The back-cover blurb for Archival: Most Secret is accurate but misleading.
Join the heir to a faerie legacy and his bloody companion on a journey that ends before the very ramparts of New Orleans and in the smoke of a terrifying battle. What was the secret Winston Churchill’s valet sought to share with his employer from beyond the grave? Meet Flight Lieutenant Neville ‘Bunny’ Edwards, who in the course of the Second World War loses his humanity, but never his courage or his determination to stay in the fighting.
This makes the book sound like a collection of three stories that are each about a man transformed into an animal. Instead, men are transformed into animals in wholesale lots.
In these three stories, in the form of letters, diaries, journal entries, and interviews covering the years 1805-14, 1894, and 1941, magic is so prevalent that a secret Ministry of the British government has to be formed to practice and combat it.
Weber gets a co-author in this second of Baen Books’ series of Star Kingdom books for Young Adults, and the sequel to Weber’s A Beautiful Friendship, reviewed here last October. This new series is a prequel to Weber’s immensely popular Honor Harrington series of military science-fiction. This new series is set about 350 years earlier, when the planet Sphinx is just being settled by humans. In A Beautiful Friendship, Honor’s ancestor Stephanie Harrington, then an 11-year-old precocious tomboy, discovers Sphinx’s six-legged empathetic treecats, and bonds with the one she names Lionheart, but whose own name is Climbs Quickly.
The (almost) equal time given to the treecats, who are background characters in the Honor Harrington novels, is what makes this series anthropomorphic.
Despite their name, treecats were not all that feline. For one, no Terran cat had ever possessed six limbs or a fully prehensile tail. Their build was longer and – beneath their fluffy coats – leaner. They were also larger, averaging sixty to seventy centimeters through the body, with their tails doubling the length. And, of course, no Terran cat had three-fingered hands with fully opposable thumbs.
Riverdale, NY, Baen Books, October 2012, hardcover $18.99 (287 pages)
During World War II, David Stern, then assigned to an Army newspaper in Honolulu, wrote 15 short stories for Esquire about a nameless brand-new U.S. Army 2nd lieutenant fighting the Japanese in the jungles of Burma. The naïve 2nd lieutenant is helped by a talking, flying Army mule. The humorous military fantasies, satirizing the Army’s bureaucracy, were very popular. As soon as the War ended, Stern wrote connecting material to turn the separate stories into a single novel. Francis was published in October 1946, and sold so well that it went into several printings.
A couple of years later, Stern was out of the Army and was drawing a target on the political establishment. His sequel, Francis Goes to Washington, was a true novel. The 2nd lieutenant, now civilian Peter Stirling, returns to an average East Coast postwar life as a bank clerk. When Mayor Parker, the head of his local Democratic party, invites him to be its common-man candidate for Congress, an “ordinary fellow”, he feels nervous yet honored – until Francis reappears to reveal that the Mayor, known to insiders as “Slimy” Parker, is a corrupt political boss who plans to use him as a patsy.
NYC, Farrar, Straus & Co, September 1948, xii + 243 pages, hardcover $2.50. Frontispiece by Garrett Price.
Yes, there is still undiscovered Furry fiction out there. I ran across this now-twenty-three-year-old novel at the NASFiC in August 1999, and asked people about it there and at Aussiecon Three in Melbourne the next week. Nobody had ever heard of it, except for the dealer who was selling it, and Tim Powers who was accused of writing it.
By 2011, nobody in Furry fandom had still ever heard of it. It had gotten some notice in s-f fandom in 1989, though, as a totally psychedelic s-f novel. Locus said that the two pseudonymous authors were really the single Timothy MacNamara.
Illustrated by Ferret and Don Coyote with an introduction by John Shirley and a postscript by Richard Kadrey. Scotforth, Lancs., Morrigan Publications, June 1989, 295 [+ 5] pages, hardcover £13.95; ISBN: 1-870338-60-X.
Carter, author of Nightworld (reviewed in Anthro #18) about the badgers, foxes, and other wild animals around the South Devon seacoast, presents the locale in a totally different, urban anthropomorphic tale in In the Long Dark.
London, Century, November 1989, hardcover £11.95 (vii + 243 pages; map by the author).
I recently had an article, “The Furry Novel That Nobody Has Read”, published in Anthro #32, November-December 2011. It is about the Dutch About Reynard the Fox (Van de vos Reynarde), by Robert van Genechten, published in 1941. The reason that I had not read it is that it was only published in Dutch, which I do not read. (Yes, I once had a copy.) The reason I said that nobody else has read it is that it is a very anti-Semitic pro-Nazi talking-animal satire that equates rhinoceroses with Jews. There was never an English-language edition, and due to modern anti-Hate literature laws in America and most Western European nations, it could not be reprinted or translated today. (Correction: at least one modern Dutch neo-Nazi group is trying to keep the 1941 Dutch edition available.)
But what about other, modern Furry novels in foreign languages that have never had English-language translations? They certainly exist, and Furry fans in France, Germany and other nations can read them in their own countries; and they theoretically could still be translated into English some day. What have we English-language readers been missing?
The paranormal romance genre has exploded since 2005. During the past three years practically every mass-market publisher has started one or more annual series with titles like Undead and Unwed; Tall, Dark & Dead; Bitten & Smitten; Love Bites; Sex and the Single Vampire; and How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire.
However, as you may guess from these titles, 90% of the paranormal romance series feature sexy vampire chicks. Others are about young witches or hunters of (handsome) demons. One of the few about werewolves and other shapeshifters is Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series. This is also one of the earliest, going back to Vaughn’s first short story, “Dr. Kitty Solves All Your Love Problems”, in Weird Tales #324, Summer 2001 (integrated into Chapter 5 of Kitty and The Midnight Hour).
Kitty Norville starts out as a mid-twenties, blonde late-night DJ at radio station KNOB in Denver. (Vaughn lives in Boulder.) One night she starts chatting about a tabloid’s improbable stories about Bat Boy, and invites her listeners to call in if they have ever seen him. For the next few hours she gets callers who talk about vampires and werewolves; enough callers that the station manager reassigns her as a talk show hostess of a new weekly program, “The Midnight Hour”, offering frank advice to those who have problems because of their hidden vampire or werewolf lifestyles.
“Kitty and The Midnight Hour”, November 2005, paperback $7.99 (ix + 272 pages); Kindle $7.99.
“Kitty Goes to Washington”, July 2006, paperback $6.99 (x + 342 pages); Kindle $6.99.
“Kitty Takes a Holiday”, April 2007, paperback $6.99 (318 pages); Kindle $6.99.
“Kitty and the Silver Bullet”, January 2008, paperback $6.99 (approx. 352 pages); Kindle $6.99.
All by Carrie Vaughn, published by Warner Books of NYC.
When I reviewed Windrusher and Windrusher and the Cave of Tho-Hoth for Anthro #9, January-February 2007, I did not realize that they were the first two novels of a trilogy. Windrusher and the Trail of Fire was published a year and a half later, but I only found out about it recently. Better late than never, as they say.
Read my review of the first two novels for background information. This novel begins with Tony/Windrusher having a portentous dream/nightmare in which he is Storm Wing, one of the earliest and most heroic of all cats. After two adventures, Windrusher no longer dismisses such dreams as his imagination. Somewhere, somehow, an overwhelming disaster is about to engulf many cats. Wind will be led to the site, whereupon it is up to him to do something about it.
A few months ago, they published their first annual list of nominees, and the winners were announced at this month's RainFurrest. Only members of the Furry Writer's Guild can participate, so the picks below give a good idea of what furry authors think is worth reading.
If this was a commercially published novel, it would probably be age-rated 8 and up. That’s all right; Brian Jacques’ Redwall books are age-rated 8 and up, too. Picayune is a similar rousing and fast-moving talking animal adventure that all ages can enjoy.
Chapter One is misleading. Picayune (Sir Picayune?) is a knight in the service of the king. When a black dragon destroys the capital city and lays the kingdom to waste, the king charges Picayune to, “Defeat that hideous monster at any cost.” Picayune and his noble horse slog through a dismal mire and undergo numerous hardships to find the dragon’s lair. Picayune and the dragon battle to their apparent mutual death …
Bound to Play is set in Bernard Doove’s Chakat Universe. It features those hermaphroditic centauroid felines, along with their national game of Chakker. Chakker is explained in Doove’s “The Great Game of Chakker”, in his Tales from the Chakat Universe or on his website.
Chakats Grill and Midsun are cubhood friends living in Melbourne on Earth in the 24th century, where there is a large Chakat community. They are also Chakker enthusiasts who are now in their late adolescence and on the same junior league team, the Blind Bight Cubs. Although they are hermaphrodites, Grill is more masculine and Sun is more feminine; something that they have always been aware of intellectually but now feel emotionally since they are going into heat. Being Chakats, they are less embarrassed about mating in public than being caught mating together since they are known to their families as just Best Pals.
Flash! Phil Geusz abandons writing anthropomorphic fiction; switches to military s-f to dramatically increase sales.
Featuring genengineered rabbit- and dog-morph soldiers.
Phil Geusz and Legion Publishing have chosen an unusual format in which to publish the adventures of David Birkenhead. Instead of publishing them together as three or more novels, they are putting out a set of seven booklets of roughly 150 pages to 200 pages each. Although most are available in trade paperback editions (and there was a 106-page trade paperback booklet edition of Ship’s Boy as a promotional giveaway at Anthrocon), Geusz and Legion expect virtually all sales to be of the Kindle e-books, to Amazon.com readers who cannot pass up the bargain of a “whole book” for only 1¢ or 99¢ or $2.99 in these days when an ordinary paperback is $8.
They are being marketed as military s-f, not Furry fiction. Amazon.com’s advertising targeted to its customers who buy military s-f is, “Are you looking for something in our Science Fiction & Fantasy books department? If so, you might be interested in these items,” with a list that includes the David Birkenhead books among ten or twelve other military s-f titles.
And it’s paying off. Geusz reports that:
[…] earlier today I had two books ranked in Amazon's top 100 for SF. […] Both were in the 90's, but they were there. […] There are almost never any furry books listed in connection with the Birkenhead buyers -- it's all either military SF or straight action-adventure stuff. So it's fair to guess that only a tiny proportion of my buyers are furs.
Will Geusz and the David Birkenhead series bring new readers to Furry fandom?
It is no secret that the most well-known concept of unicorns is from Europe, in the Middle Ages. In stories from that time period, the creature will be a walking snorting virgin detector with a... ehem... phallic symbol on its head. The horse with one horn will be for girls, and is always male.
Enter 1968: a peculiar book comes out, the likes of which the world had never seen before. The main character is a unicorn. And it is a mare. Female. And instead of having been created by God to detect "proper maidens", she is a semi-immortal creature with a different role in the world. The story centers on her search for her kind, while exploring the concepts of emotions, immortality, and the source of the latter.
In other words, this unicorn was completely different from the existing folklore.
So how did Peter Beagle's book, and the subsequent animated adaptation, change our view of unicorns? Give us your thoughts in the comments!
Following the trail of several corpses seemingly killed by wild animals, Holmes and Watson stumble upon the experiments of Doctor Moreau.
Moreau, through vivisection and crude genetic engineering is creating animal hybrids, determined to prove the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin. In his laboratory, hidden among the opium dens of Rotherhithe, Moreau is building an army of 'beast men'. Tired of having his work ignored -- or reviled -- by the British scientific community, Moreau is willing to make the world pay attention using his creatures as a force to gain control of the government.
A brand-new adventure for Conan Doyle's intrepid sleuth! (blurb)
Jazmyn, a bioengineered vulpeen (fox-woman) Companion in a parallel world, is fleeing into the forest after the murder of her human lifemate when a lighting flash enables her to stumble into our world. She is glancingly struck by the car of Ken Morita, who nurses her back to health, teaches her English, falls in love with her, and they get married and live happily ever after.
No, seriously. There are plenty of interesting and well-written details between page 7 and page 214, but that is the basic story. You can hardly imagine a more pure Furry wish-fulfillment novel: a beautiful, caring, talented human-sized fox-morph comes to our world, falls in love with [you], and they get married.
CreateSpace, April 2009, trade paperback $16.95 (215 pages; illustrated).