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2012 Ursa Major Awards voting now open

Edited by GreenReaper as of Mon 18 Mar 2013 - 12:17
Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (8 votes)

Ursa Major Awards banner by EosFoxxVoting for the Ursa Major Awards for the Best Anthropomorphic Literature and Art of 2012 is now open, and will continue until May 15. The winners will be announced at a presentation ceremony at Anthrocon 2013 in Pittsburgh, July 4-7.

Anyone may vote, and you are encouraged to ask your friends to vote also — please help to spread the word!

There are five nominees in each of eleven categories, except where there was a tie for fifth place. To be eligible, a work must have been released during the calendar year 2012; must include a non-human being given human attributes, which can be mental and/or physical; and must receive more than one nomination.

Read on for the nominees...

Best Motion Picture

Live-action or animated feature-length movies.

Best Dramatic Series or Short Work

TV series or one-shots, advertisements or short videos.

Best Novel

Written works of 40,000 words or more. Serialized novels qualify only for the year that the final chapter is published.

Best Short Fiction

Stories less than 40,000 words, poetry, and other short Written works.

Best Other Literary Work

Story collections, comic collections, graphic novels, non-fiction works, and serialized online stories.

Best Graphic Story

Includes comic books, and serialized online stories.

Best Comic Strip

Newspaper-style strips, including those with ongoing arcs.

Best Magazine

Edited collections of creative and/or informational works by various people, professional or amateur, published in print or online in written, pictorial or audio-visual form.

Best Published Illustration

Illustrations for books, magazines, convention program books, cover art for such, coffee-table portfolios.

Best Game

Computer or console games, role-playing games, board games.

Best Website

Online collections of art, stories, and other creative and/or informational works. Includes galleries, story archives, directories, blogs, and personal sites.

Notice: Kyell Gold has indicated that he wishes to withdraw his works from consideration for the Novel and Short Story categories. ?For full details, please read his blog on Fur Affinity.

More formally known as the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Awards, the Ursa Major Awards are presented annually for excellence in the Furry arts. They are intended as Anthropomorphic (a.k.a. Furry) Fandom's equivalent of the Hugo Awards presented by the World Science Fiction Society, mystery fandom's Anthony Awards, horror fandom's Bram Stoker Awards, and so forth.

The Ursa Major Awards are administered by the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association (ALAA), a membership organization dedicated to promoting anthropomorphic literature and arts. Discussions are ongoing to improve their effectiveness and expand their presence throughout Furry fandom. All suggestions are invited via the Ursa Major Awards website. The Ursa Major Awards are now on Facebook.

Past coverage: 2011 winners and nominees - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - prior years - more UMA coverage - UMA Recommended List


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Sofawolf has placed the Nordguard card game, Flight of the Godkin Griffin and Green Fairy on sale after their nominations.

Mitch Marmel was rendered speechless - but not, apparently, keyboardless - by Mary Lowd's domination of Best Short Fiction. (The mailing list discussion is not yet available on the UMA's website.)

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

Speechless is about how I felt when I saw the final ballot.

I've thrown together an e-book with all five of my nominated stories to make it easy for anyone who's interested in reading them. I'll keep it free as long as the voting is open.

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It just got misfiled because Fred Patten posted the initial message announcing the start of voting as a reply to an old 2011 email, so it got appended to that web page. I've removed the In-Reply-To header and updated the website so that the recent thread is now on its own page here:

Tail high,
*** Xanni ***

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

I'll share my votes again. It also gives me a way to compare my votes with the winners. Admittedly I haven't necessarily seen everything but I've only voted when I at least had an idea of what the nominee was about and it's history. There are many categories where I didn't vote at all.

1. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
2. Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos
3. Simon's Cat

1. The Ursa Major Awards Anthology
2. Housepets! (Book 3) Can Be Real Ladykillers!
3. The Werewolf Calendar, 2012

1. Housepets!

1. Flayrah

1. wraparound cover of Green Fairy by Kyell Gold by Rukis
2. back cover of the MiDFur 2012 convention book by Blotch
3. cover of Winter Games by Kyell Gold by Beth Sabretoothed Ermine

1. Nordguard: The Card Game
2. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dawnguard
3. Pokémon Black 2 and White 2

1. SoFurry
2. Inkbunny
3. WikiFur

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Mary E. Lowd, thank you! You really know how to make your stories as accessible to the Ursa Major voters as possible, and how to promote your own works.

Speaking as one of the ALAA administrators who helped tally the nominees, there were obviously three or four authors who were super-efficient in getting their readers to nominate their works. My personal complaint is that most of those voters didn't bother to nominate anything else as long as they were nominating. We got a lot of nomination forms with just one author's works nominated and the rest of the form blank. I can't believe that so many fans didn't see a single anthropomorphic movie or comic strip during 2012. The Recommended Reading List, on the UMA website, made most if not all of the major Graphic Story, Comic Strip, and Published Illustration candidates available for free.

Mitch Marmel's comment on the UMA Discussion Group website is,

"Best Short Fiction

Stories less than 40,000 words, poetry, and other short Written works.

Dangerous Jade, by Malcolm Cross (FurPlanet Productions, January 12) [Mature Audiences; review]
Hot Chocolate for the Unicorn, by Mary E. Lowd (in Untied Shoelaces of the Mind, issue 6)
Magtwilla and the Mouse, by Mary E. Lowd (in Allasso, volume 2: Saudade [review], April 29)
One Night in Nocturnia, by Mary E. Lowd (in Tails of a Clockwork World: A Rainfurrest Anthology [review], September)
Shreddy and the Christmas Ghost, by Mary E. Lowd (in Anthropomorphic Dreams Podcast, episode 049, December)
St. Kalwain and the Lady Uta, by Mary E. Lowd (in ROAR 4 [review], June 14) really couldn't find more than TWO author nominees? Christ on a crutch, even at my worst I never had more than two stories competing in any given year.

I am literally speechless, here.

"And they wonder... WHY. I. DRINK." -Nino Greasemanelli


As we have kept telling everybody for over a decade, the Ursa Majors are a popular vote award. What shows up on the final ballot are the titles that get the most nominations, not the ALAA administrators' favorites.

Rakuen Growlithe, thank you for voting only for what you have personally seen, and not padding your ballot with votes for others based on their reputations. The voting is open for two months, though. Hopefully some fans will take the time to check out more of the nominees before the voting deadline. For example, three of the Best Dramatic Work nominees and all of the Published Illustrations are available completely for free on the Internet, and linked here to the ballot (thanks, GreenReaper!).

Fred Patten

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Aw, I missed it. Not entirely sure who I would have voted for (except for a few categories) anyway.

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

Huh? Voting is open until 15 May as announced above.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (3 votes)

I apparently read that as March lol.

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

Some of these awards make no sense. You have profession animation which no one in the fandom can compete with. Yet there are fandom run comics and magazine catagories. It would seem that the UMA should focus on the fandom and less on outside professional works.

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If judging purely by technical merit, perhaps. Yet what matters for the UMA is fan appeal, and it is by no means inevitable that fans will choose professional animation over, say, a particularly strong example of amateur live-action. What matters most is whether they have seen, or at least heard of a work.

Just last year, Bitter Lake was nominated for Best Motion Picture, with our resident movie critic uncertain of its chances. It's unclear how close the vote was, but I imagine it had its supporters. Similarly, Crayon Dragon is a student film.

Other categories are highly competitive. In several years, fan comics have won; in others, works by professional comic artists. Increasingly, the line is blurred - Twokinds could be seen as an fan-comic, yet it raised around $200,000 last year. Likewise, I suspect Heat (which for several years won Best Magazine) makes a not-insignificant amount of money. You could argue that these works are not by "outsiders", but how much are you willing to bet that My Little Pony will not be a dark-horse candidate for Best Graphic Story next year?

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Yes. Furry fans have overwhelmingly shown that they want to vote for the Best animated feature featuring anthropomorphic animals, and they don't care if those features are by professional studios that will probably throw our trophy in the trash basket.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

I just noticed something, fursuit builders don't have a category? Fursuit building is an art! My friend, it's damn hard to do. C'est la vie

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We seriously considered a fursuit category when the awards were first established. The crucial problem, then and now, is that fursuits are seen at one or at the most two conventions a year. The awards are supposed to be for items that everyone in Furry fandom, throughout the world, can see to vote on. There are already too many practical exceptions to this. Movies or books may be published or released in one country and not another, although the international availability of DVDs and books through Amazon has made most of these available almost everywhere. But how do you make a fursuit "seeable" throughout the world for every voter's consideration? Maybe in the future some technological advance can overcome this limitation, and make a fursuit category a practical possibility.

Fred Patten

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Why not just post photos of them or links to photos just like is done with the best published illustration? I haven't seen all of them but I can easily click a link and judge them in moments.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

This is assuming that there are good photographs of every award-worthy fursuit available; but there are more today than there were in 2001. This could work like the Published Illustration recommendations; either they are online, or the artist and/or publisher will put them online when they are informed of their recommendation, or the artist will have to settle for them being unavailable for consideration to most of the voters, which guarantees that they will not win. I will run this by the rest of the ALAA and see what they think.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Well, I can judge a book by its cover, too, but that's not necessarily a good idea . . .

I'm not convinced that photographs will communicate sufficient information about a fursuit for voters to make an informed decision. Video, perhaps - but that risks us getting into "Best Fursuiter" as opposed to "Best Fursuit", unless you force them all to perform the same movements.

My understanding is that conventions making awards of this nature also have professional costumers around to judge the quality of a fursuit up close. Of course, whether the ALAA wants to compete with such events is another question - but only the largest of furry conventions seem to have them, so I can see the benefit. Still, I think the Fursuit Fracas is sufficient.

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