Nominations for the 2013 Ursa Major Awards, for the best anthropomorphic movies, novels, comic strips, games, etc., will close on February 28. Voting for the winner will begin on March 15th and will close on April 30. The awards will be presented at CaliFur X on May 30 to June 1, at the Irvine Marriott Hotel, Irvine, California.
If you have not nominated yet, you have only a few more days to do so. All titles first published or released during the 2013 calendar year are eligible. The awards are given in eleven categories: Motion Picture, Dramatic Short Work or Series, Novel, Short Fiction, Other Literary Work, Graphic Novel, Comic Strip, Magazine, Published Illustration, Website, and Game. The final ballot includes the top five titles nominated in each category.
Ted Sheppard, an artist from the early days of furry fandom, was arrested last December, suspected of uploading child pornography.
In November last year, following a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, that someone in the Tucson (Arizona) area was uploading child pornography, the Tucson Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children Unit started an investigation. This lead to a search warrant being served on Sheppard's address in Tucson, on Wednesday, December 11. The 46-year-old Sheppard was arrested, and booked into the Pima County Jail for ten counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor.
This is Book 3 of The Fall of Eldvar. I reviewed Book 1, In Wilder Lands, here in March 2012, and Book 2, Into the Desert Wilds, in November 2012. Those were a two-part subseries, “the wildling story arc”, within the larger saga of The Fall of Eldvar. Galford said on his website that Book 3 would feature new characters, an elf and a human; and no wildlings (furries). Yet Darryl Taylor’s cover for Sunset of Lantonne clearly features Raeln, a seven-foot tall wolf wildling, with Ilarra, his elf “sister” by his side. Did Galford lie?
Not exactly. The main characters in Sunset of Lantonne are Ilarra, the young elf wizard-in-training, and Therec, the older human Turessian necromancer. Raeln is only a supporting character – but you woudn’t guess it from this cover. Or from the first chapter, which plays up Ilarra and Raeln. Galford debuted Sunset of Lantonne at Rocky Mountain Fur Con 2013. Featuring a furry on the cover was a good marketing move.
And a justified one, if it will get furry fans to read Sunset of Lantonne. It is an excellent novel; Raeln is a memorable character even if he is not the star; and there are plenty of wildling incidental characters. Read it; you will not be disappointed. Also read Jim Galford’s website, especially if you have not read In Wilder Lands and Into the Desert Wilds yet. It contains a tremendous amount of background information on this series.
Fred Patten says,
I am writing a history of all Furry conventions from the first, in January 1989, to the end of 2010, when there were 42 of them around the world. This is 182 pages; almost 45,000 words. Most fans think that it is already too long, so I have stopped with 2010. There were 43 in 2011, and over 60 today.
Here are some sample entries and illustrations:
|Albany AnthroCon 1998 – Here Be Dragons||The Omni Albany Hotel, Albany, New York||July 3-5, 1998 (Attendance: 600)|
|GoH: Jeffrey A. Carver (s-f author), Jim Groat (Furry cartoonist); Fandom GoH: Dr. Samuel Conway|
|Charity: Whiskers, a cat rescue group ($3,092)||Chair: Roger Wilbur (Aloyen Youngblood)|
The activities of the first AnthroCon were repeated and expanded upon. There were special interest group meetings; panels on such subjects as anthropomorphic-animal advertising mascots and “Cleaning Up Our Past”; a puppet show by Steve Plunkett and a Story Hour by Uncle Kage; and a Saturday-night performance by Purple Nurple Live! The previous year’s Moreau Awards were not repeated; the committee considered them a failure since only about twenty members out of 500 had bothered to attend and vote. The 44-page Program Book had a cover by Jim Groat. The AnthroCon had over forty staff members; Roger Wilbur was the official Chairman (CEO), but most of the convention was coordinated by Jonah E. Safar as Organizational Director. The T-shirt was by Jim Groat. There was general agreement that a larger hotel was needed for next year.
This is generally well-written, if poorly proofread. But the science/technology seems wonky. And the main character, Dr. Cooper Barnes, M.D., the civilian Chief Medical Officer of the International Space Program’s ISP Frontier in 2065, is surprisingly negatively introduced. Most novels with a medical protagonist state their long-range goal of eliminating disease and putting themselves out of business. Cooper complains on the first page that the last serious disease, ebola, has just been eliminated, and he is out of a job. When he is asked to become the head doctor on an exploration spaceship that will land on new planets with unknown diseases, he asks for medical supplies and trained assistants that are presented as arrogant demands rather than requests.
No one had come to see him in the last few weeks, except for those particularly stupid people convinced that they were sick, and just needed a doctor to tell them that they weren’t. (p. 1)
You can guess that Cooper does not have a good bedside manner.
Novels that feature unpleasant main characters that gradually become likeable are hard but not impossible to bring off successfully. Think of Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Unfortunately, M. Andrew Rudder is no Charles Dickens. You have to take it on faith, and the reviewer’s promise, that Cooper Barnes will become a better man.
Word came out recently that one of the originals of Furry Fandom, Mark E. Rogers, passed away this past weekend while out hiking with his family. Some might even call him a patron spirit of anthropomorphics. In 1984 (back when a certain group of Ninja Turtles were making their very first appearance) mark published his first book chronicling the adventures of Miaowara Tomokato, the Samurai Cat. Almost every other page of Rogers’ Samurai Cat books featured a black and white or full-color illustration by the author, connected with the action on the previous page. Through a series of five such books of historical satire, Mark was one of the first to take anthropomorphics away from “funny animal” silliness and into something completely new, in a big way. Ron Miller has a detailed obituary of Rogers which he posted up on I09. Sayonara, Mark-san.
The awards are selected by a two-stage process of nominating and voting. Members of the public send in up to five nominations in each of the eleven categories. The top five nominees in each category (more in case of a tie) are then presented on a final ballot for a public vote.
The eleven categories are: Motion Picture, Dramatic Short Work or Series, Novel, Short Fiction, Other Literary Work, Graphic Novel, Comic Strip, Magazine, Published Illustration, Website, and Game.
Many nominations are likely to come from the 2013 Recommended Anthropomorphic Reading List, which has been built up through prior recommendations. However, inclusion on the List is not necessary for nomination if a work is otherwise eligible.
Fred Patten will have a new anthology, Five Fortunes, on sale at Further Confusion 2014. The 415-page tome, published by FurPlanet, presents five brand-new novellas by fan-favorite Furry authors, four of them featuring their popular characters or settings:
- “Chosen People” by Phil Geusz, set in his Book of Lapism world.
- “Going Concerns” by Watts Martin, set in his Ranea world.
- “When a Cat Loves a Dog” by Mary E. Lowd, set in her Otters in Space world.
- “Piece of Mind” by Bernard Doove, set in his Chakat Universe.
- The fifth story is “Huntress” by Renee Carter Hall, in a new setting of tribal anthropomorphic African lions.
If you were waiting for a coffee-table book mixing fursuiting and cultural research, Furries: Enacting Animal Anthropomorphism might be it. It was created by Romanian Carmen Dobre, a Master in both cultural studies (Univ. of Bucharest) and photographic studies (Leiden), who is pursuing a PhD at the Bucharest National University of Arts. [tip: Dr. Kathy Gerbasi]
The 152 page hardback contains 49 photographs, 13 of which can be previewed online (scroll in for a full view). Produced by the University of Plymouth, it's also available from eBay UK or Australia, Amazon U.S. or Canada, Albris, and Fishpond.
Carmen's furry photography began in Holland as a university project, and spread to France, Romania, Germany, and the UK (assisted by Fotonow CIC). Her work was exhibited September-October 2011 (video) at the Rue de l'Exposition gallery. One photo was a finalist for the 2013 Celeste Prize. She has also created a brief study of furry fandom (PDF).
Let's be clear about one thing from the start: furry is still a fandom. That should be a fairly uncontroversial statement, but a recent article by JM on [adjective][species] tried to put forward the case that furry can no longer be described as a fandom. I think there are a number of major errors in that essay that need to be corrected.
Fandom or not?
JM's argument against furry's status as a fandom rests on the lack of a furry canon.
Fandoms revolve around their canon. The canon provides a permanent reference point for all fandom-related activities. We furries have no such thing, and so furry is defined by whatever we, collectively, decide.
This paragraph is only partially true. He's wrong about what constitutes a fandom; there is more to it than just canon. Turning to the infallible resource of Wikipedia (that was irony, but it is pretty reliable), we learn this about fandoms:
Those pictures were drawn by Ookami Kemono. Since then, he has continued to entertain his thousands of watchers and, on 31 August this year, began a webcomic entitled Lucid's Dream. I got in touch with him to talk to him about his art and his latest project.
Antilia is described by its creators as “an MMORPG featuring a beautiful world, original races, unique gameplay, and an innovative storytelling system!” Brought about by Jeff Leigh and the crew at Right Brain Games, this new multi-player game is currently in the testing and programming stage — and has a Kickstarter campaign up to get things brought to the next level. According to Jeff, “With Antilia, we are creating a unique and beautiful science-fiction/fantasy world, populated by distinctive anthropomorphic races. If you’ve heard of Antilia before, it’s because we have spent several years refining our process and building the game’s foundation. Antilia has had public alpha tests for the past two years as we developed, and are confident we can deliver a quality game.” Find out more by visiting Antilia’s web site, or by checking out the preview trailer up on YouTube.
Have you heard that Satan is a Furry; a cat-man from the Large Magellanic Cloud, responsible for all the evils on Earth?
That might be funny if over ten million people did not believe it.
You cannot always judge whether a novel will be good or bad by its first line, but I’ve found that a story with a good first line rarely turns out to be bad. The first line of Striking the Root is, “Rowan hung upside-down from a branch and drew emerald knots in the air, hoping to please the Lord.” Yep, that’s a grabber. And Striking the Root just keeps getting better.
In an apparent dungeons-&-dragonish magical world, young Rowan Janiceson is an “awakened” gray squirrel in a joint civilization of humans and squirrelfolk. The world was originally inhabited by just humans; but several centuries ago, the human wizard Lord Veles, Great Lord of the Forest, planted the seed that grew into the massive Great Oak and awakened the first squirrels in size and intelligence. Since then, Veles has mostly withdrawn to let the squirrelfolk run their own civilization under their own Council in what has become the squirrel nation of Great Oak. Many squirrels have left Great Oak to settle among the human city-states.
Rowan is one of the squirrelfolk who worship Veles as the god of the squirrelfolk, and he is unhappy that more and more squirrels are drifting away from the True Faith, calling Veles by the disrespectful name of “Greenie” and considering him as just a human wizard, not a god. When the Council of Great Oak intends to send a representative into human lands on a trade mission, Veles arranges for Rowan to become that messenger. Rowan is both scared to venture from the squirrel nation into the human world, and proud to be the ambassador of the squirrel’s True Faith.