Leo Awards, furry fandom's third annual literary awards, announced

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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.

Furry Conned: Credit cards used at Midwest Furfest ATMs get fraud calls

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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.

'Zootopia' fan comic, with themes around abortion, goes viral

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i_will_survive___08_by_borba-db5353h.jpg

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.

Fur Affinity administrator resigns amid hate group policy controversy

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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.

Midwest FurFest usurps Anthrocon's record and becomes the world's largest furry convention

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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.

Newsbytes archive for November 2017

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Contributors this month include 2cross2affliction, dronon, earthfurst, Fred, GreenReaper, InkyCrow, Rakuen Growlithe, and Sonious.

Movie review: 'Sheep and Wolves' (2016)

Your rating: None Average: 3.4 (37 votes)

A Russian poster for the movie.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" anthology to be released at Midwest FurFest 2017

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Cover art by Teagan Gavet.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.

Book review: "Earthrise" by M.C.A. Hogarth

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The book cover of Earthrise.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.

'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' to feature crystal foxes

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Vulptex

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.

Judge rules on Motion for Judgement in Peter S. Beagle vs. Cochran case

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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.

"The Squirrels"; world premiere of a new play

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The La Jolla Playhouse, in La Jolla, California, a suburb of San Diego, will present the world premiere of a new play, “The Squirrels”, during its 2018-2019 season. The dates and casting have not been set yet.

“The Squirrels” by Robert Askins, directed by Christopher Ashley.

Winter is on its way, and the squirrels are restless. Mistrust is growing between the Grey Squirrels, who enjoy a rich cache of nuts, and the outcast, hungry Fox Squirrels. When a wily outsider ignites a savage war, the consequences are catastrophic. This epic play reveals the animal instincts driving us all.

The choice of species is fitting for the local given the squirrels in Southern California are primarily fox squirrels and gray squirrels.

An article on November 8 in the San Diego Union-Tribune says that Director Ashely calls the new work "playful and super-funny and unexpected in every possible way," and says that as with good sci-fi, the fantastical setup allows the piece "to explore our society with just enough remove that you can make bold, interesting statements. It’s squirrels in a tree, but you would recognize lots of things in this cultural moment."

Ashley noted that the costumes were not going to look like 'Disneyland', but they will convey an essential ‘squirrel-ness,’ to coin a term.

Tickets to the Playhouse’s 2018-2019 season are available only via subscription at the moment: (858) 550-1010 or lajollaplayhouse.org.

Keep tuned in as more news will be added here when it is available. It will be interesting to see how much the play’s costuming looks like fursuits.

Anthro Northwest premier forgets history of Furlandia's rough first year

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Washington state has had a rough time with furry conventions in recent history. Rainfurrest had to shut down after they gained a sour reputation with hosting hotels due to reports of vandalism. So local furries were elated to hear of a new organization starting up by the name of Anthro Northwest. This convention, while a bit more stringent on their rules (particularly around adult material), was a welcome possible restart in relations with hotels in the region with furries.

But as activities started word leaked onto the internet of on camera release forms being deseminated for a show called "This is Life with Lisa Ling", a property of the channel CNN. Instantly locals had recollections of another incident that had occurred at another pilot convention one state south, Furlandia.

Update 11/15/17: Attendance has been announced and Anthro Northwest has been noted as being the largest attendance for a first year furry convention at 809, article updated to reflect this.

Book review: 'The Species of Blessing Avenue' by Graveyard Greg

Your rating: None Average: 2.9 (14 votes)

Cover artwork by Ninja V.The Species of Blessing Avenue is a collection of short stories by Graveyard Greg, published in 2012.

Even before I got past the introduction, I liked two things about this book. First, it's got a were-lion in its leading role. Second, it was inspired by characters created for the Buffy The Vampire Slayer RPG.

I was warned that I shouldn't have tried to read this as a novella instead of three short stories. I'll try to correct that mistake as I go along with this review.

Movie review: 'Guardians' (2017)

Your rating: None Average: 3.2 (20 votes)

The Guardians' English promotional image.Guardians (English trailer) is a Russian superhero film released in February 2017. The early trailers looked promising - fights, explosions, and a bear-guy! It's the Russian Avengers! Expectations were high, and it did well on its opening weekend... and was so disappointing that by its second weekend, it only took in 10% of its previous box office revenue.

It's a very formulaic movie. This isn't necessarily bad - Sing was formulaic too. But if you're going to use a formula, you have to do it well. You have to add a couple of entertaining surprises, mix it up a little, and maybe throw in some humor that mocks the very structure you're relying on. Guardians fails on all these counts.

From the Yerf Archive