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Review: 'Taboo', edited by Rechan

Your rating: None Average: 4.1 (8 votes)

TabooTaboo is a work of anthropomorphic fiction for adult readers only. (publisher’s advisory)

It is rated NC-17.

Every society has taboos, from sacred vows which must never be broken to the limitations of sexual expression. These [fourteen stories answer] the question, "Which line would you cross?" (blurb)

This is a longer book review than usual, since it covers 14 individual short stories. If you don’t want to read a review this long, my critiques are all at the end.

Since this is a furry NC-17 anthology, you can guess that all fourteen stories feature explicit sex. Whether it fits the story or not.

"That Red Panda Girl" by Tarl "Voice" Hoch"

Raven, the almost-40 panther, is a high school teacher happily married to the beautiful nympho Holly the jaguar, who sets up some kinky sex activity for him almost every night. But that doesn’t keep him from lusting after one of his students, the red panda Leah. She’s gorgeous, she’s over 18, and she’s already unmarried-but-pregnant. Raven knows that a sexual liaison between a teacher and his student is taboo, and jeopardizing his relationship with his wife is really foolish. But Leah is also a nympho lolita, and she desperately wants him …

Illustrated by Kadath’s cover.

Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Publications, March 2014, trade paperback $19.95 (318 pages), eBook $9.95.

Review: 'Red Devil', by Kyell Gold

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

Red DevilRed Devil, a sequel to Kyell Gold's Green Fairy, is both the second volume of his Dangerous Spirits series, and part of his Forester series (Out of Position, Isolation Play, Waterways, Bridges and others), set in an alternate contemporary America inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. Solomon Wrightson, the homosexual teenage wolf who was the protagonist of Green Fairy, is the best friend of Alexei Tsarev, the fox protagonist here.

Alexei, a young Siberian in the States on a student visa that expires in two months, hopes to impress the Vidalia Peaches semi-professional soccer team enough to become a member.

If they sponsored Alexei, he could apply for a visa that would allow him to stay in this country indefinitely. (p. 3)

Besides being good athletes, everyone on the Peaches is gay. Alexei has only recently come to the States from his hometown of Samorodka, Siberia, partially to play soccer but really to escape the brutal anti-gay attitude prevalent in Siberia. (Gold is clearly using Siberia to refer to all Russia in this anthropomorphic world.) Alexei misses his sister Caterina, with whom he was especially close. They were exchanging letters, but she has not answered his last few missives. Alexei is sure that their abusive parents are preventing her from writing.

Alexei is rooming with Sol at the house that Sol shares with Meg, the mannish teenage otter from Green Fairy, in Sol’s room where his portrait of Niki, the murdered 19th-century fox transvestite is hanging. Alexei, who semi-believes in ghosts, already is influenced by the spirit of his great-grandmother “Prababushka”, whom he feels may have followed him to the States to protect him. In addition to worrying about Cat back in Samorodka, and getting onto the Peaches soccer team to stay in the States, Alexei has developed a crush on one of the Vidalia amateur players, Mike, a friendly Dall sheep; but the insecure, withdrawn Siberian fox is always being shoved aside by Kendall, a more brash and self-assertive pine marten also on the local amateur team. Alexei is unsure whether Mike is just being polite to Kendall, or if he really prefers the more outgoing marten. Or whether Alexei should continue to concentrate on his feelings for Mike, rather than looking for another boyfriend in Vidalia and the States’ more open and relaxed straight and gay sexual atmosphere.

Illustrations by Rukis, St. Paul, MN, Sofawolf Press, January 2014, trade paperback $19.95 ([iii +] 269 [+ 2] pages), Kindle $9.99.

Review: 'All Tied Up in Knotz', by Andres Cyanni Halden

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (4 votes)

All Tied Up in Knotz This is a mature content book. Please ensure that you are of legal age to purchase this material in your state or region. (publisher's advisory)

This is a M/M adult novella, but not in FurPlanet’s “Cupcakes” series. FurPlanet has rated it NC-17 for “graphic sexual situations”.

Synopsis: Carson really likes meeting guys over Knotz, his favorite smartphone app. He has little patience for conversation and even less for the idea of a relationship. However, after a hot bear quite literally knocks him off his feet, it seems there might be more to life than his job and searching for one night stands. (publisher’s blurb)

Carson, as the cover by Soro shows, is a young male red fox (usually more dressed in public) who works in a bookstore in St. Marx. He meets Peter Belov, a handsome and ridiculously rich Russian black bear, when the latter’s expensive car knocks over his bicycle in a minor traffic accident. Carson’s cell phone, ruined in the crash, is frozen on Knotz, a gay erotic site, so there is no doubt as to his sexual orientation. Peter offers to drive him home, and since Carson’s preference is obvious, Peter proposes a gay date.

All Tied Up in Knotz is well-written, but it is 100% for the gay male eroticism market. St. Marx appears to be a city inhabited entirely by handsome gay male anthros looking for friendly sex with no long-term attachments. Females and even families with children appear later, but the reader sees things from Carson’s point of view, and he notices little but the roving gay males.

Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, July 2013, trade paperback $9.95 (105 pages).

Review: 'Carpe Mortis: You Only Live Once', by Graveyard Greg

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Carpe Mortis: You Only Live Once The first 26 pages of this novella and the next ten or so establish the slice-of-life daily routines of the cast of buddies: Ted the hyena, his foster brother Reggie (who prefers to be called Venti) the nine-foot-tall black jackal, Regis the zebra and his teen brother Lee, Kevin the tiger, and Art the lion. Most of them are gay, but that’s only incidental in this novella; it isn’t erotically heavy. The zombie plague doesn’t get serious until around page 40.

The main characters are Regis and Lee the zebras, Ted the hyena, and new characters that are introduced on the way. Some of the buddies make it. Some succumb to the zombie plague, or are eaten by the zombies. Some go to rescue their friends, without knowing if they are already too late.

Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, May 2013, trade paperback $9.95 (115 pages; on Amazon).

Howard Hardiman's graphic novel 'The Lengths' launched in hardcover edition

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

'The Lengths' poster I reviewed Howard Hardiman's The Lengths in December 2012. Originally released in seven issues, the complete story arc is now available in a hardback collection from Soaring Penguin Press.

To recap, The Lengths follows gay college dropout Eddie as his blossoming relationship begins to conflict with his secret life as a male escort named 'Ford'. Eddie, his boyfriend Dan, scary pimp Nelson and the supporting cast are all dogs. The dialogue is realistic, the black and white London backdrop atmospheric, and the situation both intriguing and touching. The series has received positive reviews from sources as diverse as Gay Comics List and The New Statesman.

The new edition was launched at Gosh! Comics in Soho, London, on Friday 11th October. I went along to buy a signed copy, and was lucky enough to enjoy a chat with the author (and a bone-shaped cookie).

GaymerX convention a hit for furries, gamers, gay and "geek culture"

Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (9 votes)
Fursuiters with 'free hugs' signs at GaymerX
Corron, Patch, Harley, Fry, and Gravy take a furry message to the street

Acceptance between cultures makes them thrive. At the GaymerX convention on August 3-4, acceptance was a basic idea for a popular panel- "Natural Allies: Gaymers and Furries".

GaymerX, the first gaming convention focused on LGBT themes, won media buzz and crowds through active inclusion. Inviting allies in "geek culture" to an "arms-open party for anyone who wants to join", it drew over 2,000 to San Francisco's Japantown (a heavy turnout for a first con, compared to established furry conventions.) Founder Matt Conn called it "just the start".

Questions for Russian furry fans about anti-gay oppression

Your rating: None Average: 2.8 (12 votes)

Fox standing proudly with a gay pride necklace Sometimes resented, but real, there is overlap of different groups that some might call a "furry/gay axis". It brings theories, stereotypes, appreciation and much discussion.

Does it happen in Russia too? Do some Russian furry fans wear rainbows as often as some in North America? Do they fear Russia's anti-gay oppression in current world news? Would they think twice about costuming in public, or holding meets, if they might be charged with illegally spreading information about "non-traditional sexual behavior"?

Is there a place on the web where international furry fans can easily connect with Russian furs to ask about their opinions and experiences?

[Image: Standing Proud by Taurin Fox]

Furries at San Francisco Pride 2013

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (10 votes)

A historic U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage created intense emotions and record crowds at San Francisco's 2013 Pride celebration. I was informally told the parade drew 1.5 million. Imagine pushing through them in the hot sun with inch thick fur on!

Video by Mallius
For dozens of local furs, the great fun and positive vibes of Pride 2012 were small compared to this year's enthusiastic turnout. If it grows as much in 2014, it'll be awesome to see.

Furs invited to GaymerX, the first gaming con with a gay twist

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (6 votes)

GaymerX is the first gaming convention focused on LGBTQ themes for "gaymers", their allies, and geek culture. On August 3–4 GaymerX will bring contests, parties, panels and more to Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco's Japantown.

Panels at the con include Natural Allies: Furries and Gaymers, by Vulpinfox, and a bear drawing panel hosted by Grisser.

Founder and Director of Technology, Andrew Evans, told me:

Creating a safe space for queer geeks and their allies to come together, discuss their geekiness, hang out and feel safe is super important to the community. We felt like the gaming community wasn't doing enough to bring together queer geeks, which is why we're doing GaymerX and built out GaymerConnect. ["A service that allows you to find queer gamers and allies of every identity who play the same games you do."]

Update: Use code GX13FUR by July 26 for a $10 registration discount. [Latte]

Review: 'The Fortune Teller's Poem', edited by Andres Cyanni Halden

Your rating: None Average: 2 (1 vote)

The Fortune Teller's Poem Monday's child is fair of face,
Tuesday's child is full of grace,
Wednesday's child is full of woe,
Thursday's child has far to go,
Friday's child is loving and giving,
Saturday's child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

Wikipedia says that this nursery rhyme dates back to at least the 1570s, and that, before it was printed and ‘fixed’ in the 19th century, there were many variations.

Andres Cyanni Halden uses this standardized version. He has gotten seven authors – six plus himself – to each write a Furry story around one of these ‘days’. Most are erotic gay stories. Each story has a small frontispiece illustration by Amaze.

The Fortune Teller's Poem is a work of anthropomorphic fiction for adult readers only. (publisher’s advisory)

FurPlanet Productions, June 2011, trade paperback $19.95 (237 pages), Kindle $9.95. Illustrated by Amaze, cover by Horrorshow.

Review: 'Hot Dish' [vol. 1, edited by Alopex]

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (4 votes)
Cover to 'Hot Dish, vol. 1', by Kamui

‘Hotdish’ is another term for casserole – a collection of seemingly disparate ingredients held together by a hot, gooey sauce. It creates a hearty portion of food for those on a relatively modest budget.

Hot Dish is a collection of stories about the romantic and erotic relationships between characters of disparate species and sexual orientations. It is a hearty portion of quality fiction which was too long to fit into our yearly adult anthology, Heat.

Hot, gooey sauce not included. (back cover blurb)

Hot Dish is an anthology intended for an adult audience only and contains some explicit sexual scenes of various sexual orientations. It is not for sale to persons under the age of 18. (publisher’s advisory)

Hot Dish, which includes a number “1” on the spine so more volumes are planned, consists of nine romantic Furry novelettes, about forty pages each, by pseudonymous authors.

(Really, I respect Furry pseudonyms, but when an entire book is filled with stories by Huskyteer, Lady Chastity Chatterley, Dark End, and the like, it makes it look like everyone concerned has something to hide.)

Sofawolf Press, March 2013, trade paperback $17.95 (xii + 374 pages). Illustrated by Keovi.

New MC Crumbsnatcher rap video gathers many subcultures

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (7 votes)

… takes them to the dungeon, and does bad, bad things to them. If you thought VancouFur had an offensive theme, watch out! This one is truly NSFW, and best for those who appreciate wanton displays of licentious content.

The queer furry rapper's video, "Why the Boys All Love Me", follows an announcement for the making of a "nightmarish gay goth animal S&M" video at Halloween in San Francisco. It flaunts his mission to "put Satan back into hip-hop", and makes a sequel to a previous video featuring fursuiters. This time, Furry content is minimal, and indirectly limited to a few cameos and participation by dedicated furries who cross over between that group and others (such as the S&M fetish scene). Please consider it labeled that way up front, and view accordingly.

Review: 'Divisions', by Kyell Gold

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (6 votes)

'Divisions' cover by BlotchDivisions is set in Kyell Gold’s Forester universe (Waterways, Green Fairy, Winter Games, etc.), and is the third in the series featuring the tiger Devlin Miski and the fox Wiley Farrel (Out of Position, 2009, and Isolation Play, 2011). The series is narrated in the first person by both Dev and Lee in mostly alternating chapters.

Each novel documents a year in their life. In Out of Position, 2006, the two seniors at Forester U. meet, become secret lovers, and at the conclusion Dev, on Forester’s football team, becomes the first “out of the closet” football player. Isolation Play, 2007, starts immediately after Out of Position and deals with the aftermath of Dev’s and Lee’s revelation: Dev’s hostile teammates, shocked parents of both, a reporter determined to use them in a sensationalistic story, and facing life after graduation.

Now in Divisions, 2008, Dev and Lee pursue equally their professional careers, their personal lives, and the results of their open homosexuality.

Divisions is a romance novel intended for an adult audience only and contains some explicit sexual scenes of a primarily Male/Male nature. It is not for sale to persons under the age of 18. (publisher’s advisory)

Sofawolf Press, January 2013, trade paperback $19.95 (xvi + 367 pages; on Amazon). Illustrated by Blotch.

Review: 'The Lengths', by Howard Hardiman

Your rating: None Average: 2 (4 votes)

The LengthsEddie, a twenty-something struggling into adulthood as best he can, should be happy that he's got together with Dan, an old friend from art school; but there's a problem. Eddie is also Ford, an escort who has sex with strangers for money. To complicate matters further, he has a hopeless crush on his musclebound pimp, Nelson (as in 'Nelson's Column'). How long can Eddie hide his secret from Dan, and how did he get here in the first place?

Comics about the sex lives of anthropomorphic dogs are pretty common within the furry fandom. Comics on that subject by non-furries are rarer, especially comics praised by both Gay Times and Forbidden Planet International. So when a friend offered me The Lengths, a series of comics by Howard Hardiman about, in the artist's own words, 'dog-headed male prostitutes', I snapped it up.

The Lengths consists of eight issues, the last two in a double volume. Stapled black and white softcover, 28 pages per issue. Individual issues cost £2.50 or £3. A folder containing issues 1–6 is also available for £20.

Review: 'Winter Games', by Kyell Gold

Your rating: None Average: 3 (4 votes)

Winter GamesI hate stories that are so carefully constructed that a reviewer can hardly say anything about them without giving away spoilers. Well, Winter Games is set in Gold’s Forester Universe, although it is not connected to any of Gold’s other stories. It contains mentions of Millenport and other Forester locales. It is the fifth of FurPlanet’s “Cupcake” booklets, less than novel length.

Winter Games is a work of anthropomorphic fiction for adult readers only. (publisher's advisory)

Sierra Snowpaw, a 33-year-old snow leopard, checks into the Lonnegan Ski Resort, apparently just on a relaxed vacation although it soon becomes obvious that he is looking for someone. Sierra does not let the search distract him from having steamy gay sex with Bret, the resort’s pine marten desk clerk.

The novella alternates in short chapters between the 2012 “now” and 1997, when Sierra was a teenage student at Tartok Ecole Internationale in Europe, presumably setting up the explanation of whom Sierra is searching for and why, and why this person is avoiding him.

FurPlanet Productions, September 2012, trade paperback $9.95 (vii + 135 pages).
Illustrated by Sabretoothed Ermine.