April Solomon is a second generation artist (her father, David Solomon, has had paintings displayed in the Smithsonian Institution) who specializes in fantasy works and fantasy creatures. In her case though, it’s fantasy creatures informed by a well-researched reality. According to her web site, “Studying both animal and human anatomy is a constant perseverance to help design a more believable fictional creature. Her inspiration and reference comes in all forms; such as bones and muscle tissue, colorful birds, ambient fish, flowering plantlife, skin tearing sharp toothed animals, and anything else that may find its way into her field of vision that well spark the glow of inspiration.” To that end, she sketches and paints plenty of real-life animals as well.
Convention attendees to Atlanta, Georgia's furry gathering are advised to keep a look out for any updates on traveling conditions as news reports of a major highway failure have surfaced. The infrastructure failure due to an intense fire has made national headlines and has occurred near a main road artery near where interstate 85 and 400 conjoin.
The loss of such a major road for the city could exacerbate traffic conditions in the region for the foreseeable future. It is advised if any attendees are traveling to the convention by automobile, particularly from a Northern direction, that they take additional time and make sure to keep abreast of any detours and delays that may result.
Furry Weekend Atlanta is only six days away, starting on April 6th. Its main hotel is located at 265 Peachtree Center in downtown. The infrastructure failure is located approximately nine miles north from there. The image on this article is a screenshot as of publication. Clicking on it will link to a more current map view of the area.
Fans of furry web comics mourned at news of the passing of Albert Temple arrived this month. This prolific creator maintained a consistently-updated web comic for over 16 years, from July 2000 all the way up to his death in March. This web serial comic, Gene Catlow, delved into the lives of a pair of experienced and respected computer technicians and their many strange adventures.
The two main characters were Gene Catalow (the author's fursona) and his rabbit friend Cotton. The first story arc revolved around Cotton finding a special coffee that unlocked superpowers within him. He's torn away from his normal life as a technician to begin thwarting assassination attempts against an ambassador being held in safe harbor in their anthropomorphic city.
Through the interactions of these characters you learn of a world of political intrigue, where human beings and anthro animals had their own cultural boundaries. Albert did a great job in making it so that you were never fed this in exposition dumps, but instead were purely arrived at through the interaction of the comic's characters.
The 2016 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 Sunday, April 30. Please pass on this annoucement if you're on a furry message forum or social media site!
This year's nominees are...
Five Fortunes, edited by Fred Patten (FurPlanet), is a collection of five novellas from some of the best writers who write for general audiences in the Furry Fandom. The five stories provided in this anthology are as follows:
- Chosen People by Phil Geusz
- Huntress by Renee Carter Hall
- Going Concerns by Watts Martin
- When a Cat Loves a Dog by Mary E. Lowd
- Piece of Mind by Bernard Doove
I am not sure how well the the term "fortune" applies to the five works, so on that level the collection doesn't feel as if it is all that well tied together as a theme. However, with five long works here it's not too problematic to have them each be their own thing. It's not like there's a lot of "destiny" fans out there. Each story approaches the nugget of self-determination from a different angle: from being mindful of doing the right thing (Geusz), to the finding one's self (Hall), to finding a way to survive the week (Martin) or the condition of one's life overall(Doove).
It's a furry sampler of novel sized works. This size is perfect for people who don't always like short stories because the story's over just as they get to know a character, but also don't wish to invest in story cover to cover. If, somehow, you don't know these writers or their universes, then this is a good place to start learning.
If you were around in 1961, you may have seen an obscure animated feature titled Alakazam the Great, about three friendly monsters – Son Goku (monkey), Sir Quigley Brokenbottom (Pigsy), and Sandy – escorting Prince Amat from China to India.
This was part of the first wave of Japanese animated films, known as anime, to enter the United States. The other two features in that wave were Panda and the Magic Serpent and Magic Boy. They were box-office failures at the time, and because of this the anime film genre is still fighting to enter the American theatrical market.
Alakazam the Great was also America’s first cinematic introduction to the ancient Chinese story Journey to the West or Monkey King, as it is better know in America. This legend is over a thousand years old in the oral form. It was written into a novel, probably by the scholar Wu Cheng’en in the 16th century. The first Oriental animated feature, the Chinese Princess Iron Fan (1940), is an adaptation of part of Journey to the West. Alakazam the Great, more specifically, is a movie adaptation of Osamu Tezuka’s 1952-59 My Son Goku manga version of Journey to the West.
One year ago, Zootopia, a story about anthropomorphic animals in a modern setting dealing with the issue of prejudices in society, hit theaters. It was the most highly anticipated film for furries in the last decade, some having even rented out theaters for personal furry gatherings. In the days following Flayrah had a reviewing bonanza in which multiple prominent article writers gave their own reviews of the piece.
Heck, the Fur Affinity banner changed to a Zootopia theme when the movie came out and hasn’t changed since.
But on February 27th, the love for the film was continued to be shown well beyond the borders of furry fandom, as the academy elected it to receive the Oscar for Best Animated feature. It beat out nominees Moana, My Life as a Zucchini, The Red Turtle, and the one that most had thought could take it away from Disney, Kubo and the Two Strings.
A Left-Handed Sword is a novella by Phil Geusz in which the characters used to be human beings. All of them have contracted a singular disease called the Lokiskur virus (Lokie for short), which has transformed them into animals. Lokie not only leaves its victims dehumanized and physically handicapped in their new forms, but often brain-damaged and depressed. They are also highly contagious; Lokie is an affliction that never lets go.
We covered animated feature The Nut Job thoroughly upon its release in January 2014. If you enjoyed it, I have good news: a sequel is coming August 18, entitled The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature.
The Nut Job was about a group of anthropomorphized city wildlife led by Surly Squirrel raiding an out-of-business nut shop while a gang of bank robbers are using it as a cover for their heist. The movie is semi-famous for having been almost universally reviled by the critics before its release – it got a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes – then getting a very favorable audience when it came out.
It was produced by ToonBox Entertainment in Toronto, and mostly financed by South Korean investors. The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of the Republic of Korea got a credit. They even threw some love by having the animal cast plus an animated Psy, the popular South Korean singer-dancer, break into “Gangnam Style” over the closing credits.
First off, let me engage in an act of self-disclosure: I recently finished writing Furry Nation, a personal history of the birth and growth of our community and its treatment at the hands of entertainment and news media that will be published in the fall by Cleis Press. I interviewed numerous furs for the book, unknown and well-known, Fred included.
I found myself concerned it would be a conflict of interest for me to opine on Fred’s work, with the temptation to belittle it in comparison to my own. However I was happy to find Fred’s book unique in its own right. It is a work of scholarship I could never hope to duplicate. In fact, I wish it had been published a year or two earlier; it would have been an immense help to me in writing about furry conventions worldwide, a topic not covered in great detail in my own non-fiction work.
Furry conventions from A to Z
Furry Fandom Conventions begins with a brief overview of the various kinds of furry gatherings and a succinct timeline of the fandom’s origin and spread. Even though the timespan covered is in the book’s title, the conventions themselves are described not chronologically but alphabetically, from the first “Abando” convention in Brazil in 2008 (with 15 attendees), to the last “ZonieCon”, held in in Tucson, Arizona in 2001 (57). The decision to alphabetize makes perfect sense: if you’re curious about say, Further Confusion, it makes it a lot easier to trace its history in one place rather than flip through the entire book looking for each year’s summary.
Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe #51, a furry science-fiction shared-universe fanzine that was announced in July 2015 as coming soon is finally here. It came out in July 2016, and is a double issue: #51 & #52. With a glossy cover and square binding, it feels more like a book than a fanzine.
As editor Gene Breshears describes it,
We're calling it a double issue, but at 162 pages and with 20 stories, issue 51-52 contains more than four ordinary issues' worth of tales!
It's available for $15 from Rabbit Valley, or from the Tai-Pan Literary and Arts Project. Back issues can be ordered, too - again from Rabbit Valley and also from Second Ed, at a discount. But the news isn't all good...
At first, the book cover resembles the Kokopelli rock-drawing designs from the American Southwest. But if you look closely, you'll note that there are hooves and horns and, by gosh, that's furry enough for me!
Luke loves two things: his land and Sally. He pours a lot of magic and effort into one of them. The other he pretends to just like as a friend. Nobody is fooled except Luke.
When perusing written news articles about furries written outside the fandom you’ll usually run into the typical faire. Some articles will talk about furries and try and introduce their unknowing audience to what the fandom is. Others will talk about the local convention in town and why the denizens will be seeing all these costumes about. Heck, some will not even be about the fandom at all and will just be using the term to talk about pets or the band Super Furry Animals.
However, 2017 has started off on a very interesting foot as two articles showed up on the feed which don’t take the tired and treaded routes. Both looked at pieces of the fandom and their relationship to the recently inaugurated president, Donald Trump and what he stands for in society in general.
One article from Slate covered a Kyell Gold book and discussed how the virtues with in could counter Trump. The other, from Motherboard, describes another piece of fandom and their alt-right tendencies and pondering if crass anonymity can lead to crass actors acquiring power.
So let’s go over these two articles and what they have to say about furry fandom.
A mainstay of the Sonic and Furry Fandoms for the past quarter-century was feared no more. The Sonic the Hedgehog series of comic books published by Archie Comics Publications since 1993 have not been cancelled, thankfully, only delayed. As of December 2016, the comic has reached 290 issues, and is the longest-running licensed comic in history (surprassing Conan the Barbarian's 275 issues), the longest-running sci-fi comic (surpassing Star Trek's 212 or so issues), and holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest-running comic book based on a video game.