Fred Patten was born in Los Angeles, California on December 11, 1940. By the time he was ten years old, he'd become interested in science fiction and had started to collect SF books and magazines. From 1958 to 1963 he attended UCLA, where he graduated with a master's degree in Library Science. During his university years, he discovered science fiction fandom, joined the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS), and started to write for fanzines.
In the 1970s, Fred became a partner in a bookstore in Long Beach, and also developed an interest in manga and anime from Japan. In 1977, along with Mark Merlino and others, Fred was one of the founding members of North America's first anime fan club, the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization. Partially through the C/FO, he and Mark expanded their mutual interest in animals in cartoons and science-fiction, which was a major step in the early evolution of furry fandom. A lot people aren't aware that in North America, both anime and furry fandoms share an originating root!
There is a balding man with glasses, standing in the corner, cradling a book against his stomach, reading. You saw him a lot. At the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society meeting hall, the APA collation room, in the library, at science fiction conventions in function rooms and room parties, at San Diego Comic Con in the Rowrbrazzle contributor parties, at furry parties.
His name is Fred Patten, and was in no way the passive participant he seemed. With a partner he opened a book shop in Long Beach, California that not only carried SF and Fantasy books, but comics from all over the world. He reviewed SF and Fantasy literature for fan and professional publications. His apartment was literally wall-to-wall books. He collected SF/F art, storing paintings in his bed frame. I don't think anyone knew where he slept... or if he did.
Earthrise, the first book in M.C.A. Hogarth's Her Instruments trilogy, is a comfy space opera which includes some furry critters. Based on my last visit to her work (books 1 & 2 of The Dreamhealers), the furry species are nice and familiar. The crew of the TMS Earthrise has a centaur with wings, a phoenix, a mated pair of bipedal felines, and a throw-pillow tribble with strong mental powers. Most of these are descendants of slave races that humans created centuries earlier.
The assembled characters have an almost whimsical balance, yet they still feel realistic. When we join them in the story, they're a well-meshed crew. There's a comforting alienness to each of them, a diversity that avoids stereotypes, but claims labels of diversity within diversity, if that makes sense. We mostly see them through the eyes of their captain.
Furry fans may have noticed a seconds long clip of crystalline, possibly fox-like critters scampering around the trailer for the latest instalment of Star Wars, subtitled The Last Jedi. The upcoming movie was the subject of a cover story by the magazine Entertainment Weekly, and one of the things covered were these "crystal foxes", which are known as vulptices. The Last Jedi is scheduled to be released December 15 (which technically means it's opening Thursday, December 14 for "previews") in America, and now furry fox fans have a reason to get excited.
In January 2015, FurPlanet Productions published the first volume of Roz Gibson’s s-f novel “Griffin Ranger”. Now, as of August 2017, the rest of the novel is now available.
Gibson has been a furry fan favorite since the 1980s, but as a comic-book artist, not a novelist. She wrote and drew “Jet: 2350” for the Rowrbrazzle in 1987, and went on to create one of his most popular characters, the antihero Jack Salem, the sable psychotic killer, in a series of comics published first by Radio Comix in the 1990s and later republished and continued by FurPlanet, notably in the “City of Ice” series.
In 2014 Gibson turned to writing. Her first Jack Salem novelette, “The Monkeytown Raid”, published in the anthology “What Happens Next” edited by Fred Patten, won that year’s Ursa Major Award for the Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction of the year. She has written a few more stories since then, the most recent being the time-travel thriller “Matriarch: Elephant vs. T-Rex”, published as an original Kindle novella in April 2017.
Update 10/15: A statement made about FurPlanet publication on the original article was found to be inaccurate and removed.
Gre7g Luterman self-published his furry science-fiction novel Skeleton Crew though Amazon's CreateSpace in August 2014. The cover art was designed by his wife, H. Kyoht Luterman, and inside were over a dozen full-page illustrations, mostly by Rick Griffin. It got excellent reviews. It's now been picked up and re-published in a new, expanded edition by Thurston Howl Publications, with a new cover by Rick Griffin (seen here, to the right) and new illustrations.
The backstory to Skeleton Crew is that four centuries earlier, the giant Krakun race came to the primitive planet of Gerootec and offered to hire thousands of the over-populated Geroo as their starship crews. The Geroo who went into space (and their descendants) would never see Gerootec again, but they would live in luxury compared to the backward conditions on their homeworld.
I kept plugging it quietly in the background all throughout 2015 and early 2016 (and you guys thought I only covered Zootopia that year). I mean, what if 2016 had been a year where we had six wide release, fully anthropomorphic world movies ranging in genre from buddy cop, to martial arts, to backstage musical, to crime caper, to space opera, and also Rock Dog?
As it ended up, we got, by my count, one great movie, one good movie, one movie that was kind of meh, one movie that turned out to not exist, one terrible movie and also Rock Dog.
Third time's the charm.
I managed to see both the previous installments of this movie series in theaters (Rise in 2011 and Dawn in 2014). Despite the fact that I went in intending to review these movies for Flayrah when both of them came out, I didn't.
The truth of the matter is that I got bored, and just couldn't be bothered to write anything.
So, I really should have reviewed those other two movies. But it helps that this is the first movie in the series I actually liked, though.
Rise and Dawn are not bad movies; they have a lot of positive qualities to them, but I never really liked them.
This review's lyrical headline comes from the Beatles' "A Day in the Life", and, yes, I'm making that a "thing"..
They called Marvin a chicken. And he was. (But only 5%.) He also plays the piano.
In the far-flung, space-traveling future, genetic manipulation has created a small subculture of modified humans that aren't exactly well-respected, but people will at least have sex with them and pay for the privilege. Marvin is pilot of the Pussy Pod, a small ship that safely transports people to and from the Henhouse, a brothel that sits just outside the limits of a space station's jurisdiction.
Legion Printing, May 2012, 78 pages. Available in eBook from Amazon.
Marvin's not a sex worker, but he respects them and cares about them. If he's a trifle ambivalent about his cattle car full of Johns, who can blame him? He's an excellent pilot and deserves more in his life. He shouldn't need to be covered in feathers, but his boss insisted because of the Henhouse's name. For Marvin, every day is a struggle to do his job well and not be bitter. He simply doesn't have the connections to find better work. But a man's got to make a living, even if it's just chicken feed.
A Left-Handed Sword is a novella by Phil Geusz in which the characters used to be human beings. All of them have contracted a singular disease called the Lokiskur virus (Lokie for short), which has transformed them into animals. Lokie not only leaves its victims dehumanized and physically handicapped in their new forms, but often brain-damaged and depressed. They are also highly contagious; Lokie is an affliction that never lets go.
Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe #51, a furry science-fiction shared-universe fanzine that was announced in July 2015 as coming soon is finally here. It came out in July 2016, and is a double issue: #51 & #52. With a glossy cover and square binding, it feels more like a book than a fanzine.
As editor Gene Breshears describes it,
We're calling it a double issue, but at 162 pages and with 20 stories, issue 51-52 contains more than four ordinary issues' worth of tales!
It's available for $15 from Rabbit Valley, or from the Tai-Pan Literary and Arts Project. Back issues can be ordered, too - again from Rabbit Valley and also from Second Ed, at a discount. But the news isn't all good...
Cats and More Cats; Feline Fantasy Fiction, edited by Fred Patten, is launching at Further Confusion 2016 in San Jose, California over the January 14-18 five-day weekend. The book can be pre-ordered online from FurPlanet Productions. It will be for sale on the FurPlanet online catalogue afterwards.
Cats and More Cats is a reprint anthology of 14 short stories and novelettes of feline fantasy fiction (“the best of the best”) from 1989 to the present, most of them out-of-print today, plus a new essay and an extensive bibliography of cat fantasy books. This is designed to appeal to both science fiction and fantasy fans, and all cat-lovers.
FurPlanet Publications, $19.95 (261 pages). Wraparound cover by Donryu. ISBN 978-1-61450-297-5
In an uplifted universe, where the humans sneaked away when no one was looking, Earth is largely cats and dogs.
The dogs rule, at least in North America, and two sisters are trying to get more feline representation in what is supposedly a democracy. Events conspire to separate the sisters, and the level headed sister, Kipper, is forced into a wild adventure to find her sister, or at least solve the mystery that seems to threaten them both.
This is book one of three, with the third coming out soon.
Seriously, I have been looking forward to April and the Extraordinary World for five years, when the first in-production news appeared and then its “coming soon” trailer was on YouTube as Un Monde Truqué. They didn't say anything about a talking cat, which is why I didn’t announce it on Flayrah then. YouTube has had to take that trailer down. This new one isn’t nearly as good, but it does have the talking cat in it.
In a steampunk alternate world’s 1941, when Europe is united in a Triple Empire under Napoleon V and its three capitals of London-Paris-Berlin are connected by cable car, scientists have been disappearing for decades. The earlier trailer was about the disappearance of the child Avril (April) Franken’s parents. This new trailer is about the adult April’s hunt for them, with her talking cat Darwin and her companion Julius.
The 105-minute movie, co-directed by Persepolis animator Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci, was released in France on November 4th. GKIDS has picked up the American rights for a 2016 release, in both dubbed and subtitled versions.
M.C.A. Hogarth is a writer who belongs to the Furry Writers' Guild, something I've been involved with these last few months since crawling out from under my bed after hiding there for a few years. I went looking for a few good books about furries with LBQT+ relationships for a future BookCrossing bookbox, because I like to share furriness with my friends.
I wanted to buy a few books from Amazon for the free shipping; something I hardly ever do. I figured I should get to know my fellow writers better, and while this didn't seem like the kind of book I was looking for for, I liked the idea of two different types of ESPers co-mingling, both aliens on an alien world (not to mention, college kids ... education is sexy, am I right?).
I have to admit to being daunted by the size of the book. Four hundred plus pages. I wanted a writing sample, not a bible. I have over a hundred unread books in my queue! Did I really want to push most of those back in order to relate better to a name in a chat room? And it was book one of two. Who writes duologies, anyway?
See also: Fred's review of Mindtouch.