are at the University of California at Riverside's Rivera Library, 75 miles away. But I remember the furry conventions that I attended and that I wrote the Rowrbrazzle con reports about -- ConFurences, ConFurence Easts, Conifur Northwests, Further Confusions, and one Anthrocon, from 1989 to 2005 when I had my stroke. I relied on my memories plus what online research I could do. WikiFur was a great help, especially for specifics like the names of guests-of-honor, official charities, and so on. Where WikiFur didn't have the information, I wrote to convention chairs and other committee members, or attendees of those conventions. Several fans posted their con reports online.

I tried to report what happened at the conventions, and what was perceived to happen. In a couple of cases, the chairmen of those conventions objected that what I reported wasn't what really happened, or wasn't what was intended; but I reported what the attendees thought had happened and said in their con reports. I tried to report both stories when I could.

I owe thanks to a lot of con committee personnel who looked up old records to answer some of my questions. Contrariwise, some people said that I was asking about what had happened years ago and they couldn't be bothered to look it up. Many conventions never answered me at all -- you can probably tell which ones by which conventions have information missing in my book. One particular thanks I own is to Tibo, the chairman of most of the ConiFur Northwests in Seattle. All of its artwork had been taken offline long ago, but he dug out an old Program Book and scanned its cover to send me for publication.

Fred Patten

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About the author

Huskyteer (Alice Dryden)read storiescontact (login required)

a web developer and Husky from London, UK, interested in writing, scooters, 1960s music, aviation and karate

Writer, Biker, Furry, Spy.