The Ascension is a fantasy novel series by J.A. Guinta. The Last Incarnation, first book in the series, was published last year by Brick Cave Books. Here’s the publisher’s description: “The son of a trapper, raised by elves, befriended by animals, entrusted with magic, Barr was but a boy on a journey that had taken many, many lifetimes. Seeking to avenge his father’s death, he would cross into Lumintor, home to shapelings of all manner and size. Little did he know, Revyn, the God of Change, had plans of his own, plans set in motion long before Barr was ever born. It was what Revyn had been waiting for, the time when one of the new races bore a child on its final lesson, a soul on the verge of enlightenment.” This is a link to find The Last Incarnation on Amazon. And that, my friends, is one Big Dog!
This is subtitled Freedom City, Book 2, and it does start soon after the last events of Freedom City. Familiarity with the events in Book 1 will definitely help, but Manifest Destiny stands well on its own.
Freedom City is an artificial city but a real country above international waters in the Caribbean Sea, about a hundred years in the future. Taking as a model the 20th-century “pirate” offshore radio stations located on abandoned marine platforms, Freedom City was constructed by those fleeing the confiscatory socialistic laws of the United States.
Freedom City declared its independence and operates under libertarian principles. Its freedom to allow the development and application of scientific and technological research, as opposed to the increasingly restrictive Public Safety laws of other countries, has made Freedom City a technological and industrial leader, but a social pariah among other nations; particularly the United States which even denies that Freedom City is a nation.
They’d tried to impose their crippling self-imposed limits upon us as well, and worked damnably hard at it. The USA had hampered Freedom’s construction every step of the way, and still claimed from time to time that we were an illegal outpost of Americans created as a haven by the evil rich solely in order to evade fair taxation and social responsibility. (Freedom City, pgs. 6-7)
The novel is set in contemporary America (Portland, mainly), except superheroes are a new phenomenon that have only appeared in the last 15 years or so. There are maybe a couple dozen people with extraordinary powers and advanced technology around the world, and the world is still learning to deal with them, from the social to the political to the legal side of things – like launching a class-action suit against the estate of a supervillain for damages.
Has anyone ever heard of A Fox Tail, or of Eric Deal? According to CreateSpace, this has been out since March 2011. It makes Deal sound like a veteran and well-known Furry author.
Polar, a handsome arctic wolf, crosses paths with Vulpie just as the fox boy is about to unleash his life's greatest work, the computer Virus/AI, Vulpie.net. In a world of carnivores and herbivores, carnivores have the upper paws and everyone knows foxes control the media. Wolves are figureheads and make much of the success, but there has always been a sly fox somewhere in the fate of all great things. Polar and Vulpie display that, as Polar unknowingly meets a fox that will become famous, infamous, loved, and feared more than the dark goddess Aila herself.
Can Polar hold to his convictions? Is Vulpie a blessing or a curse? These questions are asked every day in the world of Sufias and the universe of Halvia. Wolf-fox romances have been frowned upon for centuries, yet with a love as strong as theirs what could possibly stand between them? Sometimes souls are destined to be together, and nothing can tear them apart.
First off, wishing a very Happy Independence Day to all of you and yours!
Later this month Moonstone Publishing will bring us Werewolves of New Idria, an illustrated novel / trade paperback written by John Chadwell with art by Duncan Long. Here’s the publisher’s description: ” The Aceves family is like no other. With patriarch, Roberto Aceves, forever a Spanish knight after being bitten by a werewolf, he and his clan have secretly fought man’s wars for 900 years. Today, near the abandoned mining town of New Idria, they must battle against a demon and his biker gang who want nothing more than to destroy the entire clan. A new breed of werewolf! Holy warriors, led by a 900-year-old knight who fought beside El Cid, now in a deadly struggle against a motorcycle gang headed by Satan’s ken, hell bent on revenge!” Check out the pre-order page at Amazon.com.
Tristan Black Wolf, a resident of Syracuse, NY, is a member of the Furry Writers’ Guild and of North American Fur, and has stories in both volumes to date of Allasso, the “publication dedicated to finding new experiences within anthropomorphic writing and art.” The Man With Two Shadows is his first novel.
Jeremiah Pym is a modern private investigator, not the stereotypical hard-boiled, trench-coated PI of fiction. He has a modern office and undertakes typical p.i. tasks, such as getting evidence on unfaithful spouses.
There are days when being a private investigator can feel a little awkward. When a woman comes to you, convinced that her husband is throwing away money on some other woman, you expect her to refer to the other woman as a ‘bitch.’ What would make this interview particularly interesting is that the bitch in question happened to be a greyhound. (p. 1)
Mrs. Lindenbaum is so happy that her husband has been spending his money on dog-racing gambling instead of a floozy that she pays Pym’s bill cheerfully. Pym’s next client is another matter, and where things start to become a little strange.
Isiah Jacobs: So, your first publication for the year was back in March, with the release of Green Fairy. I assume it's a story about a gay environmentalist?
Isiah Jacobs: In fact, half of Green Fairy takes place at the Rouge.
Kyell Gold: A little less than half, but yes.
Isiah Jacobs: But your story and the convention wasn't the only things with the Rouge-like themes. Rukis also came out with Red Lantern AND both your story and hers were released at FWA. So that's triple the dose of Moulin Rouge, AND you were both guests of honor. Was all of this planned?
The first line in this science-fiction novel is: “When I woke up, surrounded by talking dog-people, it was clear we’d strayed pretty far from the mission parameters.” (p. v) There are a talking chimpanzee in a smoking jacket, cravat, and pin-striped trousers; a gigantic lion with a hairless human head; and a robot in the form of a silvery-mercury metallic eagle in the first scene. Furry, no. Anthropomorphic science-fiction, yes.
Captain Ramachandra Jason Stone is a 22nd century spaceman, the captain of Wayfarer One, the first interstellar spaceship launched to travel to Alpha Centauri. The crew is put into cryogenic suspension for the forty-three year voyage, but something goes wrong.
The Wayfarer One is not found and Stone revived until 12,000 years later. By then, humanity – defined as anything sentient, whether a natural life-form or an Artificial Intelligence – has spread into the Human Entelechy, a “superculture of thousands of inhabited worlds and habitats linked by the threshold network, centered roughly on Sol. There are roughly ten trillion sentients, not counting the large number of intelligences who exist as digital incarnations in virtual domains”, etc. (p. 45)
The Unimaginable Road, a.k.a. Arraborough, Book One, begins when six wandering animals coincidentally meet in a Blackwood Forest clearing near a mysterious abandoned house, on a prairie far from the nearest town, about a mile from the cliffs over the Balaba Ocean. The animals – cousins Slick and Slither Snake, Inkwell Pig and Wild Boar (also cousins), Tust Turtle and Hillany Chicken – have all been drifting through one animal region and city after another – Ellineste, Loragin, Thilomina, Hoglarotha, Serpenton – looking for someplace where they can feel safe.
To fill the heavy silence [around the campfire], the snake with vertical green stripes and the perpetual scowl says, ‘I’m Slick. We’re cousins. We went through a pretty bad time in the spring, back in Anilton. Slither had the idea that there must be a better, safer place to live, so …’” (p. 6)
They compare depressing notes, and Slither proposes that they build their own commune, a sanctuary, right where they are.
Flight of the Godkin Griffin is an example of anthropomorphic literature at its best. It is told in the form of the diary of Mistress Commander Angharad Godkin, 48 years old, from the eve of her long-awaited retirement after thirty-four years in the army of the Godkindred Kingdom; at once obviously an inhuman army on another world.
Angharad has been recuperating at Fort Endgame after being wounded at the battle for Glendallia; a Pyrrhic victory in which she lost most of her cavalry unit and half of her command staff. She is just packing to leave when she is summoned to the office of the Fort’s commander:
The Mistress General hovers behind a desk, overlooking several maps and emitting a palpable air of tension. She has never elucidated her bloodlines to me, though to be named Godkin she must be the product of the interbreeding of at least ten species, as I am. In appearance, she is mostly mammalian, leaning toward genet or marten with rounded ears and a striped tail.
‘Mistress General, you wanted to see me?’ I ask.
‘Yes,’ she says curtly. ‘Angharad Godkin, you are hereby assigned to replace the provincial governor of the newly pacified province of Shraeven, on orders of the Godson.’
My beak drops open in shock. Any soldier in the Godson’s army can retire … unless they’re on active duty.
Casandre sighs. ‘Sit, Angharad.’
I refuse. ‘I’m retiring tomorrow.’
‘Not anymore,’ she says. ‘I’m sorry, Angharad, truly, but the Godson himself sent the orders. It’s time for Governor Chordwain to step down.’ (p. 3)
I already reviewed this in Yarf! #56, January 1999. But The Blood Jaguar is a good enough novel that I am glad for an excuse to read it again, especially when this edition has eight new full-page illustrations by Louvelex (Lauren Henderson).
Michael H. Payne has been writing his “Around About Ottersgate” tales since at least May 1989, when the short story version of “Rat’s Reputation” appeared in FurVersion #16 (reprinted in my Best in Show: Fifteen Years of Outstanding Furry Fiction anthology in 2003).
After several more “Ottersgate” short stories appeared in s-f magazines and anthologies during the ‘90s, Tor Books published The Blood Jaguar as Payne’s first novel, in hardcover in December 1998. Tor reprinted it in paperback in September 1999 (with a better cover by Julie Bell), but apparently it did not sell well enough for Tor to buy Payne’s sequel.
Now Sofawolf Press has reprinted The Blood Jaguar as an attractive trade paperback with a third cover and interior artwork, and will soon publish the original sequel, a fixup novel of Payne’s “Ottersgate” short stories, also titled Rat’s Reputation.
Update (30 Sep): Fred's review of Caveat Fuzzy is now up.
On May 27, Melange Books published The Unimaginable Road; the first book in Eddie Drueding's "Arraborough" series, revolving around the mysterious going's-on in a small town on a strange planet inhabited by anthropomorphic animals.
As Flayrah reported, Melange is the first non-furry publisher to create a separate listing for furry/anthropomorphic work. Eddie was one of those who requested that it be added, as he felt that no existing category fit his work. He is the third author to be published in it, after furry regular Phil Geusz and fellow newcomer A.C. Withey.
To my knowledge this is the first time that anyone, anywhere has done such a thing.
Melange spares no buzzwords in promoting the "downright magical" topic, describing furry as "the dynamic new genre that's pushing the limits and breaking the rules in every possible direction [...] where the young, cutting-edge authors with new ideas have all vanished to."