Red Devil, a sequel to Kyell Gold's Green Fairy, is both the second volume of his Dangerous Spirits series, and part of his Forester series (Out of Position, Isolation Play, Waterways, Bridges and others), set in an alternate contemporary America inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. Solomon Wrightson, the homosexual teenage wolf who was the protagonist of Green Fairy, is the best friend of Alexei Tsarev, the fox protagonist here.
Alexei, a young Siberian in the States on a student visa that expires in two months, hopes to impress the Vidalia Peaches semi-professional soccer team enough to become a member.
If they sponsored Alexei, he could apply for a visa that would allow him to stay in this country indefinitely. (p. 3)
Besides being good athletes, everyone on the Peaches is gay. Alexei has only recently come to the States from his hometown of Samorodka, Siberia, partially to play soccer but really to escape the brutal anti-gay attitude prevalent in Siberia. (Gold is clearly using Siberia to refer to all Russia in this anthropomorphic world.) Alexei misses his sister Caterina, with whom he was especially close. They were exchanging letters, but she has not answered his last few missives. Alexei is sure that their abusive parents are preventing her from writing.
Alexei is rooming with Sol at the house that Sol shares with Meg, the mannish teenage otter from Green Fairy, in Sol’s room where his portrait of Niki, the murdered 19th-century fox transvestite is hanging. Alexei, who semi-believes in ghosts, already is influenced by the spirit of his great-grandmother “Prababushka”, whom he feels may have followed him to the States to protect him. In addition to worrying about Cat back in Samorodka, and getting onto the Peaches soccer team to stay in the States, Alexei has developed a crush on one of the Vidalia amateur players, Mike, a friendly Dall sheep; but the insecure, withdrawn Siberian fox is always being shoved aside by Kendall, a more brash and self-assertive pine marten also on the local amateur team. Alexei is unsure whether Mike is just being polite to Kendall, or if he really prefers the more outgoing marten. Or whether Alexei should continue to concentrate on his feelings for Mike, rather than looking for another boyfriend in Vidalia and the States’ more open and relaxed straight and gay sexual atmosphere.
Illustrations by Rukis, St. Paul, MN, Sofawolf Press, January 2014, trade paperback $19.95 ([iii +] 269 [+ 2] pages), Kindle $9.99.
Fred Patten will have a new anthology, Five Fortunes, on sale at Further Confusion 2014. The 415-page tome, published by FurPlanet, presents five brand-new novellas by fan-favorite Furry authors, four of them featuring their popular characters or settings:
- “Chosen People” by Phil Geusz, set in his Book of Lapism world.
- “Going Concerns” by Watts Martin, set in his Ranea world.
- “When a Cat Loves a Dog” by Mary E. Lowd, set in her Otters in Space world.
- “Piece of Mind” by Bernard Doove, set in his Chakat Universe.
- The fifth story is “Huntress” by Renee Carter Hall, in a new setting of tribal anthropomorphic African lions.
Otters in Space: The Search for Cat Havana by Mary E. Lowd is a short novel that received a 2010 Ursa Major Award nomination. It's a work of light science-fiction that I think might appeal to young adult readers. It's available from FurPlanet and Amazon, and in electronic format - see the author's website for details and links. I read the FurPlanet 2012 edition, 176 pages, ISBN 978-1-61450-043-8.
See also: Fred Patten's earlier summary and review. (Contains spoilers.)
Mary Lowd's name really first stood out to me in the 2012 Ursa Recommended Anthropomorphics List, which included six of her short stories. It's not unusual to see authors with multiple recommendations on the list, although when they all appear at the same time, it feels like overkill. Anyway, of those six, I definitely enjoyed St. Kalwain and the Lady Uta, appearing in ROAR volume 4, so I was curious what she would do in a longer format.
Does anyone besides me care about this bureaucratic trivia? This is a good read, in a handy trade paperback edition for those who don’t want to read it on their computer. Get it in one format or the other.
But this is a direct sequel to Lowd’s Ursa-Major-nominated Otters in Space: The Search for Cat Havana. If there is any flaw with Otters in Space II, it is that you need to have read the first book to really understand it. Or at least read the review of it, in Flayrah on February 6, 2012.
For Christmas 2012, I received an unexpected present from a friend. The accompanying note explained that he'd acquired a second copy of a beloved book from his childhood and had thought of me as someone likely to appreciate it. The book was Badger's Moon by Elleston Trevor, and appreciate it I certainly did.
Who was Elleston Trevor? A prolific writer across a variety of genres, under several names. He is most famous for the novel Flight of the Phoenix, which has been filmed twice, and for his series of spy stories starring an agent named Quiller (as in Memorandum). He also wrote a large number of books for children, including Scamper-Foot the Pine Marten, Ripple-Swim the Otter, and Wumpus, which stars a koala. He was born in 1920 and died in 1995.
Badger's Moon is part of a series of children's books featuring the Woodlanders. These anthropomorphic creatures inhabit an idyllic, timeless landscape of hills, woods and rivers, rather like Winnie-the-Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood or Mole and Ratty's Riverbank. Other titles in the series include Mole's Castle and Sweethallow Valley.
Solomon Wrightson, a wolf senior at Midland’s Richfield High, is in trouble. During his childhood and early adolescence, he was a bit of a loner but basically just one of the kids with his classmates. In high school, the wolves have tended to be the jock gang, going out together on the school baseball team. The coyotes also hang together, although they are looked on as second-class wolves.
But in their senior year, it all starts to fall apart for Sol. He had realized the year before that he is gay, and had joined a gay e-mail group where he formed a relationship with Carcy, an older ram living four hours away in Millenport. Sol thought that he had kept this a secret except from his study partner who is also his only friend, Meg Kinnick, a sardonic otter goth girl; they are two loners hanging out together. They have planned to go to Millenport together the next summer when Sol gets a car; Meg to get a job away from her parents, and Sol to move in with Carcy.
It's not easy to admit feelings for a long-time friend; but for the classmates in Mitti's debut graphic novel, their first admission must be to themselves.
It is 1955 and best friends Clover and Logainne are looking forward to graduating from Lincoln High School and getting on with their lives. However when Clover fumbles for an excuse to avoid going to the senior prom with someone, she blurts out Logainne's name as her intended date. Now the whole school thinks there is more to their friendship than meets the eye, putting both their reputations and Logainne's honors student status at risk. As they scramble to contain the damage, at least one of them begins to wonder where her heart truly lies. (back cover)
The bus stop sign and shelter were in front of a giant, white church. The Church of the First Race was an historical building, preserved from the time when humans still walked the Earth. It dwarfed the taller but smaller-scale high-rises around it. It was the oldest building in New LA. Kipper had been inside once and sat on the monstrous pews, but, like most cats, she didn’t feel comfortable with First Race doctrine. It was a dog religion – they preached that humans, the First Race, had left Earth as emissaries to the stars and would return to bring all the peoples of Earth into a confederation of interstellar sentience. Someday. (p. 1)
If you've been paying attention to the Recommended Anthropomorphics List, you might have noticed a movie called Leafie: A Hen into the Wild. Otherwise, you have probably never heard of it, unless you are one of Flayrah’s South Korean readers.
When I first saw Leafie's trailer, I was impressed with the animation and character design, and wondered how the movie would hold up. I was finally able to see the movie, and it is certainly one that furries should seek out.
For historical purposes, a collection of links and other tidbits posted to Newsbytes in August.
A four-year-old otter named Mo from Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire has started to climb trees. Mammal Manager John Crooks believes the behaviour may be a reaction to overcrowding from her younger sisters and seven-year-old mother Flo.
Mo began climbing at Christmas, and has ventured progressively higher over the past month. While the activity is not completely unheard of among otters, it has not been seen before at Slimbridge. [story tip: Kenoscope]
Hospital staff were amazed to see an otter appear to escort its injured mate to the front door of their building.
Marine mammal researcher Jennifer Hammock is conducting a test on sea otters' sense of smell in aquariums in three states. Currently in the test's early stages, the otters are being trained to indicate whether they can smell a substance sprayed into a hole on a board. They are learning quickly and have already proven to have much better senses of smell than previously thought, and even express fondness or displeasure towards specific scents. Scientists hope to have a better understanding of the olfactory mechanics and capabilities of sea otters and mustelids in general, and results may lead to "otter repellent" to warn wild animals from dangerous areas. Full articles published in The Californian and the Monterey County Herald.
Otters at an English aquarium enjoy a cool treat of fish frozen into ice blocks, but I don't know that mackerel flavoured popcicles will catch on with humans.