2013 Ursa Major Award winners announced at Califur 10

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

The winners of the 2013 Ursa Major Awards for the best anthropomorphic literature, artwork and websites published in 2013 were announced May 31 at a ceremony during Califur 10.

Many categories had undisputed leaders; others were very competitive. Slightly Damned edged out Twokinds by just ten points in Best Graphic Story (which it won by more than 500 points last year), and Best Published Illustration was decided by eleven points.

While attendance at the ceremony (~35) was similar to prior years, the number of ballots cast declined again, from 1,782 two years ago to 1,113 in 2013 and just 856 this year.

Video: DJ Pon-E in 'Music to My Ears' (and other 'Rainbow Rocks' shorts)

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (4 votes)

I know this sort of thing can be annoying to some Flayrah readers (or viewers, as is the case here), but it’s been around for a while, and you’ve had plenty of time to make peace with it. Besides, some people like this sort of thing.

But enough about dubstep. Here’s a short from Hasbro Studios of the Equestria Girls version of Vinyl “DJ Pon-3” Scratch listening to her music. [Read on for more shorts.]

This is in anticipation of a sequel to last year’s Ursa Major nominated My Little Pony: Equestria Girls (review), titled My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks. It is supposed to gain a theatrical (or at least pseudo-theatrical) release in late September.

Review: 'Carpe Mortis: You Only Live Once', by Graveyard Greg

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Carpe Mortis: You Only Live Once The first 26 pages of this novella and the next ten or so establish the slice-of-life daily routines of the cast of buddies: Ted the hyena, his foster brother Reggie (who prefers to be called Venti) the nine-foot-tall black jackal, Regis the zebra and his teen brother Lee, Kevin the tiger, and Art the lion. Most of them are gay, but that’s only incidental in this novella; it isn’t erotically heavy. The zombie plague doesn’t get serious until around page 40.

The main characters are Regis and Lee the zebras, Ted the hyena, and new characters that are introduced on the way. Some of the buddies make it. Some succumb to the zombie plague, or are eaten by the zombies. Some go to rescue their friends, without knowing if they are already too late.

Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, May 2013, trade paperback $9.95 (115 pages; on Amazon).

Review: 'Alpha and Omega 2: A Howl-iday Adventure'

Your rating: None Average: 3.2 (5 votes)

Alpha and Omega 2 - A Howl-iday Adventure So I managed to watch this ancient movie and see if it was any good for others out there. I didn't see many anthropomorphic movements; I missed most of the first movie, but I've seen footage and snaps of them standing up like humans and acting like them. I was disappointed that they didn't use that much in the sequel; I suspect the directors avoided it. Unfortunately, Alpha and Omega 2 is short; the whole thing was about 40 minutes long, without counting the credits. It wasn't very surprising; I'd heard people complaining. While I hope the third one will be longer [one whole minute longer], let's start by talking about the graphics.

This is my first review on Flayrah; also, don't expect my English to be that great, I lack certain words I need I think, and it's a bit of my style, especially if I had to extract nearly everything.

Also, spoiler alert! If you don't want to get spoiled, watch it first or skip them somehow.

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #19 ('GotG', 'MLP:FiM' and 'TMNT')

No votes yet

Guardians of the Galaxy #5 (Alt Cover)I’m going to slip into a pattern here, with three titles that you’ll be seeing one each in each Pull List for a while; Guardians of the Galaxy, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I guess if you don’t care for one of those, you’ll be doing a lot of skipping. If you don’t like two of them, you’ll definitely want to skip these. And if you absolutely can’t stand any of them, that’s pretty bad. It probably means you don’t like comic books.

That’s okay. Maybe you got a really bad paper cut from one as a child. That could scar you for life, I guess. Not literally. Paper cuts don’t tend to lend scars.

Fur Affinity cracks down on 'watchbot' accounts

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

Furry art community Fur Affinity has announced restrictions on the use of automated watching scripts, which they termed "watchbots".

While staff had been "addressing botters on a one-on-one basis for several weeks", to the tune of "roughly two dozen" accounts, they faced a growing number of users who were unaware of their position. Some also became concerned upon being watched by "TheNSA".

The trend appears to have been started by Mishka Burr, who claims to have watched over 160,000 users using a script on a Raspberry Pi. Several other accounts running a published watch script inspired by Mishka's work had over 40,000 on their watchlists prior to clearing.

Review: 'Jonathan', by Russell O’Neil

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

Jonathan The spirit of Thorne Smith lives! Or it did in 1959, when this novel was published. Transformation was never so funny, or so inebriated, as when they wrote it.

There were no moral implications in Arthur Green’s watering the Scotch; it was purely an executive maneuver. A less efficient administrator might simply have apologized for having forgotten to stock his trailer with whiskey, but Arthur knew that his particular victims would then merrily have forgiven him and produced their own. If they were to drink, as they surely were, it was obviously better to have them do so from his unproofed stock than from their own authentic supply. (p. 1)

Arthur is the Hollywood producer of a Western being filmed on location somewhere in the Mexican desert. In the production company are Arthur, the harried producer; George McKaye, the matter-of-fact director; Jonathan Cartwright, the reluctant scriptwriter and Carol Holloway, his loyal secretary; Max, the practical horse wrangler; Bruce Gentry, the egotistical cowboy star; Melissa Drummond, the self-centered leading lady; and Beverly Dawn, a ditzy starlet. And Lightning, Gentry’s noble steed, who is in reality Gladiola, a well-trained but dimwitted and oversexed mare.

Jonathan, a heavy drinker and practical joker, is only at the production in the desert because his contract forces him to be there for on-the-spot rewrites. Jonathan loathes being away from “civilization” (the largest metropolises where alcohol is readily available), so he brought a large supply with him. He also loathes the vain Gentry, who takes advantage of his stardom as much as he can. Jonathan has been trying unsuccessfully to get Arthur Green to film one of his non-Western screenplays for three years. Jonathan seldom travels anywhere without Carol, his super-efficient secretary who is his pal in his binges, keeps him from getting fired, and has a crush on him.

NYC, Appleton-Century-Crofts, March 1959, 214 pages, $3.75. Based on an idea by Ann Noyes Guettel. Frontispiece by Doug Anderson.

Video review: 'Indigo Rain', by Watts Martin

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

Isiah reviews Watts Martin's 2013 novella, "Indigo Rain", set in the author's Ranea universe.

Indigo Rain can be purchased at FurPlanet. See also: Review of Indigo Rain by Fred Patten.

Flayrah's story ratings now reflected in Google search results

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (3 votes)

It's a hard life for search engines, and sites like Flayrah with varying page layout don't help. But thanks to a few hours with Google's data highlighter, it'll be easier for one of them to identify who wrote what, what a story is about, and how well it was received.

What does this mean? Well, more comprehensive search results, hopefully – but perhaps the most noticeable change will be the visibility of ratings when those results are displayed:
Rakuen GrowlitheRestrospective: An illustrated chronology of furry fandom, 1966-1996

Flayrah ratings on Google

The rating displayed for users depends on the ratings received on their story submissions. This change will roll out incrementally as Google reindexes the site.

Also, Califur 2014 is hosting the Ursa Major Awards presentation next Saturday at 5PM. Flayrah's up for Best Magazine again for the stories we published in 2013 – join me there to celebrate if we win… and to commiserate if the ponies win Best Website again.

Review: 'Top Dog', 'Dog Eat Dog' and 'A Dog’s Life', by Jerry Jay Carroll

No votes yet

Top Dog Just running at first. Nothing before that. No memories of childhood and family. No early struggles. No career. No friends. No opinions. No country, city, neighborhood, no home where I laid my head at day’s end. No idea how I spent those days.

Running. One minute oblivion and the next I’m in a forest, shafts of the dying day falling through the trees and dappling the ground with patterns of light and dark. Quail scurry, small animals freeze as I pass. I have no questions about my place in the scheme of things. The wind is in my face and nothing seems more natural than running. It’s the beginning and the end and everything in between.

But there’s something wrong. I detest exercise. If it didn’t send the wrong message, I’d step from the Rolls and ride a sedan chair across Wall Street to the lobby elevators. The times what they are, my bearers would be a multicultural lot, a rainbow of muscular young men raising me above the mob. So some fragments of memory flash like strobe lights in a vast and dark chamber.

The flicker of feet beneath catches my eye. But they aren’t feet. They are paws. Something soft and wet bangs the side of my face. My tongue. The realization slowly dawns as I run. I’m a dog, a huge dog. (Top Dog, p. 1)

One day, William B. Ingersol sat in an office high above Wall Street conducting corporate takeovers.

The next day, he was a big dog, surviving by instinct alone in a strange new world.

Same difference. (Top Dog, back-cover blurb)

William “Bogey” Ingersol is a notoriously ruthless financier under investigation by the SEC; a corporate raider who has bought companies to gain their assets then closed them, sending hundreds of people out of work. His guiding interest has always been, how can I make the most out of this? So when he becomes a mastiff-sized feral dog in the wild, he is too busy trying to survive at first to spend time worrying about what has happened to him. His human mind combined with canine instincts enables him to come out on top in fights with wolves and other predators.

Top Dog; NYC, Ace Books, September 1996, 0-441-00368-0 trade paperback $12 (330 pgs.)
Dog Eat Dog; NYC, Ace Books, February 1999, 0-441-00597-7 trade paperback $12 (297 pgs.)
A Dog’s Life; Garden City, NY, Science Fiction Book Club, April 1999, SFBC #18131 hardcover $12.98 (490 pgs.)

Furry DJ NeonBunny's "Eat, Sleep, Fursuit, Repeat"

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

DJ NeonBunny has entered the world of music production with a song called "Eat, Sleep, Fursuit, Repeat". Inspired by deep house hit "Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat" [video] by Fatboy Slim and Riva Starr, NeonBunny set out to create an original track about fursuiting. As the founder and resident DJ of Frolic in San Francisco, he wanted to write a song about his favorite scene, and for the fursuiters who love to frequent the dance floor.

Review: 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' Princess Twilight Sparkle DVD (with bonus 'Equestria Girls' review)

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Princess Twilight SparkleHey, wolf moon! Come cast your spell on me!
- Type O Negative, Wolf Moon (with Zoanthropic Paranoia)

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess was the first The Legend of Zelda game to be released with a brand new console (in this case, the Wii, though it was also a GameCube release). It also instantly became the furriest entry in the series, as the newest incarnation of Link had the ability to transform into a wolf with the help of his new sidekick, Midna.

Twilight Princess tells the story of a race of people who live in a twilight realm that is a separate world from the main series setting of Hyrule. They are apparently invading Hyrule, and the land is covered in a magical twilight, which causes Link’s lupine transformation. He eventually meets a mischievous imp named Midna, who offers to help Link, but appears to have ulterior reasons. Freeing Hyrule, and unraveling Midna’s mysterious past and her connection to the titular “Twilight Princess”, is the driving force behind the plot of the game.

Wait. Oh, dear. This is embarrassing. Turns out, I was supposed to be reviewing Shout!Factory’s My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "Princess Twilight Sparkle" DVD, not The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Uh, moving on …

April 2014 Newsbytes archive

No votes yet

Contributors this month include crossaffliction, dronon, earthfurst, Fred, GreenReaper, Higgs Raccoon, Kakurady, Patch Packrat, Rakuen Growlithe and RingtailedFox.

Announcement: 'Allasso' Volume 3 at last

No votes yet

Allasso vol. 3: Storge Brian Lee Cook’s Allasso Furry book series/magazine was started in 2011, announcing two volumes per year. (He and I had argued over whether this meant semi-yearly or bi-yearly. He says bi-yearly and I say semi-yearly.) Vol. 1 was published in November 2011 as a 116-page trade paperback with 14 stories and poems [review], and vol. 2 in May 2012 as a 134-page trade paperback with 11 stories and poems [review]. Frequent contributors include Mary E. Lowd, Renee Carter Hall, and Tristan Black Wolf.

Vol. 3 was promised for December 2012, but never appeared, and e-mails to Cook were not answered. It was assumed that this was another “little magazine” that had ceased publication almost as soon as it had started. But vol. 3 has finally appeared without fanfare, dated by Amazon.com as May 13, 2014, in a 140-page trade paperback edition for $8.00 (Amazon.com’s discounted price is $7.20) with 12 stories and poems, all Furry.

Bad Karma shutters Ychan, Yiffy International, 420furs.org

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

In a sudden move, Bad Karma Networks has closed the Ychan image board, furry art community and forum Yiffy International, and stoner fur community site 420furs.org.

When we're young the day stands still, but as we age time begins to speed us by until it seems there is never enough. We're proud of how far the community has come in the 11 years since we opened our doors, but sadly we no longer have the time to make this the site that you deserve. We'll miss you and the fun we've had together deeply - but remember that in every ending is a new beginning. We wish you the best in all your new beginnings to come!

Parts of Yiffy International - formed by a three-way merger in August 2008 - had been up since 2002, while Ychan launched March 2008. 420furs.org opened in 2007 as Bakedfurs.org.

From the Yerf Archive