These are Books 2 and 3 in Jobling’s Wereworld saga. Book 1, Rise of the Wolf, was reviewed here last May. Viking has ignored my request for review copies, so I had to wait for the Glendale Public Library to get them. Sorry for the delay.
The Wereworld Young Adult series is set on the island-continent of Lyssia on a fantasy world, in which each of the kingdoms is ruled by a Werelord who can transform into an animal, including birds and fish. School Library Journal has called the series “Game of Thrones for the tween set”. In Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf, teen farmboy Drew Ferran learns that he is adopted and is really the werewolf son of the murdered Wolf King Wergar of Westland, Lyssia’s most powerful nation, which has been usurped by Lion King Leopold who has replaced the old wolf aristocracy with his own lion nobility.
Thrown into the Seven Realms’ therianthropic politics whether he wants to be or not, Drew finds friends and allies such as Princess Gretchen, a fox shapeshifter, and Hector the young Boarlord; enemies such as King Leopold and his sadistic son Prince Lucas, and the Ratlord Vankaskan; and those who may be friends or enemies like the dynamically charismatic but utterly untrustworthy Count Vega, the Sharklord.
Well, one article after I set out the rules, I guess I’m going to break them; however, the issues in question were in the three month rule when I picked them up, and the front page doesn’t update if nothing gets submitted, so here comes issue number four.
Avengers Academy #38
For only four articles in, I seem to be doing a lot of penultimate Christos N. Gage pieces. This time, we go to Avengers Academy, where the cast of Wolverine and the X-Men are guest stars. Seeing how these two books are the furriest of the approximately ten thousand put out by Marvel for these two teams, that works well for a furry site. Furry characters (depending on your personal definition, of course) include Tigra, Reptil and White Tiger for the Avengers and Wolverine, Anole and Warbird for the X-Men.
Instead of fighting super evil villains this month, the two school-based books get together for a game of tag football. The book has a large cast, which is now doubled; we get a lot of interpersonal interactions. Most are probably pretty hard to follow if you haven’t been reading the book (and being the second to last issue doesn’t make this a great jumping-on point), but Gage’s sense of humor helps this issue out a lot (though a dated “don’t tase me, bro” joke was kind of lame).
The art, by Tom Grummett, is clean and simple. Many Marvel titles suffer from art styles and techniques that are a bit too pretentious for the subject matter. The cover wins the award for best of this rundown; “AT LAST – the spectacular 38TH ISSUE!” Great joke.
There are two kinds of movie reviewers; those that see the traditional end of year top ten list as a chore, and those like me who see it as a perk. Anyway, here’s ten movies from 2012 that I liked.
This nature novella about forest life, particularly of a young vixen, in Central Europe around the early 1900s, is barely anthropomorphic. But it is the inspiration for Leoš Janáček’s popular 1924 opera of the same title, in which the forest animals are anthropomorphized and sing a lot, so it is worth reviewing here.
In fact, this book – the only printing that the story has had in English – would not exist if not for the opportunity to publish the 1981 new costume designs for the opera by the popular children’s book author/illustrator Maurice Sendak. It has detailed full-color illustrations every few pages. Actually, The Cunning Little Vixen is the popular English title of Janáček’s opera; the title of Těsnohlídek’s novella would be Sharp-Ears the Vixen.
NYC, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, April 1985, 185 [+2] pages, 0-374-13346-8, $19.95. Pictures by Maurice Sendak. Translated by Tatiana Firkusny, Maritza Morgan, & Robert T. Jones. Afterword by Robert T. Jones.
Due to technical difficulties on my end, you get two columns this month to make up for the zero columns last month. Anyway, this month sees the Annies announcing their nominees, so this column will be all about that.
The modern era of talking animals in literature is generally believed to start with Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (July 1865). That is the oldest novel still commonly published today, and the earliest that people (both children and adults) read voluntarily for pleasure. Yet there were quite a few stories in the late 18th century with talking animals.
Fabulous Histories. Designed for the Instruction of Children, Respecting Their Treatment of Animals, by Mrs. [Sarah] Trimmer. London, T. Longman, G. C. J. and J. Robinson, and J. Johnson, 1786, xi + 227 pages, 1/-.
Original Turtles creator Kevin Eastman writes (with script help from Tom Waltz) and draws this oversized issue that I decided was too big for my Pull List series of reviews, but of enough interest for TMNT fans – and furry fans in general – that it deserved its own review.
You know how you don’t judge a book by its cover? Well, in the same vein, you don’t judge a movie by its trailer. So, anyway, Rise of the Guardians went from winner to not even showing up on my Oscar guess list, while Wreck-it-Ralph pulled the opposite trick. On one hand, this is a disappointing year; on the other, it’s a fun year to predict, because nothing is certain.
Note: Obviously, this is a bit late and out of date, but I was unable to post this last month due to computer issues, and the opinion part of it is still mostly valid, so I’m submitting it late. If you’re reading this, the editors decided to let it in; if you’re not, well, uh, you’re not.
On the way to Rise of the Guardians, I noted that, between Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, the two most important days in the Christian year were covered by members of the titular Guardians. I said I'd bet that Jesus would not be mentioned once during the course of the movie, despite this. My brother took me up on this bet.
My brother owes me a coke.
This movie is explicitly about believing in things we have no proof of (like, I don’t know, Jesus); the Guardians, we're told, are powerless unless the children of the world believe in them. Strangely, I don't remember ever believing in the Sandman, the Easter Bunny or even, yes, Santa Claus. Maybe I did; but I don’t remember it.
The closest I came to believing in any of the Guardians was the Tooth Fairy; I don’t remember actually believing, but I do remember being very disappointed upon finding a tooth that my parents hadn't yet discarded after trading for a quarter.
Speaking of disappointment, Rise of the Guardians was a letdown.
I hate stories that are so carefully constructed that a reviewer can hardly say anything about them without giving away spoilers. Well, Winter Games is set in Gold’s Forester Universe, although it is not connected to any of Gold’s other stories. It contains mentions of Millenport and other Forester locales. It is the fifth of FurPlanet’s “Cupcake” booklets, less than novel length.
Winter Games is a work of anthropomorphic fiction for adult readers only. (publisher's advisory)
Sierra Snowpaw, a 33-year-old snow leopard, checks into the Lonnegan Ski Resort, apparently just on a relaxed vacation although it soon becomes obvious that he is looking for someone. Sierra does not let the search distract him from having steamy gay sex with Bret, the resort’s pine marten desk clerk.
The novella alternates in short chapters between the 2012 “now” and 1997, when Sierra was a teenage student at Tartok Ecole Internationale in Europe, presumably setting up the explanation of whom Sierra is searching for and why, and why this person is avoiding him.
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 Wildfire – Camron & Vantid – Alopex – Huskyteer – Kandrel & Scappo – Tempe 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?
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.
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.
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).