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Griffin Ranger, the conclusion, has finally been published

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Griffon Ranger_0.jpgIn January 2015, FurPlanet Productions published the first volume of Roz Gibson’s s-f novel “Griffin Ranger”. Now, as of August 2017, the rest of the novel is now available.

Gibson has been a furry fan favorite since the 1980s, but as a comic-book artist, not a novelist. She wrote and drew “Jet: 2350” for the Rowrbrazzle in 1987, and went on to create one of his most popular characters, the antihero Jack Salem, the sable psychotic killer, in a series of comics published first by Radio Comix in the 1990s and later republished and continued by FurPlanet, notably in the “City of Ice” series.

In 2014 Gibson turned to writing. Her first Jack Salem novelette, “The Monkeytown Raid”, published in the anthology “What Happens Next” edited by Fred Patten, won that year’s Ursa Major Award for the Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction of the year. She has written a few more stories since then, the most recent being the time-travel thriller “Matriarch: Elephant vs. T-Rex”, published as an original Kindle novella in April 2017.

Update 10/15: A statement made about FurPlanet publication on the original article was found to be inaccurate and removed.

Book News: 'Skeleton Crew' by Gre7g Luterman - Now bigger and better

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A mammalian humanoid stands defiantly in the hand of a giant reptilian creature.Gre7g Luterman self-published his furry science-fiction novel Skeleton Crew though Amazon's CreateSpace in August 2014. The cover art was designed by his wife, H. Kyoht Luterman, and inside were over a dozen full-page illustrations, mostly by Rick Griffin. It got excellent reviews. It's now been picked up and re-published in a new, expanded edition by Thurston Howl Publications, with a new cover by Rick Griffin (seen here, to the right) and new illustrations.

The backstory to Skeleton Crew is that four centuries earlier, the giant Krakun race came to the primitive planet of Gerootec and offered to hire thousands of the over-populated Geroo as their starship crews. The Geroo who went into space (and their descendants) would never see Gerootec again, but they would live in luxury compared to the backward conditions on their homeworld.

Say auf wiedersehen to the meerkat detectives

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Meerkly.jpgDo you read German? I don’t.

I have been occasionally checking to see whether any more of the German murder mysteries featuring animal private detectives have been translated into English. Sadly, all we’ve gotten is three of Akif Pirinçci’s eight hard-boiled cat murder mysteries (Felidae and two of its sequels featuring Francis – you’ve probably seen the German “Felidae” animated feature), and the first of Leonie Swann’s Agatha Christie-like sheep murder mysteries (“Three Bags Full” featuring Miss Maple, the cleverest sheep in Glenkill, maybe in all Ireland, maybe in the world). There have not been any translations of the murder mysteries investigated by dog detectives, pig detectives, goose detectives, parrot detectives, and more. Now it looks like the series by Moritz Matthies starring Ray and Rufus, the meerkat detectives from the Berlin Zoo, has reached its final volume with “Letzte Runde” (“Last Round”) from Fischer Verlag (March 2017, 304 pages).

The 2016 Ursa Major Award winners

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The 2016 Ursa Majors Awards logo.The 2016 Ursa Major Awards have been announced on Friday afternoon, June 30th at the Anthrocon convention in Pittsburgh. The Ursa Major Awards, for the best anthropomorphic fiction of the past calendar year, are presented in twelve categories by the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association (ALAA), and are voted upon by the public on the Ursa Major Awards website.

2015 Ursa Major Awards: Only two weeks left to nominate

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Ursa Major Awards logo by Foxenawolf Have you nominated your choices for the 2015 Ursa Major Awards, for the best new anthropomorphic releases of 2015 in eleven categories? Nominations close on February 29, in only two weeks.

The categories are Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture, Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short Work or Series, and so on for Novel, Short Fiction, Other Literary Work (anthologies, collections, non-fiction and art books), Graphic Story, Comic Strip, Magazines, Published Illustration, Game and Website. Works first published or released during the 2015 calendar year are eligible. You may make up to five nominations in each category.

Nominations opened on January 14 (the first day of Further Confusion 2016) and have been going on for a month. The nominations will be tallied between March 1 and March 14. The final ballot, consisting of the five titles in each category that receive the most nominations, will be announced on March 15, and voting will take place until April 30. All those who send in nominations will be registered as eligible to vote on the final ballot. Those who did not nominate but wish to vote on the final ballot may register to do so.

2015 Recommended Reading List closed

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Ursa Major Awards banner by EosFoxxThe 2015 Recommended Anthropomorphic Reading List is now closed.

Many nominations for the 2015 Ursa Major Awards are likely to come from the 2015 Recommended Anthropomorphic Reading List, which has been built up through prior recommendations. 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. Inclusion on the List is not necessary for nomination if a work is otherwise eligible; first published during January to December 2015.

Nominations take place between January 14 (the first day of Further Confusion 2016) and February 29. The nominations will be tallied between March 1 and March 14. The final ballot will be announced on March 15, and voting will take place until April 30. All those who send in nominations will be registered as eligible to vote on the final ballot. Those who did not nominate but wish to vote on the final ballot may register to do so.

The voting will be counted, the winners’ trophies prepared, and the results will be announced at the Ursa Major awards presentation at a ceremony at What the Fur 2016, at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, Pointe-Claire, Montreal Airport, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on May 20-22.

The Ursa Major Awards and Recommended List are administered by the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association (ALAA). For information, and to nominate beginning on January 14 and to vote beginning on March 15, go to http://www.ursamajorawards.org/.

2015 Anthropomorphic Reading List, December update

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by Heather BrutonThe ALAA’s 2015 Anthropomorphic Recommended Reading List has already had its November update, and will post its December update in a week. This includes all of the anthropomorphic works published or released during 2015 that have been submitted by someone as being worth reading, looking at, or playing. Look it over and see if you have been missing anything.

If there is any 2015 work that you feel is worth recommending that is not on the List, please hurry and submit it to recommended@ursamajorawards.org.

Call for help: We have a recommendation of Teagan Gavet’s wraparound cover for the EuroFurence 21 Conbook for Published Illustration, but this does not appear to be posted on the Internet. Would someone who has the EuroFurence 21 Conbook please scan the cover and post it on the Internet so we can link to it and everyone can see it?

2015 Anthropomorphic Recommended List, October 15 update

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by Heather BrutonThe ALAA’s 2015 Anthropomorphic Recommended List has been updated from August to October 15. This includes all of the anthropomorphic works published or released during 2015 that have been submitted by someone as being worth reading, looking at, or playing. Look it over and see if you have been missing anything.

If there is any 2015 work that you feel is worth recommending that is not on here, please submit it for the next update to recommended@ursamajorawards.org. It is almost the end of 2015, so do not delay!

2015 Anthropomorphics Reading List: August 8 update

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by Heather BrutonThe Anthropomorphics Literature and Arts Association (ALAA), which administers the annual Ursa Major Awards, has updated the 2015 Anthropomorphics Reading List to include the titles recommended by furry fans through August 8. This list is often used by fans to nominate in the next year’s Awards.

All fans are invited to recommend worthwhile anthropomorphic works in eleven categories (motion pictures, dramatic short films or broadcasts, novels, short fiction, other literary works, graphic stories, comic strips, magazines, published illustrations, websites, and games) first published during 2015, if they are not already on the list. Send in your recommendations to recommended@ursamajorawards.org, and read the List to see what other fans have recommended.

Nominations for the 2015 Ursa Major Awards, in the same eleven categories, will open on 14 January 2016 (the first day of Further Confusion 2016) and will be accepted until 28 February. Don’t miss this opportunity to nominate the titles that you felt have been the best anthropomorphic movies, novels, comic strips and books, websites, games, etc. of 2015 for the Awards. And don’t forget to vote when the polls open on 15 March.

Review: 'God of Clay', by Ryan Campbell

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God of Clay - The Fire Bearers: Book One The cover bears the line, The Fire Bearers: Book One, letting you know it ends on a cliffhanger. It is, in fact, the first volume of a trilogy.

In the prehistoric past, when men shared the world with anthropomorphized animal-gods, there were two very different brothers in a tribe. Clay, the older brother, respects and worships the old gods who control all men’s lives, while irreverent Laughing Dog mocks the unseen gods, and swears that he controls his own destiny. The brothers love each other, in their own ways, but their differences lead both to disaster.

Doto crouched in the forest, his clawed fingers pressing down beneath the grasses and bed of fallen leaves to touch the earth below. He went out, out, into the soil, into the trunks of the trees, the branches and leaves, the grasses and ferns. He felt the air swaying branches, the sunlight on the leaves. He felt the rodents skittering across the forest floor. […] He leapt from branch to branch and winged over the canopy. He spread himself out, farther and farther. Through the keen eyes of the birds and the considering gaze of a monkey clinging to a branch above, he could see himself, crouched on the ground far below, so still that he was nearly undetectable. […] All the surrounding life lived through him. But all was not right. There was an uneasiness in the forest, somewhere around the edges. Could great Atekye have risen herself up in the south of the forest, swelling her swamps to flood the forest floor once again? (p. 1)

Sofawolf Press, September 2013, trade paperback $17.95 [on Amazon] ([5] + 259 [+ 2] pages), Kindle $7.99. Illustrated by Zhivago.

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

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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: 'Captive of the Red Vixen' by Royce Day

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Captive of the Red VixenIn command of his family's star freighter, foxen noble Lord Rolas Darktail finds himself a captive of the infamous pirate, the Red Vixen. Drawn to her easy freedom, he finds himself torn between staying with her, and honoring his duties to his family, who must escape the cruel countess they serve.

Come along with Rolas as he experiences love and adventure in this science fictional take on a traditional Age of Sail romance novel.(blurb)

It's rare that I come across a story that not only makes me get massively pissed off at a character or laugh out loud in public, but Captive of the Red Vixen by Royce Day did that and so much more. Day has crafted a wonderful story that contained every element of a story I personally look for and enjoy in a tale. It also reminded me a lot of what brought me into the furry fandom to begin with.

Amazon Digital Services, Inc., August 2011, Kindle $2.99 (106 pages).

Review: 'Claws and Starships' by M.C.A. Hogarth (by Tarl 'Voice' Hoch)

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Claws and StarshipsWhen the results of Earth's genetic experiments fled for their makers, they took their own name as they left humanity behind; centuries later, the Pelted have spread into a multi-world alliance of cultures and languages, cribbed from Terra or created whole-cloth. Claws and Starships collects six stories of the Pelted, ranging from the humor of a xenoanthropologist on the wrong side of mythology to more serious works considering the implications of genetic engineering in a far-future classroom seeded with the children of those laboratories. Come stamp your passport and visit the worlds of the Pelted Alliance in all their variety!

Includes the novella "A Distant Sun," and the short stories "Rosettes and Ribbons" (Best in Show anthology), "The Elements of Freedom," "Tears" (Pawprints), "Pantheon," and "Butterfly" (Anthrolations magazine).

This book is a warm blanket, hot chocolate, and cuddles by a fire.

I had read a short story of M.C.A. Hogarth's before, and was curious about how she would handle a larger work. Stumbling across this collection of short stories, I decided to give it a try.

Illustrated by M.C.A. Hogarth, afterword by Fred Patten, Tampa, FL, Studio MCAH, June 2013, trade paperback $12.99 ([2 +] 203 pages), Kindle $3.99.

See also: Review by Fred Patten

Review: 'The Awareness', by Gene Stone and Jon Doyle

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The Awareness"Every now and again I sit back and wonder what it would be like if other animals could really fight back against the egregious violence to which we subject them in a wide variety of venues ranging from research laboratories and classrooms to zoos, circuses, rodeos, factory farms, and in their own homes in ours and in the wild. This thought experiment takes life in The Awareness and reflects their points of view, and it's clear they do not like what routinely and thoughtlessly happens to themselves, their families and their friends. By changing the playing field Gene Stone and Jon Doyle force us to reflect how we wantonly and selfishly abuse other animals and the price we would pay if they could truly fight back. This challenging book also asks us to reflect on the well-supported fact that we need other animals as much as they need us. It should help us rewild our hearts, expand our compassion footprint, and stop the reprehensible treatment that we mindlessly dole out." - Marc Bekoff, Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado (quoted blurb)

Suspense/terror/horror stories in which all animals, or all of certain species, turn against mankind go back at least to Arthur Machen’s unreadable “The Terror” (1917). Probably the best-known is Daphne du Maurier’s “The Birds” (1952). I recently reviewed Steven Hammond's Rise of the Penguins (2012). In movies, the terror-animals have ranged from rats to all of the giant mutations like Them and Night of the Lepus.

How successful any of these are usually depends on two factors. The skill of the author (or the director) in building a mood of terror, and the plausibility of the reason given for the animals to turn against humanity. In The Awareness, both of these fail.

NYC, The Stone Press, March 2014, paperback $14.95 (ix + 221 [+3] pages), Kindle free.

Review: 'The Bees', by Laline Paull

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The BeesThe man stared through the trees, not listening.

"There – thought for a moment it had vanished."

An old wooden beehive stood camouflaged against the trees. The woman drew back.

"I won’t come any closer," she said. "I’m a bit funny about insects." (p. 1)

The reader knows from the beginning that the orchard hive is on an old, out-of-business farm being sold, to be demolished so its land can be added to a light-industrial complex. But the bees in the old wooden beehive don’t know it.

Bees are controlled so much by instinct that it is very difficult to realistically anthropomorphize them. But it has been done, in A Hive for the Honeybee by Soinbhe Lally (original Irish edition, February 1996; U.S. edition, March 1999), and the award-winning 1998-1999 five-issue comic book Clan Apis by Dr. Jay Hosler, a neurobiologist specializing in the study of honeybees, collected into a 158-page graphic novel in January 2000. And now there is Laline Paull’s complex dystopian The Bees.

Front., bee illustrations from Meyers Konversations-Lexikon 1897, NYC, HarperCollinsPress/Ecco, May 2014, hardcover $25.99 (340 pages), Kindle $12.74.