Humorous 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.
Six 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.
The 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.
Over at the Ursa Major Award-winning site Equestria Daily, lead pony Sethisto has a review of the new first season DVD of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (which also won an Ursa Major Award). Not only does the 4-disc box set include all 26 episodes from the first season, but it also includes creative commentaries on six of those episodes by the likes of Hasbro reps Brian Lenard and Robert Fukes; directors Jayson Thiessen and James “Wootie” Wootton; composer Daniel Ingram; art director Ridd Sorensen; and voice actors Cathy Weseluck, Andrea Libman, Tabitha St. Germain, and Nicole Oliver. The DVD is available exclusively on Amazon, so head over there and check it out. It’s hitting the air starting December 4th.
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.
You 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.
This 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.
Review: 'Carbonel, The King of the Cats', 'The Kingdom of Carbonel', and 'Carbonel and Calidor', by Barbara SleighPosted by Fred on Wed 21 Nov 2012 - 19:49
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?
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?)
Grandville Bête Noire, the third in the Grandville series of graphic novels by British artist and writer Bryan Talbot, debuted last Friday at Foyles in London's Charing Cross Road. Talbot discussed his work in conversation with Kim Newman (Anno Dracula) before participating in a Q&A session and a book-signing. (Questions on the night included an incredulous "How do you make animals sexy?", to which no answer was given.)
The Grandville series is set in a steampunk-style, alternate-Victorian era where robots stalk the streets and messages are delivered by 'pneumail'. Britain is slowly emerging from a long subjugation by France following defeat in the Napoleonic Wars, while Paris, known as Grandville, is the glittering centre of the world. Most of the characters in the series are anthropomorphic animals, birds and fish, with the rare human 'doughfaces' treated as an underclass. The hero of the stories is Inspector LeBrock of Scotland Yard, a badger whose brilliant deductive abilities are matched by his strength and ferocity in a fight.
The three books so far released have been in a full colour, hardback format, with covers inspired by the art nouveau movement. Bête Noire weighs in at 95 pages. A digital version is also available from Dark Horse Digital for e-readers and tablets.
This 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.
If 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.
It was the spring of 1998 when I first became a fan of Light on Shattered Water by Greg Howell, an era when stories were uploaded with hard line breaks. It was becoming increasingly evident that my interest in Lion King fandom had run its course and probably wouldn't stick with me much longer. But the interest wasn't so much dying off as morphing into an interest in furry fandom in general, particularly works of literature. I asked for suggestions of works of furry literature that would be good to read, both published and online. Light on Shattered Water, which at the time had recently been completed, came highly recommended to me. I began reading and quickly became immersed in this story.
And now, fourteen years later, Light on Shattered Water (Life of Riley, Book 1) is available in a Kindle edition. (June 2012, ASIN B008GASFDA, $4.99)
Michael Riley, a digital graphics specialist, was encouraged to spend some time away from his job. While hiking in the mountains near Montpelier, Vermont, he is knocked unconscious by a nearby lightning strike. Upon awakening, he finds all of his possessions intact, including most notably a laptop computer (with a solar recharging unit), but his GPS isn't working, many of the landmarks he had relied upon are mysteriously absent, and his maps seem to be wrong. After hiking for days, he finally discovers a village where everything appears to be oddly primitive. But the biggest shock of all comes when he first sees its inhabitants.
Technically, “fractured fairy tales” is a TV cartoon series by Jay Ward, originally part of Ward’s Rocky and His Friends from 1959 to 1961; but it has become a popular generic term for any modernized, satirical story in a traditional European fairy tale setting. This certainly fits Elizabeth D. Baker’s Tales of the Frog Princess novels. Although published for the 10- to 14-year-old age group, they are witty enough that adults will enjoy them, and they contain enough talking animals and humans transformed into animals to please the average ‘morph fan.
The narrator, Emeralda (Emma), is a tomboyish 14-year-old princess of the stereotypical fairytale Kingdom of Greater Greensward. The kingdom is supposed to be protected from conquest by a princess who becomes a kindly, guardian Green Witch in each generation. Unfortunately, a fairy’s curse has turned any princess who touches a flower after she turns sixteen into an ugly, nasty hag, which disqualifies the Green Witches. When Emma’s grandmother, Queen Olivene, fell under the curse, she turned her daughter Grassina’s fiancée Haywood into a frog (they think). Emma is despondently sure that she is too inept to ever become her generation’s Green Witch. Also, her mother, Queen Chartreuse, is trying to marry her off to handsome but unlikable Prince Jorge.
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.
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.