Review: 'Dangerous Jade', by Malcolm Cross
Illustrated by Meesh. Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, January 2012, trade paperback $9.95 (vii + 81 pages).
Dangerous Jade is a work of anthropomorphic fiction for adult readers only. (publisher’s rating)
Actually, although there are some torrid romantic scenes and a lot of adult language here, it is all standard M/F sex between consenting adults; less X-rated than many mainstream novels or R-rated motion pictures.
This is also #4 in FurPlanet’s new Cupcakes line of works shorter than novel length. Dangerous Jade is “only” a novella, but it delivers a complete and satisfying story.
This would be a “funny animal” story, with no reason for the protagonists to be anthropomorphic animals, if it were not for the cloning aspect that gives each artificially-bred furry almost two hundred identical doubles. There seems no real reason for the furries to exist. They are not needed as cheap labor. They are fully integrated into society and treated as equals to humans. They can marry, hold the same jobs, go to college … Cross does not say whether they can run for political office, but the implication is that no human would object. The only difference is that they are anthropomorphized animals of the same size as humans, and there are so many duplicates of each one. Exact physical duplicates, but not mental or emotional – which is the crucial difference.
Jade Dixon is a ‘morphic thylacine; one of 168 cloned identical “sisters”, all of whose names begin with a ‘J’ (Jamie. Jan. Jane. Janise. Jessica. Judy. Julie…). When introduced, she is an upper-class, well-dressed executive assistant. She is also a highly intelligent nymphomaniac, desperate to get discreetly laid. Again, there is nothing to indicate that furries are biologically engineered in this direction, or that Jade’s clone-mates share this predilection; it’s just Jade’s thing. If there is any implication, it is that any healthy adult sapient would lust after sex at every opportunity, if not for the social consequences.
Cross makes it sound like fun: “There it was, that electric thing. That eyes meeting across the room thing, that burning racetrack going from her eyes to the pit of her gut thing, that flutter that kept drifting lower and lower and LOWER. It was the glint in his eye. It was the slow, reflective warmth of the smile curling across her face. It was the press of the crowd that had parted and opened a clear line of sight for one perfect little moment. One electric little second.
Jade’s heart was hammering on her breastbone like it wanted OUT. Spotting that subtle black curve was what did it for her, what stole her breath away. She could be forgiven for forgetting the name of the guy she was speaking with. She smiled winsomely. ‘Oh, I’m sorry, uh… uhm… I’m sorry, sweetie, I just, ah…’ She gestured helplessly. (p. 1)
Jade is at a swanky evening soiree to raise donations to the latest Worthy Cause, the horrific situation in Mongolia. Most of the sophisticated glitzerati are human. Jade stands out – as she is meant to.
And if people were staring at her, it was because she wasn’t, y’know. Human. She was a thylacine. Well. Genetically engineered out of one, anyway. And not that, y’know, anybody ever knew what Tasmanian tigers WERE. So it was natural that folks would stare, and while some things didn’t look elegant with her tawny-yellow fur and white throat, with her somewhat canid features, with that long damn snout, a smile did. A long and sensual curl at the corner of her lip, with her head turned just SO as she went by, just a little bit of flirt in it… the guy she was brushing past stopped dead, licking his lips without even really thinking about it. (p. 3)
Jade has her eyes set on the only other furry at the party, a well-dressed, handsome young black panther. She indicates to him with her eyes that she’s, y’know, available and willing, and he smoothly excuses himself from the human donors that he’s chatting with. She leads him to an office that is closed for the evening, they lose their clothes and get intimate, and … she realizes that he is her ex-husband!
She was getting fucked by Carl. On top of the reception desk at work. ‘CARL?’ Her voice was strangled, tight.
He mouthed her name again. No sound. Just his searching eyes, staring into hers. He didn’t move the slightest bit.
‘Goddamnit, Carl.’ Her voice was old, tired. She shut her eyes and lay her head against his shoulder, yanked him in against her with her legs, locked her ankles under his tail.” (p. 13)
Well, what did they expect when there are almost two hundred of them, all identical? The novella goes on to tell, in alternating chapters set in the past and present, how Jade and Carl met and married, why they divorced, what each did while they were separated, and – most important – what they still mean to each other. What are Carl’s feelings for his current human wife, and what are hers for him? Is Carl just a convenient fuck for Jade, or does she really love him? He is a normal adult male, but no nymphomaniac; can Jade restrain her lusty nature to remain reasonably faithful to him? The story also explores, which is what keeps it truly furry, what having so many identical siblings can mean when a furry wants to disguise his/her identity.
Dangerous Jade is an imaginative story with intelligent adult characters who act believably in their situations. Unless you have a strong dislike for adult sexual situations, you will enjoy this novella.
I must be weird. I have no trouble accepting an anthropomorphic thylacine, but the idea of one with long red hair just freaks me out!
Malcolm Cross is also known in Furry fandom as foozzzball.