Review: 'The David Birkenhead Series' by Phil Guesz

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shipsboy.jpgBased in a far future where humans have conquered the stars, this 7 volume space opera follows the life of David Birkenhead, slave rabbit.

The star-faring human race, finding no aboriginals to oppress on the various colonized worlds, create their own non-human slaves. Rabbits, dogs and horses are as nearly as intelligent as humans. The margin is so thin that only their limited education and indoctrination make it seem like a big difference. The House of Marcus, the creator of the rabbit line, has always endeavored to treat rabbits as free as the law allows, but all over the Empire, they see rabbits reduced to mere property status. They begin to secretly manipulate the gene pool so that rabbits might one day be seen as equals ... despite the fur. Their plan is cautious and will take several generations to bear fruit. David Birkenhead is one of two rabbits to be secretly tinkered with, but before he is even born, three houses and their worlds revolt. The Empire begins a series of battles with this new Imperial Nation. Plans to uplift the rabbits further go on the back burner. And then David turns 12 ...

So, you may ask (as many readers on Goodreads.com or Amazon have), why rabbits? Well, I really don't see cats making good slaves. And ther's heavy European influences here, so I wouldn't expect to see birds, which I might if we had more Asian influences. Rabbits are simply cute and make good foils for the violence and turmoil that unfolds. Plus, Phil Guesz is a lapine master.

Ship's Boy (The David Birkenhead Saga Vol. 1), Legion Printing and Publishing, Inc, June 4, 2012, trade paperback $5.99 (90 pages).
Midshipman (The David Birkenhead Saga Vol. 2), Legion Printing and Publishing, Inc, August 8, 2012, trade paperback $8.99 (193 pages), eBook $0.99.
Lieutenant (The David Birkenhead Saga Vol. 3), Legion Printing and Publishing, Inc, September 10, 2012, trade paperback $9.99 (167 pages), eBook $2.99.
Commander (The David Birkenhead Saga Vol. 4), Legion Printing and Publishing, Inc, October 5, 2012, eBook $2.99 (167 pages).
Captain (The David Birkenhead Saga Vol. 5), Legion Printing and Publishing, Inc, October 31, 2012, trade paperback $7.99 (133 pages), eBook $1.99.
Commodore (The David Birkenhead Saga Vol. 6), Legion Printing and Publishing, Inc, November 21, 2012, trade paperback $13.99 (302 pages), eBook $2.99.
Admiral (The David Birkenhead Saga Vol. 7), Legion Printing and Publishing, Inc, November 30, 2012, trade paperback $8.99 (119 pages), eBook $2.99.

'The Art of Zootopia' now taking preorders on Amazon

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (7 votes)

This one's for Fred.

The Art of Zootopia

The Art of Zootopia by Jessica Julius is now available for pre-order from Amazon; it will be available March 1 (three days before the March 4 opening of the movie) for $36.00 US (before any applicable taxes, shipping, handling and whatnot) in hardcover. Amazon points out that the The Art of Kung Fu Panda 3 is frequently bought with The Art of Zootopia; together, they are $65.60 at Amazon.

Two more anthropomorphic animated features

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theboyandthebeast.jpgThe Cartoon Brew website has just announced two new animated features with anthropomorphic animals coming later this year.

Last year’s Japanese cartoon animation The Boy and the Beast (Bakemono no Ko), directed by Mamoru Hosoda, will be released on March 4 “in selected theatres” by Funimation, in both subtitled and dubbed versions. It’s about a Japanese homeless boy, Kyuta, who goes into “the beast world” and becomes the apprentice of Kumatetsu (“Iron Bear”), a martial arts warrior. Tickets will go on sale on the Funimation site on February 5. The Cartoon Brew announcement includes the new American theatrical poster.

Review: 'The Dragons of Krynn' ('Dragonlance Dragons' #1) anthology edited by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

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dragonsofkrynn.jpgAlmost 30 years ago, Dragonlance exploded into the role-playing world with new sets of player characters and a fresh take on monsters. In my circle of friends, reading about Dragonlance proved more interesting than actually playing in the setting.

It's my understanding that there are over 200 novels and collections in the Dragonlance universe. I believe the last new Dragonlance novel was released in 2010, with the last reprint released in 2011. Along with Dungeons & Dragon's world of the Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance was one of the most popular shared worlds in fiction. I wouldn't be surprised if there were more of these books waiting for us in the future.

When I last set foot on Mount To-Be-Read (what I call my queue of unread books) this old classic was waiting for me. I have had mixed experiences with the Dragonlance books and I hesitated at reading it for a moment.

But then I wondered how the dragons of Dragonlance would stand up to a furry eye? That made me curious as I tended to read the TSR novels as I would read any other fantasy novel. Maybe I shouldn't have a different mind set when reading different sub-genres but I do. I look for more logic and more relationship in furry stories either with the environment or with other people/creatures. While in a different sword and sorcery fantasy realm, I care more about mood and the character's struggle to reach his goal.

So, I set out to read The Dragons of Kyrnn with a furry eye, looking and hoping for anthropomorphic tales that elevated a dragon from monster to character.

Interestingly enough, some of the best of the stories had very little dragon in them. Still, there were five stories in the collection that I will recommend to my fellow furries and scalies.

Wizards of the Coast (TSR), March 1, 1994; trade paperback (390 pages, 15 stories, 3 poems).

Fur Affinity - Users responsible for the actions of commenters

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On Janurary 21st, Fur Affinity staff had removed a user's journal based upon the comments within the journal for violating Code of Conduct rule 1.6, colloquially referred to as the "call out" rule. This decision will impact users by placing the responsibility of comments on the user hosting those comments on their journal or submission pages as much as the user making the comment. The user whose journal was removed, Validuz, was told that any comments found violating such rules are subject to removal of the journal hosting the comments.

Review: 'Monster Hunt'

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monsterhunt.jpgI originally intended to add this review as a comment to the story that I remembered, but when I looked for the story, I couldn’t find it anyplace! It must have been on one of the animation websites. Monster Hunt, a 2015 Chinese animated feature, does not have any anthropomorphic animals, but it is full of anthropomorphic monsters.

Since this apparently hasn’t been on Flayrah before, here’s the background: Monster Hunt (Zhuo Yao Ji in Mandarin Chinese), is 111 minutes and directed by Raman Hui, the Hong Kong-born co-director of Shrek the Third and several animated shorts or TV series for DreamWorks Animation. It was released throughout China on July 16, 2015, a Thursday. It grossed 172 million yuan ($27,700,000) on its first day of release, and $72,000,000 by Saturday. That’s not only very, very good, it’s a world record. American theatrical distributors who had been ignoring it scrambled to license the American rights, dub it (the Chinese producer had already subtitled it), and get it into American theaters.

The American release in 3D was yesterday. My sister took me in my wheelchair to see the dubbed version at a theater in Burbank, California.

Upcoming furry comics for February 2016

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Because that's just what our front page has needed for the last month or so; yet another list of random things. Anyway, here's a list of solicits for comic books with furry characters coming out next month.

See also: November 2015 - December 2015 - January 2016

Review: 'Otters in Space 2: Jupiter, Deadly' (Volume 2) by Mary E. Lowd (by Greyflank)

Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (5 votes)

Otters in Space 2: Jupiter, DeadlyIn an upifted 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 otters rule in space. In the first book, Kipper is hunting a mystery that takes her into space and eventually Mars where the perfect cat world is found. Provided, of course, that you were a perfectly bred cat.

In Otters In Space: Jupiter Deadly, Kipper encounters aliens or possibly uplifted reptiles who seem bent on attacking Jupiter and friendly otter spacecraft. Before she can finish saying, "It's not my problem," a distress call goes out ... from another rather defenseless feline utopia.

This book is less subversive, the action is more in your face and Skipper's otter crew-mates are as loony as ever. The sequel is wonderful! And all the characters get fleshed out much better in this book. The political intrigue is explained and the dog culture is better explored. I like that in confronting the system, the average dogs that make up that system are better explored, rather than making the system outright evil or two dimensional.

Spoilers below!

See also: Review by Fred

Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, July 2013, trade paperback $9.95 (227 pages), Kindle $6.99.

Review: 'Norm of the North' isn't exactly 'Frozen'

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (4 votes)

normofthenorth.jpgSo it seems the first animated movie of 2016 is upon us. And the entire world collectively went 'Oh'.

From the looks of it, everyone in the world hates this film. Critics, moviegoers, children, everyone. I'm pretty sure I hate it as well, but I can't be sure since I actually fell asleep in the theater for this thing. No joke. It's the second time I've fallen asleep in a theater ever, the first being ... Avengers 2.

Where did it go wrong? Perhaps it was Rob Schneider. Maybe it was the sweat shop CGI brought to you by Lionsgate. Or could it be the fact that a poorly written and animated film in 2016 with fart and other unfunny jokes was just doomed for failure? Who knows?

Well actually, we all know that it was all of those things. This film has collected the rare achievement of getting a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, the first film of 2016 to do so. And only the second computer generated film of all time to do so (the first being Space Chimps 2) which is a feat worthy of applause.

Tunturu

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tunturu.jpgFor the record, funny animals in Kannada (that’s Kannada the language, not Canada the country) can be found in Tunturu, a children’s magazine published since January 2000, originally bi-monthly but semi-monthly today.

Tunturu has been able to carve for itself an identity of being the most sought-after children’s magazine across the age-groups of 5-14 in Karnataka.

If you don’t know where Karnataka is, you can look it up. Reportedly an English-language edition is coming soon.

It’s ₹8 an issue, but you can subscribe to it in America for $5.99 for three months.

And that's probably more about funny animals in Kannada than you want to know.

My Top 5 furry games of 2015

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It's time for the Ursa Majors again, and while I like to encourage each to put in their own nominations for the popular furry award, I have decided to share the ones I feel should be looked into as the best entries for the year in the game category and go over briefly why they should be there. Because, without a Pokémon game here, it's going to be a very interesting year.

Everyone else is putting up lists, and if anything it may help furries connect with games they may have not had a chance to play. For other games you can see the recommended list here. I guess I felt like a rebel this year, because four of the five games on my list are not on that one.

So without further ado, here are the five games I am nominating for the Ursa Majors this year, in no particular order. In order to qualify, I feel it should incorporate at least one main character that is anthropomorphic, or cover in some way a world that contains intellectual animals in some degree. You may laugh that I have to define that, but lets not forget what won in 2012 over Dust: An Elysian Tail.

2015 Recommended Reading List closed

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Ursa Major Awards banner by EosFoxxThe 2015 Recommended Anthropomorphic Reading List is now closed.

Many nominations for the 2015 Ursa Major Awards are likely to come from the 2015 Recommended Anthropomorphic Reading List, which has been built up through prior recommendations. The awards are selected by a two-stage process of nominating and voting. Members of the public send in up to five nominations in each of the eleven categories. The top five nominees in each category (more in case of a tie) are then presented on a final ballot for a public vote. Inclusion on the List is not necessary for nomination if a work is otherwise eligible; first published during January to December 2015.

Nominations take place between January 14 (the first day of Further Confusion 2016) and February 29. The nominations will be tallied between March 1 and March 14. The final ballot will be announced on March 15, and voting will take place until April 30. All those who send in nominations will be registered as eligible to vote on the final ballot. Those who did not nominate but wish to vote on the final ballot may register to do so.

The voting will be counted, the winners’ trophies prepared, and the results will be announced at the Ursa Major awards presentation at a ceremony at What the Fur 2016, at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, Pointe-Claire, Montreal Airport, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on May 20-22.

The Ursa Major Awards and Recommended List are administered by the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association (ALAA). For information, and to nominate beginning on January 14 and to vote beginning on March 15, go to http://www.ursamajorawards.org/.

Brazilian furry convention to be Abando-ned after 2016

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Abando Brazilian furry camping convention Abando is to end after next month's instance, according to a video posted by co-founder Reyres (translated by Puggy):

He basically explains that Abando became somewhat out of hand, it became way too expensive, Abando is a little event, and organized by few people, that do it just because they like it, but these things consume way too much time, effort, and in the case of this one, much, much money, since it requires the rental of an entire nature park, regardless of the places getting sold out or not.

Some of the staff, over the years, had to step out for many reasons; some are getting married, having children, moving away. And taking care of the event is a big task, not to mention that lately, it threatens the financial security of the whole staff.

Voting for the 2015 Ursa Major Awards nominations now open

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Ursa Major Awards banner by EosFoxxVoting for the 2015 Ursa Major Awards, for the Best Anthropomorphic Literature and Art of the 2014 calendar year in eleven categories, is now open. The voting for nomination was opened yesterday, January 14, and will continue until February 29.

The eleven categories are: Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture, Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short or Series, Best Anthropomorphic Novel, Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction, Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work, Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story, Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip, Best Anthropomorphic Magazine, Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration, Best Anthropomorphic Game and Best Anthropomorphic Website.

Voting is open to all. To vote, go to the Ursa Major Awards website and click on "Voting for 2014" at the left. You will receive instructions on how to register to vote. You do not have to vote in every category. It is recommended that nominators please vote in only those categories in which they feel knowledgeable.

The The 2015 Recommended Anthropomorphics List can be used as a guideline to help voters; however, works do not have to be included on the Recommended List to be voted for. Works on the Recommended List are also not automatically nominated, either. Flayrah has an extensive series of reviews in a variety of categories to further help make decisions.

'Furry Fandom Conventions' needs information

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Fred Patten says:

This is a last call for information about furry conventions. For the past two years, I have been compiling a history of all furry conventions throughout the world from 1989 through the end of 2015. My book, Furry Fandom Conventions, has been accepted by an academic publisher, McFarland. It covers 113 furry conventions in North and South America, Asia, Australasia and Europe. The manuscript is currently up to 278 pages. My deadline for finishing is March 1, 2016.

Most of my missing information is for details that happened at the conventions, such as attendance totals, the number of fursuiters in the Fursuit Parade, or the amount of the charity donation; therefore what was published in the conbook before the convention is of no help. Many convention committees have given full information, but others have not answered at all. I suspect that some lack of replies are due to my requests going to a minor committee member who is not answering or passing them on to the chair. So a public announcement might reach a chairperson or another committee member who wants their convention represented in my book with all questions answered.

Also, I am trying to get at least one illustration for each convention — art such as website logos, conbook covers, posters, illustrated membership badges, illustrated hotel room keys; whatever a committee wants to submit. McFarland says that none of the illustrations on the Internet are of high enough resolution for book publication, so I cannot just framegrab an illustration from the Internet. They need a high resolution electronic file of 300 DPI or better.

From the Yerf Archive