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Review: 'The Face in the Mirror' and 'Chained Reflections', by T. R. Brown

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

The Face in the Mirror These are the first two volumes of T.R. Brown’s Reflections series. Amazon.com has a special subcategory for them: Genetic Engineering Science Fiction. They should be required reading for every furry author who plans to write human-into-anthropomorphized-animal fiction. They are also good reading for everyone else.

The two are narrated by the protagonist, Todd Hershel. The setting is an unspecified future, but there are automatic/robot cars, artificial islands (“Libertarian Colonies”) for dissidents, personal computers that unfold from pocket-size, artificially-grown organ harvesting, references to a second American Civil War in the recent past and “the Vatican in exile” and bioengineered animal people grown for soldiers in wars. For legal reasons, these humanoid “neos” are required to look like the animals they are based upon.

I was driving back from a meeting with a supplier and there was a semi pulling a load of scrap metal slightly ahead of me in the next lane. My car alerted me to be ready to take over manual control, pulling me away from the e-mails I had been working on. I saw the reason immediately. An accident a couple of miles ahead. An ambulance and other emergency personnel were already on site. That probably saved my life. […] the semi next to me had a blowout in the front wheel. […] Autopilots are good, but they can’t handle an emergency like that and, before the operator could take over, the semi jerked into my lane […] (p. 1)

Todd wakes up in a hospital two months later. His body was completely crushed by the scrap metal. Since this was an unplanned medical emergency, no substitute body has been prepped for him. The only suitable usable body that can be found on emergency notice is a brain-dead felis neo – a female, at that. Todd’s wife Colleen is not happy about that, but she agrees that the important thing is to save his life. They can worry later about getting a new human body, or at least a sex-change operation back to male and cosmetic surgery to make him look more human, later.

The first 50-odd pages are filled with the details of Todd’s exploring his new body, bioengineered from a panther to be a brawny feline soldier.

“We considered just putting your head on the new body,” Walt [a doctor] continued, “but, in addition to the aesthetic problem of a human head on a felis body, there would also have been tissue rejection to deal with.” (p. 9)

The Face in the Mirror; A Transhuman Identity Crisis, by T. R. Brown, Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, August 2012, trade paperback $17.40 (501 pages), Kindle $2.99.
Chained Reflections, by T. R. Brown, Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, August 2013, trade paperback $19.99 (558 pages), Kindle $2.99.

ARP survey: Furries vs. fursonas, therians, non-furs & artists

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Fursonas get furs "closer to norms"; unlike therians, most furs don't want to be "0% human".

International Anthropomorphic Research Project logoThe results are out for the ARP's Winter 2012 survey, held online and at Furry Fiesta 2012.

Researchers confirmed past survey results, while investigating:

  • personality differences between non-furs, furs and fursonas
  • furries' impressions of non-furry perceptions of the fandom
  • whether furs felt their fandom was distinct from anime
  • whether furries felt entitled towards content creators
  • whether certain fan activities were healthy or unhealthy
  • levels of pet ownership, vegetarianism, and association with animal rights causes
  • reasons for male-domination of and stigma towards the fandom
  • other differences between furries, non-furries and therians

The 32-country survey covered 1,098 adults (951 furs, 104 non-furs); 152 were therians.

Review: 'Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy'

Your rating: None Average: 4.8 (4 votes)

 The Power of ManMatthew Scully is an unusual proponent of animal rights, coming from the Christian-favoured, U.S. Republican party. Indeed, he speaks about people automatically assuming he is on the side of hunters and pig 'farmers' when, in fact, he has been a vegetarian for over 30 years.

While Scully does support animal rights, he makes that stand from a generally religious perspective, arguing that current treatment of animals is an abuse of god-given dominion, and disagreeing with the secular reasoning of animal rights proponents like Peter Singer.

Scully's ability is shown when coming to the main thrust of his book, where he writes about animals, how they are treated and how they should be treated. He is an excellent writer (a former speechwriter for then-president George W. Bush), and a dutiful investigator, travelling to most of the places about which he writes.