More illustrated books for young folks, this time from a well-known writer in Hollywood. Toy Academy is a new series from Scholastic Books, written by Brian Lynch and illustrated by Edwardian Taylor. “Welcome to Toy Academy: Where toys learn to play. This is where action figures train to battle, stuffed animals study the art of the hug, and collectibles practice standing very, very still. Though Grumbolt isn’t really any of those things, he’s determined to fit in. But when the Evil Toy Academy threatens to bring down his school, it’s up to Grumbolt to go where no good toy has gone before and prove he’s truly a great toy after all. This laugh-out-loud chapter book by the writer of Minions and a writer of The Secret Life of Pets is a classic in the making.” You heard it here!
R.C. Fox (Carl Kirkwood), a fursuiter who was charged for criminal possession of child pornography back in October 2017, committed suicide last week. The news started to spread after posts on Twitter linked him with a news story from the Pennsylvania-based Times Online.
The article described that a body had been found in a vehicle parked on the side of the road in an unpopulated area, that hazardous chemicals had been released within the confines of the car, and that a hazmat team had been dispatched.
This happened before he could be convicted of the charges against him. Carl had plead guilty as part of a plea bargain. However, a source who knew him indicated that he'd regretted this decision:
He already plead guilty [...]. And then, his lawyer found evidence that none of the child-porn rated content was his (network hacking). But in order to appeal, he needed $25,000 and he didn’t have it. He was going to prison until he came up with the money to prove innocence and he just couldn’t bear to do it.
If you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you're going. And if you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong.
I am probably not wrong in my belief that many furs have little idea of how the fandom got started. The furry fandom is based around the appreciation of, and I'll simplify here, anthropomorphic characters. Furs find their way here through that appreciation and are able to join in immediately. This is not a bad thing but it is sad that many of us are unaware of our shared history. As we learned above, if we don't know where we come from then we are lost.
It's not that there has been no attempt to describe the origins of the furry fandom; aside from the crowdsourced wikis (e.g. WikiFur), we had Fred Patten's Retrospective: An Illustrated Chronology of Furry Fandom, 1966–1996 and Perri Rhoades' The Furry History Project. The first is not necessarily in the most easy to use form and both of the latter entries are chronological lists of major influences. Joe Strike's book departs from this format employing a mix of personal anecdotes, extensive research and several interviews with prominent furs to build a far more flowing, narrative history of the furry fandom.
The 2017 Ursa Major Awards vote has been opened! Send them your e-mail address, and you can vote for any of the nominations in 12 categories. Voting closes on Saturday, March 31. Please pass on this annoucement if you're on a furry message forum or social media site!
This year's nominees are...
What the Fox?!, my newest anthology, will be published soon by Thurston Howl Publications. It can be pre-ordered, and after March 3, 2018 it should be available for purchasing directly from their online catalogue.
Bringing together twenty-one original short stories and two reprints, this 291-page collection is about anthropomorphic animals in funny situations. It's designed to appeal to both science-fiction and fantasy fans, as well as fans of humor in fantasy.
Everything from a llama barbershop quartet to a lupine generation gap, a rabbit king battling a dinosaur (or is it a dragon?), a human with a spider fiancée, a dog-hating postal worker turned into a were-chihuahua, inept wolf Vikings, to a dog movie screenwriter – and much more! All these stories are for your imagination and enjoyment. Plus you get each author's favorite animal joke, and a recommended-reading list.
"Paddington 2 honors its star's rich legacy with a sweet-natured sequel whose adorable visuals are matched by a story perfectly balanced between heartwarming family fare and purely enjoyable all-ages adventure."
- Rotten Tomatoes Paddington 2 Critics Consensus
"I'm gonna wait for the goofy gorilla review."
- the late ba, Internet commenter
Reviewing Paddington 2 at this point is less an exercise in reviewing a movie than reviewing the very idea of a reviewing a movie.
It broke the record on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes for most reviews for a movie that still managed to retain a "100% positive" rating on the site with 187 "fresh" reviews, beating the previous record holder, Toy Story 2, which had 163. And though Flayrah reviews do not count towards the 'Tomato-Meter', even if they did, I have no intention of Armond White-ing the movie. It's a good movie. See it.
Deep in the fuzzy heart of Texas in February 2018, Furry Fiesta had convened at a brand new facility in Dallas to compensate for their continued growth in attendance. When the festivities came to a close, it was announced that 3,866 were in attendance. This number ups its ranking in the list of most populous furry conventions, it now being the fifth largest.
It replaces Further Confusion, one of the original large furry conventions from the early years of furry. The convention from San Jose, California has always had a strong following. It’s pilot year in 1999 saw it as the third largest furry convention behind the first major gathering of Confurence, another Californian convention, and the soon to be leader of the pack Anthrocon, which was in the Philadelphia area at that time.
Further Confusion is currently in a creepingly slow decline since peaking in 2014 at 3560. As of 2018 they are now at 3415, which is still higher than they were the year before they reached their peak. This stagnation in growth can be more likely contributed to factors of seasonal competition from other growing conventions rather than the Californian convention’s own actions. Furry Fiesta, being among them, which occurs only a month after it. But also Biggest Little Fur Con (Reno, Nevada) which is geographically within 4 hours San Jose, both contribute to some stiff competition for the long running event.
Get a writer, an artist, a musician, and a programmer in the same room and what can you make? Well a video game, obviously. However, you need to remember you only have one of each, so you’re not going to be making the next Skyrim in your lifetime. So what do you do? Well, use the visual medium of gaming to tell the story you want to tell in a slightly more interactive way. You’re now on your way to creating a visual novel.
While most visual novels could barely qualify as games to some, these literary heavy games are the go to for the more well-read, and perhaps more ‘casual’ gamer, that doesn’t mind letting the words immerse them in their worlds.
The genre has already had notoriety in Japan for awhile, but just like the anime craze heading to the West in the 1990s, this storytelling medium is starting to get recognition in other parts of the world. Digital platforms, such as Steam, are allowing for niche games to find a market where one may not have existed before. And if furries know anything, for better or worse, is what happens when niches connect by wire (or wireless these day).
Our fandom, in the past couple of years, has shown that it too has caught onto the rising genre and has jumped in with both paws, and for the lack of a better term— are leaving their mark upon it.
This week, the furry world was rattled by news from the fandom’s bidding site of Dealer’s Den when a record setting bid closed out a battle to acquire a fursuit from the highly in demand Made Fur You. The final bid came in at $13,500 dollars by Desafinado, a fursuit collector who already has two to their name made by Mischief Makers, dropped the wad of cash to secure their third. They plan on making a horned cat character named Sage with it. They have done an interview over the transaction with Dog Patch Press that can be found here.
If anyone was curious as to what the suit will be. This is the character I am looking to get done. I was debating between this one and my bunny; but there are some other makers I would prefer to have my bunny done by, so Sage is the choice. pic.twitter.com/fzy1kzto55— Desafinado (@DezziFae) January 30, 2018
The transaction has brought up many critical statements. In those they note that the amount of money is the amount of a car, or a sizable down payment on a mortgage. Of course, such comparisons to practical commodities overlook the fact that the purchaser in question may already have shelter and a mode of transportation that they are secure and happy with. Finances are a very personal thing, and it takes some perspective to realize that there is always someone out there who will make a less practical financial decisions in the world when they are secure in the needs department. In fact many furry artists bank on this.
It's been a slow month here on Flayrah, judging by both the number of articles and newsbytes submitted. I know Sonious hasn't had as much free time lately, and my job's been keeping me busy, and then I caught the flu. (All better.) Now that it's February, I've still got a pile of tasks to get out of the way, and then hopefully things will pick up.
Still, we're not neglecting the site. If you've got an article or review, throw it our way! Also, I'll be attending Texas Furry Fiesta for my first time, where I'll be hosting two panels. The first is on foreign animated films, and the second is on the history of furry fandom. Improv events, which I also like to help run at cons when I get the chance, are already well-covered by several people at TFF - so I get to relax for a change!
Contributors to the Newsbytes this last month included 2cross2affliction, dronon, Equivamp, GreenReaper, and two new faces, BlindWolf8 and staghorne! And surprisingly, nothing from Fred - hope you're doing ok!
Though The Shape of Water is not traditionally furry (by either the "covered in fur" or the fandom definition), rarely does a movie about the romantic relationship between a human and a humanoid fish monster score 13 Oscar nominations. Writer and director Guillermo del Toro's science fiction fable, inspired by a famous scene in the classic Universal horror picture Creature from the Black Lagoon, is the odds-on favorite to win the Best Picture prize, which will make it the closest thing to a furry movie to claim that prize if it does.
In addition to its Best Picture nomination, it also gained nominations for del Toro in Best Directing and Best Writing (Original Screenplay) (along with screenwriting partner Vanessa Taylor). Del Toro had been previously nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category for Pan's Labyrinth (which was also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, which is often credited as a second nomination for del Toro, though technically the nominee there was the country of Mexico due to the odd rules of the category). If del Toro wins for Directing, he will be third of a trio of Mexican directors nicknamed "The Three Amigos" to win the award this decade, after Alfonso Cuarón (winner for 2013 with Gravity) and Alejandro G. Iñárritu (winner for 2014 for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) and 2015 for The Revenant).
Update: March 4, 2018: The Shape of Water has won Best Picture (Guillermo double-checked the envelope), making it the first science fiction movie to win the prize, with additional wins in the categories of Directing, Production Design and Original Score, giving it four total Oscars from its 13 nominations.
This Tuesday, ShiaCabbit, a member of the comedy skit group DifFURently that is known for performances on YouTube, tweeted that he had been aroused early in the morning by a fire that had consumed a neighboring complex. He took a recording of the inferno after having been evacuated from their own building.
So there’s a scary possibility that @Tihusky and I may lose everything we own. We woke up to this connected building here on fire. There’s a connecting section between these two buildings and the fire seems to have spread over. pic.twitter.com/OHGLbz31DL— Buncat @ ANE (@ShiaCabbit) January 16, 2018
Kenneth C. Fenske, better known in furry circles as LupineFox, has been found not guilty by a jury in a Bucks County court of sexual abuse charges which were widely reported in local media, and linked to the arrest of seven other suspects during 2016 and 2017.
The four day trial concluded after two hours of jury deliberations. LupineFox proclaimed his innocence throughout; unlike David R. Parker (RebelWolf), who plead guilty last August to federal child sex trafficking of the boy concerned, and assisted the prosecution. The defence focused on undermining the 16-year-old boy's testimony, calling it "a train wreck" and claiming that the ultimate goal was a payout in civil court.
Highlighted was the boy's recollection of Fenske taking off a fox costume (with "full long sleeves and pants, a zipper in the back, paw gloves, and a fox head with pointy ears") before the alleged rape – said to have occurred when he was 8, while attending furmeets at Fenske's house dressed as "Tony the Tiger". The builder of LupineFox's fox fursuit Renoir said it was made in 2015.
Nominations for the 2017 Ursa Major Awards will open on January 11, the first day of Further Confusion 2018. The awards celebrate the best anthropomorphic literature and art first published during the previous calendar year.
Find out more details at how to participate at our webpage: http://www.ursamajorawards.org/
The awards are selected through a two-stage process of nomination and voting. Members of the public send in up to five nominations in each of the twelve categories. The top nominations in each category are then presented for a public vote.
Surely, readers don't need the rules for a simple year end top ten list explained to them, but in case someone does, you can find them in one of the older lists.