Review: 'The Hobbit 2: Hobbit Harder'

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The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug I went back and forth on whether I was going to review this movie for Flayrah. I meant to when I watched it, as I knew it would contain quite a few talking animals, including the titular dragon, but then I got behind, and I wrote my top ten list, where it fell at number eight, so I figured that was good enough.

Then it was nominated for the Ursa Majors (which I called early, by the way), and wound up as the second-most-furry nominee of the year (after the still-not-very-furry My Little Pony: Equestria Girls), so I decided to review it for Flayrah after all. Better late than never. That doesn’t mean I’ll be reviewing the other nominees, even though I did enjoy three quarters of them (and, surprisingly, it’s not the Pixar movie I’m hating on here); I just didn’t find them sufficiently furry, or even furry at all, and am a bit perplexed at their nomination over furrier fare like Ernest and Celestine, Epic, Turbo, Free Birds, or even The ABCs of Death.

Review: 'Songs in the Year of the Cat', by H. Leighton Dickson

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Songs in the Year of the Cat This is Book 3 of the Tails from the Upper Kingdom; the direct sequel to To Journey in the Year of the Tiger and To Walk in the Way of Lions. In those two, Captain Kirin Wynegarde-Grey, a genetic lion-man (yes, he has a tail) and commander of the Empress’ personal guard in a far-future post-apocalypse dynastic China (with touches of feudal Japan) that has forgotten its past, leads an expedition consisting of his geomancer brother, his snow leopard-woman adjutant, a young tiger-woman scholar, a cheetah-woman alchemist, and a mongrel-man (mixed feline) priest into unknown western lands. They encounter canine nomads in what was Mongolia, and really exotic animal-peoples in what was Europe; and they learn the true history of the world and the apocalypse that destroyed it. The expedition is much smaller when the survivors return to the Empress’ court in the Upper Kingdom two years later, just as the Year of the Tiger has ended.

In the Oriental Zodiac, the Year of the Tiger is followed by the Year of the Rabbit – except in Vietnam, which recognizes the Year of the Cat. (True; look it up.) In this novel, the future Vietnam is called simply Nam, and there is no word for rabbit. (In the real world and the present, the Vietnamese word for rabbit is ‘tho’.)

And so, we begin our story with the birth of a baby, the weeping of a dog and a cup of hot sweet tea, naturally in the Year of the Cat. (p. 1)

CreateSpace, July 2013, trade paperback $14.99 (i + 312 pages), Kindle $2.99.

Upcoming furry comics for July 2014 (Previews and Marvel Previews)

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Rise of the Magi Furry comics that made the top 100 best-seller’s list for February 2014 include:

Furry comics that made the top 100 best-seller’s list for March 2014 include:

Action Lab Entertainment

Vamplets: The Nightmare Nursery Book Two
Hardcover
48 pages, full color, US $15.99
Written by Gayle Middleton and Dave Dwonch, art by Amanda Coronado and Bill Blankenship
“After the debacle at the Bizarre Bazaar, Destiny Harper is in more trouble than she imagined. To redeem herself, she must replenish the Vamplets supply of blood; but to do that she and the Vamplets must travel to the Undead Dragon Farm and into danger.”

'HUGS' interviews furry musician NIIC the Singing Dog

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NIIC the Singing Dog This interview is from issue #4 of Russian furry magazine HUGS.

Pillgrim: Okay, I think we are ready to go. First of all, I would like to thank you for your decision to give an interview for our magazine - it is very awesome! So, I've met lots of singing dogs and can say I like howling myself, because I am a wolf you know, but what makes you NIIC, the singing dog? Please, tell us your story - when, how and what for you've discovered furry fandom and a dog in you.

NIIC: Well, I discovered the fandom back in February 2013. It began as a research project of sorts - I had recently graduated from The University of the Arts and loved working on unconventional music projects for different audiences (before NIIC, I was working on a puppet music episode series for college kids working at Starbucks, with a similar crude but charming vibe to BBC's Mongrels). I was given advice by a music professor of mine to get my feet wet in one of the East Coast's underground music scenes, specifically the emerging Nerdcore scene. But after getting a bit sidetracked and with an accidental click on the internet, I stumbled upon the world of furry animal avatars! But I suppose it was only an accidental click if we don't believe Fate played a part in all this.

I had written a couple of short fantasy musicals while I was in college, so I was already getting a thrill out of constructing larger-than-life characters. But a whole subculture where its members re-invented themselves through humanoid animal characters? I was instantly intrigued by what new world I had stepped into!

Review: 'Animal Land: The Creatures of Children’s Fiction', by Margaret Blount

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Animal Land: The Creatures of Children’s Fiction Today there are many academic studies of talking animals in children’s literature. Animal Land was one of the first, and still is one of the best. Whether you look for the original British edition, its American edition (NYC, William Morrow & Co., March 1975, hardcover 0-688-00272-2 $8.95, 336 pages), or a reprint (Avon Books, March 1977, paperback 0-380-00742-8 $3.95, 336 pages), Animal Land is worth reading. You may think that you are already familiar with all the stories covered in it, but Margaret Blount has profiles of dozens that will be new to even talking-animal connoisseurs.

London, Hutchinson, October 1974, hardcover 0-09-118410-X £4.50 (336 pages; illustrated)

'Star Fox' will return

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Star Fox Wii U A whopping eight years and an entire console generation since the last original Star Fox game, Star Fox Command (not counting Star Fox 64 3D, a remake of a remake), Nintendo has finally decided to dust off the space-faring furry franchise and give it a brand new game for the Wii U slated for sometime next year.

The game, which doesn't even have an official subtitle yet, was announced at this years Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), though Time magazine (not usually a magazine noted for its video game news scoops) leaked its existence a tad early. Not many details are available at the moment, but the game is being worked on by none other than Shigeru Miyamoto (a.k.a. the guy who had a hand in the creation of almost every Nintendo character you loved as a child).

See also: Star Fox and Zelda: A future of uncertainty? - What Star Fox needs to survive - Review of Star Fox 64 3D

FurryCon mark registration proceeds after initial denial

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FurryCon mark Soron's application to register the FurryCon logo as a service mark is proceeding, but only after the addition of a disclaimer of exclusive use of the term "furry con".

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office declined to register the New York state furry convention's name as a mark in August 2013, after identifying the terms 'furry' and 'con' as "merely descriptive":

“Furry” refers to “fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics.” - “Con” is a “common abbreviation for convention”.

At that time, a "furry" was also cited by the examiner as:

someone who is part of a subculture interested in fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics

Various Wikipedia and WikiFur articles were used as references, as well as George Gurley's "Pleasures of the Fur" in Vanity Fair, the Anthrocon, Furry 4 Life, Furry Fandom Infocenter, Furry Connection North and Georgia Furs websites, and a con report on SoFurry.

Furry anthology 'Anthropomorphic Aliens' to debut at Anthrocon 2014

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Fred Patten will have a new anthology, Anthropomorphic Aliens, on sale at Anthrocon 2014. The 301-page book, published by FurPlanet Productions, presents eleven short stories and novellas featuring “furry” aliens from 1950 to 2013:
Anthropomorphic Aliens

The wraparound cover is by Roz Gibson.

Review: 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' Pinkie Pie Party DVD (with bonus Season 2 DVD review)

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Pinkie Pie Party DVDKick it!” – Beastie Boys, “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)”

This is the fourth My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic five-episode DVD put out by Shout! Factory, and instead of attempting to create a theme for this one, the episodes collected all feature the character Pinkie Pie.

Pinkamena “Pinkie” Diane Pie is a hot pink Earth pony who lives in Sugarcube Corner, a sweets shop and bakery where she works; occasionally, with supervision, as a baker, but mostly as a party planner, which is her magical talent. That description makes her sound boring. She isn’t. As she represents the Element of Laughter, a distinction she won by making fun of some trees one time, she’s the show’s designated comedy relief, despite it already being a comedy cartoon. Basically, she’s the one who’s allowed to get away with jokes deemed too silly even for the average brightly colored cartoon pony.

Pinkie Pie’s episodes tend to be the funny ones.

Video: 'The Penguins of Madagascar' theatrical feature

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Jerry Beck’s Animation Scoop has the first trailer for DreamWorks Animation’s The Penguins of Madagascar feature, now scheduled for release on November 26, 2014; trading places with DreamWorks’ Home, which is now coming on March 27, 2015.

Does this look funny to you? It certainly is furry. The four Penguins of Madagascar are back: Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (John DiMaggio), and Private (Christopher Knights), adding to the cast the rival North Wind, a task force of an anthropomorphic wolf (Classified, the leader - Benedict Cumberbatch), snow owl (Eva, intelligence analyst - Annet Mahendru), seal pup (Short Fuse, explosives expert - Ken Jeong), and polar bear (Corporal - Peter Stomare). Their motto: "Nobody breaks the North Wind" -- a fart joke; ho-ho! They are all fighting Dave, a.k.a Dr. Octavius Brine, an evil octopus (John Malkovich) who is out to kill all penguins on his way to taking over the world. Who will win? Who do you think?

Conker to return in Microsoft's Project Spark

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It's been almost a decade since we've seen Conker the Squirrel. Rather than make a new game with the foul-mouthed, hard-drinking rodent, Microsoft (which bought dev studio Rare in 2004) are adding the character to their Project Spark game-creation tool. [Dalon]

Some fans appear keen to create their own work featuring Conker, but many criticised Microsoft's unwillingness to make a standalone game, and also Project Spark's requirements of Windows 8/8.1 or an Xbox One (it's expected to release on the Xbox 360 late this year).

It's not the first time that Rare's characters and settings have been considered as a means to promote Microsoft technologies, with Conker, Banjo-Kazooie and the Viva Piñata characters (unknown to Rare's new employees) once slated for games featuring the ill-fated Kinect.

Origin and significance of the term "yiff"

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This article is a collaboration between Rakuen Growlithe and Christiaan Ferret.

When it comes to the furry fandom, we have many unique neologisms, including words such as fursona and the phrase pawing off, which have varying levels of acceptance in the fandom. Perhaps one of the most well-known is the term yiff, which is even understood by some non-furs. Generally accepted as a substitute for sexual activity, and able to be used as a verb, noun or adjective, it is now less accepted than in the past.

Commenting on the closure of ychan, Yiffy International and 420furs.org, Flayrah contributor Sonious remarked that yiff had not aged well. Shortly afterwards, Christiaan Ferret's defence of the word as a part of furry culture brought forth comments such as...

Though to me "yiff" will always just be a corny slang term that makes me cringe slightly everytime I hear it spoken aloud haha.

And...

I find the word annoying and needlessly cutesy, and I don't have the respect for it to study its etymology. It's just a really dumb word to me, and I'm afraid I can't say anything more about it. =/

However, we believe yiff has significance to the furry fandom as part of our shared culture and history. While we understand that not everyone will care for it, we do think it important to at least understand where the term came from.

Shiness gets Steam Greenlight

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The video game Shiness got the Greenlight on Steam a few days ago (and has started fundraising, although there has been no word yet on the release date).

Shiness is a epic fantasy RPG game; its main character and some supporting characters are anthropomorphic, and it has fully animated cutscenes.

Opinion: The top ten movies of 2013

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Both are round, orb-like fruits, while one is usually red on the outside (though green, yellow and even orange are possibilities), its smooth, thin skin usually eaten, with firm, off-white flesh that ranges from sweet to sweet with varying degrees of tartness in flavor, with small brown seeds found inside the core of the fruit, while one is orange, obviously, with dimpled, but still smooth to the touch skin that, while edible, is rarely eaten directly, with much juicier flesh that is usually tarter, but not always, and still very sweet, with small tannish seeds throughout.

What am I doing? Oh, just comparing apples to oranges. Anyway, here are ten movies from 2013 you should watch sometime.

Review: 'The Jackal Queen', by Roy Lisman

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The Jackal Queen The front cover blurb reads: An Erotic Historical Tale. It is rated NC-17. Isaac Ellison, a part-albino cheetah (with unusually pale fur and a beefy physique like a Marine), and his inventor buddy, Raziel, a humanoid reptile (“He looked quite draconic, but slender as opposed to the more bulky builds of lore. Small spines dotted his scalp where eyebrows would be, and two long, black horns swept back almost uniformly with his fire colored mane that consisted of fur and light feathering, before the mane started springing out wildly in any direction it damn well pleased.” –p. 7), go back in time to an anthropomorphic Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians mistake them for warrior and fertility gods, and a tremendous amount of enthusiastic sex is had by all. In fact, until the ending, The Jackal Queen hardly offers anything but. Isaac and Raziel worry about changing history, but not much.

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 rating)

FurPlanet Productions, July 2013, trade paperback $9.95 (138 pages). Illustrated by Kadath.

From the Yerf Archive