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genetic engineering

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: 'Rose Point' and 'Laisrathera', by M. C. A. Hogarth

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (4 votes)

Rose PointThese are books 2 and 3 of M.C.A. Hogarth’s Her Instruments space opera trilogy. Earthrise, book 1, was reviewed in Flayrah in June 2013.

The fact that Maggie Hogarth commissioned professional s-f cover artist Julie Dillon to paint the covers of this trilogy instead of doing their covers herself, as she usually does for her books, shows that Hogarth considers them especially good (or at least especially salable). And you know how good her fiction usually is.

Rose Point, by M. C. A. Hogarth, Tampa, FL, Studio MCAH, October 2013, trade paperback $16.99 (349 [+1] pages), Kindle $5.99.
Laisrathera, by M. C. A. Hogarth, Tampa, FL, Studio MCAH, May 2014, trade paperback $16.99 (402 pages), Kindle $5.99.

Review: 'Fuzzy Business' and 'Fuzzy Business 2: Fuzz Harder', by Amelia Ritner

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Fuzzy Business Miara is a humanimal, a woman just like anyone else, except with feline features and some feline abilities … (blurb)

I cannot help remembering A.I.P.’s July 1977 movie of The Island of Dr. Moreau, with Burt Lancaster as Dr. Paul Moreau, the Mad Scientist who was uplifting animals into humanimals™, and downlifting humans into humanimals™. I don’t think that A.I.P. put out a single bit of publicity without emphasizing that humanimals™ was its own trademarked word. Fortunately, A.I.P. is gone now, and its trademark doubtlessly expired long ago.

Miara Cooper is a cat-girl.

I am mostly human, of course. I walk upright, have two breasts, and wear clothing. But it is impossible not to notice the domestic feline in my appearance. My eyes are green and my pupils are vertical instead of rounded, at least in the daylight. My pointed, hairy ears are on top of my head. My nose is small, upturned and moist. I have a small set of whiskers at the corners of my upper lip; just a little less than would make me look like one of those Chinamen in an old Looney Tunes cartoon. My skin is white, but it is barely visible under thick, dark hair. At least the hair is human-like: fine and light brown.Just longer and thicker than most human women have on the rest of their bodies. And I have a tail. It isn’t very long; only about seventeen inches from the base of my spine, but it was enough to get in the way of sitting and learning how to pee on a toilet when I was a child. (p. 5)

Miara’s parents were hippies who took part in a scientific experiment in gene splicing before her birth. Now, twenty-four years later, society is still figuring what to do about Doctor Finchley’s and his colleagues’ essays into cat-people, dog-people, fox-people, bear-people and so on.

I even heard of one poor kid in Canada whose parents spliced him to be part moose. Must have been painful giving birth to that one. (p. 6)

Fuzzy Business, by Amelia Ritner, Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, May 2013, trade paperback $7.95 (271 pages), Kindle $1.99.
Fuzzy Business 2: Fuzz Harder, by Amelia Ritner, Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, December 2013, trade paperback $7.95 (178 pages), Kindle $1.99.

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.

Review: 'Sale Bête', by Maïa Mazaurette and Jean-Paul Krassinsky

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Filthy Beast, vol. 1: the hamster catastrophe; art by Jean-Paul KrassinskyI thank Lex Nakashima again for ordering these books from Amazon.fr and loaning them to me.

Hmmm. Well, you certainly gain a vocabulary of current French slang from reading this series. Ordi = PC. Les etrons = turds. La clope = cigarette. L’enfoire = bastard. Catin = whore. Lolcat = Sorry; that one’s American.

Filthy Beast (or Dirty Beast) Volume 1, “Hamster Catastrophe”, introduces the Bastogne family; father (unnamed), mother Vivienne, older daughter Elizabelle, younger daughter Amandarine, and cat Clarky. Their world is like ours, except that there is a factory, La Fabrique, that makes living pets to order.

An animal isn’t improvised here. We guarantee domestic PERFECTION.

Customers can order a bunny, a cat, a puppy, a ferret, a squirrel, a tarantula – anything – made to their choice. Calm to playful. Dominant to submissive. Quiet to expressive. Solitary to social. Stupid to intelligent. Brave to cowardly. Energetic to lazy. There is a long list. Eleven-year-old Amandarine whines that one of her classmates got a blue pony with wings for HER birthday, that her parents had designed it to graze on only the weeds in the garden … Their housecat Clarky comes from La Fabrique. He’s pale pink dotted with darker pink hearts; he’s intelligent; he loves everybody; and so on.

So the Bastognes decide to get Amandarine a designer pet for her birthday.

“Sale Bête. T.1, Hamster Drame”, January 2012, hardbound €10.60 (54 pages).
“Sale Bête. T.2, On Ira Tous au Charadis”, April 2013, hardbound €10.60 (48 pages).
Marcinelle, Belgium, Editions Dupuis; both written by Maïa Mazaurette, illustrated by Jean-Paul Krassinsky.

Release the Power of Dragons

Dragon Resurrection is a new full-color trade paperback from Dark Horse, coming this May. It’s written by Emmy-nominated producer Mark Byers, ably assisted by Lin Zhang and Lyan Zhang, and illustrated Erfan Fajar. “Following the discovery of the remains of a dragon in the mountains of Tibet, adventurer Jesse Chang sends a DNA sample back to his twin brother, geneticist Jack. However, when a rogue American general learns of the discovery, he sets in motion a global pursuit to seize and control the technology for his own shocking ends. Now these twin siblings must synthesize the dragon’s DNA, creating a new generation of living, breathing dragons, in order to take on a tyrant bent on building his own personal kingdom.” Of course, there’s already a movie version in the works. Check out Dark Horse’s preview web site to see more.


image c. 2013 Dark Horse Press

Man’s Best Friend

Rebellion/2000AD, the folks who brought you Judge Dredd, now bring you Kingdom: Call of the Wild, a new full-color trade paperback written by Dan Abnett and illustrated by Richard Elson. “Earth, the far-future. With the planet now overrun by gigantic alien insects, mankind is all but extinct. Genetically engineered dog soldier, Gene the Hackman, now protects one of the last remaining human beings, a young girl named Leezee Sower, and the two of them have traveled to the land of Auxtralia, straight into the territory of a new pack!” Look for it this March, or find out more at The Book Depository.


image c. 2012 Rebellion/2000AD

Animorphs in Space

So, your humble ed-otter returns from the 2012 edition of Further Confusion in Northern California, with lots of stuff to report. Including such items as…

Eco-friendly pigs promise reduced feed costs, emissions

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The BBC investigates the development of the Enviropig – a genetically modified breed of Yorkshire pigs which can digest plant phosphorous, reducing feed costs and harmful emissions.