John Kerschbaum is a writer and illustrator we’re not familiar with, but evidently he’s quite well-known in the world of underground comics. Recently Fantagraphics published Petey & Pussy: Puppy Love, John’s second collection of black & white comic strips featuring the titular dog and cat… pets who have the heads of middle-aged men. Right… Here’s the official description: “John Kerschbaum’s Petey and Pussy, the stars of the cult classic 2008 book by the same name, return, and so does their unique brand of animal neuroses. Imagine a Secret Life of Pets where the animals hang out in dive bars. Petey is a compulsive dog that values his unchecked freedom and exemption from responsibility. Pussy is an irritable, self-absorbed cat, of course, with a gambling problem. They are joined by the obnoxious Bernie the bird, who has courted a new girlfriend (or is it just a mirror?) and their owner, a sexually frustrated geriatric who is more concerned with online shopping then her pets. Their darkly hilarious adventures include tracking down troublesome squirrels, barely taking care of a new litter of puppies, and avoiding the dreaded ‘snipsnip’ from the veterinarian.” Want to know more? Check out the review at The Comics Journal.
Intimate Little Secrets (US$9.95 from FurPlanet) is an anthology of short stories written by Rechan with a cover illustration by Teagan Gavet. Originally I expected the stories to be short, erotic pieces, but this is not the case and approaching it in that way will not lead to a proper appreciation of the work. Sex plays a role in all the stories but they are more, as the title suggests, intimate secrets where we see how different characters interact and react.
The writing is excellent, particularly with regard to the characters themselves. Each one, even characters that only appear briefly, feel real and whole. In each story, we see situations where the characters lusts, needs, and vulnerabilities are all laid bare and you can't help but find yourself caring about the characters and wanting to know what their reasons for acting a certain way are.
"Well, we folks of the animal kingdom have our own version."
-Roger Miller, folk singer
Organized Christian theology has never really answered the question whether or not animals can be saved, but popular Christianity, as practiced by people rather than priests, has always seemed to think that salvation is available as much to animals as to humanity. A frequent way to tell the story of the Nativity is via the use of anthropomorphic animals. As a young child, I was at one time or another a lion and a firefly in various church Christmas pageants. Lions have traditionally been used in Christian art to symbolize Christ as King, though fireflies have never been very associated with Christmas in specific or Christianity in particular. I remember singing "This Little Light of Mine", anyway.
Which brings us to the original little light of Christianity and titular object of The Star. This is yet another retelling of the Nativity through the eyes of the animal kingdom, this time updated to slick CGI animated comedy. It's the same old story, but approximately 2.2 billion Christians around the world would attest it's a pretty decent story. So, it's got that going for it.
Writing a fantasy tetralogy is an ambitious project. I haven't even been able to write a full fantasy yet. To commit to four books, you have to have an epic story, set in an epic landscape, with engaging characters with strengths and weaknesses enough to get them to (and through) the rough spots.
In Legacy, Hugo Jackson achieves most of this easily. His heroes are likable, with relatable issues and strengths. The tale is G-rated without being trite. The fight and battle scenes are usually nicely described, and easy to follow.
Faria Phiraco is a resonator, a manipulator of the elements via rare crystals. It is an extraordinary and secret power which she and her father, the Emperor of Xayall, guard with their lives. The Dhraka, malicious red-scaled dragons, have discovered an ancient artefact; a mysterious relic from the mythical, aeons-lost city of Nazreal. With their plan already set in motion, they besiege Xayall, pummelling the city to find Faria and rip more of Nazreal's secrets from her.
When her father goes missing, Faria has to rely on her own strength to brave the world that attacks her at every turn. Friends and guardians rally by her to help save her father and reveal the mysteries of the ruined city, while the dark legacy of an ancient cataclysm wraps its claws around her fate... and her past.
On December 11, 2017, Thurston Howl Publications announced the launching of the new annual Leo Awards, to be administered by THP’s Furry Book Review program. They will be furry fandom’s third annual literary award, after the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association’s Ursa Major Awards, presented for works since 2001, and the Furry Writers’ Guild’s Cóyotl Awards, presented for works since 2011.
The Leo Awards are still in the formation stage, but they will first be presented during 2018 for works published during the calendar year 2017. Nominations will be accepted by the Furry Book Review Program through March 1, 2018. The date of the announcement of the winners has not yet been set.
The Leo Awards will be given in the six categories of Novels, Novellas, Anthologies, Nonfiction, Short Stories, and Poems. Nominators must be authors of furry books, two short stories, or three poems, or the editor of an anthology of furry stories, during the past five years. (Or be one of the Furry Book Review’s reviewers. See the Leo Awards nomination list for the full rules.)
Unlike the two prior awards, the winners will be chosen by a FBR panel of five to ten author judges. The winners must be approved by 2/3 of the judges. The nominees will be considered for literary merit. Those that are approved of having such merit will be declared Leo Award winners. Thus it is possible to have multiple award winners in each category. The goal of the Leo Awards is to publicly recommend all of the furry works worth reading in each category every year, not just the single best.
Multiple reports have been made by furries on social media that cards utilized at ATMs in the Hyatt Regency O'Hare hotel, the main hotel of Midwest Furfest, have had attempts at fraudulent charges in the Chicago area. If you had utilized a card to withdraw money from these machines it is advised to keep an eye for any unusual activities.
Real talk time: If you withdrew money from the ATM @HyattOHare during @midwestfurfest, your card number was likely skimmed. Fraud prevention called yesterday about 2 attempts to withdraw $400 and multiple balance inquiries. Call your bank ASAP! pic.twitter.com/Gq3fGsqr4W
Though it was originally published back in March, the Zootopia fan comic "I Will Survive", drawn and written by Deviant Art artist "Borba", has recently garnered a lot more attention out of nowhere, and not just for its artwork. The comic, which was already notorious among fans of Zootopia for its themes of abortion and spousal abuse, has come to the attention of the wider world, and it even caused a movie nearly two years old to momentarily pop up on Twitter's trending list earlier this week.
quoting_mungo, who has moderated multiple furry websites and would have been on Fur Affinity's administrative team for five years on January 27, 2018, resigned today, she announced in a Fur Affinity journal entry. Apparently originally aiming to resign mid-January or February, it appears decisions for and reactions to Fur Affinity's new policy regarding hate groups encouraged her to cut that time short.
Discussed briefly here on Flayrah previously, Fur Affinity user Pokefound uploaded a $15 commission they'd drawn, depicting a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic-styled character, wearing a swastika armband and SS collar tab, performing a Nazi salute against a background of Nazi Germany swastika flags. Believing it to be a violation of the hate group policy, another user reported it via Fur Affinity's trouble ticket system.
The cockroach upon the Pittsburgh-themed horse sees the Chicago Raccoon off as it takes the lead, while special friends look on. (Art by SelkieGal)
A closing ceremony for the fandom's history books took place on December 3rd, 2017. In the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois, uproarious cheers and howls could be heard. With the utterance of a simple number, the convention's attendance was revealed to the expectant furries and made waves. Around 8,700 people had attended the gathering in Chicago this year, and in that moment it became the largest furry convention in the world, surpassing Pittsburgh's furry convention, Anthrocon, whose attendance was 7,544 this year.
Sheep & Wolves (trailer) is an 85-minute Russian CG-animated movie that came out in 2016, also known as Волки и овцы (Volki i ovtsy). The writing and production took five years by Wizart Animation, whose earlier film had been The Snow Queen (2012).
Sheep & Wolves didn't quite break even at the box office, and received mixed reviews. After I watched it, I have to agree it's a middle-of-the-road film. It's not bad, it's not great - it's thoroughly so-so. On the positive side, the animation is good and very furry! But the writing... it's for kids aged six and above. There's not much in it to appeal to adults; it's what I call a "babysitting film". Plunk your tykes down in front of it and keep them distracted for a while. Still, I'd rank it a notch or two above Alpha & Omega.
Dogs of War II: Aftermath, edited by Fred Patten, is launching at Midwest FurFest 2017 in Rosemont (Chicago), Illinois over the November 30-December 3 four-day weekend. You can pre-order it from FurPlanet, and after the con you can find it for sale through their online catalogue.
Dogs of War II: Aftermath is an all-original anthology of 20 short stories and novelettes of anthropomorphic animals (not just dogs) in military scenarios, from battle action to boot camps, from the past to the future, on land, at sea, and in space. This is designed to appeal to both s-f & fantasy fans, and fans of military s-f.
From bioengineered military dogs with Artificial Intelligence to a fawn trying to prove he's a stag, a horse sailor on a warship, a canid/ape space war, a self-aware robot bird, a fox soldier passed over for a deserved promotion, reindeer Vikings, animal Sea Bees constructing an island airstrip, and more; these are stories for your imagination and enjoyment.
Earthrise, the first book in M.C.A. Hogarth's Her Instruments trilogy, is a comfy space opera which includes some furry critters. Based on my last visit to her work (books 1 & 2 of The Dreamhealers), the furry species are nice and familiar. The crew of the TMS Earthrise has a centaur with wings, a phoenix, a mated pair of bipedal felines, and a throw-pillow tribble with strong mental powers. Most of these are descendants of slave races that humans created centuries earlier.
The assembled characters have an almost whimsical balance, yet they still feel realistic. When we join them in the story, they're a well-meshed crew. There's a comforting alienness to each of them, a diversity that avoids stereotypes, but claims labels of diversity within diversity, if that makes sense. We mostly see them through the eyes of their captain.
Furry fans may have noticed a seconds long clip of crystalline, possibly fox-like critters scampering around the trailer for the latest instalment of Star Wars, subtitled The Last Jedi. The upcoming movie was the subject of a cover story by the magazine Entertainment Weekly, and one of the things covered were these "crystal foxes", which are known as vulptices. The Last Jedi is scheduled to be released December 15 (which technically means it's opening Thursday, December 14 for "previews") in America, and now furry fox fans have a reason to get excited.
As previously covered, furry author Peter S. Beagle has been in the throes of the American court system for nearly two years now, fighting his former publishing agent Connor Cochran for damages and restitution for 15 causes of action including fraud, defamation, and elder abuse. I won't rehash all the details, but Cochran's history of sharp practice is long and appalling. Mr. Beagle deserves an end to these proceedings as quickly as due diligence will allow, but Cochran would rather drag things out in a war of attrition.
One example of the Conlan Press founder's meandering through convoluted legal roadblocks was his filing of a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, on the basis there were no issues of fact to support the allegations in not just one, or a few, but in all 15 causes of action. Initially given a tentative ruling on October 24, this was contested by Cochran. After arguing the matter, the tentative ruling was affirmed. The result? All but one of Mr. Beagle's causes of action were sustained.