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Ponies… In… Spaaaaace!

In-Fur-Nation - Sat 16 Feb 2019 - 02:59

Yes that trope gets used a lot, but anyway… Word has slipped out that Hasbro is hard at work on a sequel to the 2017 animated film My Little Pony: The Movie. According to the Idea Wiki, the plot goes like this: “A giant whirlwind sends Onyx Star, Adonis, the weasels, Nike, Discord and the ostriches to outer space and they need to get back home to Equestria. Along the way, they meet new friends who were also stuck in space years ago, space animals, and evil alien ponies who wanted to capture Onyx and his friends and destroy the Earth with a reliquary-cannon after Groff, Maxil, Zio and their minions sold all of their souls for it.” Got all that? They go on to say: “The film is produced by Allspark Pictures and DHX Media, with animation created once again using Toon Boom Harmony, and is scheduled to be released theatrically on October 2, 2020 in the United States by Lionsgate. It also marks the 10th Anniversary of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.” Series favorite Jayson Thiessen is directing again.

image c. 2019 IDW Publishing

Categories: News

Commercial: The Times – Politics Tamed

Furry.Today - Fri 15 Feb 2019 - 19:05

I would totally pay more attention to these politics if it looked more like this. "This full brand campaign portrays politicians as animals in the Westminster zoo, whose constant braying and territorial divisions create much noise but mean the Brexit negotiations are virtually incomprehensible to much of the public. The 40 second advertisement captures the mood of the nation, and sees squawking parrots, hysterical hyenas, slippery snakes, and ever-changing chameleons adorn the green benches of the House of Commons. Only the lion and the unicorn - from the royal crest in The Times’s masthead - bring order to proceedings. Designed and conceptualized by News UK’s in-house agency Pulse Creative London, the campaign is led by a stunning piece of film set within the House of Commons, and these political animals will also cover TV, buses, taxis and digital media."
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Categories: Videos

Member Spotlight: Mary E. Lowd

Furry Writers' Guild - Thu 14 Feb 2019 - 19:31

Though long-overdue, we had a chance recently to speak with member Mary E. Lowd about her writing, editing, and publishing ventures!

 

Tell us about your most recent project (written or published). What inspired it?

Fate has conspired such that I actually finished three books in approximately one week, so it’s hard to exactly measure what counts as my most recent project when it comes to writing.  Those three books are all spin-offs of my Otters In Space trilogy in one way or another, and they’re all slated to come out from FurPlanet this year.

One of them, Tri-Galactic Trek (to be released at MFF in December), is a collection of short stories, including five that have already been published and five new ones, that are technically a television show that appears briefly in Otters In Space 3: Octopus Ascending.  With my Tri-Galactic Trek stories, I’ve tried to capture the heart of what I loved about watching Star Trek: The Next Generation as a kid, except with cats, dogs, a bear, and a photosynthetic green otter.

The second, Nexus Nine (to be released at AC in July), is a novel that takes place after the events in Tri-Galactic Trek, sharing some characters, but focusing specifically on a calico cat with an ancient computer chip in her head that contains lifetimes’ worth of memories.  Clearly, I was drawing inspiration from the character of Jadzia Dax in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  However, I always felt like there was so much more to do with Dax, and so I invented my own character in order to explore the rich concept of a character who’s struggling to balance her current self with the overpowering weight of all of those extra memories inside of her.

The third book, Jove Deadly’s Lunar Detective Agency (tentatively to be released at TFF in March) is actually set in the Otters In Space main universe, except focused on a bloodhound detective on the moon.  A friend of mine, Garrett Marco, and I brainstormed the idea for an interconnected pair of novellas about this character years ago — he would write a story about Jove Deadly and his brother; and then I would write a story about Jove and his sister; and both stories would involve the same mysterious, stolen computer chip.  So, the final book is a co-written novel in two halves, and I’m very excited about it.  Reading someone else’s words purposely designed to mirror your own writing style is a wonderful and surprising joy.  Garrett managed to write the exact same kind of dumb jokes that I love best about my own writing, and so I got to experience them without having come up with them myself — truly delightful; one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given.

As you can see, I’ve been really busy.  However, there is one more project I need to mention: at the end of last year, I founded a new furry e-zine called Zooscape.  The first issue came out in December, and there will be a new issue out on March 1st.  For years, there’s been talk in the furry writing community about how we need a high paying, consistently released, free-to-read online magazine in order to raise the profile of furry fiction.  So, when my younger child started kindergarten last fall, I started one.  If you ever need to explain what furry fiction is to someone, just send them there:  https://zooscape-zine.com/

 

What’s your writing process like? Are you a “pantser,” an outliner, or something in between? How do you find that this helps and/or hurts your writing style?

Outlining does not come naturally to me.  I’ve struggled with it ever since I was introduced to the concept in sixth grade when we were required to turn in outlines for our big research papers before the paper itself was due.  My mom walked me through writing an outline, but it made no sense to me.  At some level, I don’t really get how it’s possible to outline a work before actually creating the work, because until I’ve written it, how can I really know what I’m capable of pulling off?

For instance, I wrote a short story this week about a cat communicating telepathically with an electric eel.  At a high level, I knew the entire structure for the story, but when it came to actually writing it, I found myself faced with trying to communicate the idea of death through memory images shared between these two creatures.  And suddenly, I found myself writing about my own experience from 2016 of spending the night by my grandmother’s side as she died.  Because that’s the most powerful, real image of death that I’ve experienced.  And yet, how could I have ever predicted that a space opera story about a telepathic eel would involve describing how it felt to stay up all night by my grandmother’s deathbed?  I could never have seen that coming.

All of that said, I know that having an outline — if I can figure one out — can really help me to work through a novel length project without getting stuck or somehow writing myself into a corner.  So, I’ve been working on developing outlining skills, and since traditional outlines don’t seem to work for me, I’ve had to come up with some of my own strategies.  In some cases, I use Tarot cards with evocative images on them to stand in for characters or places in a story, and then I can arrange them in a way that helps give me signposts as I travel through the work.  I’ve also found it can be very helpful to pick a story structure that I’m already very familiar with from a book or movie and use it as a sort of road map.  For instance, my novel The Snake’s Song follows the general shape of The Hobbit, and the longest novel I’ve written, a still-unpublished piece of space opera, was specifically designed to follow the general shape of The Lord of the Rings — assemble the team, and then the team voyages to the one place where the dangerous object can be destroyed.

 

What’s your favorite kind of story to write?

This is a really tough question, because stories vary so much… and I like different things about different ones.  But I think, if I have to pick, my favorite kind of story to write is either the kind where I can toss off lightweight jokes that amuse myself or the kind where I pour my feelings into the keyboard because they’ve become too big and overwhelming to keep inside myself anymore, and the story provides a safe box to put them in.  So, those are two totally opposite kinds of stories, and I seem to have failed to pick between them.

 

You’ve published a lot of short stories. Since the beginning of 2018, what are your favorites? Why those?

I had twenty-five stories come out in 2018, but the two that really stand out for me are “Not All Dogs” and “Wing Day,” possibly because they were two of the hardest to write.  For “Not All Dogs,” I had to tap into the unconscious racism that comes from being raised with systemic white privilege and not having realized it yet…  So, I had to look back at the ways I used to be a worse person, and it’s really hard to do that without flinching.  However, I’m really proud of how the story finally turned out.

“Wing Day” was difficult to write differently.  I had a really complex idea about three generations of a family — a human woman, her adopted butterfly-alien daughter, and the cloned butterfly-alien granddaughter — and in order to convey their story coherently and concisely, I ended up just writing down all of these disconnected sentences about them in a totally random order.  Rearranging and shuffling those sentences — and sentence fragments — until they came together into an actual story felt a little like watching a bunch of bright colors tumble around inside a kaleidoscope until they suddenly came into focus as a coherent picture.  It was kind of magical, and the story turned out so much better than I had dared to hope it would, like a carefully cut gemstone.  It’s still hard to believe all those disconnected fragments actually came together like that.

 

What has most influenced your work? Is an author, a title, or something else?

I don’t think that I can escape that the answer to this question is Star Trek.  Quite obviously, my Tri-Galactic Trek stories are heavily influenced by Star Trek.  However, I can see traces of Star Trek in almost everything I’ve ever written, even stories where it wouldn’t be obvious to anyone else who read them.

Star Trek: The Next Generation was like a second family to me when I was a child, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is still, on some levels, my favorite work of art ever created.  My entire world view and approach to life was heavily shaped by both of those shows.

 

What’s the last book you read that you really loved?

I joined a book group last year that’s had me reading a lot of good books lately — N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway, Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch and Binti, and Jo Walton’s Tooth and Claw.  I highly recommend all of those books, but my favorite of the books we’ve read is The Power by Naomi Alderman.  The Power is a thought experiment in gender-flipping the power structures of the entire world; women develop electric-eel like powers, making them the stronger sex, on average, and everything changes.  It’s a book that manages to be both horrifying and also, strangely, an experience in wish-fulfilment, at least, for me.  I think it’s a really, really important book, and I think that a lot of people need to read it.

 

Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?

I have dogs, and I spend time with them.  Really, though, I spend most of my time writing, reading, or watching videos — which is not as different from reading as people like to believe.  Basically, I immerse myself in story as much as possible, and then I try to deconstruct and understand that story.  But I do also spend time with my dogs and go on walks sometimes.

 

Advice for other writers?

Find ways to enjoy the process of writing whenever you can, because the rewards for finished works are few and far between.  Getting published is a long, slow process, full of rejection and heavily dependent on luck.  And even when you’re fairly successful, published stories can still feel like they fall into a deep, dark void, never to be heard from again.  So in the long run, the best way to survive is to find joy in the process of writing itself.

You will always be your own first reader, so write what you must deeply desire to read.  At least then, you’ll get to read a good story while you’re writing, no matter what happens next.

 

Where can readers find your work?

Most of my books are published by FurPlanet, but my most recent novel, The Snake’s Song: A Labyrinth of Souls Novel, is through ShadowSpinners Press.  They’re all available on Amazon. Also, I keep links for where to find my books on my personal webpage:  http://marylowd.com/

My short stories get published all over the place, but I tend to reprint them on my own archive site, Deep Sky Anchor.  So, you can find a lot of free short stories there:  http://deepskyanchor.com/

 

What’s your favorite thing about the furry fandom? Why write furry?

When I discovered the furry fandom, I no longer had to stumble over the question, “Why otters?” when I told people about my books.  Suddenly, the answer was simple:  “It’s furry fiction.”

But my favorite thing about the furry fandom is that it’s given a label to my favorite kind of fiction, and it’s so much easier to find something when it has a label.  For almost two decades, I struggled to find the stray piece of science-fiction with animal-like aliens or fantasy about animals, mixed-in with all the other science-fiction and fantasy.  As soon as I had a word for what I was looking for — furry fiction — I didn’t have to struggle anymore.  I could just read.

 

Categories: News

Lucas The Spider: I’m Starving

Furry.Today - Thu 14 Feb 2019 - 19:01

Lucas the Spider has new a friend, a fly and the're both hungry.
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Categories: Videos

Apes of War

In-Fur-Nation - Thu 14 Feb 2019 - 02:22

Evidently this has been a thing for a while, but somehow we missed it. Now, thanks to Oni Press, it’s all together in one place. “Brahm Revel’s critically-acclaimed series is collected for the first time in one volume in the Guerillas: Omnibus Edition! Private John Francis Clayton is on his first tour of duty in Vietnam, facing death at every turn in the middle of a war he doesn’t understand. Clayton is just trying to stay alive when he encounters an elite platoon of…. simian soldiers?!? This squad of chain-smoking chimps is the most dangerous fighting force in the jungle… but whose side are they on?” Find out when this hits the shelves in late March.

image c. 2019 Oni Press

Categories: News

In Search Of … (2/25/1978)

Furry.Today - Wed 13 Feb 2019 - 15:53

Almost 41 years ago this episode on DNA research aired on the ZBC (Zootopia Broadcast Company) while most of the subjects of this show were very batshit insane (As a cub they totally got me to believe in an under water civilization of Atlantis) and the ghost episodes scared the crap out of me. The episode about the Crystal Skull always disturbed me a bit too. Still, the theme was so iconic to me I just had to post this when I found this tape. I really wish I got episodes of Police Woman, Seriously a female bunny cop in the 70s? They were really ahead of their time despite all the misogyny in that show. Hell, I think they even called her cute. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ok, for the young:  Yes, this reference is one of those things that only people close to 50 would get but I just had to do this for the joy of it.   The original show only holds up these days as just an example of really quaint over the top supernatural bullshit.  They did the whole "We are just presenting facts and let you decide" and then proceed to talk to the most outlandish people telling you how divining rods totally work.  The music is a vaporwave goldmine of just amazing late 70s TV cheesy synth that I just love to death.  Discovery channel showed this in the 2000's but replaced the amazing opening which I think is a crime   I'm just that kind of a pedantic nerd. Here is the episode I drew from that was a bit less batshit crazy than most episodes if you care to indulge in the source materal: https://youtu.be/CGiDniPE0mE
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Categories: Videos

Trailer: Wolfgang Doe

Furry.Today - Tue 12 Feb 2019 - 18:59

From the creators of Mascot Fur Life we bring you the fursuit cop series "Wolfgang Doe" It's like Zootopia except German and has some humans in it too. "Here you have the first official trailer for our production "Wolfgang Doe". The pilot episode was filmed in November of 2018. We are so looking forward to give you this project and to see your reactions. But for now enjoy this little sneak peek of the first episode. The whole thing was done in German, but for all the native English speakers, we added some subtitles! :3"
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Categories: Videos

TigerTails Radio Season 11 Episode 41

TigerTails Radio - Mon 11 Feb 2019 - 17:46
Categories: Podcasts

Nocturne (Nachtstück)

Furry.Today - Mon 11 Feb 2019 - 16:26

Yeah, I try to avoid gambling with my essence. Still, I have so many questions. There is a lot of Brothers Quay [1] influence here. [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brothers_Quay
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Categories: Videos

Rise of the Patcheé, by Eben Prentzler

Furry Book Review - Mon 11 Feb 2019 - 15:43
Rise of the Patcheé is a self-published collection of three short stories by Eben Prentzler. The three stories are "Part 1 - The Scavenger Wars," "Part 2 - The Scribe’s Crystal" and "Part 3 - Touch of the Firstborn." They are all set in a fantasy world established in his earlier novel, Chronicles of Solo - Moments Away, and revolve around Mother, the title given to the leader of a Patcheé (African wild dog) pack.When reviewing, or writing in general, it is good practice to keep your audience in mind. I see reviewing as generally having three potential audiences and functions: giving feedback to the author of a piece in order to help him improve, using a piece as an example to teach others what they should or should not do, and providing information to potential readers so that they can judge whether a piece is suitable for them. I feel that, in the furry fandom, all three of these functions overlap: authors are likely to read reviews by other furs, potential readers read the reviews and, with the fandom focused on creation, many of those readers are themselves aspiring authors. As such, I will talk about what does and does not work in this collection and why.The biggest problem with the Rise of the Patcheé is that, as a self-published book, it has not been looked over by an editor or a professional proofreader. The entire book is plagued by missing commas, incorrect words, mixed up pronouns, and other issues that a proofreader would catch. Perhaps most noticeably, there is a paragraph in Part 3 where the focal character's name is misspelled nine out of 12 times! Interestingly, the "correct" spelling is not even consistent; the first half of the story spells it using the character "é" while the second half uses "è."An editor might also push for many aspects of the story to be expanded. Part 1 is undoubtedly too short for everything that is supposed to happen. There are too many characters, too many locations and too much intrigue that there isn't space for characterisation or motivations. Throughout the book, we are constantly told what characters feel but never shown those feelings or allowed to discover them ourselves. For example, when one character sees another killed at the end of Part 2, we read that "She has grown to like the tough little apprentice, and now she had to see her die." This will be news to the reader as the two characters had essentially no one-on-one conversations and had never displayed any particular affection. A single scene earlier in the story could have established that affection and allowed an emotional connection.Eben is certainly capable of writing good characters. Part 3 was undoubtedly the best of the three stories and that's largely due to focusing on the interaction between just two characters. There are more things that happen but we start with just the two characters and space is given to develop them and their individual personalities. It is great! This is the first time that it doesn't feel like the characters are merely doing what the plot demands but that they are doing something because of who they are! When we get to know the characters, we care about them and it allows the scenes to have a far greater emotional impact.One of the biggest strengths of the book is that the world is interesting. In this world, we see three different societies – Patcheé (African wild dogs), Scavengers (hyenas) and Pridekeepers (lions) – all of are structured differently. The most unusual being those of the Patcheé, a species which also possess many magical abilities, including changing their appearance. Seeing these new societies and magics is fascinating and Part 2 and Part 3 go into the most detail on Patcheé magic.While mostly existing in a familiar fantasy world, the book has some cool new ideas that would be worth exploring but fails to give the characters and story time to fully develop. It's then further let down by constant language errors which are common enough to detract from the storytelling itself. While I cannot fully recommend the book, I will say that Part 3 deserves a read. It has some of the same flaws as the earlier parts but the characters come alive and drive the story forward. It has unexpected twists, genuine emotion and explores the unusual magic and society of the Patcheé.
Categories: News

Signal, by Renee Carter Hall

Furry Book Review - Mon 11 Feb 2019 - 15:36
If an apocalypse happens, what will our successors think of the things we leave behind? That is what Renee Carter Hall seeks to explore in Signal.Jak, an overly curious young adult “rakuun,” finds a strange shell-like object while foraging. It’s not an animal shell, not a rock, not alive, not dead, and after a couple days in his possession, it lights up, blinking. Jak’s clan recognizes it as an artifact of the “Before” and urges him to get rid of it, but he refuses. As Jak keeps the artifact, he starts to have dreams of its creators and becomes increasingly obsessed with it until the clan finally gives him the ultimatum. It goes, or he goes.Fortunately, one of the elders knows a “yotl” who’s knowledgeable of the artifacts of those who lived Before, and he gives Jak directions to find him. And thus, the young rakuun sets out on a journey across a dangerous landscape of post-apocalyptic ruins and hungry wildlife.The rakuun are fleshed out as a species derived from, but not quite the same as, raccoons. Their ritualized hand-washing provide a link to their ancestry. But I would have liked more detail on the other sapient species.The corrupted names of the sapient species was a novel means of indicating which modern day animals they evolved from, while using modern English names for the non-sapient species differentiated them from the sapient ones. Though I would appreciate more description, the writing relies heavily on the species names to give you a picture of the characters. “Rakuun” and “yotl” were clear enough, but “khoni” confused me until I remembered that “coney” was an old name for rabbits.At first, I thought that Jak’s extremely detailed dreams might be caused by a virtual reality app of some sort. We never get a real answer for the source of the visions, though Inkari speculates Shinto-esque animistic spirits provided the knowledge of such long-dead things as the Rolling Stones.In all, Signal is an inventive exploration of a modestly-developed post-apocalyptic world. I would recommend it as an example of the world after humanity.
Categories: News

The Nuts Are Back

In-Fur-Nation - Sun 10 Feb 2019 - 02:14

More from Animation World Network: “Feature animation studio ToonBox Entertainment and Canadian production company Pipeline Studios have announced the creation of a new joint venture. Their first project is Nut Jobs, a 2D-animated series for kids ages 6-11 based on The Nut Job, the hit animated feature film franchise that took in $120 million at the international box office. The production companies have been working in development on the series and have tapped Emmy Award-winning industry veteran and Grant Moran to spearhead these efforts. Moran, who will serve as the showrunner for the TV series, previously served as Executive Director in Charge of Production at Nickelodeon.” No word yet on any release date, but stay tooned.

image c. 2019 Toonbox Entertainment

Categories: News

The World in Black and White?

In-Fur-Nation - Sat 9 Feb 2019 - 02:59

A very… unusual anime feature is heading to our shores this spring. “Los Angeles-based Eleven Arts Anime Studio has set April 12 as the theatrical release date for the sci-fi coming-of-age animated feature, Penguin Highway, which it will be distributing in the U.S. and Canada. Directed by Hiroyasu Ishida, the film won the Axis: The Satoshi Kon Award for Excellence in Animation award at the Fantasia International Film Festival for best animated feature and has also been nominated for the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year. The film will screen with the original Japanese dialogue with subtitles as well as the English dub. In the film, budding genius Aoyama is only in the 4th grade, but already lives his life like a scientist. When penguins start appearing in his sleepy suburb hundreds of miles from the sea, Aoyama vows to solve the mystery. When he finds the source of the penguins is a woman from his dentist’s office, they team up for an unforgettable summer adventure!” Got that? Read the article at Animation World Network for more, including the trailer.

image c. 2019 Eleven Arts

Categories: News

Meet Meat

Furry.Today - Sat 9 Feb 2019 - 01:41

For this Friday I give you an older Gobelins short. "A mchiavellian whaler is emarked on a chase. Between life and death, the hunter is about to be hunt."
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Categories: Videos

Commercial: A Perfect Gift

Furry.Today - Fri 8 Feb 2019 - 00:04

This commercial is very cute and I expect the kitty and lion adopted the bunny. (I still have so many questions) ""A Perfect Gift" is a commissioned short film we made last year for the Chinese company Pans Jewelry. The story behind this video is very special because it was part of a multi-media art exhibit held by Pans in Shangai, in which they asked kids to draw their imaginary friends, and featured their drawings along with jewelry pieces and plushies based on them. The exhibition also featured this short film, in which we were asked to create a story featuring the characters created by the kids. It was challenging to bring all these characters together, but we did it by being inspired by the themes of family and legacy that Pans Jewelry conveys with its brand. You can see photos of the exhibit here [1]!" [1] https://www.facebook.com/panspuan/photos/pcb.1124813704337683/1124813547671032/?type=3&theater
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Categories: Videos