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An "unknown" Furry novel?

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The December 2002 "Chronicle: SF, Fantasy & Horror" announces (pg. 23) that "Raven's End" by Ben Gadd, a novel 'in the tradition of Watership Down' about ravens, which is currently getting excellent reviews in Germany (the German edition is "Rabens Ruh", published in September by Kindler Verlag in Munich), has just been sold to Sierra Club Books for a U.S. edition.

"Chronicle" does not mention that the German edition is not the original one. It was originally a Canadian novel: "Raven's End: A Tale from the Canadian Rockies" by Ben Gadd (McClelland & Stewart, February 2001). It is almost two years old now; if it is this good, has anyone in Furry fandom read it yet?

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Has anyone considered compiling a bibliography of animal novels that could be called "a Watership Down featuring ..."? Some would include:

Badgers: "The Cold Moons" by Aeron Clement.
Bats: "Silverwing", "Sunwing", and "Firewing", by Kenneth Oppel.
Deer: "Fire Bringer" by David Clement-Davies.
Foxes: The five "Foxes of Sinna" novels by Tom McCaughren.
Moles: The six "Duncton" novels by William Horwood.
Squirrels: "The Silver Tide", The Second Wave", and "The Golden Flight" by Michael Tod.

What else can be added?


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Cats: "Tailchaser's Song" by Tad Williams and "The Wild Road" by Gabriel King

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Must resist urge to kill people who automaticaly class anything with animals in it as 'Like Watership Down'...

Will give into urge to kill anyone who says so and has not even read 'Watership Down'.

Also must destroy disney for Watership Down remake.

Also, stop at shop to get milk.

- Lamar

ps. must continue reminding fandom that there are more intresting things out in the world such as Lewis Trondheim and Diane Duane's work than there are in the 'known fandom'.

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If you must destroy Disney, do not do it in the name of Watership Down, as they did NOT make it. Watership Down (aka Richard Adams' Watership Down) was produced in 1978 by Nephenthe and directed by Martin Rosen. I assume that the "remake" of which you speak is the TV series first aired in 1999, but that was a Canadian production, and as far as I know has no connection to Disney despite its "Disneyfied" appearance.

Insofar as novels and bunnies (or bunny-like beings) goes, I give my vote to Alan Dean Foster's "Quozl".


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Note the word 'Remake', and be glad you have not seen the Animated Series that Disney funded.

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How about some classic animal stories, like Bambi by Felix Salten, written in 1926 [nothing like the bastardized Disney version mind you]. Or Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. Perhaps Charlottes Web, or Stuart Little by E. B. White. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Once you start thinking about it, there is lots of classic literature, aimed at younger readers but enjoyed by all, that feature animals with human characteristics [IE speech, emotion] as their main characters.

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Well, I have to agree with Lamar here. Not every novel with talking animals is "in the tradition of 'Watership Down'." The plots of that and the others that I listed are that they are about supposedly "natural" animals, except for the fantasy element that they can communicate and reason among each other; they feature a large group of one animal species above others (there is the seagull in 'Watership Down" but the cast is otherwise all rabbits); they are slightly more intelligent than real animals (the rabbits figure out how to escape down a river on a floating log, and how to lure a vicious dog to attack their enemies); and they have some epic but naturalistic adventure (no fighting with supernaturally evil demons). "Bambi" and the other nature novels by Felix Salten, and the similar novels by Ernest Thompson Seton, lack the last two elements; they are just "slice of life" depictions of real animals. Novels like "The Wind in the Willows" with clothes-wearing animals who live in houses with furniture and are little more than animal-headed humans are not even close. The "large group of one animal species" qualification is why I did not name Colin Dann's "Animals of Farthing Wood" series. Within those guidelines, what novels are there?

Fred Patten

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It might help to define what qualifies a novel as "a Watership Down featuring (whatever)". It should feature animals in their natural environment, living and acting as close to their real life counterparts as possible. Some liberties with this are acceptable, such as the scribes and libraries in the Duncton Wood stories, but any story that has bipedalized animals wearing clothes and living in houses, or which features animal-like aliens or genetically engineered animal-morphs would not qualify. Domsetic animals are something of a gray area that would depend on how narrowly you want to define the criteria for inclusion.

Another to add to the list:
Foxes: "The Foxes of Firstdark" (aka "Hunter's Moon") by Garry Kilworth
Also note that Felix Salten wrote several other books besides "Bambi", some of which are virtually unheard of nowadays, such as "Fifteen Rabbits" and "Perri, the Youth of a Squirrel". Some publisher really should collect all of these and reissue them.

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About the author

Fred Pattenread storiescontact (login required)

a retired former librarian from North Hollywood, California, interested in general anthropomorphics