Review: 'Claws and Starships', by M. C. A. Hogarth

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Claws and Starships by M.C.A. Hogarth When the results of Earth's genetic experiments fled their makers, they took their own name as they left humanity behind; centuries later, the Pelted have spread into a multi-world alliance of cultures and languages, cribbed from Terra or created whole-cloth. Claws and Starships collects six stories of the Pelted, ranging from the humor of a xenoanthropologist on the wrong side of mythology to more serious works considering the implications of genetic engineering in a far-future classroom seeded with the children of those laboratories. Come stamp your passport and visit the worlds of the Pelted Alliance in all their variety! (back-cover blurb)

If you want to say that I have a conflict of interest reviewing this collection as I wrote the afterword to it, go ahead. I have been a fan of M.C.A. Hogarth’s “Pelted Alliance” furry science fiction stories since I discovered them in YARF! and other furry fanzines in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I included one, “Rosettes and Ribbons” from Yarf! #58, January 2000, in Best in Show, the first anthology of furry fiction. I was glad to see this first collection of Pelted short fiction, along with six illustrations by the author, in an e-book in December 2011, and I felt honored to be asked to write this afterword, for this new trade paperback edition in June 2013.

Claws and Starships consists of the novella “A Distant Sun” and the five short stories “Rosettes and Ribbons”, “The Elements of Freedom”, “Tears”, “Pantheon” and “Butterfly”. These are the Pelted stories that do not feature Alysha Forrest, Hogarth’s feline-based Karaka’An woman, the main character in the series. The first Alysha Forrest stories were rewritten into Hogarth’s novel Alysha’s Fall (Cornwuff Press, September 2000), and she has starred in most of the Pelted short fiction since then.

But there have been these six other stories that show the Pelted universe is more than just Alysha’s adventures. Claws and Starships packages them together neatly for the fans of the Pelted universe, and of really good furry interstellar science fiction.

Illustrated by M.C.A. Hogarth, afterword by Fred Patten, Tampa, FL, Studio MCAH, June 2013, trade paperback $12.99 ([2 +] 203 pages), Kindle $3.99.

Review: 'District 14, Season 2', by Pierre Gabus and Romuald Reutimann

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District 14: Season 2I reviewed District 14, Season 1 on Flayrah on February 12, 2013, saying:

Wow!

I don’t know what’s going on, but wow!

Three years have passed since Season 1. As before, the main character is the mysterious Babar-esque elephant immigrant known as Michael Elizondo, with his recently made best friend, the reckless investigative reporter Hector McKeagh the beaver.

Season 2 continues the elaborate comic-art “crime noir” mystery set in an early 20th-century steampunk version of New York City populated with humans, anthropomorphic animals and flying-saucer aliens.

Wow, indeed.

Translation by Anna Provitola, Los Angeles, Humanoids, Inc., January 2014, hardcover $39.95 (358 [+ 1] pages).

Furry comics for September 2014 (Previews and Marvel Previews)

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #2The only furry comic of note to make the May 2014 bestsellers list was Guardians of the Galaxy #15 at 25, so I’ll add that this month actually sees not one, but two furry takes on War of the Worlds, and I’m excited about both of them.

Which will be the best (or will Alan Moore’s Dr. Moreau vs. Martians still be the best furry War of the Worlds take)?

See also: July 2014, August 2014

Review: 'All Tied Up in Knotz', by Andres Cyanni Halden

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All Tied Up in Knotz This is a mature content book. Please ensure that you are of legal age to purchase this material in your state or region. (publisher's advisory)

This is a M/M adult novella, but not in FurPlanet’s “Cupcakes” series. FurPlanet has rated it NC-17 for “graphic sexual situations”.

Synopsis: Carson really likes meeting guys over Knotz, his favorite smartphone app. He has little patience for conversation and even less for the idea of a relationship. However, after a hot bear quite literally knocks him off his feet, it seems there might be more to life than his job and searching for one night stands. (publisher’s blurb)

Carson, as the cover by Soro shows, is a young male red fox (usually more dressed in public) who works in a bookstore in St. Marx. He meets Peter Belov, a handsome and ridiculously rich Russian black bear, when the latter’s expensive car knocks over his bicycle in a minor traffic accident. Carson’s cell phone, ruined in the crash, is frozen on Knotz, a gay erotic site, so there is no doubt as to his sexual orientation. Peter offers to drive him home, and since Carson’s preference is obvious, Peter proposes a gay date.

All Tied Up in Knotz is well-written, but it is 100% for the gay male eroticism market. St. Marx appears to be a city inhabited entirely by handsome gay male anthros looking for friendly sex with no long-term attachments. Females and even families with children appear later, but the reader sees things from Carson’s point of view, and he notices little but the roving gay males.

Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, July 2013, trade paperback $9.95 (105 pages).

Wyrmkeep Entertainment newsletter for July 2014

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The following is The Wyrmkeep Entertainment Co.’s newsletter for July 2014. Items of interest include the announcement of the title for the Inherit the Earth: Quest for the Orb sequel, a new funding drive for that sequel and a new online reseller for Quest for the Orb.

Review: 'The Art of Henrieke', by Henrieke Goorhuis

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The Art of HenreikeThis is the fourth volume in Sofawolf PressArtistic Visions series of art-sketch format albums, each showcasing one of the best artists in furry fandom. Each is a professional artist, but is especially well-known in furry fandom for convention conbook covers, badge art and other commissioned art, and trades with other Furry artists; many of which are posted on DeviantART, Fur Affinity and other art websites.

The art in these albums emphasize anthropomorphized-animal cartoons and similar humorous work, rather than realistic animal depictions. Other Artistic Visions albums have showcased the work of Hibbary (Hillary Leutkemeyer), Brian and Tracy Reynolds, Kenket (Tess Garman) and Ursula Vernon. These are all American artists.

The Art of Henrieke is the first to feature a European artist. Henrieke Goorhuis, a Dutch artist born in 1990, has become very popular in just the last five years for European Furry convention art and T-shirts, commissioned art featuring fans’ personal icons and for commissioned art for European zoos. Her most popular character is her own cartoon icon, Kiki the ring-tailed lemur.

Good artbooks speak for themselves. Almost every page of The Art of Henrieke: Sketches, Works in Progress, and Commentary by the Artist is crammed with sketches and finished line art.

St. Paul, MN, Sofawolf Press, January 2014, trade paperback $14.95 (75 [+ 1] pages).

New furry fanzines turn to online distribution

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Tag #1 cover The cost of printing and distribution combined with minimal or non-existent sales always made fanzines a marginal proposition. But the format, if not the medium, is still popular with those seeking to try their paws at publishing.

Tag by Felix Greypaw and Hashiko Whitepaw offers an example of what you can do in just a few days; the first – so far only – issue was published May 16, including in-depth (and, alas, uncredited) articles about Dust: An Elysian Tail, Furcadia, and Wolf's Rain from Wikipedia, as well as furry-themed horoscopes and art.

Furry N' Fuzzy Magazine has made it to two issues, although it's overdue for the third. Featuring artists, t-shirt reviews, interviews, personal histories, the syndicated column Ask Papabear, photos of things that look furry, and copious ads, there's something for everyone.

Review: 'Walking with Dinosaurs' is a bit literal

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Walking with Dinosaurs What is it with cartoon dinosaur movies and migrating?

Ever since The Land Before Time1 featured a group of dinosaurs migrating through a barren wasteland, animated prehistoric animals have been moving en-mass just ahead of some sort of astronomical, geological or climactic cataclysm – all three at once, if they’re unlucky – that is implied will lead to the extinction of all creatures not our heroes, whose species will die out with them. A rather bleak fate, actually.

Let’s see… Disney’s Dinosaur featured a mass migration after an asteroid strike and a horrible drought. And this doesn’t just extend to dinosaurs; when I said prehistoric animals, I meant prehistoric animals. The first Ice Age and at least two of its sequels featured mass migrations ahead of disaster (I still haven’t seen the one with actual dinosaurs, but I assume migration plays some part); even prehistoric humans are not immune, as The Croods proved last year.

Now comes Walking with Dinosaurs (sometimes retitled Walking with Dinosaurs: 3D or Walking with Dinosaurs: The Movie), which is about dinosaurs putting on a prehistoric stage production of Les Misérables.

Just kidding, they migrate.

1 I’m sure there are earlier examples, but as child of the eighties, my knowledge of pop culture abruptly begins circa 1985; nothing, as far as I know, exists before - just like the rest of the Internet.

Review: 'Rise of the Penguins' and 'The Warlord, the Warrior, the War', by Steven Hammond

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Rise of the Penguins The War of the Species has begun. An ancient race of penguin has reemerged. From this race a powerful leader declares himself Overlord and unites the penguin clans of the world. His goal: to drive the human presence away from Antarctica and to exact revenge for the atrocities of the past against penguinkind. (Rise of the Penguins blurb)

Killer penguins are rising up in a war against humans for world domination! Is Steven Hammond serious? Judging by his hilarious Facebook page, hell, no! But his Rise of the Penguins series (published through CreateSpace, no matter what he says about Rockhopper Books), is so straight-faced that it is a good example of Rambo-type take-no-prisoners military fiction. With spear-carrying penguins.

Rise of the Penguins, December 2012, trade paperback $19.99 (8 + 722 pages), Kindle $3.99.
The Warlord, The Warrior, The War, September 2013, trade paperback $6.99 (6 + 112 pages), Kindle $1.99. Both by Steven Hammond, Clovis, CA, Rockhopper Books.

Video: Reptiles as heroes rather than villains?

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It's something sadly not as commonly seen as other heroic anthropomorphic animal characters, but animator Lightsen's recent project Lizard Cops showcases reptiles as heroes rather than villains.

Review: 'The Mystic Sands', by Alflor Aalto

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The Mystic Sands The bad news: The Mystic Sands by Alflor Aalto is a funny animal novel. The characters, all anthropomorphized animals, are interchangeable surrogate humans. There is no reason for any of them to be raccoons, rabbits, foxes, weasels, squirrels, or anything other than humans. They are all human-sized, wear regular human clothes (imagine a human-sized squirrel wearing Victorian clothes), eat human diets, etc. They do occasionally refer to their animal natures:

And don’t you worry your fluffy ringed tails, my friends. (p. 36)

The good news: The Mystic Sands by Alflor Aalto is a ripping good page-turner, a guaranteed attention-holding light thriller of the 1930s Weird Tales sort with anthropomorphized animals that will have you wanting to finish it in one session. Go buy it!

Las Vegas, NV, Rabbit Valley Comics, May 2013, trade paperback $20.00 (245 pages).

Furry webcomic 'At Arm's Length' seeks Patreon supporters

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At Arm's Length: ReeceA month shy of its sixth anniversary, long-running webcomic At Arm's Length is actively moving to acquire support, in the form of a Patreon campaign.

Written by DarkWingDude (aka Equestrian Horse Wrangler) and drawn by Brooke Scovil, At Arm's Length focuses primarily on three women who are emigrants from a hidden society of four-armed magical beings. Our heroines, Ally (rabbit; specializes in illusions) Sheila (kangaroo; the most direct, forthright member of the trio) and Reece (fox; psychic and generally peculiar) appreciate the mortal world to the point where they put the smackdown on magical threats that mundane authorities simply cannot handle.

Those who choose to support the strip via Patreon can gain access to web badges and wallpapers available nowhere else, and can even introduce new characters with speaking parts.

Review: 'Blacksad T.5, Amarillo', by Juan Díaz Canales & Juanjo Guarnido

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

Blacksad Tome 5 Amarillo As is now usual, I want to thank Lex Nakashima for ordering this from Amazon.fr and loaning it to me for this review.

Spanish writer Juan Díaz Canales and artist Juanjo Guarnido met while working at an animation studio in Madrid in the early 1990s. After both moved to Paris, they met again and agreed to collaborate for the French comics market on this anthropomorphic crime noir/hardboiled detective series set in America in the 1950s, featuring feline private investigator John Blacksad.

The first album, Somewhere Among the Shadows was published by Dargaud in November 2000. The multiple prize-winning comics series has been published in 23 languages. So far there have been five 56-page cartoon-art novels, set in Hollywood, Chicago, amidst the Red paranoia/nuclear bomb-shelter craze, New Orleans and now the Midwest.

Paris, Dargaud, November 2013, hardcover €13.99 (56 pages), Kindle €9.99.

Video review: 'Red Devil', by Kyell Gold

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Isiah reviews Kyell Gold's latest novel, "Red Devil", set in his Dangerous Spirits universe.

Review: 'Jeangot. T.1, Renard Manouche', by Joann Sfar & Clément Oubrerie

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Jeangot Tome 1: Manouche RenardOnce again, I owe thanks to Lex Nakashima for ordering this from France and loaning it to me to write this review for Flayrah.

Joann Sfar is probably best-known in the furry community as the author of Le Chat du Rabbin/The Rabbi’s Cat (art by Antoine Delesvaux); the 2003-2006 five-album bandes dessinés, and especially the 2011 animated feature which he directed, released in the U.S. in 2013, featuring a talking cat in Algiers in the 1920s.

Sfar has written other unusual anthropomorphic comics drawn by other artists, such as the 2003-2009 three-volume Socrates the Half-Dog/Socrate le Demi-Chien with art by Christophe Blain, about Héraclès’ semi-divine dog in mythological ancient Greece. In Jeangot, Sfar has begun a new, all-funny-animal cartoon-art series, drawn by Clément Oubrerie, that carries “bizarreness” to a new extreme.

Paris, Éditions Gallimard, November 2012, hardcover €14.50 (54 pages).

From the Yerf Archive