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Songbird Symphony

Furry.Today - 7 hours 43 min ago

BIRD! We do need more birbs here and in this case soon on the switch.
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Furry and Magic

[adjective][species] - Thu 16 Aug 2018 - 15:57

I want to talk a little bit about how magical furry is.

Magic, as they say, is nothing more than an act of intent. It is “the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity with will,” if one is to believe Crowley (not necessarily recommended). In this sense, if spells are acts of intent, then coming up with spells is the act of defining one’s intentions. In this sense, magic is living deliberately.

I’ve had a lot of thoughts like this on my mind, lately, for a lot of different reasons. Perhaps it’s worth expanding on them

It’s been some months, now, since my gender affirmation surgery. May 10th involved getting up at 5 AM – though I don’t think I slept the night before – and driving to the hospital, where I spent the day without time. I blinked, and when I opened my eyes some hours later, I had a different physical form than when I went to closed them.

I’ve been involved in the purchase of three houses, I’ve gotten married, I’ve moved halfway across the country, and this *still*, months later, feels like the largest intentional act that I’ve taken.

This is an act that stretches far beyond the necessary requirements to fulfill and complete it, in and of itself. I just “needed” letters, insurance, and time off work to complete it. More than that I actually needed was the will to perform the act, and discovering that was all that was required, I just…did it. For a long time leading up to beginning this process, I believed that it required something that I didn’t have, that I could never have. When I found out that all it took was a phone call to the surgeon to get started, I leaped at the chance. Not to say that it’s been easy, but neither has it required any mystical element I didn’t already have.

This act goes beyond just its requirements because that act of intent itself changed me in turn (and not in the obvious surgical way). In magical systems, both in media and in the world at large, there is often a price to pay for your acts. Karma, mana drain, however you want to look at it. in the case described above, it’s the fact that no act occurs in isolation, and you’re going to have to live with the consequences of the act.

Sometimes these are concrete. For instance, I had to live with the pain that comes with a major surgery affecting the pelvic floor. I was limited in terms of movement for weeks after the surgery. Some of those were financial – after all, transition is incredibly expensive, even with insurance. I freely acknowledge the privilege inherent in this. I’m thankful for it, and do my best to pay it forward.

And some are less tangible.

As I mentioned back in…oh jeez, 2013 was really five years ago!? As I mentioned half a decade back, a change in species or character often happens around large life changes, and I’m no different. The process of death and rebirth that goes along with this surgery, where I die – hopefully metaphorically – on the table and am reborn, changed, is no small feat.

So it was that, shortly after my surgery consult back in 2016, I got the idea to start interacting with friends as something other than an arctic fox. More and more, I started appearing as a snow leopard (because I couldn’t seem to let go of those wintry species). At first, it was an ‘alt’ situation: Maddy, as the snow leopard was called, was an alternate character to use when I wasn’t feeling the fox.

Art by Grey White

She was different from the ‘usual’ in a few ways. She’s cis, for one, unlike the arctic fox, who transitioned along with me. She’s shorter and a bit pudgier than I am. She’s happier and struggles less with mental health. She’s an ideal rather than a reality, and something to be played for fun.

Or, well, she was. This ‘alt’ phase lasted a few months, I suppose, before I woke up one morning and realized I’d not interacted as an arctic fox in a few days. Slowly but surely, the snow leopard had started to overtake the fox.

Becoming an arctic fox, originally, was something that just sort of happened to me. Back in 2005, I was pretty firmly camped out in red fox territory with a character named Ranna, and yet, in 2006, I shifted pretty quickly away from that character to Makyo Alopex.

It took a bit of time before I figured out what the big life change was that went along with this. I finally settled on how, once my friends Ash, Shannon, and I moved to our own house, I finally felt on my own. When I was living in the dorms, I was simply ‘away from home’. Now, though, paying rent, I was well and truly moved out. No empty nester, my mom greeted the news that I wasn’t coming home for the summer with joy, telling me, “Good, now you can take the rest of your stuff.”

Art by n

2005 and 2006 were the years I finally started to grow up, and so that was the end of Ranna. 2017 and 2018 have been the years I’ve started living pretty authentically as a woman – visibly trans, sure, but also visibly feminine. This upcoming surgery has been something of a final blow to Makyo Alopex as a character, or at least as a main.

One of the downsides to the end of Ranna, is that it happened very suddenly, and not at all deliberately. Which, come to think of it, also applies to me moving out on my own and starting to grow up. It felt like an accident, slipping away from who I used to be.

My goal is to avoid that with the change from arctic fox to snow leopard. This is, as with surgery, a process of death and rebirth. Makyo Alopex is dying, in many senses of the word, and being reborn in Makyo Uncia, called Maddy. I have intent here, more than I did when I left Ranna behind. I have the will, in Crowley’s terms, and the ability to make it manifest.

Art by Cadmium Tea

I took this as an almost alchemical act. After all, alchemy is more than just transmuting literal lead into literal gold. It’s the transmutation of a base substance into something better. Through calcination and dissolution, the base – the *prima materia*, the self, the fox – is broken down. Through separation, conjunction, and fermentation, something new is compiled from what was in rough shapes. Through distillation and coagulation, the new self – the cat – is solidified, completed, made whole.

As with a lot of how I experience furry, this is a microcosm, rather than something unique. I am not the only one to be deliberate about changing my species, just as I’m not the only one to read way too much into the furry fandom.

Furry, as a whole, is an exercise in self-actualization. It is taking the idea of “this is how I want to be seen” to places and extents not often tread.

Through each aspect of ourselves, we choose how we want to interact. We choose a species, we choose a name, we choose what aspects of our personalities to show to each other and the world. We construct and create every day of our lives, and we’re made all the better for it.

Shameless boosterism aside, we’re good at what we do and what we make, whether that’s art or fun or just ourselves. The more we create, the better we get at it, too. All that’s left to do is to keep on creating, to keep putting our intent and our will to work.

Just as I can dig into the intent behind changing a name, a fursona, an identity, I can look for the magic of self-actualization within furry as a whole. After all, furry is magic.

How do you experience the magic of furry? Let us know in the comments!

Queen of Arts, by Frances Pauli – Book Review by Fred Patten

Dogpatch Press - Thu 16 Aug 2018 - 10:00

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

Queen of Arts, by Frances Pauli.
Moses Lake, WA, Gastropod Press, February 2018, trade paperback, $8.99 (184 pages), Kindle $0.99.

This is purely a funny-animal soap-opera. It’s also a connected collection masquerading as a novel. “Queen of Arts” is on pages 1 to 132. “In the Margins” is pages 134 to 167. “Off the Record” is pages 168 to 182.

Waterville has two rival newspapers, the Arts Examiner and the Gazette. They compete for scoops and more, angling for contacts with the municipal government and Waterville’s social leaders. When the latter decide to hold a Waterville Festival of the Arts, including a city-wide art contest, and the Gazette pledges to sponsor its prizes, the Arts Examiner has to scramble to make up any lost ground.

Stella Rose, the Arts Examiner’s senior editor, is the protagonist. Stella is a cinnamon bear. Marge, a squirrel, is the assistant editor. Vanessa Lorne, a rabbit, is one of the Examiner’s reporters, along with Gerald, an ibex, and Buck, a zebra photographer. Others are Mr. Mort Growning (tapir), the paper’s manager and Stella’s boss; his secretary Francine Tsarong (snow leopard); Mayor Stimple (bison); Lydia Willard (black panther), an art gallery owner; Terrence Ortega (polar bear), another art gallery owner; and many more.

“‘There you are.’ Growning huffed and leaned to the side, out of the line of the mayor’s horns. His rubbery snout uncurled, dangling like a stub of hose below his piggy eyes. ‘Stella, at last.’

‘I’m five minutes early.’ She checked the clock on the far wall to be certain.

‘Fine. Yes.’ Growning waved a gesture of dismissal. ‘Feel free to continue, Mr. Mayor.’

‘We’ll rely on you for full coverage.’ The bison’s voice shook the door on its hinges. ‘I want a dedicated team for this.’

‘Exclusive coverage?’ The tapir’s trunk extended to its full length. Not exactly impressive, but enough to tell Stella his interest was piqued, focused on whatever the bison had proposed before she arrived.

‘Now, now.’ The mayor tugged at the front of his suit, and his two companions exchanged a look that told Stella they wouldn’t be getting an exclusive. ‘The Gazette has sponsored the awards. We have to allow them…’

‘You went to the Gazette first?’ Growning clutched at his heart with one hoofed paw. ‘To the Gazette? We’re the Arts Examiner. Arts. That rag only publishes a column on culture once a fortnight, not to mention some of the garbage they’ve printed about y–’

‘They came to us.’ The bison rumbled over the top of Growning’s tirade. ‘Almost the second we had the idea, in fact. We have to allow them coverage, but the Examiner has more space for arts columns. We came to you first.’” (pgs. 7-8)

Stella’s job is a cross to bear. Her boss is a male chauvinist:

“‘We’ll put together a dedicated team. Growning pulled his trunk in tight, stood as tall as he could and patted his belly. ‘I’ll have Stella put our best men on it.’

Except their best men were women, and Growning knew it… and hated it.” (p. 10)

Marge, her assistant editor, is an incompetent imposed on her by Growning:

“Ignoring the squirrel’s gossip, Stella grunted and ambled past the coffee pots, behind the reporters’ desks to the hallway which led to their office. Marge continued to chatter all the way to editing. When Stella had settled her purse behind the desk, removed and hung her jacket, and taken a seat, Marge threw both paws over her little muzzle and gasped.

‘You’d better get in there.’

‘What?’

‘Mr. Growning wants you in his office first thing.’ Marge puffed her chest out and flicked her tail, nose in air and little paws clasped as if in prayer.

‘You might have started with that.’” (p. 6)

But it’s not only her newspaper job. Stella has become the unofficial den mother for much of the office staff, Vanessa and Francine in particular. Vanessa is in a strange relationship with Leonard Velaski (lion), Waterville’s unofficial municipal poet laureate. Francine wants to become a reporter, not the boss’ private secretary. Stella has a bland personal life. She shares an apartment with an actively gay male friend, Frederick Wasco (raccoon), and acts as his den mother, too.

“Queen of Arts” bounces between Stella’s and “her girls’” involvement with the Festival of the Arts (should they just cover it for the Examiner, or should they individually enter it?); Stella’s, Vanessa’s, and Francine’s personal goals; Freddy’s getting into abusive relationships; and Stella’s own romantic life – and why she is terrified of having one. “In the Margins” is about Francine’s joining the Examiner, and “Off the Record” is about what Vanessa learns about Leonard Velaski.

Maybe I shouldn’t be reviewing this book. I don’t have any interest in slice-of-life (“soap opera”) stories, and I prefer my anthro-animal fiction to have more emphasis on the animals’ species natures and instincts. If you do like soap operas and don’t mind funny-animals, then you should enjoy Queen of Arts. It’s very smoothly written.

“The applause swelled again, and Velaski waited for it, nodding in one direction and then the other with that huge, self-satisfied grin on his face. Maybe that was the problem. Perhaps, Vanessa’s change in perspective was a natural side-effect of disillusionment. The hero in person was less worthy than the one she’d imagined while reading his words?

Stella listened for it, when the lion began to recite. She heard the brilliance in the poems’ [sic.] words, but not an ounce of sincerity in the poet’s voice. Two works in, and she found herself bored, watching her companions again.” (p. 83)

“The Galleria del Urso catered to bears. A four foot canvas in the front window displayed a rainbow of dancing grizzlies painted by the exhibit’s featured artist. Stella paused outside to admire it, to take in the ornate golden frame, the brick gallery façade, and the scrolling iron sign above the door.” (p. 85)

“When she caught up, both her friends were admiring a bronze sculpture. It had been installed in a nook near the rear of the space, and a single spotlight aimed to highlight the cast forms which were four, long paw prints mounted on clear glass pillars. Their shadow stretched away on the wall behind, a trick of the light’s angle, and the space above the piece was a stark white contrast.

Stella squinted at it, at the four heavy shapes with nothing but white wall and air above them. Appealing, the contrast, but she couldn’t quite pinpoint why.

‘The bear is implied.’ Terrence Ortega had slipped up behind them. ‘The negative space above, the arrangement of the prints. You can almost see her.’” (pgs. 86-87)

“She’d almost convinced herself that the work [a different one] was secretly Ortega’s, until a frazzled, tuft-tailed, kangaroo rat scampered up to him.

‘How are they doing? Do you think it’s going okay? Shouldn’t we have sold something by now?’

‘Relax, Manny.’ Terrence placed a paw on the rat’s shoulder. ‘It’s going well. They’re engaging. The work looks amazing.’

‘But nothing has sold.’ The smaller animal twisted his paws together and flattened his round ears.

‘Nothing sells this early. Stella, this is our artist, Manuel Rivera.’

‘Nice to meet you.’ Stella tried to hide her surprise, but Rivera had eyes, after all.

‘You thought I’d be a bear, right?’

‘Well, I … I suppose it was an unfair assumption, Mr. Rivera.’

He laughed, a high lilting twitter. ‘An assumption everyone makes. Don’t feel bad. I paint bears for many reasons, but being a bear isn’t one of them.’” (pgs. 88-89)

The cover is by Frances Pauli, but she says that she isn’t the artist. She has computer-manipulated some free art from the Internet. She has chosen excellently. The bear and rabbit certainly look like Stella and Vanessa, and the panther could be Lydia Willard except that she’s described as a black panther.

Pauli is known in furry fiction circles for her excellent s-f stories set on other worlds. Queen of Arts shows her versatility.

Fred Patten

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Categories: News

Kitty with some Famous Parents…

In-Fur-Nation - Thu 16 Aug 2018 - 01:58

There’s an extensive article over at Animation Scoop about the new Amazon Prime animated series Pete the Cat, based on the popular children’s books by James Dean. Check out the voice actor list too! “Pete the Cat is a fun, musically driven series about exploring your world and trying new things, while being smart, accepting, and optimistic. Whether you’re making new friends or facing all of life’s ups and downs, Pete always finds a way to put a groovy spin on things. The series stars Jacob Tremblay (Room) as Pete the Cat, and musicians Diana Krall and Elvis Costello as his Mom and Dad. Pete the Cat features original music from Grammy Award-winners Costello and Krall, which will also be available to stream via Amazon Music. Jessica Biel (The Illusionist), Atticus Shaffer (The Middle) and internationally acclaimed musician KT Tunstall also star in the series… Pete the Cat… is developed by Jeff “Swampy” Marsh (Phineas and Ferb) and Appian Way Production Company.” There’s a preview video too.

image c. 2018 Appian Way

Categories: News

There’s a Rang-tan in my bedroom

Furry.Today - Wed 15 Aug 2018 - 23:04

Here is a short film made for Greenpeace dealing with the damage caused by palm oil. Getting a very advanced ferngully feel to this short. "Rang-tan is the story of a little girl and her orangutan friend forced from her forest home. Indonesian rainforests are destroyed to grow field upon field of dirty palm oil used to make the everyday products we use. It doesn’t need to be like this, big brands have a responsibility to make sure that the palm oil used in their products isn’t made at the greatest cost for our forests."
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Categories: Videos

A Bad Experience with Surgery Has Left Him Fearful of a Second Procedure

Ask Papabear - Tue 14 Aug 2018 - 13:13
Dear Papa Bear,

This particular issue has been on my mind for a long while, and today I can no longer bear the thought of this daily. I’m not too sure whether you’re the right person to talk to or whether there’s any way you can help, but I don’t really have anything to lose so I thought I might as well try. (You might want to grab a cup of coffee, as this will take a little while to explain. Also, it’s a bit heavy, just thought to warn you before you read further.)

I’m an 18 year old furry from the not-so-sunny land of Wales. I’m known by my friends and family for being a pessimist and sadly that couldn’t be more true. I have a medical condition which means I was born with only a single ear. Obviously, that means I cannot hear as well as other people, but also, I was bullied a lot while I was growing up. The option was presented to me to have a prosthesis attached to implants to make it look like I had two ears to help me “fit in”, and another implant that poked outside of my head to attach a hearing aid, so I could hear. For the most part, this worked as intended and was a great help, however this was not to last.

Back in October 2015, due to the growth spurt in my teenage years, a layer of skin had grown over all of my implants, and the hospital decided they were going to sort out the implants for my prosthesis first. They cut away at the skin around the area to uncover the implants again, then grafted a piece of skin from my thigh to replace it.

Soon after, a new model of hearing aid was introduced that involved a magnet under the skin. The doctors presented this to me as a solution to fix my hearing aid implant as it being covered by skin would be okay, and I wouldn’t have to worry about having it uncovered. After a bit of looking into things, they discovered that the hearing aid implant I currently use (installed in around 2008) was too old and therefore couldn’t have a magnet attached to it. So they said I’d need to have another implant a little further up. This would be an exact repeat of the surgery performed in ‘08, and they said as the procedure would only take around 30 minutes, I would most likely be discharged the same day I was admitted.

And here’s where we get to my problem.

After that surgery in 2015 to uncover my prosthesis implants, everything was fine, until about a week after.

Unbeknownst to me, a small section of graft was not bonding with the surrounding tissue, leaving a small pocket. At around 3am that night, it started to bleed heavily, and despite both me and both of my parents being medically trained, we could not stem the bleeding. The paramedics were called as I was going into shock and I was losing consciousness. Although it seems like half of the event was never recorded in my memory, my parents told me I was saying things like “I’m going” or “I can see my great grandparents”. I was rushed off to hospital and I remember my mother praying on a rosary, as the doctors took a sample of my blood and assessed what happened.

The thing is, they found nothing. Their response was “we can’t find a reason why this happened, but for some reason, it happened.”

After two days in hospital, I was discharged again, and after another bleeding episode a few days later that we managed to take care of ourselves, that was the end of it. I was told by my parents that three were told I was very lucky to be alive. The whole near-death experience was extremely traumatizing.

The scary thing is that no-one ever found out why. I have a few guesses, but that’s all they are—guesses.

I’m going in for this new operation in the autumn and all I can think about is the same thing happening again, and me not being so lucky this time around. I’ve been living this past year (since January) in a downward spiral, believing in my heart I only have a few months left to live. I’ve been assured by everyone around me (including my conscious self) that I’m going to live through it, but it’s just not getting through deep down. A voice inside of me just keeps saying “you’re going to die”. Depending on the grades I get at results day on August 16th, I could have finally realized my dream of studying engineering at university, but have it snatched away from me at the last second. That’s what I feel like will happen.

My impending death is all I can think about right now, and it’s just getting worse and worse with each passing day, so ... what do I do?

Yours Faithfully,

Glyn (age 18, Cardiff, Wales)
 
* * *
 
Dear Glyn,
 
That is quite a story, and I am sorry about all you have had to go through.  It is quite amazing that medical science has progressed to the point where they can help you with your ear and hearing issues.  Medicine, though, is also sometimes referred to as the "medical arts" for a reason.  Medicine is not just about knowing anatomy, physiology, epidemiology, etc. Even now, doctors and researchers are still struggling to grasp that every individual is slightly different than everyone else in how their body reacts to medicines and medical procedures, as is apparently the case with you.
 
I'm sensing a reason you are frightened is that you might have a feeling of powerlessness. That can certainly happen when one has been faced with a life-threatening event such as the bleeding problems you have had. Being nervous about another procedure is perfectly understandable and normal. There are a couple things I would suggest: 1) ask to speak with your surgeon and talk to them about the procedure and ask them what they have learned from what happened the first time and if they are going to do anything differently with a second procedure (do not let up until ALL of your questions are answered), and 2) contact the hospital where the procedure was performed and ask to talk with a hospital counselor. Speak to them frankly about your worries and fears. I'm not sure about Wales, but in the USA this is called presurgical counseling.
 
It is very important, too, for you to realize that patients have rights and your decisions on how to handle your health are paramount. They are YOUR decisions, not the doctor's. Often, patients simply bow to whatever their doctors say without question. They fail to ask questions. They fail to tell doctors when they believe the doctor is not listening to their needs or if the doctor is dismissing their symptoms too readily. 
 
You can ease your mind by realizing YOU are in control, not the doctor. The doctor works for you, not the other way around. One thing this means is you are in control of the schedule. If you are not comfortable with the surgery scheduled for this autumn, then tell the hospital you wish to cancel or postpone it.  If I am reading your letter correctly, this is not a life-threatening need right now. That is, you will still be able to live and function without the surgery. Do you feel that you will be able to attend university? I am guessing you can, and if you have trouble hearing lectures, make sure you sit in a front-row seat (you can also record lectures and listen to them later with the volume turned up); if you need a hearing aid in the one ear, get one.
 
Only after all your questions have been answered about the surgery and you are mentally and emotionally prepared for it should you schedule a date. In other words, don't push yourself because pushing yourself about deadlines will only increase your anxiety levels.
 
You, Glyn, are ultimately in control of your own health and body. You have the right to be comfortable and well-informed about any medical treatments and surgical procedures involving your own body.
 
Hope that helps reassure you.
 
Hugs,
Papabear

PAWAI Village by Indonesia Furs

Furry.Today - Tue 14 Aug 2018 - 11:00

Furries are everywhere! "Welcome to Menceriakan on the MARCH, which took part in the middle of summer in a quiet Village where the animals gather and live. So we can join Garujix, Clef, Bima, Tigre, Antares, Hopesa, Chirros, Shirou, Benjamin, Frans."
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Categories: Videos

The Demon and the Fox, by Tim Susman – Book Review by Fred Patten

Dogpatch Press - Tue 14 Aug 2018 - 10:00

Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.

The Demon and the Fox, by Tim Susman. Illustrated by Laura Garabedian.
Dallas, TX, Argyll Productions, July 2018, trade paperback, $17.95 (277 pages), ebook $9.95.

The Demon and the Fox is subtitled “Book Two of The Calatians”. Book One, The Tower and the Fox, was published last year, and The War and the Fox, the concluding book of the trilogy, will be published next year.

Kip Penfold is a teenage fox-Calatian in a world analogous to New England in the early 1800s where the American Revolution failed in 1775. The Calatians are magically uplifted anthro animals, legally considered full humans but prejudiced against as inferior by most humans; at the bottom of society. (Along with women. And the Irish. Don’t ask about the Negroes or the Native Americans.)

There have never been any but White Caucasian (which doesn’t include the Irish) male sorcerers before, but an unexpected, almost fatal attack from an unknown enemy has forced Prince George’s College of Sorcery in New Cambridge, Massachusetts to open itself to a wider call for applicants to replace its murdered students – “any Colonist of magical inclination and ability may apply” – and Kip, along with an otter-Calatian, a woman, and an Irishman take advantage of it.

In my review of The Tower and the Fox, I said that “In a sense, this is a typical British schoolboy novel in a fantasy setting.  […] Despite the official call for applicants, there are those among both the college faculty and the other students who consider it disgraceful that non-Whites (including Irish), animals/Calatians, and women are allowed to become students. They are determined to make them fail. […] The Tower and the Fox covers the first semester of the College of Sorcery’s new class.”

The Demon and the Fox begins with the start of the second semester. All four have survived, and Kip is now the apprentice of Master Odden, one of the College’s full sorcerers and teachers. Their work, both for Kip’s learning and for the College’s defense, is to discover who was behind the magical attack on the College about six months ago that almost destroyed it.

The first sorcery Kip learns horrifies him, and almost breaks up the quartet:

“Kip’s indecision over whether to tell his friends about the calyx ritual lasted all of four minutes once they were again all together in the basement. ‘They drink the blood of Calatians!’ he said, pacing back and forth through the old papers and dusty stone floor.

Coppy, the otter-Calatian who’d also become an apprentice, didn’t react with the horror Kip had hoped. ‘I thought it might be something like that,’ he said.

‘You never said. We talked about it for months!’

‘I know.’ Coppy rested a paw on Kip’s arm. ‘Didn’t want to upset you. People do horrible things to Calatians in London and I heard summat about blood when I was a cub there.’

Kip’s tail lashed back and forth. ‘I wish you’d told me.’

‘I couldn’t.’ Coppy squeezed his forearm. ‘It was your dad. If he wouldn’t tell you, ‘twasn’t my place.’

‘You don’t have to protect me all the time,’ Kip said.

The otter lifted his paw and rubbed at his whiskers. ‘But I really didn’t know for sure. Why start trouble with rumours?’” (p. 13)

As the semester advances, the quartet begin to drift apart, not only because of their different attitudes to what magic really entails. (Do they have to engage in blood magic? What if they can discover an alternate to blood magic?) It is immediately after 1815 and Britain’s New World colonies are still seething with political tensions about Loyalism and revolution. Should the Colonies fight London for better rights? Should they fight for complete independence? Would an independent nation accept Calatians as full citizens? Should the quartet stay neutral or become involved?

“Later that week, as Kip was poring over the instructions of Jaeger’s spell and sounding out the pronunciation, Emily came to him. ‘Kip,’ she said with excited urgency, waving a sheet of paper at him, ‘Master Hobstone’s written me again. He says he and Mr. Adams [John Quincy Adams] would like to meet with you at the Founders’ Rest Inn on Friday next!’

Kip had sat down cross-legged on his bedroll with the spell in front of him, while Neddy snoozed on the stone nearby. Next to him, Coppy practiced levitating a group of five small marbles; Malcolm was either studying with Master Vendis or off on his own somewhere. The fox finished reading through Jaeger’s words one more time and then lifted his head. ‘Thank him for me. I really don’t wish to.’

‘Kip.’ She put her hands on her hips. ‘I don’t think you understand what this movement stands for. They simply want to explain their goals.’

‘I’m not interested in their goals.’’ Kip folded his arms. ‘Mr. Adams simply asking about me last time made Patris furious.’

‘He knows. That’s why he asked to meet at the Inn. Patris need never know.’ She waved the letter again. ‘They want you to be part of the movement. This is bigger than learning fire spells.’

‘It’s my future!’

Coppy’s marbles fell to the bedroll. The otter looked up, but Emily’s focus remained on Kip. ‘This,’ she thrust the paper at him, ‘could be the future of our country!’

‘That’s all very well for those who have the freedom to be concerned about it.’ He didn’t like the edge his voice got, so he breathed in and pushed fingers through his tail fur to calm himself.

Coppy reached over to touch his arm. ‘Back in London,’ he said, ‘often we had to worry foremost about our survival, but we also knew we had to think about our Isle. For who else would?’

‘New Cambridge is doing fine,’ Kip said. ‘Better if I remain a student here.’” (p. 60)

Instead, Kip decides to ask his teachers to send him to King’s College in London to learn fire magic from the only other sorcerer who can teach it. That will remove him from the politics in the Colonies; it will make it harder for his detractors to accuse him of being a secret independence supporter; and it will make it harder for the College to expel him. It will separate him from his friends, but that may be for the best if they are going to get involved in the independence movement.

That is up through Chapter 7. In Chapter 8, page 82, Kip goes to London. The next hundred pages describe Kip’s experiences in London; what happens to him and what he learns there. He meets the sorcerers of King’s College and many of London’s Calatians. Kip’s sharp fox sense of smell reveals more than he can see.

Kip assumes that he is far removed and free of the actions of the Colonial revolutionary movement, but then the mysterious deaths among his acquaintances start:

“The light was plenty for him to make out Albright’s troubled expression. The sorcerer put his hands behind his back and drew in a breath. ‘Please leave the window shut, Penfold. In addition to keeping out the chill, I have taken measures to ensure that we cannot be heard here, which will be slightly less effective with an open window.’

‘I was just checking the latch.’

‘Indeed.’ Albright paced over to the table, looked down at it, then paced back to the door. ‘I must confess, Penfold, that I have not been entirely truthful with you. The sensitive nature of my work means that I cannot place my trust without a good deal of investigation, and even then only to a select few.’

Kip’s ears perked. ‘I understand,’ he said, though he didn’t quite, yet.

‘You are investigating the attacks on your school. So am I. I am working under the direct order of Lord Castlereagh – the Foreign Secretary. We had been working under the assumption that it was the work of a foreign power, but recently have uncovered some evidence that the attack may have been planned in part in the colony of Massachusetts Bay itself. You are aware, I believe, that there are factions there promoting revolution?’” (pgs. 184-185)

Kip experiences agony, betrayal, and tragedy. The Demon and the Fox (cover by Laura Garabedian) comes to a definite conclusion, but The War and the Fox is waiting.

Fred Patten

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Categories: News

Little Frog with Big Dreams

In-Fur-Nation - Tue 14 Aug 2018 - 01:27

At San Diego Comic Con we came across the works of Shelley Daniels Lekven and her new book Lily Pond. Here’s what her web site says about it: “Elaborate illustrations and fabulous frogs fill this charming picture book about a little frog’s daydreams and hopes for her future. The scenes were created from colored modeling clay by Shelley Daniels Lekven, a character sculptor on The Nightmare Before Christmas and Toy Story and sculpting supervisor on James & the Giant Peach.” And speaking of (two of!) those movies, here’s what director Henry Selick had to say: “On the eve of her eighth birthday, a young frog dreams of her future in Shelley Daniels Lekven’s new book, Lily Pond. Ms. Lekven’s remarkable illustrations – all sculpted by her hand in colored clay – are eye-opening works of wonder and imagination that should make this sweet tale a children’s book classic.” After a successful Kickstarter, Lily Pond is available from Claytown Press. The web site has a video about how the book was made, too.

image c. 2018 Claytown Press

Categories: News

TigerTails Radio Season 11 Episode 16

TigerTails Radio - Mon 13 Aug 2018 - 16:29
Categories: Podcasts

Just My Duck

Furry.Today - Mon 13 Aug 2018 - 13:52

This cute student film has a very Le grand Méchant Renard feel to it and I approve. So cute.
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Categories: Videos

Interview with Adler the Eagle, who helps you smile with furry animation.

Dogpatch Press - Mon 13 Aug 2018 - 10:00

Adler caught my eye with his animation. It got a lot of sharing on Twitter and helped him build a following of 6K+ (and rising fast) because of how fun it is. Thanks to Adler for taking time for this interview. (If you like this, you might also like How furry animator Jib Kodi found his art or the interview series with many other furries.) – Patch 

Patch O’Furr:

Hi Adler! I really love your vids you have been posting, and your fursona is super memorable. That’s why I got in touch. There’s tons of furs who have cute suits, but it’s easy to lean on the suit or just one talent like good dancing. I like how you round things out like a multi dimensional character who has good stories to tell. The voice acting and performance timing are big ingredients to make things so rad and fun. You kind of remind me of a mascot who hasn’t had a cereal made just for you yet.

If someone made a cereal just for Adler what kind would it be?

Adler Eagle:

Wheat based with little hard sugar bits mixed in. Probably Called Eagle Bites. They would be good, wholesome, and contain low amount of sugar, but a high amount of family fun and value.

Patch O’Furr:

I get the idea you’re into professional animation, maybe with a few years of experience prior to doing furry stuff. And is there any pro performing experience there too?

Adler Eagle:

Ya caught me! I’m actually not a super pro, but I would say I am at a least a professional! I graduated from Ball State University in May of 2017 with a degree in Animation! I haven’t ever worked for an animation studio per-se, but I used to work at Holiday World and Cedar Point as their Digital Media producers. That was in summer of 2017. After that I started to pursue Adler Animates more, as it aligned better with the type of content and work I wanted to create!

Patch O’Furr:

How did you get into furry, and what do you think about it now? Have you only been into it since your Twitter account was made in early 2017, or does it go way farther back?

Adler Eagle:

Oh goodness, I was a closet furry for YEARS, I would say since at least 2008. HOWEVER, beyond just knowing about it and drawing my own furry comics I honestly wouldn’t describe myself as a furry then. I think in order to be a furry you kinda have to accept it first? Like I just happened to make comics in high school with animals, but never actually considered myself a furry until 2017 when my Twitter started. Blazen the Dragon (My boyfriend) was the one who kind of roped me in. He saw the animation work I was doing and suggested I join the fandom and do animation! Within the first month I had ordered my suit and started work on Adler stuff! I was also my college mascot, which helped with the acting portion and being in suit bits.



Patch O’Furr:

What’s your local fur scene like?

Adler Eagle:

Our local community is actually pretty big! Our college has a LOT of furries in it!

Patch O’Furr:

How did you start planning to make a fursona and a youtube presence? Did it just happen for fun, or is it part of ambition to do something bigger?

Adler Eagle:

My original fursona was a little orange dragon kid. I liked the Pokemons and the How to Train your Dragons and squished them together. BUT I had a lot of people tell me that in my normal life I naturally moved around like a bird. I was also my college mascot, who was a cardinal, so I was already used to acting like a bird!  In one of our animation classes we all had to make Animal Crossing versions of each other, and we worked together to make everyone’s. Basically we picked the species type of character, and the class worked together to make an animal that we could pick out from a big group. And they drew this for me!

I couldn’t get over it, so I decided that he would be my new character that I would draw myself as. I knew that going into this I would want to do a YouTube channel where I tell stories, and I actually made a TERRIBLE prototype which will be released someday. And this is honestly all for fun, but I would’t mind doing it for a living. The animation scene in the Midwest is not the most thriving career path, so for now I’m kind of carving my own way! My sort of end goal is to create good accessible content. I want my stuff to be furry, but also be something that anyone from any background could watch without any furry background!

Patch O’Furr:

How did you get into animation in the first place? What do you think about it so far? Where do you see it taking you?

Adler Eagle:

I actually got into animation on a whim. In high school I drew these horrid comics of my ‘sona, and fell in love with the movie How to Train your Dragon. Originally I wanted to be a music teacher, but I decided to apply for the art program at my school to see if I would even get in. I was picked for some weird reason, and then applied for the animation program, which I did NOT get into at first, I had to work hard, and re-apply about 6 months later but I finally made it in. Animation is SO REWARDING, but it takes so much time. I spend nearly 200 hours alone on one 4 minute episode of Adler Animates. I would love to see this taking me to a studio, where I can work and get paid to animate, then come home and animate more of my own stuff for fun!

Patch O’Furr:

What inspires you, and who do you work with, in fandom or out? (Are there other furry animators you’re close to?)

Adler Eagle:

The little things in life inspire me. Like the other day I saw a bird taking a bird bath in a pothole and it was so cute and innocent and using this thing that we would normally think of as a negative as a positive. That kind of nonsense. I also get a lot of inspiration from games I played when I was younger (Animal Crossing, Earthbound, Paper Mario) and from my Boyfriend Blazen, who helps me see new things everyday. I actually have a little sound team made up of @yaisor and @regdeh on twitter, and I talk to Jib Kodi a lot and Blue Wolf Studios too!

Patch O’Furr:

For the videos I’ve seen from you, I really like the freshness of seeing them use cartoon characters on live backgrounds, and, mixing cartoon art with live fursuit acting.  Do you overdub the voice acting for best results? Another thing the live stuff adds is cartoon-gag like presentation, in the editing and sound. Can you say anything about your approach? Like for the TV ad style of the funny furry underwear ad video you made?

Adler Eagle:

Yeah! The live backgrounds thing is actually a coping mechanism for my hatred of drawing backgrounds! In college, my main focus was character animation, not background or concept design, so instead of leaving the background blank I would just throw a live picture in there, and it slowly became my “Style”. During my time at Cedar Point I got REALLY GOOD at After Effects and Premiere, and incorporated those skills to making Adler and everyone else look like they are actually in the space! I script out and overdub EVERYTHING. I hate the muffled sound a lot of suits have, it takes me out of the video super quick. What I do with that is record it, cut it up shot by shot, send it to my phone and play it from a Bluetooth speaker. I have a little robot countdown before each audio piece, and then act out the line at least 6 times. I’ve never done TV work – I would say my time at Cedar Point and Holiday World were the only two true creative jobs I’ve had!

Patch O’Furr:

Want to say more about your work process? When you get an idea, how do you sit down and prepare for it? What are the steps of making it?  Do you use a lot of reference? How productive are you for getting those vids made, like is it for a regular schedule?

Adler Eagle:

I “storyboard” and time out all of the shots in Premiere, and export each shot out to put in each Toon Boom Scene. I use Toon Boom Premium for all of my animation. BUT THAT’S JUST THE ANIMATION PART. All the characters are rigged and animated there. Next, I send it into Adobe After Effects, where I do all the real life treatment, the camera shake, the lighting on the characters and the camera blurs. Finally I export that into Premiere and re-align the now animated footage. Usually it takes a really long time for me to get an idea going, because I don’t really want to waste my time on an okay idea, I want to make great ideas! I script out EVERYTHING, and if I don’t like it I re-script and re-script until I think it’s finally good! I record my own reference for hand animated shots, but for the rigged stuff I kind of just wing it now. I work another part time job, so I don’t have as much time to work on stuff as I like, but I would say I put in about 40 hours a week on Adler stuff.  I also don’t have a schedule for the whole project, but more a schedule for each part as they come up. So like first it’s “Okay this week I’m going to record audio”, and then “Okay now I need to get the live footage” and so on and so forth.

Patch O’Furr:

Congrats on getting good views and rapidly rising followers, based on that I’d compare you to animator furs like Jib Kodi and I think you’re well on the way to Youtube stardom. Can you say anything about promoting your work?

5K SPECIAL!

So I roller bladed 5153 feet (Basically A mile) to show just how many people that is!

Full video at https://t.co/qHyq9j1qm8

Thanks to @YaiSor for the music, to @Blazen_07 for being my rock, and you all for supporting my work!

Help Someone Smile today!

Love, Adler pic.twitter.com/ZV7lzfmJoy

— Adler the Eagle @ IFC ???? (@Adler_the_Eagle) July 20, 2018

Adler Eagle:

Thanks! It has been CRAZY the reception this stuff has received! It feels great to finally have an audience! I have an ad on FA which is HILARIOUS because all of my stuff is so pure and wholesome, and I am in the process of deciding what the best plan of action for more advertising should be. I always think cons are great place, and also word of mouth.

Patch O’Furr:

With furs like you, I sense a growing “furry animation scene.” However there can be tensions with furriness if you are working in the mainstream (even if it’s less than in the past.) Do you have any thoughts about that? Is there potential to overcome the tensions based on sheer quality and support? Or can fandom stay it’s own independent thing that also launches creators to greater things?

(A holy grail for me and maybe others, would be seeing something like a TV series or feature film, low budget or not. And I’ll tell you I HAVE seen signs it can happen, including professionally pitched projects in the crossover between Japanese “kemono” furry and TV anime. If I happened to know of furry crews already working in Hollywood, that’s for them to talk about, haha.)

Adler Eagle:

The mainstream animation community does have a very negative perception of furries, which is something I’ve known and accepted. But I believe that my work is good enough and high enough quality that people could over look that. My whole kind of goal with this is to help change that perception in the animation community. I am a hard working dude with lots of skills and talents, and I’m also a furry, and that’s cool. I hope that this fandom can help people find jobs in the real world too, it is going to take some time, but in the end I think it will all work out. There is so much raw talent in the fandom, and people would be silly not to let that shine.

Patch O’Furr:

Anything else you want to talk about?

Adler Eagle:

I get a lot of people who ask about the “Help Somebody Smile” phrase at the end of my videos. My high school band director once told us that the least we can do in our daily lives is Help Somebody Smile. We can’t MAKE anyone do anything, but we can HELP each other feel better. A smile is like a little sign of happiness, even for a moment, and it’s so simple. So my goal through all of this is to keep doing that. To help people laugh and get away from the pressures of the real world, but be able to go back to it and make it a better place.

Visit Adler the Eagle on Patreon to support his furry animation.

Happy #fursuitfriday!

much like @peppercoyote and @FoxAmoore I'm "Spreading thy Wings" and taking off!

With all the support on Patreon, and other opportunities I have been able to leave one of my jobs and do Adler Animates as a job now!

Help Someone Smile today!

Love, Adler pic.twitter.com/Km0G8274C2

— Adler the Eagle @ IFC ???? (@Adler_the_Eagle) July 27, 2018
Categories: News

Scruffy Puppies to the Rescue

In-Fur-Nation - Mon 13 Aug 2018 - 01:30

Scruffy Puppies is a full-color science-fiction adventure come created by Brent Trembath (and friends). It’s available now on Comixology. “In the future where humans and mutant animals alike walk the earth… Armor and his pack of Scruffy Puppies are ambushed in a back alley for reasons they can’t comprehend. Power struggles and inner strife underlie the coming of an impending threat.” And that’s just the first issue! The web site has much more information.

image c. 2018 by Brent Trembath

Categories: News

Real Life Needs A Little Magic

In-Fur-Nation - Sun 12 Aug 2018 - 01:56

Another illustrator we came across at San Diego Comic Con. Ash Evans is an artist and designer who refers to her work as “The Art of Happiness”. Steeped in fantasy, her paintings feature not just animals in general but special creatures like Fortuna the Cat, the Mewnicorns, the Zodicats, and the Kit-teas. (Yes, there’s a feline theme going here!) All of these are available as prints and a variety of other products you can find at her wet site.

image c. 2018 by Ash Evans

Categories: News

The Elder Scrolls Online: Wolfhunter

Furry.Today - Fri 10 Aug 2018 - 22:22

This looks cool but dammit I want to play the wolf.
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Categories: Videos

King K. Rool Reveal Trailer

Furry.Today - Fri 10 Aug 2018 - 01:36

King K. Rool is going to be on Super Smash Bros. Ultimate!
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Categories: Videos

Marvel Rising: Initiation

Furry.Today - Wed 8 Aug 2018 - 17:51

Finally a new Marvel animated series with the omega level mutant that is actually unbeatable, Squirrel Girl! Yes, she has the proportional strength, speed, reflexes, agility and leaping ability of a squirrel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjNf34CwlC4
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Categories: Videos