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'Heat 9' interview: RayFKM

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

Isiah had the chance to interview most of the contributors to annual adult anthology Heat 9, published by Sofawolf; some could not be reached. Related interviews: Whyte Yote & Alastair WildfireCamron & VantidAlopexHuskyteerKandrel & ScappoTempe O'kun

Isiah Jacobs: Good evening, Ray! Thank you so much for coming on! It's nice to have you on the show!

RayFKM: Pleasure to be here.

Isiah Jacobs: You have a story in Heat 9 that you titled "Stupid". Could you please tell me a little about this story?

RayFKM: Oh, yeah. It's the story of a lonely guy who wants to find some love... and does not matter how!

Isiah Jacobs: And this guy is straight, but he convinces himself to be gay just for sake of companionship, is that correct?

RayFKM: Yes, totally.

Isiah Jacobs: Why did you decide on this story?

Fursuit vignette: 'Merry XXXmas from Room 366'

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (9 votes)

I did not vote for Bitter Lake, but I will for this 2’54” December 2012 video Christmas card! An intelligent film, designed for the limitations of fursuits, by Reeve, EZwolf, and Shay, with music by Fox Amoore. It is already on the UMA's 2012 Recommended Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short Work or Series list.

Review: 'Roar Vol. 4' part 9

Your rating: None Average: 2.2 (5 votes)

Isiah offers his own thoughts and analysis on Roar as a part of a twelve-part review series.

See also: Reviews of Roar 4 by Roz Gibson and Fred Patten.

Review: 'Tails of a Clockwork World'

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

Tails of a Clockwork World This second annual anthology of stories by and for the fans at Seattle’s annual RainFurrest convention had a theme of “Steam Punk, Weird Science/mad science”. Authors were requested to write a G to PG story of 5,000 to 8,000 words with a first deadline of February 2012, for revision and publication in time for the convention on September 27–30. The result is this neat little booklet published by FurPlanet Productions.

As before,

This Anthology was created and written by the fans of Rainfurrest. All the writers and artists have waived all fees, so that all the money will go to charity, so that our furry friends can have a better life. We want to thank all the writers involved, the artists and their brilliant images, and for FurPlanet for helping us put this together. This is a dream come true, and we hope to be able to continue this unique tradition.

(The charity of Rainfurrest 2012 was Rabbit Meadows, a Seattle-area rodent [and presumably lagomorphs] rescue society and clinic.)

“Tails of a Clockwork World: A Rainfurrest Anthology”.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, September 2012, trade paperback $10.00 (119 pages).

Review: 'Already Among Us', edited by Fred Patten (reviewed by dronon)

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

Already Among Us; An Anthropomorphic Anthology

Already Among Us: An Anthropomorphic Anthology (Kindle), compiled by Fred Patten, is a collection of 14 science-fiction and fantasy stories from outside our fandom, focussing on humanity's interactions with intelligent animals (or animal-like aliens).

Fred introduces each story to put them into context, and the book's font is large and easy to read. The layout, however, could have benefited from having the authors and story titles printed along the tops of the pages. Without them, it's much harder to pick up where you left off, without using a bookmark.

The stories can be divided into two distinct time periods. Six were written between 1942-1962 (the tail end of SF's golden age); the rest are from 1991-2006. I was surprised that there was nothing from SF's new wave/experimental period in the 60s and 70s.

Compare: Watts Martin's review of Already Among Us.

U.S. government petitioned to drop drug war, create cat girls

Your rating: None Average: 3 (5 votes)

NekoThe 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.

Review: 'Earthman's Burden', by Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Earthman's BurdenHumorous science fiction is all too rare. One of the most successful humorous series is/are the Hoka stories of Poul Anderson & Gordon R. Dickson. They began in the short-lived Other Worlds Science Stories in May 1951, moved to Universe Science Fiction after Other Worlds ceased publication, then to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction when Universe bit the dust.

By 1957 there were almost enough Hoka stories to fill a book. Anderson & Dickson added one original story and a short “Interlude” after each to tie them together into a novel, and Earthman’s Burden was the result.

The 1950s were the postwar era with the Marshall Plan and the sparklingly new United Nations, when idealistic America was trying to pull the whole world up to Western levels of prosperity and democracy. The Hoka stories carried these ideals into space.

NYC, Gnome Press, July 1957, 185 pages, $3.00 [1970 reprint; 1979 reprint]. Illustrated by Edd Cartier.

Review: 'Flight of the Star Phoenix', by Bernard Doove

Your rating: None Average: 2.9 (7 votes)

Flight of the Star PhoenixSix of Bernard Doove’s last seven books have been set in his 24th century “Chakat Universe”. So is Flight of the Star Phoenix, but with a difference. These are the adventures of the starship Phoenix, captained by a coyote morph and crewed by just about every species in Doove’s universe. Chakats are included in the mix, although this is not really a chakat story.

This novel is really an assembly of the thirteen Phoenix stories that have appeared on Doove’s “Chakat’s Den” website. They are called chapters, but they read more like a collection of separate short stories. Although the book has an overall theme – in 2332-2337, the interstellar freighter Phoenix must prove itself financially profitable by its fifth anniversary or go out of business – it reads more like thirteen separate adventures during those five years, with individual beginnings, plots, climaxes, and conclusions. Fans of short, episodic starship adventures will enjoy this more than the fans of long novels. And the fans of Doove’s regular chakat tales will be very satisfied with it.

CreateSpace, November 2012, trade paperback $21.95 (388 pages). Illustrated.

Review: 'Solo's Journey', by Joy Smith Aiken

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Solo's JourneyThe lives of the Quorum cats are filled with paradoxes: Although feral and untamed, they live within sight of the Owners’ dwellings and feed off the scraps in the Keep; although peace-loving, too often the Quorum enforcers and bards are forced to protect and defend their territory from the ravages of invading gypsy cats from outside the territory. But the plight of the Quorum becomes desperate when the Owners attempt to demolish their territory and threaten the lives of the cats themselves. It is left to Solo to lead them to safety, as he tries to persuade them to abandon their homes and traditions and learn to survive beyond the Owners’ domain. Even as their dens go up in flames, Solo helps the Quorum cats execute their escape; slipping into the welcome cover of darkness, the feline exiles now begin their tortuous quest for a new land. (blurb)

Solo’s Journey is a talking-cat fantasy, in the tradition of Tad Williams’ Tailchaser’s Song and so many others (why are there almost no talking-dog fantasies?), going back ultimately to Richard Adams’ Watership Down for its “realistic” animal species with a detailed language.

G. P. Putnam’s Sons, November 1987, 255 pages, 0-399-13321-6, $17.95. Map by Scot Aiken.

Game review: 'Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit' (PC)

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Hell Yeah! is a bloody, grotesque platformer, with an animalish avatar licensed by Sega. Kind makes me wonder if this was the result of a run in by Sonic Team and the group that created the gore-fest known as Madworld.

Hell sawYou play as the Prince of Hell, who just so happens to be a bunny of some kind. Of course death has left you with a skeletal thin complexion; but you still have some mortal flaws, such as a fetish for rubber duckies. The story begins when someone catches you enjoying a bath rendezvous with your floating toy and posts the act onto Hell's intranet.

As the Prince of Hell, of course, you're not just going to sit and take it and makes posts on your LiveJournal about all the unfair drama. Instead, you go on a mission to kill all those who laid eyes upon it. This type of humor sticks through the game, making it more for grown-up kids then actual kids.

Review: 'Into the Desert Wilds', by Jim Galford

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

Into the Desert WildsThis is Book 2 of “The Fall of Eldvar”. I reviewed Book 1, In Wilder Lands, here in March, saying, “Galford’s first draft of In Wilder Lands was over 200,000 words, which he was persuaded to edit down to about 150,000 words/452 pages. He has lots of material for a sequel and for other novels set in Eldvar, not all of which will feature the wildlings [the anthro characters]. If they are all as good as In Wilder Lands, readers will look forward to them even without wildlings.” In other words, I liked it and I recommended it. However, the review got comments that the story was obviously based on a role-playing game, and “I never read anything based on a role-playing game.”

Yes, Eldvar is a world with humans, elves, dwarfs (dwarves?), orcs, zombies, anthropomorphic animals, and lots of magic. Still, to repeat what I said, “You are missing a good book, game-related or not.” As far as I am concerned, the biggest problem with Into the Desert Wilds (wraparound cover by Darryl Taylor) is that it continues the story from Book 1 without an adequate synopsis of what went before. But that does not matter as much as it might have, because In Wilder Lands ended with the main characters escaping certain death in their forest lands home by being transported to a new, desert land more than a thousand miles away from their enemies. It is a new setting for them and the reader alike.

“Into the Desert Wilds (The Fall of Eldvar, Book 2)”, by Jim Galford. (Kindle preview.)
CreateSpace, August 2012, trade paperback $13.99 (436 pages; on Amazon), Kindle $2.99.

Review: 'Carbonel, The King of the Cats', 'The Kingdom of Carbonel', and 'Carbonel and Calidor', by Barbara Sleigh

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

I usually select the books that I review on my own initiative, but this review of the Carbonel novels was suggested/inspired by Rakuen Growlithe. He asked, in a comment to my review of Windrusher and the Trail of Fire:

There were two cat books I read as a kid and found really good but I don't recall ever seeing someone in the fandom mention them, which I find a bit sad. Did you ever read either Carbonel or The Kingdom of Carbonel? They were about Carbonel, the king of the cats, his service to a witch, relationship with two children and, in the sequel, his kittens and authority?

Carbonel, the King of the CatsThe Kingdom of CarbonelCarbonel and Calidor

I had read them over fifty years ago and remembered enjoying them. On investigating, I found that there was a third Carbonel novel that I had not known about; and that, after being out of print for decades, all three have been reprinted recently and are again available. Fortunately, the Los Angeles Public Library and the County of Los Angeles Public Library between them have all three, so I did not have to buy copies.

I have enjoyed rereading the first two, and reading the third for the first time, very much. Thank you, Rakuen, for reminding me of them. (By the way, do you remember whether you read the British edition, the American edition, or was there a separate South African edition?)

Short essay: Why my "fursona" is not a rat

Your rating: None Average: 2.1 (10 votes)

This is an essay of sorts written originally to be shared only among real-world friends due to questions I had been receiving about its content. However, since it relates to the furry fandom (or at least, my association with it), I decided to post it here.

I’d like to make one thing perfectly clear: regardless of what species I roleplay as on the Internet, the truth is that in real life, I am not a zebra Pegasus at all—I am a rat.

Review: 'Black Blossom', by M.C.A. Hogarth

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (4 votes)

Black Blossom: A Fantasy of Manners Among AliensThis is labeled “The Third Book of Kherishdar”, following The Aphorisms of Kherishdar (reviewed in Anthro #18, July-August 2008) and The Admonishments of Kherishdar (Flayrah, April 4, 2012). Those two were slender “chapbooks” of less than 60 pages each, establishing the society and culture of the alien, ancient civilization of the Ai-Naidar of Kherishdar, in a series of parables of less than two pages each. Black Blossom is a full novel, telling of the culture shock that comes to the Ai-Naidar when a human comes to live among them.

See also: M.C.A. Hogarth's 'Black Blossom' tops $4600 on Kickstarter

“Black Blossom: A Fantasy of Manners Among Aliens”, by M.C.A. Hogarth.
CreateSpace, September 2012, trade paperback $18.95 (376 [+ 4] pages), Kindle/e-book $6.99.

Review: 'The Chronicles of Loquacious, Centaur, of Rhodes', by Rob S. Rice

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The Chronicles of LoquaciousIf werewolves are Furry, then so are centaurs, satyrs, fauns, silenoi, and the other human/animal hybrids of Greek mythology.

Aside from the fantasy of all the mythologicals and humans living together, this is a good historical tale of life in Greece at the time of Philip II and his son, Alexander III the Great of Macedonia. Alexander is offstage conquering the world, and there is peace in the interior of his empire. Aristotle, Alexander’s tutor, has his Lyceum in Athens, but in this year he has been summoned back to Macedonia for the summer. Without him, the other teachers at the Lyceum suggest that the students spend a few months wandering through Greece to collect odd plants and local tales, to bring back when Aristotle will return in the winter.

This book contains eight tales, the first five told by the student Loquacious, a centaur from the island city-state of Rhodes, to the peasants and villagers who give him hospitality, or told to him by them; and the last three later in Loquacious’ life.

Esterhazy Press/Lulu.com, October 2012, trade paperback $14.95 (177 [+ 2] pages; on Amazon).

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