The voting for the 2012 Ursa Major Awards, for the best anthropomorphic literature and art of the calendar year 2012, is now closed. Voting took place from March 15 to May 15. 1,696 registrations were received, but only 1,113 people actually voted.
Registrations were received from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Grenada, Greece, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, the U.S.A., Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Vietnam. This includes the large number of registrants who did not in fact vote.
D.G. Flamand is an author who has made a name for himself as writing books for children and adults that are pointedly violence-free. Not so much as a political statement, but because he feels that people should have more options to read literature that encourages solving problems without violence. He explains it all clearly at his web site. Several of his books have more than a little furry leaning to them. In The Old Druid and the Pursuit of Happiness, the animals of the Land of Peace notice that their ruling druid is troubled — and they follow him as he seeks out the fabled Garden of Happiness. In The Great Secret of the Seas, a young boy and girl are granted the power to swim beneath the ocean — but find they must use all their resources to save the many creatures they meet there from a terrible fate. Flamand’s latest book (coming this June) is A Thousand Rainbows, where we meet and follow the adventures of various creatures (an owl, a buck, a fish, and more) in the land of Cornucopia. All of these books and more can be found at Tate Publishing.
“When Hooligan Bear and his nephew Little Louie return home to the bear factory and find it has been closed, they are faced with a problem. It’s a turning point for the little bears and the beginning of many adventures.” That’s the description of Home, the first book in the new series of Hooligan Bear adventures written by Ian Toynton and illustrated by Andrea Dietrich. Hooligan bear and his four friends are a set of plushie bears who must learn about the world around them as they work and play in this series for young readers. This being the modern age, the books are not only available on-line (from Big Tent Books), but Hooligan Bear even has his own Facebook page and his own Twitter feed.
Farmost Star I See Tonight is a mystical, dreamy, touching romantic fantasy for shy teenagers. Whether humans or wolves, ‘omega’ adolescents may feel that they are alone. This novel will help them to see that their troubles are not unique or their fault, and that, even if they have not met them yet, there is someone out there for them.
Rian is a black-furred adolescent wolf and Lissa is white-furred. Otherwise, they are almost identical. Both are shy and lonely members of their packs, blamed by their parents for refusing to socialize, but finding nobody among their peers with whom they can truly be friends. Rian’s father Gull despises him for having no interest in pack dominance battles, and Lissa is left to take care of her younger siblings while her parents bicker and ignore them.
Then, Lissa was left alone in the dark with only her feelings of sorrow, self-hate, and loneliness to sooth her into sleep. (p. 7)
Freak's Amour, by Tom De Haven, is simply a masterpiece. This is some of the best weird literature that few seem to have heard of or remember. It's been out of print for 27 years. I started it once, long ago when I was just getting into science fiction and weird genre stuff. It was a bit arty and demanding for a teenage reader, and my interest wasn't up to the challenge at the time. Now, I have to give it very high recommendation after finding it again.
I suggest that anyone into classy lit as well as furries and pulp/pop culture go get it now, even if it takes your last two bucks. It's one of those obscurities that could be worth quite a lot if it was less available – and I say that as a professional book dealer – but it earned enough acclaim to get several printings, so it's cheap and easy to get secondhand. (In fact, I've just noticed a comic/graphic novel forthcoming: info below.)
Only one week left to vote for the 2012 Ursa Major Awards; 2013 Recommended Anthropomorphic List now openPosted by Fred on Wed 8 May 2013 - 22:22
Voting for the 2012 Ursa Major Awards, for the best anthropomorphic literature and art of the calendar year 2012 in eleven categories, closes on May 15. If you have not voted yet, you have a week left to do so on the Ursa Major Awards website.
All fans are invited to recommend worthwhile anthropomorphic works in eleven categories (motion pictures, short fiction, dramatic short films or broadcasts, novels, other literary works, magazines, graphic stories, comic strips, published illustrations, games, and websites) first published during 2013, plus miscellaneous items. This List is often used by fans to nominate in the next year's Awards.
The Ursa Major Award finalists for 2012 are . . .
And another furry Kickstarter campaign of note: Fox Hollow Tales is the creation of Jennifer Carson (writer, designer) and Pat Ann Lewis (illustrator). It’s a series of full-color illustrated books for young readers, featuring the adventures of a multi-species cast of characters in late 19th Century New England. The first book in the series, Wojer and the Wizard of the Wood, is nearing completion — and the creators are seeking crowdfunding to get it there, as well as to get started on the second book in the series, Wojer and the Black Knight. Visit their Kickstarter page to find out more, and to see a video trailer for the series.
Each in turn may call this a fairy story, a dog story, an allegory or a satire, but all will be moved by the beauty and the meaning--a beauty and a meaning that seems to live within the realm of those books that go on and on making friends and spreading enchantment. Gissing, its hero, is a dog who searches the world for an ideal, and then finds in the smoke of his own furnace fire a hint of the heavenly blue that he had been seeking. (blurb, slightly edited)
It is difficult to tell after ninety years just what an author was thinking, but I believe that Christopher Morley, a popular literary essayist and novelist, just wanted to have fun writing about a world of talking dogs. His last message to the public, written when he knew that he was dying in 1957, was, “Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.”
Mr. Gissing, a gentledog of leisure contentedly residing in Canine Estates with Fuji, his butler (a Japanese pug), on an income of 1,000 bones a year, becomes dissatisfied and leaves home to search for where the blue begins (a purpose to life).
Garden City, NY, Doubleday, Page & Co., October 1922,  + 215 [+ 1] pages, $1.75.
Boston & NYC, Little, Brown & Co., March 2013 Hardcover $17.99 ([6 +] 285 [+ 7] pages)
Kindle $8.89. Illustrated by Charles Vess.
The age rating on this is “8 and up”. This is one of those “all ages” books like The Wind in the Willows that you will not want to miss just because it may be in the children’s section of your bookshop or public library. Seek it out! It is worth it.
Lillian Kindred is a little girl whose parents are dead and who lives with her Aunt on a farm at the edge of Tanglewood Forest. The book doesn’t say how old she is, so that’s probably not important. What is important is that she’s established as old enough to be allowed by other people to play in the forest alone, and young enough to look for fairies. One of the things that she sees is lots of cats wandering freely – feral cats and farm cats. She does not bother them, but she does put out dishes of fresh milk for them.
One day she falls asleep in the forest, and is bitten by a venomous snake. Vess’ illustration shows a coral snake; the worst kind. Wikipedia says that, “Coral snakes have a powerful neurotoxin that paralyzes the breathing muscles; mechanical or artificial respiration, along with large doses of antivenom, are often required to save a victim's life.” Lillian does not have any of that. She is alone at the foot of a tree, dying.
What do university professors do after they retire? If they are like Dr. Roger C. Schlobin, Ph.D., they write a fantasy novel based upon Chinese mythology, self-publish it (in an unusual size; 9” x 6”), and try to get it sold to be made into an animated feature film.
Good luck. It seems too far outside the mainstream of animated fantasy cinema to obtain the backing necessary to become an animated movie. Those have production budgets averaging $50 million dollars and up today. As a fantasy novel, however …
'Why, what's the matter?' said his wife, 'and why do you want to know who Tommy Tildrum is?'
'Oh, I've had such an adventure. I was digging away at old Mr Fordyce's grave when I suppose I must have dropped asleep, and only woke up by hearing a cat's Miaou.'
'Miaou!' said Old Tom in answer.
'Yes, just like that! So I looked over the edge of the grave, and what do you think I saw?'
'Now, how can I tell?' said the sexton's wife.
'Why, nine black cats all like our friend Tom here, all with a white spot on their chestesses. And what do you think they were carrying? Why, a small coffin covered with a black velvet pall, and on the pall was a small coronet all of gold, and at every third step they took they cried all together, Miaou -- '
'Miaou!' said Old Tom again.
'Yes, just like that!' said the sexton; 'and as they came nearer and nearer to me I could see them more distinctly; because their eyes shone out with a sort of green light. Well, they all came towards me, eight of them carrying the coffin, and the biggest cat of all walking in front for all the world like -- but look at our Tom, how he's looking at me. You'd think he knew all I was saying.'
Hank the Cowdog and the Case of the Dinosaur Birds is number 54 in John R. Erickson’s long running series of short novels for children featuring the misadventures of Hank the Cowdog, Head of Ranch Security.
The books are published by Erickson’s own Maverick Books, based out of his hometown of Perryton, Texas. The books are not unknown outside the area; but in the surrounding region, very few children grow up without encountering Hank and his humorous stories. The realistic depiction of life on a Texas cattle ranch as seen through the eyes of a vainglorious but not particularly bright ranch dog has also garnered many adult fans in the region.
The books feature illustrations by Gerald R. Holmes. However, this review is based on the audiobook version of the story, featuring Erickson’s reading. Erickson is a talented voice actor; the story is presented more like a radio play than a straight recitation, with Erickson playing all parts: human and animal, male and female, each distinctive and memorable. Quite a few fans, and this reviewer, feel that you haven’t experienced Hank the Cowdog until you have heard one of the audiobooks.
“Hank the Cowdog and the Case of the Dinosaur Birds”, by John R. Erickson. Illustrated by Gerald R. Holmes. Maverick Books Inc., 2009, paperback $4.99, CD audio book $17.99, paperback/CD combo pack $19.99, online audio $9.95.
Faol Carric[k] was born to rule, inheriting the dukedom upon the passing of his father. Immediately tested by the conspiracy of the usurper Virgil Dol, Faol will need to prove his worth as a leader, a fighter, and a strategist if he is to survive—much less regain his place as the rightful ruler of the Goldenlea. (publisher’s blurb)
Faol Carrick is a wolf, Duke Ignis was a wolf, Balthasar Viverra is a genet; and we are off and running in a Medievalish anthropomorphic adventure of treachery and redemption among the nobility.
This title is a work of anthropomorphic fiction for adult readers only. (publisher’s advisory)
This is one of those officially-Young Adult books (recommended age: 10 to 18) that adults should enjoy equally. Advance reviews are comparing it favorably with Jacques’ Redwall books and “Hunter’s” Warriors books about the talking cat clans.
With the stealth of a warrior, Darrel hopped along a wide branch, tracking the two scouts below. A waterfall roared in the distance, and a tasty-looking fig wasp flitted past.
Darrel ignored a pang of hunger, resisting the urge to shoot his tongue at the wasp for a quick snack.
Dinner could wait until he’d dealt with the enemy. (p. 1)
An Army of Frogs gets off to a rousing start. The back-cover blurb is a good summary:
Darrel, a young frog, dreams of joining the Kulipari, an elite squad of poisonous frog warriors sworn to defend the Amphibilands. Unfortunately, Darrel’s dream is impossible, because he isn’t a poisonous frog and no one’s seen the Kulipari since the last scorpion war, long ago. Anyway, now the frogs’ homeland is protected by the turtle king’s magic. So it no longer needs defending – or does it?
Enter the spider queen, a powerful dreamcaster capable of destroying the turtle king’s protective spell. She and her ally Lord Marmoo, leader of a vicious army of scorpions, are bent on conquering the frogs’ lush homeland. The frogs have never been more vulnerable. Can Daryl save the day and become the warrior of his dreams?
We’re fresh back from WonderCon in Anaheim, and me-oh-my is there a lot to talk about. Starting with…
Here’s one we somehow missed over the past couple of years, but we found out about it now, finally: Alex Walker and the Circus of Secrets, by Michael Mayo. “On the run from his father’s deadly plans, Alex and his mother stumble upon a small traveling circus in a Kansas field. A strange accident awakens a hidden ability: He can speak to the animals — and they can speak to him. He meets an elderly cocker spaniel, a macaw, and a Siamese cat who tell Alex he is their long-prophesized savior. Alex must learn to fight for their lives — and his own.” This young adult novel is available now in paperback from Valstar Publishing, and also in a Kindle edition. Another bonus: Proceeds from the sale of the book go to various no-kill animal shelters.