RainFurrest 2016 cancelled after failure to find venue

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RainFurrest 2016 logo Washington state furry convention RainFurrest 2016 has been cancelled, after failing to find a suitable venue for this year's event.

Historically based in Seattle, RainFurrest's former chair posted a strong warning last October that the acts of some of the 2704 attendees had jeopardized the convention's relationship with the Hilton airport hotel, resulting in uncertainty about future events.

Convention staff had previously posted apologizing for not giving more feedback, discussing rumors about a move to Spokane, and noting the board's decision to discuss contracts there. Last month saw posts about travel, hotels and recreation, and, on January 30, the opening of registration and the announcement that RainFurrest's parent organization was now a 501(c)(3) non-profit. All these posts have now been removed from the convention's website.

Update (20 Feb): Former con-chair buni has posted a post-mortem of the challenges faced in attempting to organize RainFurrest 2016.

See also: Hotel management doesn't care what your fursona is

'The Little Prince' fox plush doll

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littleprincefoxplush.jpgThe French 2015 animated feature of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince will be released in America by Paramount on March 16, 2016. Its associated merchandising includes a plushie of the book and film’s talking fox.

The illustrated announcements on Amazon.com imply that the plush fox is poseable. One shows it standing on two feet next to the film’s Little Girl. Another shows it on all four feet.

The latter is priced $80.00 marked down to $19.99. The former is $14.99, and the order is for both figures. A foreign imported fox, clearly a different plushie, is currently unavailable and unpriced.

If you want a plushie of a talking fox (but how will you know it’s supposed to be of a talking fox?), here you go.

Review: 'Kung Fu Panda 3', fart jokes 0

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kungfupanda3_0.jpgThe word that best describes the Kung Fu Panda film series, in my opinion, is "classy."

Which is surprising, because DreamWorks Animation was not known as a classy studio. The studio got its start with Shrek (a movie studio founder Jeffrey Katzenberg consider's DreamWorks' "North Star," whatever that means), which didn't introduce the fart joke to mainstream animation, but certainly played a big part in popularizing it. It's not a classy movie, is what I'm saying, and it has no pretensions otherwise. And so, for seven years, that was DreamWorks, where the world of animated movies was you were either Disney or Pixar, or you were, at best, the angry rejects who could only hope to stand out by virtue of crassness.

Enter Kung Fu Panda, a movie that features Jack Black as an overweight anthropomorphic panda with a nervous eating habit. The fart jokes should have written themselves, right? I went into that movie expecting a fun "romp," an innocuous time waster with a couple friends. Even as a furry, a DreamWorks animation movie, even one about anthropomorphic animals, meant it was, at best, going to be okay. Instead, it felt like a lightning strike; this was a real movie. It respected its characters, its setting, its story, its audience. And then, somehow, the sequel was even better.

So, anyway, Kung Fu Panda 3 is also pretty good. And also way classier than my headline, which contains the word fart. I guess you could describe that headline as "gassy." And this review now contains more fart jokes than the entire Kung Fu Panda trilogy. Isn't that funny?

Review: 'The Furry Future', edited by Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

The Furry Future Furry fiction is replete with references to its characters' ears, tails, paws, and how they notice scent in the world around them. While adding to a story's atmosphere, in many cases the characters could, with minor modifications, be written as humans. In The Furry Future, editor Fred Patten wanted to depart from cursory furriness.

This is an anthology of short stories more firmly rooted in science-fiction, not fantasy, in which the existence of its furry characters tries to be relevant to its stories.

FurPlanet Productions, January 2015, trade paperback $19.95 (446 pgs.), eBook $9.95. Cover by BlackTeagan.

Newsbytes archive for January 2016

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Contributors this month include crossaffliction, DarkXander, dronon, earthfurst, fred, GreenReaper, InkyCrow, Patch Packrat and Rakuen Growlithe.

Fur Affinity loses developer after stalls in promised compensation

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On January 26th Silver Eagle, who was brought on as a web developer for Fur Affinity, released a video posting his resignation. In it he talks about his experiences as a developer there, and all the troubles it has caused him emotionally and financially. Thousands of views later the video set off a firestorm of criticism in the direction of leadership at the fandom's most popular website.

Similar controversies have been played out many times before for Fur Affinity, but let's take a look at why this one has perhaps stirred more ire than others and why it has many furs talking about the impact our most popular website has on the lives of others. To do this, we must take a look at the background of the developer who came forward.

Opinion: I'd trade my man card for a furry conbadge

Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (15 votes)

Phil Elmore When I was a kid, I had a magic card whose flavour text read, "She had expected death to roar, to thunder, to growl. She did not recognize it when it came hissing to her side." If Phil Elmore had designed that card, it would've probably read, "She had expected death to roar, to thunder, to growl. She did not recognize it when it came in a cute and fluffy guise." That's because Phil Elmore thinks that furry is the latest crack in the foundation of society that will lead to, in his own words, the "destruction of society." He is wrong. He is so, so very wrong.

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

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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.

From the Yerf Archive