Fans of furry web comics mourned at news of the passing of Albert Temple arrived this month. This prolific creator maintained a consistently-updated web comic for over 16 years, from July 2000 all the way up to his death in March. This web serial comic, Gene Catlow, delved into the lives of a pair of experienced and respected computer technicians and their many strange adventures.
The two main characters were Gene Catalow (the author's fursona) and his rabbit friend Cotton. The first story arc revolved around Cotton finding a special coffee that unlocked superpowers within him. He's torn away from his normal life as a technician to begin thwarting assassination attempts against an ambassador being held in safe harbor in their anthropomorphic city.
Through the interactions of these characters you learn of a world of political intrigue, where human beings and anthro animals had their own cultural boundaries. Albert did a great job in making it so that you were never fed this in exposition dumps, but instead were purely arrived at through the interaction of the comic's characters.
The 2016 Ursa Major Awards vote has been opened! Send them your e-mail address, and you can vote for any of the nominations in 12 categories. Voting closes on Sunday, April 30. Please pass on this annoucement if you're on a furry message forum or social media site!
This year's nominees are...
Five Fortunes, edited by Fred Patten (FurPlanet), is a collection of five novellas from some of the best writers who write for general audiences in the Furry Fandom. The five stories provided in this anthology are as follows:
- Chosen People by Phil Geusz
- Huntress by Renee Carter Hall
- Going Concerns by Watts Martin
- When a Cat Loves a Dog by Mary E. Lowd
- Piece of Mind by Bernard Doove
I am not sure how well the the term "fortune" applies to the five works, so on that level the collection doesn't feel as if it is all that well tied together as a theme. However, with five long works here it's not too problematic to have them each be their own thing. It's not like there's a lot of "destiny" fans out there. Each story approaches the nugget of self-determination from a different angle: from being mindful of doing the right thing (Geusz), to the finding one's self (Hall), to finding a way to survive the week (Martin) or the condition of one's life overall(Doove).
It's a furry sampler of novel sized works. This size is perfect for people who don't always like short stories because the story's over just as they get to know a character, but also don't wish to invest in story cover to cover. If, somehow, you don't know these writers or their universes, then this is a good place to start learning.
One year ago, Zootopia, a story about anthropomorphic animals in a modern setting dealing with the issue of prejudices in society, hit theaters. It was the most highly anticipated film for furries in the last decade, some having even rented out theaters for personal furry gatherings. In the days following Flayrah had a reviewing bonanza in which multiple prominent article writers gave their own reviews of the piece.
Heck, the Fur Affinity banner changed to a Zootopia theme when the movie came out and hasn’t changed since.
But on February 27th, the love for the film was continued to be shown well beyond the borders of furry fandom, as the academy elected it to receive the Oscar for Best Animated feature. It beat out nominees Moana, My Life as a Zucchini, The Red Turtle, and the one that most had thought could take it away from Disney, Kubo and the Two Strings.
When perusing written news articles about furries written outside the fandom you’ll usually run into the typical faire. Some articles will talk about furries and try and introduce their unknowing audience to what the fandom is. Others will talk about the local convention in town and why the denizens will be seeing all these costumes about. Heck, some will not even be about the fandom at all and will just be using the term to talk about pets or the band Super Furry Animals.
However, 2017 has started off on a very interesting foot as two articles showed up on the feed which don’t take the tired and treaded routes. Both looked at pieces of the fandom and their relationship to the recently inaugurated president, Donald Trump and what he stands for in society in general.
One article from Slate covered a Kyell Gold book and discussed how the virtues with in could counter Trump. The other, from Motherboard, describes another piece of fandom and their alt-right tendencies and pondering if crass anonymity can lead to crass actors acquiring power.
So let’s go over these two articles and what they have to say about furry fandom.
On Janurary 13, Equino Faukland, a friend of Spike Niko, posted about the passing of the founder of Rainbow Tiger to the club's group:
Hello my friends from Rainbow Tiger. I wish I was coming to you with something other than bad news, but with a heavy heart I must inform you that yesterday Spike Nico, the Boss Pony of the Rainbow Tiger passed away. Some of you might know that Spike was sick back in June with some lung issues and was in pretty bad shape. However, always the fighter Spike pulled through and was in full recovery. However his illness resurfaced this winter with a vengeance. He died in his bed yesterday from complications of his illness.
We are very sorry to announce that VancouFur's Art Show has been cancelled for 2017 due not being able to secure adequate staff and leads for the department. We thank everyone who put time and effort into the department this year and we hope that it can resume in future years!
Artists who paid for panels in the show are being contacted to arrange refunds.
The news follows the resignation of art show lead Mesa and her partner Silvermink, following their attempt to get a fan alleged privately of attempted rape banned from VancouFur, which led to intense debate for several weeks.
There have been many articles speaking to the harshness and cruelty of the year 2016. This time in history has been seen in such a negative light that people have gone so far as to make horror trailer parodies of the year itself. Barring the turbulent political results in countries such as the United States and United Kingdom, many of the celebrities that brought forth stories of endearment and inspired a generation passed on this year.
But just like you this year the furry fandom has been filled with reminders of our own mortality and that while some may try and use the fandom as an escape from these very realities, death and political strife caused by general interactions have made themselves apparent this year more than any in recent memory.
Furries: A Documentary [trailer] is a 33-minute video about furry fandom directed by Eric Risher. The project started as a short student film he made for university in 2009 called Through Fox's Eyes [trailer], after which he began gathering footage to turn it into a full documentary.
In 2015, Eric used Kickstarter to fund the final stages of the production, and doubled the modest $2,500 he'd hoped to receive. The completed work appeared in May 2016 – as did the online release of another fandom documentary, Fursonas (81 min.) by Dominic Rodriguez, who'd secured more attention and better distribution.
I think Furries is definitely the stronger of the two; it projects a much more positive vibe!
(Full Disclosure: I have a story in this book: Unbalanced Scales, the 6th story in the book. It takes place in the same universe as last year's Brooklyn Blackie and the Unappetizing Menu, just 40 years later. I will "review" that story last. I mean, I could skip it entirely, but I do so like talking about myself and my stories.)
Mary Lowd returns to the helm of ROAR for another collection of "all audience" Furry stories. This time the theme is Legends. There are all sorts of Legends and there was only one story out of the following seventeen whose legend worthiness I questioned.
Edited by Furry Fandom's most beloved Eagle, Fred Patten, An Anthropomorphic Century reprints stories ranging from 1909 to 2008, including the talents of Peter S. Beagle, Philip K. Dick, Michael H. Payne, Phil Geusz, Renee Carter Hall, and more… including myself.
Starting with "Tobermory" by Saki in 1909, Fred does an excellent job putting these stories in a historical and social context. Around the midpoint, however, the historical context begins to soften just a little. The stories are excellent, but not all are milestones, so I would have enjoyed a bit more perspective in what was going on in the real world when they saw print.
Fred may have decided to let the newer stories stand on their own rather than distracting readers from the work themselves. Perhaps this was a good decision; the collection puts on no airs that of a textbook, after all – but Fred Patten is an expert historian of two fandoms (the other being anime). I couldn't imagine a person better suited to bringing external context to these stories.
Disclaimer: I have a story in this anthology. I'll address that story last.
Fred Patten’s newest anthology, Gods with Fur, goes on sale this week at Anthrocon 2016. Published by FurPlanet Productions, the 453-page trade paperback contains 23 original stories by Kyell Gold, Mary E. Lowd, Michael H. Payne, and many more – featuring gods of anthropomorphic worlds, and our anthropomorphic gods.
You may know of Egyptian mythology’s jackal-headed Anubis, but have you heard of wolf-headed Wepwawet? We're familiar with China’s Monkey King and the native North Americans’ Coyote (who say they’re gods), but what of the Aztecs’ 400 drunken rabbits?
I read this back in 2006; it was a present from a friend who I swapped books with. I had forgotten that I had a detailed review of the stories on Bookcrossing.com.
I'm sharing old news, sure, but the book's still available in many formats and you'll enjoy it.
It makes me smile thinking how in 2006, I didn't know any of these Furries, and thanks to the Furry Writers' Guild I know many of them. At least virtually so.
- Living Together: Furries and Humans
- Living Apart: Alternate Furry Worlds
- Living Within: Transformation
In its 4th year of operation, Biggest Little Fur Con lived up to its name. When the count was tallied, BLFC 2016 had set another record, drawing 3,651 attendees; making it the largest furry event in the Western United States, and the third-largest furry convention in the world.