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Review: Seven Deadly Sins: Furry Confessions, edited by Thurston Howl

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

Seven Sins.jpgDISCLAIMER: I have a story in here. Way deep down in the sloth section.

This a collection of dark and often adult tales (or tails, if you pre-fur) that explore the Seven Deadly Sins of Christian fame: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth. Trouble makers all, to be sure. It's a rich field of study has reveled countless bumper crops of stories (true and fictional) and offers a handy umbrella to pull together the best of the worst of us storytellers.

Even Dr. Who has a Seven Deadly Sins themed anthology out there.

Still, for all the familiar ground these most famous of sins represent, this was an ambitious collection.

Overall, the anthology itself felt a little rushed. Not the stories themselves, mind you. I don't think there were any clunkers here. There were a few stories, however, that left me wondering what they were saying about their selected sin. Each story feels like it got the right amount of editorial attention.

My quibble is of a Macro sort. Seven Deadly Sins: Furry Confessions called for a sharper editorial eye then I think it got. Too often, very similar themes and acts follow too closely in one story to the next. That's bound to happen in the close quarters of the pages between a book cover.

And, I have to admit, part of my kvetch, might be my fault. I read all the interludes first. They knocked my socks off and I skipped every story to get to the mystery tormenting our hosts. As a result, I'm complaining about the holes in a magic show when I went out of my way to see how the tricks were set up before watching the magicians perform.

So, take my quibble with a few grams of a salt lick. THP is a new publisher and they've made quite a commitment to themed anthologies. I feel they are going to get better with each one. I know I'm looking forward to being there to watch them grow.

Presenting my story thoughts in the order that they appeared, with the interludes excluded and withheld to the end.

Gods with Fur — and Feathers, Scales…

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Gods with Fur; cover by BlackTeagan (Teagan Gavet)
Cover by Teagan Gavet

Fred Patten’s newest anthology, Gods with Fur, goes on sale this week at Anthrocon 2016. Published by FurPlanet Productions, the 453-page trade paperback contains 23 original stories by Kyell Gold, Mary E. Lowd, Michael H. Payne, and many more – featuring gods of anthropomorphic worlds, and our anthropomorphic gods.

You may know of Egyptian mythology’s jackal-headed Anubis, but have you heard of wolf-headed Wepwawet? We're familiar with China’s Monkey King and the native North Americans’ Coyote (who say they’re gods), but what of the Aztecs’ 400 drunken rabbits?

Here are historic gods, the gods of their authors’ series (Kyell Gold’s Forrester Universe; Heidi Vlach’s Aligare, Kris Schnee’s Talespace), and totally original gods.

The Lamb. No Lion.

More news from Cartoon Brew: The first major-studio release of a faith-based animated feature film. “Academy Award-nominated director Tim Reckart (Head Over Heels) will make his feature directorial debut with faith-based feature The Lamb, Sony Pictures Animation revealed today in a late-Easter Weekend announcement. First announced in September 2014, The Lamb will be a fully CG-animated pic based on the Christian nativity story, telling the ‘inspirational story of a young lamb who will change the world’ with an all-animal cast.” Lest you forget, the last time there was a faith-based anthropomorphic animated film (independently released) it was Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie. Stay tuned for more information on a release date for The Lamb.

image c. 2015 Morethings.com

image c. 2015 Morethings.com

The Untold Story

“… of the animals who didn’t get on the Ark.” That’s the official tag line of Oops! Noah is Gone, a new CGI feature film coming out later this year. Produced in Germany and animated all over Europe, it follows the story of David and his young son Finny, the last of the Nestrians, and what happens when one of them misses the boat — literally. The official English trailer explains it all better… sort of. No word yet on if it’s to be released to North American theaters or only on DVD. Thanks to Cartoon Brew for the heads-up.

[Don’t forget, nominations for the Ursa Major Awards are open now! And with that, we’ll see you all after Further Confusion!]

image c. 2015 Global Screen

image c. 2015 Global Screen

Peace On Earth

In an interesting article over at Cartoon Brew, writer Scott Thill discusses a notable animated cartoon short — which is celebrating its 75th anniversary. The amazing thing is that it was made at all. Peace on Earth was created at MGM Animation (the home of Tom & Jerry) and directed by Hugh Harman. Despite the objections of MGM executive Fred Quimby, the film was finished: And for a cartoon finished right before the outbreak of World War II, it’s quite surprising. An elderly squirrel (voiced by an un-credited Mel Blanc) tells his young grand-kids the story of the end of human-kind in a terrible war… and how the animals, directed by the Bible, re-built the world and declared an end to conflicts and fighting of all kinds. An end which they celebrate and renew every year at Christmas. Seriously, go check it out at the bottom of the article. This film is very hard to find — but likely, it should be seen a lot more.

image c. 2014 Cartoon Brew

image c. 2014 Cartoon Brew

Religion: Satan is a Furry

Your rating: None Average: 3 (5 votes)

Happy Science: Satan1 We’ve all heard the charge that Furry fans are fetishists who dress up in fursuits just to have sex with each other.

Have you heard that Satan is a Furry; a cat-man from the Large Magellanic Cloud, responsible for all the evils on Earth?

That might be funny if over ten million people did not believe it.

That is one of the revelations made in The Laws of the Sun by Ryuho Okawa, one of the Bibles of the Happy Science religion.

Review: 'Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit! A Puzzling Novel', by C. Casey Gardiner

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)

Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit! This brick of a novel – 4¼” wide x 6 7/8” high x 2” thick – says on its cover that it is “metafiction”. That is apparently a synonym for bizarre. Gardiner has made it as bizarre as he could. For starters, the cover (I assume that Gardiner did it himself) appears to be from a very shabby, used copy, with several crease lines. But they are drawn into the new cover art; they are part of its design. The colophon says that this book is “written, designed, and illustrated by C. Casey Gardiner”, but his idea of illustrations are the graphics that appear frequently, rather than pictures.

This novel was successfully funded on Kickstarter during August-October 2012. Gardiner says, “There are many pictures, riddles, poems, songs and puzzles in its pages,” among more surrealistic statements such as, “It is not ergodic literature, nor is it transgressive.” (This is not the first printing; it is the ?st printing.)

The bottom line: will you enjoy Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit!? Yes. It is very well written, and bizarre in a good way, although you will have to work at getting it. Gardiner deliberately does not make it easy.

Detroit, MI, Blue Rabbit Fictions, July 2013, paperback $20 (752 [+ 22] pgs.). Illustrated by the author.

Review: 'La chat du rabbin' ['The Rabbi's Cat']

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The Rabbi's Cat posterHad enough of French animated films yet? Don't worry, I'll run out of them soon! This week's review is Le chat du rabbin (The Rabbi's Cat), which came out in France in 2011 and only just recently got a North American DVD release. (Trailer). It's based on a comic book series by Joann Sfar.

The film starts in Algiers (North Africa) in the 1930s, with a rabbi, his daughter, and her pet cat. After the cat eats a parrot, he gains the ability to talk, and immediately gets in trouble with the rabbi because the cat's first action (of course) is to deny everything.

As the rabbi tries to keep the cat away from his daughter, the cat tries to get on the rabbi's good side by offering to convert to Judaism - although what he really wants is a bar mitzvah. Still, being a cat, he's an independent thinker and isn't shy about challenging the rabbi's religious teachings.

Opinion: Furries, Freud, art, and "sexual correctness"

Your rating: None Average: 3 (7 votes)

The Rumpus, a blog aimed at the challenging side of pop culture, brings up Furry Fandom's most divisive topic in Oh So Furry: The Rumpus Interview with Kilcodo.

Rumpus: Are cartoons sexy? Are animals sexy? Or are both of those statements irrelevant? Is it more the re-imaging idea?

Kilcodo: It depends on the person, but I think if you look at the way that we use language and the way we think about what is and isn’t sexy, we’ve constantly used anthropomorphic language. We call a sexy woman a fox. We call an older sexy woman a cougar. We call men bear, wolf. I’ve heard otter being used in the gay community. And I think that’s because as sexual beings we can see eroticism in many different organic forms, and I think because animals are beautiful, people like to meld the two forms together, so you have a human body and a majestic head of an animal, and people find that beautiful and even erotic.

Kilcodo's thoughtful answer brings to mind the Freudian term "Polymorphous perversity".

Animation: The cat wants a bar mitzvah

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

The Rabbi's CatFrom January 18 to 25, the GKids (Guerrilla Kids International Distribution Syndicate) distributor gave the 98-minute French animated feature The Rabbi’s Cat (Le Chat du Rabbin), directed by Joann Sfar and Antoine Delesvaux, produced by Autochenille Production (a studio set up in 2007 by Sfar and Delesvaux to make this movie), and based on Sfar’s French five-volume graphic novel of the same name (volumes 1, 2, and 5 of it, to be exact), a one-week American limited “general” distribution, in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego on the West Coast. It will have an East Coast release in mid-March.

The original French release, on June 1, 2011, won the Annecy Crystal for Best Feature at the 2011 Annecy International Animated Film Festival, and the 2012 César Award (“the French Oscar”) for Best Animated Film. It had a one-week release in one theater in America on December 7-13 to qualify for 2012 American film awards, and was nominated for the Annie in two categories, Best Animated Feature and Outstanding Achievement, Directing in an Animated Feature Production.

On January 20, my sister and I went to the Laemmle Town Center 5 in Encino to see The Rabbi's Cat, in French with English subtitles. It was playing for a week, and has gotten a mixed but generally favorable illustrated review in LA Weekly, January 18-24, 2013, the major citywide free alternative newspaper. Rotten Tomatoes gave it 93%.

Interview: Rukis reflects on 'Unconditional'

Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (5 votes)

To celebrate the recent premiere of Red Lantern: Conviction, Isiah sat down with Rukis to discuss her latest publication, Unconditional.

Isiah Jacobs: Hello again, Rukis! It's so nice to have you on the show again! It's been too long!

Rukis: That it has. Wait . . . it's been like a few months. Really not that long, honestly.

Isiah Jacobs: Much too long, in my opinion! I'm sorry you couldn't make it for the interview with Kyell Gold about Green Fairy. However, by that time, you were busy wrapping up Unconditional and preparing for AC, so I don't blame you. You had originally started working on this back in January or so, right?

Rukis: That was the plan. Progress was slow for a while, though, for purely financial reasons. It's tough to work on a free-to-read comic and pay the bills. The income I see from comics generally comes after they've been printed. So it's always a balancing act, making time for them.

Isiah Jacobs: Were you a little upset to work on your own again after working with Alector for so long?

Rukis: Not at all. I enjoy working at my own pace, honestly. I've only got myself to answer to. And I also really want to improve my background work before I work on Conviction, and this was a good opportunity.

'Swami Ayyappan' rides tigers, fights demons, unites with idol

Your rating: None Average: 3.9 (20 votes)

Swami AyyappanAnthropomorphic? Noooo … But how can you not like an animated TV movie about “‘Swami Ayyappan’, based on the life story of a boy ‘Manikandan’ who became one with God worshipped by millions”?

That is on Indian TV, of course. Animation Xpress for 2 July reports that,

Swami Ayyappan is slated to premier on national TV channels and subsequently distributed as DVDs during the upcoming Sabarimala season in various languages like Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu & Kannada. [What, no Hindi?]

Sabarimala is a place of pilgrimage that welcomes devotees irrespective of religion, caste or creed. [Not many Christians, I’ll bet.]

Two new anthologies of Furry short fiction coming in June

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

The Ursa Major Awards Anthology; A Tenth Anniversary CelebrationAlready Among Us; An Anthropomorphic AnthologyI was preparing this announcement, but GreenReaper has given away part of it on Newsbytes.

Fred Patten, who has been writing Furry book reviews since 1962, and who edited the first anthology of anthropomorphic short fiction, Best in Show, in 2003, has edited two new anthologies of anthropomorphic s-f & fantasy that will both premiere in June 2012.

  1. Already Among Us: An Anthropomorphic Anthology, will be published by Legion Publishing of Birmingham, AL on June 4. It will be available in a $18.95 hardcover and $9.99 trade paperback (x + 390 pages) [now $13.49], and $8.99 Kindle version, with a wraparound cover by Roz Gibson.
  2. The Ursa Major Awards Anthology: A Tenth Anniversary Celebration, will be published by FurPlanet Productions of Dallas, TX. It will go on sale at Anthrocon 2012 on June 14, as a $19.95 trade paperback, x + 380 pages, with a wraparound cover by Blotch.

'Krishna aur Kans' chronicles early life of Vishnu avatar

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KrishnaGods, yes. Dragons, yes. Monsters, yes. Giants, yes. Anthropomorphic animals, … eh. You might still be interested in this 2+-minute 3D stereo trailer for the Krishna aur Kans animated feature, slated for release on August 3, a week before this year’s Janmashtani (a major Hindu religious holiday to celebrate the birthday and youthful adventures of Krishna, an avatar of the god Vishnu).

Directed by Vikram Veturi, the movie chronicles Lord Krishna’s early years, from his birth as the nemesis of his tyrannical uncle Kans, to his combat against demons at the age of 10.

Swedish media debates dedicated 'toonophile'

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Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter recently published a commentary (translated by Ora) of Alfred Holmgren's interview of a literally diehard Sonic fan in gaming magazine Fienden.

At the center of the debate is French woman Alix Henriol, obsessed with Sonic since 2000:

I could have given anything to have become a robot or a character in a game.

The piece, posted on the newspaper's website, described Alix's desire to become cryogenically frozen until scientists can transfer her consciousness to a console, while referencing cosplay, erotic fan fiction and fantasy sex toy manufacturer Bad Dragon.