At the end of April, I posted a Newsbyte regarding a charity art drive to benefit “lifelong furry” and renowned fantasy author Peter S. Beagle, in order to fund his legal costs and living expenses as he litigates a suit against his former agent.
That was the first I had heard of the troubles of The Last Unicorn’s author. Upon seeing that Uncle Kage had tweeted about this situation in 2016, however, I learned this suit had been going on for longer than I realized, and I took the time to look deeply into the situation.
What I found was horrifying, and the rabbit hole seemed to go deeper the more I looked. Today I'm going to go into more detail about this shameful situation, bringing it to light in the hopes that the more people who know, the more help Beagle will receive.
Get ready, this is gonna be a long ride. If you don't want to read every single detail, I implore you to scroll down to the "How you can help" section, or at least spread this message as far as you can. Beagle needs as many friends as he can get right now.
Peter S. Beagle is suing his former agent for elder abuse, fraud, defamation, and breach of fiduciary duty, among other related allegations, which you can read in full here [PDF].
Are furry podcasts unsuitable for breakfast? FM listeners in Colorado sure thought so!
On the morning of April 5, Denver-area FM station KIFT 106.3 "The Lift" suffered a broadcast signal intrusion on a relay station serving a remote valley. Instead of Bruno Mars, listeners in Breckenridge, Colorado were treated to Paradox Wolf, Fayroe and friends.
Denver station KCNC-TV "CBS 4" contacted The Lift for an explanation, and were told they send programing from their studio to four transmitters via the Internet. Somehow, the Breckenridge repeater K258AS (99.5 FM) was compromised, and someone had spliced in Furcast Episode 224 in place of The Lift.
Thankfully, the primary FM and webcasts of both The Lift and Furcast.FM / XBN were unaffected, but a large amount of NSFW programming, including swearing, was broadcast without censorship for several hours, with The Lift's engineers unable to kill the studio/transmitter link remotely.
On FurCast's end, their server saw a gradual rise in connections to its podcast archive (used on its website and iOS and Android apps for listeners) from 06:00 AM EDT onwards, until they were able to temporarily disable access at 02:30 PM EDT. The archives have since come back online at a new address, with a long list of blocked IP addresses to prevent a recurrence.
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.
Word is spreading fast that the creators of the Ursa-Major-nominated film Ted are facing a lawsuit. “The creators of web series about a foul-mouthed teddy bear with a penchant for drinking, smoking and prostitutes have filed a copyright infringement suit against Seth MacFarlane, Universal Pictures and the producers of Ted, the 2012 film about a foul-mouthed teddy bear with a penchant for drinking, smoking and prostitutes. Bengal Mangle Productions claims that Ted ‘is an unlawful copy’ of its own animated teddy, who was featured in two different web series, Charlie The Abusive Teddy and Acting School Academy. The suit, filed today in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, states that those web series aired in 2009 and 2010 on You Tube, FunnyOrDie.com and other streaming websites.” Any merit to this? So far the targets of the lawsuit haven’t responded, but you can visit Charlie’s official web site and check things out for yourself.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office declined to register the New York state furry convention's name as a mark in August 2013, after identifying the terms 'furry' and 'con' as "merely descriptive":
“Furry” refers to “fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics.” - “Con” is a “common abbreviation for convention”.
At that time, a "furry" was also cited by the examiner as:
someone who is part of a subculture interested in fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics
Various Wikipedia and WikiFur articles were used as references, as well as George Gurley's "Pleasures of the Fur" in Vanity Fair, the Anthrocon, Furry 4 Life, Furry Fandom Infocenter, Furry Connection North and Georgia Furs websites, and a con report on SoFurry.
Furry auction site FurBuy has added a classified listings service, among other updates, positioning it as a "furry Craigslist". Listings so far include furry identification badges, a skunk suit for sale, and a request for a sewing partner. However, ongoing competition from social art sites has lead to a threat of closure later this year, reminiscent of those made over a decade ago.
M.C.A. Hogarth is a furry artist and writer whose works have appeared in several publications. A guest of honor at Midwest FurFest 2003 and 2009, her short story In the Line of Duty was the winner of the 2003 Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction. Recently, Hogarth's e-novel Spots the Space Marine was the target of a claim of trademark violation by Games Workshop, developer and publisher of tabletop wargames Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000, and The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game.
It was on December 13 that Hogarth received an e-mail from online retailer Amazon.com, informing her that they had stopped selling Spots the Space Marine. The explanation given centred around the use of the phrase "space marine". Although an archetype of science fiction dating back to 1932, Games Workshop holds trademarks on the phrase in the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe.
Wired reports that Chicago artist Rob Loukotka has created an advertising poster for fictional ACME Corp. that shows 126 of its products that Wile E. Coyote has ordered in his attempts to catch the Road Runner, including the jet-propelled tennis shoes, rocket-powered pogo stick, and tornado seeds.
The giant poster (24” x 36”, or 2’ x 3’) is not quite ready to order. Loukotka has a Kickstarter project to raise $3,000 to print it. Considering that the project is still going and that he has $79,110 pledged so far, this looks assured. Loukotka is asking for $30 pledges; each pledger will receive the poster. Non-pledgers can buy it for $30 after it is printed; $40 outside the U.S
Loukotka has other posters, but this is the only one with an anthropomorphic tie-in.
Update (21 Dec): The Cartoon Brew reports that Warner Bros. trademarked the ACME logo, too, though Loukotka was careful not to mention WB or Wile E. Coyote on the poster. [Ed.: The USPTO cancelled the trademark in 2010 as they failed to file a 10-year renewal.]
The U.S. administration created We The People to provide a place for any of its citizens to petition the White House, which has promised to provide an official response to all petitions reaching 25?000 signatures within 30 days. While some cover serious political issues, it's doubtful that they expected Matthew H's petition for domestic cat girls. [Yahoo!]
Matthew contends that the War on Drugs is pointless, and that money would be better spent by genetically engineering cat girls for home services.
While reports by the Global Commission on Drug Policy suggest the war has been a dramatic and costly waste of money, lives and society, and has harmed the fight against HIV/AIDS, it is unlikely that the U.S. will abandon it any time soon. Both Colorado and Washington have legalised non-medicinal marijuana, but its possession is still a federal offence.
If Avatar could win the Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture in 2009, then Furry fandom should LOVE Escape from Planet Earth. More blue aliens! Furry aliens! A plot that will remind you of Planet 51! Lots of 7-11! Originally scheduled for a 2010 release but now due out from the Weinstein Company and Rainmaker Entertainment in Vancouver on February 14, 2013.
We are young and strange. By tendency, at least, furries are non-conformists with many years ahead of them. That's why the new health care law is a poison pill for our community.
Right now there are people dangling "free" drugs and other medical care in front of us and promising there's no cost; it'll all be paid for by some rich guy. Just let this law stand, they say, and help elect the people who will protect it.
But what are we actually signing away? Our freedom. All of it.
[Ed.: This will be the last story on this topic. A separate piece addresses topic suitability.]
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Many laws have little practical impact on furry fans one way or another. But this is one we should pay attention to, because it applies especially to us.
Internet drama website Encyclopædia Dramatica had its domain suspended late last week after letting its virtual office in Switzerland lapse, bureaucrat Zaiger reports:
I wish we could say there was an epic story regarding DDoS, hacking, doxing and pwnage, but the reality is we just didn't renew our virtual office in Switzerland, which was a prerequisite of having a .ch domain. We don't know when we will get it back, all we have gotten from the registrars office is that it has been frozen for legal reasons. This is not something that is generally vigorously enforced, but apparently the Swiss government has taken a shine to us.
The site, formed from a mirror of the original wiki, was hosted at encyclopediadramatica.ch. While it may be possible for operators to regain the original domain name, for now the site has moved to encyclopediadramatica.se.
Encyclopædia Dramatica hosts numerous articles about furry fans, activities and websites, typically focussing on dramatic incidents; however, their reliability is questionable, as editors often exaggerate or simply make up material in an effort to 'spice up' boring topics.
Site leader Toumal responded with assurances that a new chat module would be provided, and made a call for donations. A temporary chat has since been implemented.