Alan Loewen was the Author Guest of Honor at Morphicon 2012. To commemorate the occasion, he published this slim collection of thirteen of his anthropomorphic short stories. Eight of them were first published between 1998 and 2011, and five appear in this volume for the first time.
Three of these stories first appeared in Pawprints Fanzine, one of the leading Furry fanzines between 1994 and 2001; one in the Anthrocon 2003 convention book; and three in Ethereal Tales, a quarterly of “cute ‘n’ creepy” stories for gothic and fantasy fans since 2008. In other words, Loewen’s credentials as a Furry author are solid. Most of these stories are very short, only four or five pages; the longest is barely over thirty.
Most of these are stories in the well-established Furry tradition, offering little or no explanation for their anthropomorphic characters; they just are.
This is a close year, ladies and gentleman. This year we are going to have to wait until November to know which movie will take the crown for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars, as compared to the last five years, where it was Pixar/Pixar/Pixar/Pixar/the movie that came out in the spring. You could call it by February each of those years and not look completely stupid. Not so, this year.
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.
The Ursa Major Awards have been running since 2001, and one of the more difficult categories to vote in has been "Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction", due to the works being scattered across various fanzines, magazines, con books and web pages. So I'm very glad that Fred Patten has edited together The Ursa Major Awards anthology: a tenth anniversary celebration, published by FurPlanet (2012), allowing us to read eleven stories from across the fandom collected under one cover. (341 p., ISBN 9781614500520)
The original idea was to print the winning short story from each year of the Awards, but because Kyell Gold has won the popular vote consecutively from 2006 to 2011, this felt a little unbalanced towards the other contributors, so only three of his works appear here. (It skips In between from 2008 and Bridges from 2010.)
To pad out the book a little more, three Ursa-nominated stories were also included. Most of the works are about 20-30 pages in length, with occasional illustrations from artists such as Synnabar, John Cooner and Vicki Wyman. The gentle, moonlit cover art was done by Blotch.
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 – Kyell Gold & Nimrais
Isiah Jacobs: Hello again, Tempo! Welcome back to the show! It's been too long!
Tempo: Happy to be back. :)
Isiah Jacobs: So, you have a story in this year's publication of Heat. And you were actually able to get it illustrated by Blotch!
Tempo: Yep! The story behind that story starts a couple years back when Blotch and I were talking about what we liked in each other's work. I liked that Blotch's pics often felt like they had a world behind them, like there were stories behind them. They ended up asking if I wanted to write one of those stories and we paged through their prints until we found "The Prisoner". (NSFW)
Isiah Jacobs: That's the one with Drust tied to a tree or something, right?
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
Nimrais: Good evening, it's a pleasure to talk to you two!
Kyell Gold: Likewise! Thanks, Isiah, for setting this up.
Isiah Jacobs: Obviously, you two produced content for Heat 9 this year; a story called "Rewind". Before we discuss the story itself, I'm just curious. Have you two heard of each other before this?
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)
The furry experience addresses a nearly universal desire to be seen as you feel you are
Whether you are a fur (who feels a species identity different than your human skin shows), a transgender (who feels a gender different than your birth body shows), or just differently colored, shaped, or pigmented than those around you, probably all furries and their kin were likely acutely aware at an age as young age as 4-8 years old that how people saw and treated them was very different than what they felt they were like inside.
This is true for all humans, in fact, who are instantly judged at some level based on impressions: blonde, female, Mexican, Asian, African, and so on, which also have nothing to do with who you are inside. Where furs step off this path of false impressions is that we, nearly uniquely, create a fursona that we own (we feel it, we made it, it was not set a birth), and then we project and interact based upon that character.
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: Camron & Vantid – Alopex – Kandrel & Scappo – Huskyteer – Kyell Gold & Nimrais – Tempe O'kun
Isiah Jacobs: Good evening, gentlemen! Thank you both so much for joining me tonight, it's a pleasure to have you both on the show!
Whyte Yote: Thanks for having us.
Isiah Jacobs: Whyte, Alastair, as I understand it, you both have sort of collaborated in this year's issue of Heat. Whyte, you wrote a short story called "Two Minutes" and Alastair, you provided the illustrations.
Whyte Yote: Well, I wouldn't call it "collaboration" as much as "I didn't know who was doing my illustrations until Alopex told me after they were done." XD He likes surprises. Plus, publisher's prerogative.
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.