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Review: Intimate Little Secrets by Rechan

Your rating: None Average: 3.1 (24 votes)

rechan06.jpgIntimate Little Secrets (US$9.95 from FurPlanet) is an anthology of short stories written by Rechan with a cover illustration by Teagan Gavet. Originally I expected the stories to be short, erotic pieces, but this is not the case and approaching it in that way will not lead to a proper appreciation of the work. Sex plays a role in all the stories but they are more, as the title suggests, intimate secrets where we see how different characters interact and react.

The writing is excellent, particularly with regard to the characters themselves. Each one, even characters that only appear briefly, feel real and whole. In each story, we see situations where the characters lusts, needs, and vulnerabilities are all laid bare and you can't help but find yourself caring about the characters and wanting to know what their reasons for acting a certain way are.

Review: 'Legacy', Book One in the Resonance Tetralogy, by Hugo Jackson

Your rating: None Average: 3 (22 votes)

Four characters travel along a forested area.Writing a fantasy tetralogy is an ambitious project. I haven't even been able to write a full fantasy yet. To commit to four books, you have to have an epic story, set in an epic landscape, with engaging characters with strengths and weaknesses enough to get them to (and through) the rough spots.

In Legacy, Hugo Jackson achieves most of this easily. His heroes are likable, with relatable issues and strengths. The tale is G-rated without being trite. The fight and battle scenes are usually nicely described, and easy to follow.

Faria Phiraco is a resonator, a manipulator of the elements via rare crystals. It is an extraordinary and secret power which she and her father, the Emperor of Xayall, guard with their lives. The Dhraka, malicious red-scaled dragons, have discovered an ancient artefact; a mysterious relic from the mythical, aeons-lost city of Nazreal. With their plan already set in motion, they besiege Xayall, pummelling the city to find Faria and rip more of Nazreal's secrets from her.

When her father goes missing, Faria has to rely on her own strength to brave the world that attacks her at every turn. Friends and guardians rally by her to help save her father and reveal the mysteries of the ruined city, while the dark legacy of an ancient cataclysm wraps its claws around her fate... and her past.

Book review: "Earthrise" by M.C.A. Hogarth

Your rating: None Average: 2.8 (6 votes)

The book cover of Earthrise.Earthrise, the first book in M.C.A. Hogarth's Her Instruments trilogy, is a comfy space opera which includes some furry critters. Based on my last visit to her work (books 1 & 2 of The Dreamhealers), the furry species are nice and familiar. The crew of the TMS Earthrise has a centaur with wings, a phoenix, a mated pair of bipedal felines, and a throw-pillow tribble with strong mental powers. Most of these are descendants of slave races that humans created centuries earlier.

The assembled characters have an almost whimsical balance, yet they still feel realistic. When we join them in the story, they're a well-meshed crew. There's a comforting alienness to each of them, a diversity that avoids stereotypes, but claims labels of diversity within diversity, if that makes sense. We mostly see them through the eyes of their captain.

Review: Seven Deadly Sins: Furry Confessions, edited by Thurston Howl

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (4 votes)

Seven Sins.jpgDISCLAIMER: I have a story in here. Way deep down in the sloth section.

This a collection of dark and often adult tales (or tails, if you pre-fur) that explore the Seven Deadly Sins of Christian fame: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth. Trouble makers all, to be sure. It's a rich field of study has reveled countless bumper crops of stories (true and fictional) and offers a handy umbrella to pull together the best of the worst of us storytellers.

Even Dr. Who has a Seven Deadly Sins themed anthology out there.

Still, for all the familiar ground these most famous of sins represent, this was an ambitious collection.

Overall, the anthology itself felt a little rushed. Not the stories themselves, mind you. I don't think there were any clunkers here. There were a few stories, however, that left me wondering what they were saying about their selected sin. Each story feels like it got the right amount of editorial attention.

My quibble is of a Macro sort. Seven Deadly Sins: Furry Confessions called for a sharper editorial eye then I think it got. Too often, very similar themes and acts follow too closely in one story to the next. That's bound to happen in the close quarters of the pages between a book cover.

And, I have to admit, part of my kvetch, might be my fault. I read all the interludes first. They knocked my socks off and I skipped every story to get to the mystery tormenting our hosts. As a result, I'm complaining about the holes in a magic show when I went out of my way to see how the tricks were set up before watching the magicians perform.

So, take my quibble with a few grams of a salt lick. THP is a new publisher and they've made quite a commitment to themed anthologies. I feel they are going to get better with each one. I know I'm looking forward to being there to watch them grow.

Presenting my story thoughts in the order that they appeared, with the interludes excluded and withheld to the end.

Review: 'The Cold Moons' by Aeron Clement

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

A book cover, showing badgers.You might think, on first glance, that you might not enjoy this 1987 book due to its similarity to Richard Adam's 1972 classic, Watership Down. That's why it sat on my shelf for almost a decade collecting dust, until recently when I felt the need to dip into some more children's literature.

The barebones plot has a group of small, harmless animals, displaced from their homes by man. A group of survivors venture out into the unknown (and very British) countryside with a Moses-like leader. There are trials and tribulations, including a conflict with their own kind, and eventually they find the promised land where they can live in peace... at least for a few generations.

Review: 'Bunnicula, A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery' by Deborah and James Howe

Your rating: None Average: 3 (4 votes)

A book cover, showing a rabbit that looks similar to Dracula the vampire.In the days before mobile phones and the Internet, people would have to have conversations with their pets to keep themselves from going insane. That's how it is with the Monroes, a nuclear family with two young children, two careers, and two pets: a cat (Chester) and a dog (Harold).

And every day, when the family members head out of the house, they leave their pets unsupervised to indulge in their vices. Chester reads horror stories; Harold daydreams about food. Life is perfect.

Until the day the Monroes go to a Dracula film, and come home with a little fluffy bundle of a rabbit in a shoebox full of dirt.

Review: 'Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989 - 2015' by Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989 - 2015 Since their origin in panels and meets at science fiction conventions of the 1980s, furry cons have grown in membership and popularity. Today, they are found on every continent except Antarctica (now there's a challenge). Anthrocon, the world's largest furry convention, welcomed 6,389 attendees in 2015.

Fred Patten's book is the most complete published work (OK, OK: it's the only published work) to cover the history and status of furry fandom get-togethers across the world.

McFarland, January 2017, 260 pages. Available on Amazon and Google Play.

A convention is differentiated from a more casual furmeet by elements including a committee, paid memberships, and a structured event schedule. Most cons last more than one day and take place in a hotel, convention centre, or sometimes camp site or youth hostel.

The 2016 Ursa Major Award winners

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (4 votes)

The 2016 Ursa Majors Awards logo.The 2016 Ursa Major Awards have been announced on Friday afternoon, June 30th at the Anthrocon convention in Pittsburgh. The Ursa Major Awards, for the best anthropomorphic fiction of the past calendar year, are presented in twelve categories by the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association (ALAA), and are voted upon by the public on the Ursa Major Awards website.

Fandom history book "Furry Nation" to be previewed at Anthrocon by author

Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes)

FN.jpg Those attending Anthrocon this year that have an interest in non-fiction works about our little fandom will not want to miss the session I am hosting on Sunday, July 2nd to preview my book looking at the history of furries, Furry Nation. The book gives this "greymuzzle" freelance writer's perspective, having been in the fandom since 1988; a journey which all began with a surprise invitation in the mail to something called a 'furry party' being held at a Philadelphia Sci-Fi convention.

Furry Nation tells the story of the fandom’s birth and growth, from the earliest “funny animal” comic book fans and convention organizers to the worldwide fandom it is today. Artists, fursuit builders, and fans of all stripes are profiled, and of course our rocky relationship with the Hollywood animation community is also examined. In the book’s final chapter a genetic scientist discusses the possibility that genetic therapy will someday transform humans into actual anthropomorphic animals. Furry has indeed transformed many lives, including my own in ways I never expected— personal experiences that became a part of Furry Nation.

Review: 'Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989-2015', by Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 3.4 (5 votes)

Cover to Fred Patten's 'Furry Fandom Conventions'. Cover art by Yamavu.

First off, let me engage in an act of self-disclosure: I recently finished writing Furry Nation, a personal history of the birth and growth of our community and its treatment at the hands of entertainment and news media that will be published in the fall by Cleis Press. I interviewed numerous furs for the book, unknown and well-known, Fred included.

I found myself concerned it would be a conflict of interest for me to opine on Fred’s work, with the temptation to belittle it in comparison to my own. However I was happy to find Fred’s book unique in its own right. It is a work of scholarship I could never hope to duplicate. In fact, I wish it had been published a year or two earlier; it would have been an immense help to me in writing about furry conventions worldwide, a topic not covered in great detail in my own non-fiction work.

Furry conventions from A to Z

Furry Fandom Conventions begins with a brief overview of the various kinds of furry gatherings and a succinct timeline of the fandom’s origin and spread. Even though the timespan covered is in the book’s title, the conventions themselves are described not chronologically but alphabetically, from the first “Abando” convention in Brazil in 2008 (with 15 attendees), to the last “ZonieCon”, held in in Tucson, Arizona in 2001 (57). The decision to alphabetize makes perfect sense: if you’re curious about say, Further Confusion, it makes it a lot easier to trace its history in one place rather than flip through the entire book looking for each year’s summary.

Review: 'Capricious: A Texan Tale of Love and Magic', by Julie Cox

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (4 votes)

Book cover with a satyr-like silhouetteHere's a book that you might not immediately think of as furry. Capricious: A Texan Tale of Love and Magic, by Julie Cox.

At first, the book cover resembles the Kokopelli rock-drawing designs from the American Southwest. But if you look closely, you'll note that there are hooves and horns and, by gosh, that's furry enough for me!

Luke loves two things: his land and Sally. He pours a lot of magic and effort into one of them. The other he pretends to just like as a friend. Nobody is fooled except Luke.

Circlet Press, June 2014, 305 pages, ebook $6.99, paperback $14.95 (US). An audio version can be heard on the Nobilis Erotica podcast.

Review: 'Bodies in Motion', by Robert Baird

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)

Bodies in Motion coverThis review is part of my commitment to reviewing anthropomorphic literature during Furry Book Month.

Romance and sex have always surrounded travel, and the vehicles we use for it. Even in the age of mass transit, there's still a thrill in leaving the known behind and moving as a stranger among strangers.

A sense of movement, freedom and adventure pervades these seven tales of M/F erotica, each set in, or set in motion by, a different form of transport.

Self-published ebook, 2016, pay what you want.

Review: 'Dog Country', by Malcolm F. Cross

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)

dogcountry.jpgThis review is part of my commitment to reviewing anthropomorphic literature during Furry Book Month.

A crowdfunded war fought by genetically identical dog-people created as soldiers and emancipated into a world that doesn't understand, or always approve of, their special talents.

What could possibly go wrong?

Edane, Ereli and their hundreds of brothers were grown and trained to form fighting units, but the company that created them was shut down when they were still, biologically, children.

Now adults, some scrape a living as mercenaries, doing odd jobs, or fighting for a betting audience. The lucky ones have a career in MilSim, a realtime combat simulation game, but some figures in the sport are starting to argue that they're too good and shouldn't compete.

Self-published, 2016, ebook (288 pages) $4.99 (US) / £3.99 (UK).

Review: 'Splice: Conditioning', by Cocoa

Your rating: None Average: 4.4 (5 votes)

This review is part of my commitment to reviewing anthropomorphic literature during Furry Book Month.

Described as a 'dystopian sci-fi erotic novel', Splice: Conditioning is set in a near future where natural disasters have made large parts of the USA uninhabitable and plunged many of its citizens into poverty.

One light in the darkness is the presence of Splices: genetically engineered, anthropomorphic dogs who act as companions and sex toys, as well as taking over some of the riskier or more unpleasant jobs.

Because of the dangers inherent in creating human-sized dogs capable of rational thought and tool operation, each Splice has a Conditioning Phrase known to its creators and owner, and is programmed to enter a submissive, obedient state when this is spoken.

Self-published, 2016, ebook $2.97.

Review: 'Flower's Fang', by Madison Keller

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

This review is part of my commitment to reviewing anthropomorphic literature during Furry Book Month.

Arara is the smallest Jegera of her year, constantly bullied for her appearance and desperate to leave her village as soon as the coming of age ceremony is complete.

Sels of the flower Kin is a prince without his race's magic powers, travelling towards his last opportunity to choose a sedyu-bonded companion from the newly adult Jegera.

It's no surprise that these two outcasts find each other, and their magic bond, nor that the lowly runt turns out to have a vital part to play in the future of both races. But watching the drama play out, and the underdogs have their day, is hugely enjoyable. Some tropes are tropes for a reason.

Hundeliebe Publishing, 2014, trade paperback $14.99 (354 pages), ebook $2.99 (99c during October 2016).