Altfurry is the term used by a tiny fringe of hateful bigots in the furry fandom. (It’s accurate to replace “alt” with “anti”, as you can see below). Last week they encouraged members to attend the “Unite the Right” rally where neo-nazis attacked and killed protesters. (archive)
Here’s a gallery with some images of Nathan’s furry involvement. You may have already seen his involvement with Altfurry swatting Califur (below).
Nathan Gate was with the neo-nazis rallying in Charlottesville when a violent felony was caught on camera. Victim Deandre Harris spoke out, a crowdfund raised six figures for him and attackers were identified. Nathan watched and supported the attackers.
All hands on deck.
WHO IS THIS MAN with the red beard?
He committed a violent felony. pic.twitter.com/nbYhxAPAOO
This "altright" writer was there and had a conversation with the attackers, he has a altright YouTube page too. pic.twitter.com/5HKDOCWpdZ— Will (@Reaver229) August 14, 2017
Nathan posted online to harass people supporting the victim, saying “it was beautiful watching his ass get beat”. If there was any question about privacy when attending a neo-nazi rally, there’s another answer for why this is public. (archive)
I saw it first hand, it was beautiful watching his ass get beat.— TheBigKK (@TheBigKK_) August 13, 2017
Altfurry Discord, run by Casey Hoerth AKA Len Gilbert – (finance writer for Motley Fool and The Street, and erotic nazifur fiction The Furred Reich) – posted more jokes about violence and murder done by neo-nazis. (archive)
August 12, 2017 August 13, 2017
Read more about how Altfurry targets kids for hate with Casey Hoerth (“Len”), Nathan Gate, and Stormfront members. Altfurry also attempts to cancel furry cons. Here’s screenshots from their chat to plan “swatting” against Califur, and one of Nathan Gate’s phone calls to help.
Who fucked over Califur?
Oh yeah it was those assholes organizing threatening calls inside their AltFurry Discord.
Nathan / TheBigKK is joined by a partner known as Vomitb0yy / Birb / KKKutie, who does furry art commissions while saying “the furry fandom are a bunch of degenerate pussies and it sucks getting grouped in with the tards.” (Chat screens below.) Nathan’s own message to furries says that he hopes “your nasty fandom is torn apart.”
April 20, 2017
The attempt to get Califur shut down by Casey Hoerth, altfurry and Nathan Gate cost $24,000 to the con. Here’s the con’s statement about threats they received.June 26, 2017
When the denial stopped working, those tweets were deleted. Then altfurry members began lying that Nathan Gate / TheBigKK was never a member, isn’t a furry, or used to be a member but isn’t any more. The story changes depending on which one is lying to deflect blame. (1, 2, 3, 4)
big kk never was part of alt furry and isnt even a furry himself.— That Pesky Pooch (@IAmARealRealist) July 21, 2017
No, revisionism is people trying to say the BigKK person who said "anthrocon is next" & called @Califur is Altfurry. He's not even a furry— #BroniesForTrump (@GWSSDelta) July 21, 2017
No one in the discord server posed as a news team no one we publicly acknowledge to be part of the discord server @AltFurryDiscord can.....— Husky Jack (@JackLaMothe) June 27, 2017
Yes the BigKK has not been a member of our discord for several weeks. He left on his own Accord after this reaction. Our discord disavows...— Husky Jack (@JackLaMothe) June 27, 2017
Altfurry also lies about their neo-nazi ties. It’s part of a very old strategy. The first step is to try to present themselves as a legitimate and non-violent political or ideological movement. The second is to provoke a violent or visceral response in a supposedly non-violent manner. The third is to point to that response to claim the other side is unreasonable. They’ve fallen back to starting over with the first step now.
This is Alt-furries strategy every time they attack a convention. https://t.co/oBufIeXnhw— ChipFox ???? (@chipfoxx) August 12, 2017 August 13, 2017
Nazi strategy: "Leftists will recognize dog whistles and know we're crypto, but normies won't listen to them." pic.twitter.com/YSkLp1J95C— Contra (@ContraPoints) August 13, 2017
Watch out for /pol/ & nazi groups desperately trying to "flip the narrative" (bury the facts of their murderous rampage)
Don't fall for it.
Let your local meets know if any member of Altfurry attends. Don’t fall for the fake story that “both sides” are responsible for the aggression you can see here. Urge them to respond like The Furst State did:August 13, 2017
So what are you going to do about #AltFurry nazis in the fandom?
Talk to your local meet or con organizer and urge them to ban hate imagery
Altfurs aren’t just trolls, they’re neo-nazis hiding behind animal avatars. They intend to exploit and attack this little fandom because it’s supportive for many kinds of people, who built something happy, creative, and thriving on it’s own terms. Keep it that way by ditching them until they ditch the hate.
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For a good many of us, summer vacation is almost over and it’s time to return to the reality of classes, or just another day at work if you’re no longer in school. This past summer has been home to a number of controversial events at conventions and in the fandom alike. We’ve got four more to round things out before all is said and done. Mercifully, there’s no convention drama this month… well, not unless you count Pokemon GO Fest as a “convention”. There’s a lot of things we’d call that disaster, but “con” isn’t one of them (unless you mean “con” as in “to trick”). Anyways, on with the news!
2016 FURRY OSCARS
It’s that time of year again, Oscar season! Not the actual Oscars, mind you, but the fandom’s equivalent of them: the Ursa Major Awards. Awarded to people and projects who go above and beyond in the name of anthropomorphic entertainment, the Ursa Major Awards are community-driven, with initial nominations and ultimately voting open to the fandom. This past month the winners for 2016’s Ursas were announced. The results were full of emotions, ranging from surprise to “ugh, not again”.
First off, the big daddy title of Best Motion Picture went to Zootopia… to the surprise of literally no one. If there’s such a thing as “Ursa Bait”, this was it; in the past decade there’s probably not been such an obvious shoe-in winner since The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Right behind Nick & Judy’s furry fling was Pixar’s Finding Dory, which, while this was a great movie in its own right, stood no chance against Disney’s powerhouse. The results of the Ursas are posted in order of who received the most votes, and coming in dead last was The Secret Life of Pets, a godawful CGI movie. In what we imagine must have been a three-way tie for last place, Sing and Kung Fu Panda 3 also made the bottom of the list.
Last year, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic won the Ursa Major for “Best Dramatic Short Work or Series.” I expressed confusion as to how MLP qualifies as “drama”. Well, it won the award again for 2016, and we’re still no closer to understanding how a cartoon meant to sell toys to little girls is somehow “drama”.
Zootopia won yet another Ursa Major this time, for its “making of” art book which conquered the Best Non-Fiction Work category, because as we all know Zootopia is real; also in the running was that VICE article we joked about last year, where their “update” on the MFF chlorine gas incident was that there wasn’t an update. The Fursonas documentary went underrated, leaving popularity separate from breaking ground – as pointed out by the Dogpatch Press piece about the first fandom feature with mainstream crossover. (Let’s not talk about butthurt from runners-up who weren’t popular either.) Director Dominic Rodriguez told us: “there was an award?”
Visual novel Major/Minor won the award for Best Game, and for some reason we had a disproportionately high amount of people trying to get us to cover this story in order to take pot shots at Klace (the game’s creator) because he asked his fans to vote for him. Uh, us here at What’s Yiffin’ did the exact same thing and no one batted an eye; these are awards chosen and voted on by the fandom, so if you’ve got the outreach to get people to vote for you, that just means you obviously stand a better chance at winning. That’s how this works. Besides, the “Best Game” category also had crap like Pokemon and Overwatch in it, games produced by people who are either unaware of, or don’t care about the Ursa Major Awards. Major/Minor winning its category doesn’t make it objectively better than these games. It just means that when it came time to vote, there were essentially two “null” options you could choose if you wanted to throw a vote away.
The illustrious Best Website award went to… wait for it… Fur Affinity. Again. Now, we don’t want to pull a John Oliver here and say “it’s [CURRENT YEAR]”, but it’s [CURRENT YEAR], and how on Earth is Fur Affinity even still a solid candidate for this award? The rest of the field wasn’t exactly strong, but e621 has been in the running multiple times and continues to get snubbed. I suppose when e621 finally does win the award, we can mark it as a turning point in the fandom. However until then, the Ursa Major will be the Oscar to e621’s Leonardo DiCaprio.
Finally, Dogpatch Press won the award for Best Magazine — shoutouts — but we’re putting you on notice. You might syndicate this show, but next year that award is as good as ours. We’re coming for you, Patch. You’ve got the remainder of the year to enjoy the title, because come 2017’s Ursas, we’re going to be top dog! (What’s Yiffin’ was eligible for nomination last year, however we did not qualify for the voting period. We’re working extra hard on making it in for 2017.)
CRUSHED, YIFFED, DESTROYED
Near the end of June, furry-critical website Vivisector disappeared off of the face of the web. We didn’t cover this at the time because we assumed it was just a random server outage or downtime. However as July came and went, we realized there was probably something more significant at play because it’s August 10th as of this article’s writing and Vivisector is still gone. Flayrah initially broke the story last month that the Crush Yiff Destroy archive site and forum had gone unresponsive; plenty of furs came out of the woodwork to say “good riddance”, but that doesn’t do Vivisector the justice it deserves.
Like it or not, Vivisector served an important purpose in the ecosystem of the fandom by allowing users to keep track of unsavory people and events in the fandom. You name it, Vivisector probably had a thread about it at some point. Stretching back to humble beginnings as a Portal of Evil spin-off website in 2007, Vivisector eventually outlasted fellow critic website Crush Yiff Destroy and became CYD’s archive when it went offline in 2010.
Though activity had waned in recent years, Vivisector remained online doing what it was known for, until a disagreement between the administrators resulted in the website being blanked and its server being taken offline. It was mistaken for just nominal downtime when it happened last June. The website’s URL at vivisector.org began responding again in the middle of July, sans-forum, with only the message “Nazi Furs Fuck Off” emblazoned on its meager homepage along with a link to a Discord chat server and the notice that the website would eventually be returning. It’s important to note however, that by taking an official side in this argument, Vivisector has relinquished its central position as an “equal opportunity offender” when it comes to criticism. Bias has now been introduced into the fray. For many this has been the official death knell of a once active and informative website.
But this is okay, communities such as Vivisector come and go. A decade ago people were concerned about sites like Encyclopedia Dramatica, but ED in its golden years has also had a fall from grace as well as multiple host/domain switches, resulting in a loss of content and confidence. Neophyte community Kiwi Farms has already stepped in to fill the void left by Vivisector by adding a furry section to their website named “Animal Control”. Whether or not they wanted this to happen, Vivisector is now officially a relic of yesteryear.
You will be missed, Vivisector.
THERE’S ONLY DARKNESS
Sonic the Hedgehog, a comic series based upon the video game and cartoon of the same name, has come to an end. SEGA announced last month that their historic 25 year run with Archie would be coming to an end, making issue #290 the final one to be printed and published. Sonic the Hedgehog’s run lasted for the aforementioned 290 issues, however if you count all of the special series and spin-offs, there were over 500 installments in the series. In 2008, Guinness recognized Sonic the Hedgehog as being the longest-running comic book adaptation of a video game, as well as being the longest-running American comic book without a reboot.
The comic is also not so fondly remembered thanks in part to former writer Ken Penders, whose obsession with his characters led him to file copyrights on them and then turn around and attempt to sue SEGA on two different occasions, neither of which panned out in Ken’s favor.
SEGA also promised that this wouldn’t be the end of the hedgehog in comic book form. Just two days after their initial announcement, SEGA kept to their word and announced they were partnering with IDW Publishing to continue Sonic’s story. An official return date hasn’t been announced, however SEGA mentioned that publication would resume some time in 2018.
POKEMON GO GET A REFUND
Finally, in our last story we travel to Chicago, IL for the first ever (and probably last) Pokemon GO Fest, an outdoor festival for the mobile game Pokemon GO. (Yes, people apparently still play it.) The concept behind the meet-up was simple: unveil the first ever legendary Pokemon at GO Fest, and offer rarer Pokemon for players to casually find. There was also the lure of special medals and in-game items to draw people out to Chicago from all over the country, and supposedly the world.
The festival was a complete disaster. As many of you who attempted to play the game at release may recall, logging onto the game and staying connected seemed almost impossible. These problems eventually went away, but once hundreds if not thousands of players all came together to try and play it in one place, they came back with a vengeance. Ultimately, Niantic had to disable in-game animations and lure functionality to restore some of the game’s playability. The CEO of Niantic, after being booed and chanted at on stage, buckled and announced that everyone would be receiving a complimentary $100 in Poke Coins, as well as a refund of their $20 ticket to attend GO Fest.
This only served to soothe the people who made it into the event however. Outside the gates of Pokemon GO Fest, the line to get in seemed to stretch endlessly in videos and pictures posted on social media by prospective attendees. There is also now a pending class action lawsuit against Niantic for travel reimbursement for the people who flew in from other parts of the United States, only to be substantially let down by the unplayability of the game.
GO Fest was such as disaster that Niantic has indefinitely postponed the “Safari Zone” event that was meant to start taking place in Europe right now. No new dates have been provided for the Safari Zone event, or if the event is even still set to happen.
That’s a wrap on last month’s top fandom stories. Thank you for joining us here on Dogpatch Press, we hope you enjoyed this peek into the fandom! Make sure you’ve subscribed to Gatorbox on YouTube and Twitch, so you’ll catch What’s Yiffin’ live!
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Rune’s Furry Blog showcases “people within the Furry Community… their characters, life, thoughts, and beliefs”. It also covers furry issues and media plus some personal blogging. Rune joins other guest posters to Dogpatch Press like Andre Kon (What’s Yiffin’?) and Arrkay (Culturally F’d). Welcome Rune! – Patch
“Volcanic Bonding” – Art & Leothaun species by thelostcause86
Masika belongs to MasikaRayne (FA) / Thyra belongs to shewulf7
Creativity has always been the highest focus of the Furry fandom outside of the love for anthropromorphic animals. That is to say that creativity is what keeps pushing the fandom forward whether it be art, music, crafting, or something else entirely. One of the amazing things that creativity has brought us within the fandom is the emergence of original species.
Why be a dog when you could be a RaptorDog? Why be a regular ‘ol rabbit, when you could be a Bunninut?
It sounds crazy when you say it out loud, but these are actual species imagined by people within the community! Some create more of a stir than others… and in fact, most people know of a few original species that overwhelm the fandom today due to their popularity! For example: Primagen/Protogens, and Dutch Angel Dragons. These species don’t exist in the world that we know, they were brainstormed and brought to life by individuals that wanted something different and something more. Sergals are another example of a popular original species that was shown to the community and changed it forever.
“Leo Friends”- Art & Leothaun species by thelostcause86 (FA)
(left) Masika belongs to MasikaRayne (FA) / (center) Thyra belongs to shewulf7 (FA)/ (right) Natalia belongs to thelostcause86 (FA)
So, what makes an original species?
Making an original species is a lot more complicated than it might sound. You can’t just slap two or more things together and call it “original” – that’s just a hybrid (and don’t worry, the community will correct you if you try). Original species are deeper than just a mix of animal parts – they require some sort of history, lore, or even a whole world. There has to be something that sets them apart as rare or unique.
For instance: Take the Mecari.
The Mecari are a creation of Craig Aimes (Blackpawwolf on FA – and Founder of CCSMascots) and on the outside, they seem just like a bat/dog hybrid (but are bat, dog, and bovine to be precise). Still, these little guys are not just the average hybrid. They are a species rich in culture and their own way of living. Not all the info has been released yet (it is being developed and released in chunks), but the Mecari do reside in a particular universe with other original creatures. They live very social lives with one another, and take on more tribal characteristics – from coming-of-age ceremonies, to other sorts of rituals they perform. Recently it was announced that each Mecari gets a power over a single element. Upcoming info will include things like family structures. Even their diet is outlined, and the colors of their eyes have a history.
I could go on forever… so I think you get the gist of it. I have owned a Mecari for a while (with a partial suit being finished this later in 2017) and I act as an Admin of the Mecari Den. They are so much more than slapping together some parts and a name. They hold a story as an original species.
Another great example of this would be the species known as the Leothaun. As a proud owner of a Tempest Leothaun named Masika, and as Admin of the Leothaun page, I could ramble on forever about why this species is absolutely amazing.
Leothaun were created by Natalia Hardy (thelostcause86 on FA) and they reside on a planet known as Qualdralis. This planet has a lore deep in religious background, where there was a Goddess and the Light Bringers, and the first Leothaun stepped onto the planet. As time went on, the Leothaun evolved. Each type mutated to fit their environment (the biome they were residing in at the time), leaving us with several different sub-types of Leothaun, all with different characteristics. These guys are DETAILED!
Natalia went all-out when developing the Leothaun. She has charts on differences between the sub-types and how each gender develops per its sub-type. The height, life-span, special powers, and even the specific and rare mutations each sub-type can have is listed in very detailed charts.
As mentioned before, I own a Tempest Leothaun. Their specific trait is either controlling the wind, controlling lightning, neither or even both! I was given the opportunity to have a ‘rare’ Leothaun. My gal Masika has two genetic defects that makes her stand out. She has the glowing/blank eyes, and secondly, her spot pattern is rare and sets her apart from the common Tempest.
Recently I was informed that the Tempest Leothaun are getting a third mutation they may have, which is wings. This has not been completely fleshed out yet, but it makes sense since the Tempest Leothaun reside in a city that is floating in the sky.
My wife was also given a rare Leothaun by the creator – a Volcano Leothaun named Thyra. Thyra’s rare mutation is that the blood running through her glows blue, rather than the normal magma-orange-yellow color that Volcano Leothaun normally get. The females of this sub-type are taller than the males. There are many interesting facts about them, but in terms of anatomy, Natalia said she took inspiration from a lot of different animals. They can sometimes have canid faces but most resemble big cats. A few of the aquatic ones look more like otters, and their retractable fangs are inspired by snakes. So the Leothaun is an original species that is mixed, but more spread out to be unique, and it also has the rich story and history.
Cheshire the Mecari
Art by flamesvoices (FA) / Species created by Blackpawwolf (FA)
Cheshire belongs to: MecariCheshire (FA)
What makes an original species popular or unpopular?
There are a LOT of original species out there. I couldn’t possibly begin to list them all. It begs the question: What makes an original species take off? How does an original species get as popular as a Dutch Angel Dragon or Sergal? Why haven’t I heard of so many species?
Many original species are unknown because they tend to flop… even those that get a lot of hype tend to fall off the radar rather quickly. Some species are mimics of other species with very few differences, making them rather unpopular (and they get a lot of backlash from the community). A lot of it is based in how hard a creator works to build up a decent community.
Those are some factors in whether an original species will fail or succeed.
For a few examples, I made 3 species of my own which I thought (at the time) were amazing. There were the Graul, the Nintius Lupus, and the Bunninuts. They all had a history, lore, and guidelines for their looks and what set them apart. I even made Facebook groups for them! People came into the groups, but no one posted or made their own creature, and soon the groups died without taking off. Why? Because people need a starting point.
It wasn’t enough to give them a creature with a lore and say: “Here it is. Now make one! Enjoy!”
People are looking for an active creator that really wants these species to take off. I’m talking about making a Facebook group with an official banner, setting up Admins, giving out free bases for people to color, raffling off adopts, making adopts, and letting other people make adopts. An original species eventually will become a sort of business where advertising is the key to success. You want people to have fun and spread the word around.
While it may seem a bit rude to say: furries can be cheap. They will jump on a free base much faster than if they have to pay for a custom creature. Also, if you don’t let them make adopts for profit, it will dissuade a good few. But no one blames you for having rules and wanting to keep your species controlled. Still, you have to be willing to be a little open with a species if you want it to succeed. I have also found that digital art will always do better than traditional art… and again, this kinda goes into making bases for people to use. Getting people that you know involved and having them rep your species to gain attention will help significantly. I know several species that started out with just a few friends having one, and now it is a whole community… and whether popular or not, these things still tend to thrive in one way or another.
For the people that mimic other species and/or make hybrids of species that don’t allow hybrids… those never go over well. Because an original species comes with a particular set of rules.
“Korr – Skullin reference sheet” Art & species by Skylar Burge (facebook)
Edits by Element02/ owned by Element02
If you make a ‘sona of a particular (original) species: FOLLOW THE RULES!
Original species are more than just a lore and a look. They also have rules to keep them regulated. Like with any art, a creator wants to be credited for their work. They created the species and want to be recognized for it. That’s why most original species have rules that MUST be followed.
Example: the Mecari can only control a single element. While ‘spirit’ is considered an element, it is extremely rare and only those with permission from the creator may use it. So far, only the creator himself has one that can use spirit. There’s also a strict rule on how many Mecari a person can own. That’s so Mecari won’t be circulated heavily outside of the group, and they’re easier to keep track of on the master list.
The Leothaun also have rules…
While they’re free to make, people making their own Leothaun may not have rare mutations. They may only do common mutations that occur naturally on the sub-type of their choosing. Also, they may only own up to 8 Leothaun at a time. Rare Leothaun are reserved for adopts that the creator makes herself for sale. That’s to keep the rare mutations rare and special!
Even popular and well-known species have such rules.
Dutch Angel Dragons don’t allow their members to have a muzzle-ring. Only Telephone is allowed to have one. Dutch Angel Dragons aren’t allowed to have any sort of digestive tract, don’t engage in adult-content, and must have certain traits like feathered wings and horse-like face. They aren’t allowed to be hybrids and can’t have any sort of genitalia.
For some species, it’s important to know the difference between them being open or closed. A closed species means that you can’t make your own just because you want one. You need special permission from the species creator to make one, or you must adopt one straight from the creator (which usually means buying one). That’s so the species doesn’t go unregulated. Closed species are often more strict with rules on how their species look and function as well. Open-species means you’re free to make one whenever you like. Some open species are more regulated (like the Mecari and Leothaun) so that you can only make so many of the creature. Most let you go all out, but even if a species is open, they will still have rules to follow.
Primagen are a closed species, so you must buy one from the creators or a former owner of a Primagen to get your own. Protogen are open, but they too have rules that must be followed. Protogen may only have wings if they’re the rare kind, and rare Protogen are closed and limited to auctions by the creators only. People making protogen adopts may only make 2 per week. Protogen aren’t allowed to be feral either, they must be anthro. Also, Protogen have certain parts of them that must be biological, and parts that must be robotic. This ratio may not be changed.
Breaking rules of an original species can result in many things including getting booted from the official group forever and a Beware then posted. While these rules may exist, thieving still happens… species do get stolen all the time, and altered so other people can claim them as their original creation. So, owning a species and regulating it can become something of a job. It takes a lot of time and dedication to make it work.
“Zensu – Arual Dragon Reference Sheet” / Art & species by ZhiibeColorai
Edits by Element02 / Zensu belongs to RUNEAngelDragon
Original species are everywhere, and they really show off all the creativity in the fandom. They give people a place to feel they belong, meet new friends, and have something they see as special and unique. Original species may not be for everyone, and sometimes people see them as overwhelming… but this fandom has always been about being yourself and being an individual. So whether you’re a cat, a leathersaur, gecko, or manokit, just be happy and stay true to what feels right for you and what makes you happy!
Thank you all so much for tuning in! For more info on some regulated-open species, check out the list below. Special thank you to Craig Aimes and Natalia Hardy for letting me use your species as examples! If there are other original species that I did not list that you know of (and maybe you created), feel free to let me know in a comment down below!
As always, I will see you all in the next one!
Art by Aoijinn
Portal belongs to RuneAngelDragon
Protogen species created by MaliceXRisu
List of Original Species:
While I may not know of all the original species out there (nor would I have time to go looking for them all), I have compiled a list of some that I know of. Some are newer, some are years older. A few of them I actually found this week while browsing the Furry groups on Facebook, because original species pop up just that often! Feel free to check these out, and yes, all of these species are open… just make sure to read the rules. – Rune
Arual Dragons – created by ZhiibeColorai – (fb group)
Wisher Dragons – created by flamesvoices – (fb group)
Shayu – created by Kristina Renee Haley – (fb group)
Pokeball Dragons – created by RosexKnight – (fb group)
Protogens – created by MalicexRisu – (fb group)
Tea Tigers – created by Sophie Munro – (fb group)
Mecari – created by Craig Aimes – (fb group)
Leothauns – created by Natalia Hardy/thelostcause86 – (FA link)
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer
Another milestone of furry fandom has been achieved on 14-17 July 2017, when South African furs held South Afrifur, their first convention.
The size and longevity of furry fandom in South Africa have been difficult to determine, due to the large spread-out size of that country, with apparently only a pawful of fans in any one city. The ZA furs (from Zuid-Afrika, the Afrikaans name – see the history of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek from 1852 to 1902) socialize primarily via the Internet. There are currently about 600+ active through all the ZA furry websites and chat groups. But it is estimated that the majority of them are only casual browsers, and only 200 to 300 should be considered true ZA furs.
As to longevity, that goes back to two previous ZA furmeets. Some claim that they were conventions, but the attendees themselves did not despite their including registrations.
On 12-16 2008, the first national ZA furry get-together was held in the Cape Town suburb of Table View. Dracius was the organizer. He booked “At Cheryl’s”, a self-catering accommodation holiday house including five small buildings; a house, cottage, cabana, condo, and den. (The exact location was At Cheryl’s, 50 & 55 Circle Road, Table View, South Africa.)
There were 16 attendees. At Cheryl’s was primarily a gathering place for daytime socializing and evening activities. Daytime events included wandering into two shopping centers and other places around Cape Town, and a trip up its Signal Hill. In the evening there were films on a projector and the game Guitar Hero.
A second get-together was planned for 2010, but it was not held until 7-15 January 2011, in Port Elizabeth. The organizers were Nanukk, Electrocat, and Cat147. The venue was Nanukk’s grandmother’s house in the suburb of Blue Water Bay. 14 attended.
The meet was very relaxed and informal. It consisted of about an equal amount of time getting to know each other around the house while sketching and gaming, and going out to see various sites in the city. Some of the main events that had been organized were going to a Karaoke bar, car-pooling to a lion park (cut short when one of the cars got a flat tire) and a visit to a museum (with a behind-the-scenes tour), snake park and aquarium.
The highlight of the meet was when three furs dressed up in fursuits made by Electrocat and spent the evening walking around at a local shopping center. The suits created a lot of attention, and some questions from curious onlookers, but had the biggest effect on the children. Half of the children found the suits fascinating while the other half were terrified, freezing in place or bursting into tears at the sight of them. The day was then finished off by playing putt-putt in the fursuits, a game which Nanukk won.
Jako Malan estimates that the dominant personality there was Electrocat, already an accomplished artist and fursuit maker. She was a driving force behind the meetup, organized its outings, and sketched all during it. Most attendees were 18 or younger, and activities at the venue were mostly video games, sketching, and socializing.
After that, there was a long dry spell. A third meetup was suggested several times over the internet, but nobody organized one, even though there were some furry parties that far exceeded this. The record was a one-day braai (Afrikaans for a barbeque) in Johannesburg hosted by Victor on 30 July 2016 that had 37 attendees; although one in Pretoria in 2009 had 25, and another at Yukon’s in Jo-burg in 2012 had 24. (They claimed 25 – 24 plus Yukon’s Siberian husky — to match the previous record.) Some wanted to hold a real convention, but the small size of ZA furry fandom made this impossible.
During 2015 and 2016 a group of organizers gathered to work out a solution; Ivic Wulfe, Yukon, Scratch, YoteFox, Powercat, Valerion, and Dan Leo. (If they had been more formal, Ivic would have been chairman, with Yukon as his vice-chair, Scratch as the treasurer, YoteFox in charge of furry decorations (he gave the panels on fursuit making), and Powercat as website designer.) They took Canada’s Camp Feral! as their inspiration, and corresponded with Potoroo, the Camp Feral! director. Their target date was in 2016, but various problems pushed it into 2017.
The final date was 14-17 July 2017. It was organized and advertised as a convention, South Afrifur, with a website, although it was never expected to be more than tiny by furry convention standards. The venue, another rental vacation retreat, had a maximum attendance limit of 48. It was located in a little town, Magaliesburg, near the small city of Krugersdorp. Still, Krugersdorp was conveniently located about equidistant from Pretoria and Johannesburg, two of South Africa’s largest cities.
(Actually, Magaliesburg was a substitution. The original venue was the University of the Free State Open Residences in Bloemfontein, a major city, but it had cancelled the booking at the last minute due to “emergency renovations” – generally believed to be second thoughts by the University about hosting a furry convention. The Magaliesburg Retreat near Krugersdorp, 412 km. (about 4 hours driving) away, was a good – some said better – substitute, because it was more convenient to both Pretoria and Jo-burg, and because, being in a small town rather than a large city, it felt more exclusive.)
The ZA Furries site coordinated carpooling from Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Pretoria; the cities and the Jo-burg and Pretoria airports. The Magalies Retreat venue included accommodation for up to 48 furs, catering, a dining hall, a conference area, a private deck, pool, and boma, and many on-site activities.
Full attendance included all meals (3 meals a day) and accommodation for 3 days, plus a personalized-art badge by Electropaw Artworks (Electrocat’s business name). The price was R1500,00. (The South African rand was worth $0.078 dollars, or 7.8¢, in July 2017.) Sponsors paid R2000,00 and received the above plus a convention T-shirt. Super sponsors paying R2500,00 received all that plus having their T-shirt personalized with their fursona name on it, and a set of furred ears by YoteFox.
Attendees were requested to register in advance, for meal planning and to allow Electrocat time to prepare the personalized badges. The organizers were prepared to accept members at the door at a discounted rate, but in fact there were no attendees except those who had preregistered.
A controversial rule was that attendance was limited to those 18 years old and older, for legal reasons.
Attendance was 28, including the organizers; 27 ZA furs and Bravura from Switzerland (founder of furry.fm). The breakdown was 6 regular members, 7 sponsors, 13 super-sponsors, and 2 of the organizers’ assistants who could not afford a membership and had their memberships bought for them.
(A few prominent ZA furs could not attend for various reasons, including Electrocat who drew the badges, and Furnix Wolf who gave his membership to Victor.)
Activities included an impromptu Artists’ Alley/Dealers’ Den, free to all attendees. A scavenger hunt. An obstacle course. A Gladiator Arena. A movie night (the Russian feature Wolves and Sheep and the U.S. feature The Secret Life of Pets). Panels on writing, on fursuit making, on fursuiting. And on social media as related to furries. A quiz night. A raffle. A variety of board games.
The Artists’ Alley/Dealers’ Den had four exhibitors, including Jako Malan who sold his recently-published novel reWritten, and Landi who sold sketches for two charities (a pet sterilization center and a no-kill home for abandoned cats and dogs). She raised R1000,00 for each. This was in addition to an official convention charity, the Garden Route Wolf Sanctuary. R2130,00 was collected for it, and matched by the committee, for a total of R4260,00.
One amusing detail was the number of people that backed out of doing the Gladiator Arena once they had seen it. The equipment was from an old popular South African TV show, MTN Gladiators. Although it was booked and paid for 18 attendees to use it, only 4 were brave enough to complete it in the end. It was rather physically taxing, and a lesson that most furries aren’t ones for strenuous physical activities.
Overall, South Afrifur was considered a success. There were some pre-convention complaints about the 18 age limit and the small convention-size limit, the move from a major city to Krugersdorp, and the “unpreparedness” of the committee (which had never even attended a furry convention before, much less organized one). But the attendance of only 28 in a venue for 48 showed that the committee was wise in not planning for a larger attendance.
There are already some calls for another ZA furry convention next year; maybe without the age limit. It is believed that more of South Africa’s estimated 200 or 300 fans did not attend because they were skeptical of South Afrifur’s success. With it now proven, a larger attendance at a next convention is almost definite.
There were no articles about South Afrifur in a newspaper or on local TV news. This was by design on the organizers’ part. In fact, after the cancellation of the convention’s original venue (who required the right to monitor the convention’s activities), the committee downplayed the convention’s furry nature when booking the Magalies Retreat. (Its staff was heavily Christian.) The most prominent media report on ZA furs’ activities in the past had been a 2009 extremely lurid piece strongly implying that furry fandom was all about having sex in fursuits. Ever since then, ZA furs have not sought any publicity. As it happened, the staff at the venue were most accommodating in every way, and the attendees felt welcomed at the venue throughout the four days; but it was felt wisest to not encourage the venue to Google for bad stereotypes before the convention’s arrival.
The following is a Con Report provided by Con Chairman, Ivic Wulfe
Con Report – South Afrifur 2017
So the first South Afrifur Convention has come to an end. New things were tried and seemed to be successful overall. In this report I will attempt to outline some of the particulars of the convention and also evaluate to what extent they were successful.
Before I begin, I would like to start with a personal note of thanks to everyone who came to the convention. There were 28 attendees including myself as Chairman and Yukon as Vice-Chair and our con staff – Scratch, Power Cat, Yote Fox, Dan Leo.
Our members of staff were the glue that kept this idea together. They were the ones that truly put up their paws and claws when things took unexpected turns and allowed us to move forward and make this convention a success. I am eternally grateful to the team.
South Afrifur started as an ambitious idea. Its roots in the earlier successes of national furmeets held in 2008 and 2010, respectively. The staff members had thought about creating a platform that would incorporate many elements of more established furry conventions. These include: some form of artist alley, panel discussions, activities as well as having a cause to donate to through a charitable raffle. It made sense to keep it small (initial thoughts of a cap at 50 people) and have it located somewhere as central (within South Africa) as possible.
We also wanted to (at least for the first convention) keep the minimum age for attendance to 18. This is because we were unprepared and unwilling to have to deal with the legal ramifications that may crop up otherwise. South Africa is still a very conservative country with an aversion to anything new. We wanted to ensure that we could at least begin to achieve something before we considered something as potentially difficult as lowering the admissible age requirements.
Most of the points on this checklist were met. We are proud to announce that we have raised R2130, 00 from the community. Proceeds payable to the Garden Route Wolf Sanctuary http://wolfsanctuary.co.za/.
Wolves are not native to South Africa and the majority of their benefactors are abandoned exotic pets. In addition to wolves, the sanctuary also cares for other wild canines. Because of recent wildfires in the area, we thought it pertinent to donate funds to them. The amount will be matched by South Afrifur, bringing the total donation to R4260, 00
Despite overall success, the convention had its fair share of challenges – even before getting off the ground. Initial planning for it had started in 2015 and the convention was meant to happen in 2016. This year presented many challenges, like arguments about where the con should be held, pricing, slow responses from venues and at times a fair amount of pushback from furs themselves. Due to these reasons the convention had to be postponed to 2017.
At a point where most planning was already done, the original venue (University of Free State Open Residences) cancelled. We had to find a new venue at just about the last minute. We chose another venue just outside of Gauteng for similar pricing to that of UFS. The venue that was decided on was Magalies Retreat. http://www.magaliesretreat.co.za/
Pricing and how the money was used:
The admission prices were as follows: R1500.00 for con-goers, R2000.00 for sponsors and R2500.00 for super sponsors. The first tier price included three nights’ accommodation, three meals a day, hall area that could seat 50 people as well as payment for the venue’s activities as well as a personalized badge from Electrocat Artworks. The sponsor tier price included a personalized t-shirt with the sponsor’s furry name on it. The super sponsor tier price also included a set of personalized, furred ears done by one of our speakers (and resident fursuiter and fursuit maker) YoteFox.
Successes and Shortcomings:
It was important to find a balance between affordability, travel requirements and an environment that would attract more attendees. In hindsight, Magalies Retreat served this purpose far better than our original choice would have. Bloemfontein was initially considered because it is physically halfway between Cape Town and Johannesburg the two main areas of furry concentration. Camp Feral had been a personal inspiration in respect to vibe and the relative size of our active furry community. This was validated by some of the feedback already received from some of the attendees.
In respect to the venue, the food was good, the activity areas were somewhat unkempt and in varying states of disrepair, the obstacle course and the Gladiator Arena were, given these states still in relatively good working order nonetheless. Given a lot of our previous planning, changing the venue actually opened up many more options and it did come together quite well in the end and furs were kept busy throughout the convention.
There was some backlash in respect to our decision on age caps, relative distance to get to the convention, size of the convention, as well as what could be considered our “unpreparedness” for the entire event. Given these concerns I believe we allayed many of those voices but will endeavour, in future, to hear what the community wants from South Afrifur in 2018.
Venue and Activities:
The list of events were; an ad hoc artists alley (which was opened for anyone to join in at no cost), a scavenger hunt, an obstacle course, a gladiator arena (near-miss head injury to myself notwithstanding), a movie night as well as three panel discussions. One panel was on writing, one on fursuit making and fursuiting in general. The other on social media within the context of furries. Other activities include quiz night and the raffle. Ample time was given for socialization, which includes the playing of a variety of board games.
From those who attended, the majority response was positive. Attendees enjoyed the convention and its ability to bring the small group of furs together much like Camp Feral does. We had actually spoken quite a lot to Potaroo in our initial planning phase and this was exactly the kind of response we were aiming for as our first convention.
Going into this endeavour as far back as 2015, I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed about it. I had the dream that furs would appreciate someone taking initiative and get something of the sort going. I for one would have been ecstatic had someone else come up with the idea and would have tried to be as supportive toward it as possible. This was not the case in many of the interactions I’d had. I however kept plugging, found people who were as keen as I to see this move forward. Those who helped me were very good at the specific tasks that were required of them. Our vice-chair Yukon, for organizing the events and activities as well as his ability to manage many other aspects that were necessary for the convention to be a success, Valerion for his experiences of the previous failures between the successes of 2008-2012, Scratch for his ability to manage funding down to the cent. Dan Leo for his ability to mediate and Power Cat for his experience in website building. Without these fine folk, South Afrifur Convention 2017 might not have happened, or not have been as successful.
On a Personal note:
I’d spent many days, even during the convention, just hoping that everything would go as planned and whenever a positive comment came my way, my inability to commit to the success showed in my responses. Much of this was an introspective journey for me and having this success behind me, I believe that we can do far better than this for next year. “Build it and they will come.”
The acid test of success would be whether we can host an even better convention next year. To stimulate a larger turnout. To ensure that whatever issues within our control have been dealt with and succeed in ensuring that we can have good conventions. Perhaps even on a yearly basis. I believe that we as the South African Furry Community can pull this off. As for the South Afrifur team, I wish us all the best of luck. I think we may just need it.
South Afrifur Convention Chair
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Do you like Scooby snacks? The first time I ate a weed cookie was at a Really Really Free Market. That’s a swap meet seasoned with radical/hippie idealism. People who love principles of mutual aid get together and trade crap they don’t need with others who want it. It keeps stuff out of the dump and helps people without money. It’s a place to score old books, music or some wiggy threads. They may have potluck food or dumpster dived treasure. Or both at once. (I once lived for two years with Freeganism – oh the stories I have.) And you might score weed (for adults where it’s legal, of course.)
The meet was in a 5th floor artist loft full of good music and fun people. There was a spread of free cookies with a sign to beware of overmedicating. I took one and nibbled a corner. Nothing happened so I went whole hog. Then it happened… oh boy it happened.
My personal pile of treasure was all donated, so I took the exit to the twilight zone. On the way down the stairs, I turned a corner and suddenly they weren’t going down… they were going up. What the heck!? I continued to fumble my way out while a faint satanic chanting emanated from behind the doors. Somehow I found the street and got home. I sat down and time-traveled. When I looked up, I realized that I forgot to shut the front door. And there was a hooker in my living room (it was that kind of neighborhood). She asked for a ride, so I told her to try one of those cookies for a real trip.
I wish there was a way to travel to a world full of furries. That would make some amazing blogging for you. But you can make it happen where you live. The coolest thing about this fandom is how it’s so DIY. It’s like a sandbox for whatever you want to make of it. If you live anywhere that has furries within petting distance, try getting together with them to throw cool events.
Imagine a standalone furry show and swap meet, minus the elaborate trappings of a con. Set up tables like a dealer’s den for members to sell stuff. Have an art show, but not just for filthy lucre – if it’s not in a costly hotel and people don’t have to pay for a big blowout, do it for love. Make it participatory with an art jam and swapping. This could be done in a show space, library, community center, apartment commons, warehouse, studio, comic shop, or any open place, with a co-op concept.
Why swapping? Furries love to collect books, comics, and games that get read and re-read until it’s time to give them a new home. Same for art, art supplies, and fur scraps. And (my favorite), costume gear. I have a walk-in closet full of stuff that someone would love to wear. But sadly, that one con shirt isn’t for me. I have too many sparkly belts and pet collars. Someone else needs those pants covered with owls. Maybe that’s you, and maybe you have some cool fursuit bandanas to throw on my stack!
These happen for general communities, but theming can be extra fun. For those who already have premade stuff for art shows or dealing at bigger cons, a locally-organized event could be an accessible opportunity with the chemistry that makes fandom great. It could take advantage of empty scheduling between cons. There are fairs/swaps for other indie groups (like goth clothing swaps, how cool is that?) Furry art jams are already a thing – think of leveling up with a showcase for your local group. Cons are full of distractions that make dealing hard (party fun is a focus for many furs) – a show like this could BE the party!
Please comment if you have any such events in your local fandom!
Side topic: Remember when I mentioned doing freeganism a long time ago? That’s where my packrat fursona came from. Almost 15 years ago I did bad writing about it for the heck of it, and was immensely surprised to have some republished by cyberpunk-founder Bruce Sterling in Wired.
Subthread: Furry cons try to be all things to all attendees. While they grow, maybe it risks spreading the effort too thinly. They have so many kinds of things to offer (shows, dances, panels, art, dealing, and more) that maybe more focus can help.
I think fandoms like anime & furry need to start treating artists like exhibitors/vendors, not as attendees. This is people's livelihood now— Camp Eevachu✨ (@Eevachu) August 5, 2017
It leads to Eevachu’s point that “a furmeet/artist alley fandom model works well for <1000 attendee events,” but those who vend professionally may need a more focused model. I can back up that point with complaints about limited dealer spaces that crowd out long-time pros. (They’re in my article about limits of a growing fandom.) Perhaps local bazaars could make other options.
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Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer
A Dog’s View of Love, Life, and Death, by J. R. Archer
Hove, England, White Crow Books, June 2017, trade paperback $14.99 (ix + 299 pages), Kindle $4.99.
This is an intriguing fantasy, but from an anthropomorphic point of view, it’s ultimately unsatisfying.
The locale is New York City. The chapters are short. In chapter one, Svetlana witnesses Robbie commit suicide, leaving Rosie, a small dog. In chapter two, rich, elderly Margaret Roper and her small dog Rags are introduced. In chapter three, young Black police officer Teddy Dwight investigates Robbie’s suicide and takes charge of Rosie. In chapter four, Margaret has a fatal heart attack. Her son Will, who has anger issues, is mostly resentful at the inconvenience her funeral will cause him. He breaks his promise to look out after Rags, who is sent to a dog shelter.
Most of the first nine chapters are entirely about the human cast. The dogs are little more than props. Other important characters are young Milo McGarry, the conscientious Black receptionist at the East 110th Street dog shelter (which is expected to go out of business soon), where Rosie and Rags are taken; two other dogs there: Lennon, a hulking but kindly Great Dane, and Darcy, a rescued Greyhound ex-racing dog; Sebastian, Svetlana’s pet Borzoi-German Shepherd mix; and Elton, Milo’s long-haired Chihuahua.
The dogs finally talk in chapter Ten. Chapters Thirteen, Fifteen, and some others are also devoted to the dogs, but for an anthropomorphic novel, it’s too little, too late.
The dogs don’t talk verbally but mind-to-mind.
“‘Allow me to introduce myself, Lennon, my name is Rags.’
The Great Dane sat up, looking surprised. ‘How’d ya know my name?’
‘It came to me as soon as we connected.’
‘Seriously? … I’ve never been able to do that. Have you just arrived, little fella?’
‘I got in early this morning.’
‘Rags, if you want a heads up, I’ve been here for a while now, and for me it’s home. I don’t know how long you’re gonna be here but, while you are, let’s be friends.’” (p. 47)
Some of the dogs, especially Rags, are deep into reincarnation.
“‘Well, let’s just say I’m a little further along the path than you, and I’ve learned to do these things.’
Lennon stretched his long legs and walked round Rags, looking mystified. ‘What do you mean, ‘a little further along the path?’” He scrutinized the little dog. ‘I’m the old timer here. You still look like a pup.’
‘That’s true, my friend. As humans measure time I’ve been here for a little over a year, but that’s not what I mean. What I mean is, I’ve experienced more here than you have – maybe not in this lifetime but in others. Although when I say ‘I’, I don’t mean Rags – Rags is just the name a human gave me while I’m in this body. It would be more accurate to say my body is called Rags, but I’m not my body. Speaking of bodies, do we get exercised here? Mine could do with a run.’” (p. 48)
They are also deep into giving moral support to each other and, telepathically/subconsciously, to their humans.
“Rosie pushed the bowl round the kennel until there wasn’t a scrap of food in sight. Meanwhile, Darcey pricked up her ears.
‘What brings you to the shelter, Rosie?’
‘My owner jumped off a roof last night and killed himself.’
‘How about you?’
‘My owners were killed in a car crash.’
Rosie burped. ‘That’s too bad.’
Darcey got up and stretched her long limbs. ‘It is. I really loved those people.’
‘We love all humans, greyhound, but they do dumb things. I’m amazed they live so long.’” (p. 60)
It seems to come to interspecies communication when Milo brings Rosie home one evening and she beams her thoughts to Milo’s father, Seamus. But he’s paralyzed from an accident and can’t talk, and he doesn’t believe in the voice in his head, anyhow.
The humans in A Dog’s View of Love, Life, and Death (cover by Astrid) work out their own problems without being aware of their dogs’ subconscious guidance, which is so tenuous that the humans often frustratingly ignore it anyhow. The novel is basically a soap opera about the humans involved, with the dogs as an unnoticed Greek chorus. The dogs may talk, but this isn’t really a furry novel.
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Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer
ArCANIS: A Modern Animal Tarot, by David DePasquale. Illustrated.
Los Angeles, The author, July 2017, hardcover $30.00 (unpaged [168 pages).
I went to the Center Stage Gallery in Burbank, CA during August to see the “ArCANIS: A Modern Animal Tarot” art exhibit by David DePasquale; a full 78-card Tarot deck in color, divided into 22 Major Arcana cards and 56 Minor Arcana cards split into 14 cards each of the four Tarot suits (swords, wands, pentacles, and cups), with each card featuring an anthropomorphized animal. Besides the original art (for sale), there were the printed cards, a rotating enlargement slide show so the attractive stylized art could be easily seen in detail, and brief notes on the history of Tarot and the meanings of the cards.
In addition to the exhibit, visitors could buy in advance (the publication date is in September) the printed 3.5” x 5.5” deck of 78 cards in a customized tuck box, and a de luxe hardcover book showing the 78 cards individually on right-hand pages with a one-page explanation of each on the left-hand page:
THE NINE OF WANDS
Upright: Determination, Hope, Persistence
The Nine of Wands can represent searching inside yourself for the inner strength to overcome a final hurdle. You have worked through many obstacles to get to where you are now, so do not give up when you are so close!
Reversed: Defensiveness, Hesitation, Paranoia
The reversed Nine of Wands can indicate that you are slowing down in your progress toward your goal and defensive about how much you’ve been accomplishing. You’re hesitant to take on more work when you already feel like you’re drowning in it. You could use a good, long break to recuperate and gather your strength.
The Nine of Wands features an orange-&-black dragon. The jacketless book is attractively printed in color (although each card is in just one color plus black) on thick glossy paper. The binding is black cloth stamped in silver foil.
David DePasquale is a Los Angeles/Hollywood visual development artist who has worked at Nickelodeon, Disney and DreamWorks, among others. His online posts are heavy on anthropomorphic paintings. He got the inspiration for this Tarot card deck and book last November, received lots of encouragement from fellow artists, ran a Kickstarter campaign from March 17 to April 18 of this year, and raised $19,748 with a $13,000 goal. He’s been working since to complete everything; this ArCANIS art exhibit at CSG in Burbank, July 28 to September 3, is its first public release.
Fortunately, there are plenty of his Tarot cards on his website to show what they look like: modern, stylized, and bold. There are dragons, goats, cats, raccoons, eagles, lions, wolves, deer, storks, horses, bear – you name it. There are not 78 different animals and birds, but duplicates (except dragons) are kept to a minimum.
ArCANIS: A Modern Animal Tarot is a private art project and is not publicly available – but its Kickstarter is still online. For a $30 pledge, you can still get this book; or the Tarot card deck, if you prefer. For $50 you can get both the book and the card deck. See the Kickstarter for other goals, such as an enameled pin or original sketches.
DePasquale says on the Kickstarter video that he will launch ArCANIS more publicly at this year’s CTN Animation Expo, in Burbank, CA on November 17-19, 2017. CTN stands for Creative Talent Network; it’s not a fan convention but a professional animation artist’s job fair. Check out the Wikipedia entry. Furry artists and fursuit makers may be interested.
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer
Avaritia: A Fable, by M.D. Westbrook
Wichita, KS, M.W. Publishers, April 2016, trade paperback $9.99 (200 pages), Kindle $1.00.
Usually the dedication of a book is not pertinent, but this one really sets the mood:
“This book is dedicated to rising taxes, broken promises, forgotten children, crime, starvation, war, death, and despair.
Thanks for the inspiration, guys. Couldn’t have done it without you.”
Avaritia has a very plain cover (by the author, credited as Mark D. Westbrook), but it turns out that there is a reason for this. The novel is grim and preachy, but fascinating in an Old Testament way. The only anthropomorphic novel that I can think of that’s remotely similar to this is the black comedy Play Little Victims by Kenneth Cook (1978). See my 2014 review of it on Flayrah: https://www.flayrah.com/5725/review-play-little-victims-kenneth-cook
But there is nothing funny about Avaritia. I read Play Little Victims almost forty years ago, and I’ve never forgotten it. I don’t expect to ever forget Avaritia, either.
Avaritia begins in a house with a human father, a mother, and two brothers. The younger brother has three pet rats. The older brother has a bowl of mice, but Older Brother Human only keeps them to feed to his pet snake.
The characters in Avaritia are its mice and rats. The story begins with Older Brother Human lifting Radish, one of the mice, out of the bowl to feed to his boa constrictor while her mate, Cookie, pounds on the glass and squeaks, “Take me! Take me and leave her!”
“Cookie cried uncontrollably, watching as the snake slithered behind his mate.
In a blink, the snake struck. Radish released a final squeak as the constrictor wrapped around her lower abdomen.
‘Noooo!’ Cookie wailed.
Radish opened her mouth, gasping, and beat her tiny paws against the orange and yellow scales, but to no avail. Radish’s once soft pink eyes bulged, now a darker hue of red.
Older Brother Human laughed out loud. ‘Good boy, Petey. Eat ‘er up.’” (p. 2)
Most of the mice accept their eventual doom fatalistically. They have even made it into a religion.
“York turned to the crowd of mouse families. ‘We honor those who make the sacrifice. Another day to eat. Another day to sleep. What a glory to give your all for fellow mice.’” (p. 3)
Only Benny, a young black-furred mouse, has doubts about this fatalism. He is the skeptic who questions everything; the Cassandra whom nobody listens to.
The plot changes drastically on page 7. (Sorry; that’s supposed to be a spoiler.) Younger Brother Human’s three rats get loose – mates Mad and Dolley, and their daughter Moon — cross the hall and liberate the cage-mice (despite mice and rats supposedly having nothing to do with each other), take them to join the mice in the house’s walls, and they all escape together. The humans, who had looked like they would be important in the story, completely disappear.
Many of the mice want to remain close to the humans’ house to raid it for food, but the rats and the leaders of the mice insist they have to get as far away as possible.
“‘Why didn’t we just stay in the walls of the humans’ house?’ asked Cookie. ‘You wall-mice were fine there.’
‘Pib, Fib, and Tib. See those three numbskulls?’ Lint scowled in the direction of three identical mice with bright red fur, currently flirting with one of Cookie’s daughters. The female mouse giggled as the mouse trio literally fought for her attention, yanking at each other’s tails, biting and scratching. […] ‘Those three have dung for brains. They thought it was a good idea to steal from the humans’ food pantry.’
‘And they were caught?’ asked Cookie.
‘No, but Mother Human didn’t have to be a genius to realize it wasn’t raisins in her cereal,’ replied Lint.
A few of the babes, and even the older mice, chuckled at this.
‘You can all laugh, but Father Human talked of poison and traps … and even a cat,’ said Lint in a serious voice.” (pgs. 16-17)
They all settle near “a solid wall of cornstalks, continuing in both directions as far as the eye could see. To the right of the rodents stood a single mighty cottonwood tree.” (p. 18) With the corn for food, the tall cornstalks to hide among, and the plowed soft earth to burrow into, the escapees have found a perfect home. Everyone has all the corn that they can eat.
Instead, it all turns into a nightmare. Avaritia is a Conservative extremist’s parable of what will happen if the Liberals control society, with the rats as the Conservatives and the mice as the Liberals. The rats are hard workers who follow The Old Code. They spend all day climbing the cornstalks to pry corn kernels from the corncobs, but they want to keep what they amass and spend it as they wish. The mice scorn them as greedy and selfish, hoarding their wealth instead of using it to help the community.
It starts out small, when their community is attacked by a much-larger opossum:
“‘We believe,’ announced York [the community’s leader and Benny’s father]. ‘that a defense against the opossum would be feasible. However, it would require time for training, planning, and a vigil watch. This would allow the other mice to work and live in peace. As for payment for these services, these … these defenders will no longer have to work in the field.’
An excited murmur broke out.
‘Since the defenders will be serving all mice, all mice will contribute a single kernel from each leaf harvested to a pile. This pile will then be divided and shared amongst the defenders.’” (p. 31)
The rats object to participating, but are outvoted by the mice. When some mice become too sick or too old and feeble to harvest their own kernels, the community votes to give them a kernel a day from the pile. The pile is officially named the Kindness Pile, and the mice congratulate themselves on their generosity. The community is dubbed Generocity.
When some mice have more babies than their parents can support, they are allowed to take kernels from the Kindness Pile. That’s what community spirit is all about! When the Kindness Pile shrinks faster than it grows, the mice agree to increase the Kindness donation to two kernels – then three kernels. Generocity should support schools for the mouse babies. Four kernels! As more mice see their daily harvests shrink through these donations, they call in sick so they can eat without working like the genuinely sick. Those relying upon generosity grow more numerous, until one day the Kindness Pile completely disappears. Where has all the corn gone? The selfish rats must be stealing it. Tax the rats especially heavily!!
This review gives away the basic plot. Read Avaritia to find out the fate of the mice, of the rats — of Generocity. And what Avaritia means.
The details aren’t pretty. Little Benny is the Everymouse who witnesses it all, and plays an important part at the climax. Whether you agree with the moral philosophy or not, Westbrook tells a compelling tale in short, easy-to-read chapters.
The price on the book is $9.99, but Amazon says it’s $5.99 without any discounts. The Kindle is even cheaper.
Vice’s Furries topic has excellent news reporting. You can find a few missteps, but it has some of the best focused attention that the media has ever given to the fandom, way beyond Furries 101. One outstanding article is CSI Fur Fest: The Unsolved Case of the Gas Attack at a Furry Convention. Writer Jennifer Swann got an Ursa Major award nomination for it. Their most recent is Who Makes Those Intricate, Expensive Furry Suits? (Fred Patten and myself were proud to assist writer Mark Hay – I sent a long summary of history, makers, details to investigate, and links.)July 28, 2017
Those show that not all media is bad, and talking to them has good results. That’s different from prevailing attitudes against “sensationalism” that blindly treats “the media” as an epithet – as if PBS is the same as the National Enquirer. There’s a world of difference between trashy daytime TV and well-researched long-form reporting. But a fandom grudge persists, for as long as 16 years after stale old incidents we all know and hate. There’s even backlash at members who step out of line. This friend of ours experienced it:
And for Sanjiv Bhattacharya, who made effort to learn about how the fandom was dealing with the Fullerton tragedy while he writes an article for The Atlantic. This article he wrote about a school shooting proves what worthy service he could be doing.
If you can help Vice cover the Fullerton story, please send a confidential contact to firstname.lastname@example.org that will be passed to Jennifer Swann. (Sanjiv’s contacts are in his link.) Trial news is coming, and there are a lot of unanswered questions. The hope is for a story that everyone can learn from.
Some further opinions:
For those concerned about “fandom image”, a smart idea is to pick good, careful reporters to work with. Refusing to talk is reasonable for stories that don’t exist unless the media makes them. But I don’t think that’s the case with this murder story. It will get attention no matter what, and it’s a community happening with undeniable furry connection. (There would have been no crime if the participants weren’t closely tied through fandom – akin to a tragedy at a school or workplace). Rumors and false beliefs about it can get dismantled with careful reporting, but they grow worse without it. I think it’s self-defeating to assume “the media” in general has bad faith.
Journalist work involves fact finding. Like in a court, there’s a process of putting evidence itself on trial. There can be many versions of a story that need a pro to investigate. Kind of like lawyers, journalists are liable to get treated like they’re always wrong – until a person needs one on their side. Good reporting can make sympathy, abate rumors, or aid a cause like fund raising for the kids in this story. Free press is even essential to democracy. It’s about government (that’s what law and justice is.)
It all relates to telling a shocking story, which isn’t the same as being “sensational”. If anti-intellectual attitude shuts down reporting it, next time something bad happens, then ask “how could we have seen this coming? Why us? How can we stop this?” And the answers were there, but nothing was learned because image was too important. Or worse – nobody even bothers thinking about it because it has “nothing to do with us”.
It’s easier to forget the whole thing. But there are those close to this story who will never forget. Understanding for them can come through understanding by us.
Like the article? It takes a lot of effort (and a few beers) to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon, where you can access exclusive stuff for just $1.
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer
Garbage Night, by Jen Lee. Illustrated.
London, NYC, Nobrow Ltd., June 2017, hardcover $18.95 (98 pages).
Garbage Night is #2 in Lee’s Vacancy series; what Amazon calls “dystopian graphic novels”. Vacancy, #1 in the series, was published in June 2015. But Garbage Night the book includes the complete Vacancy as a bonus. Garbage Night itself is 70 pages, followed immediately by “Now read Jen Lee’s original comic, Vacancy” for 26 more pages. You should skip directly to Vacancy, read it first, then return to the beginning of Garbage Night. Be warned that it still ends with a “to be continued”.
What is going on is unexplained. The blurb for the first story says, “Vacancy explores the ways that animals think; how they internalize their changing environment and express their thoughts, fears, or excitement.” The blurb for Garbage Night says, “Juvenile animals strive to survive across a post-apocalyptic wasteland in this striking parable about the nature of freedom and friendship.” What it is is about anthropomorphic animals (they wear clothes and are bipedal) living in a deserted, humanless world.
Simon is a pet watchdog left behind when his humans disappeared. But it is obvious that what’s happened is more complex than that. The entire town shows years of having been deserted. Signs are peeling, windows are broken, cloth is rotting, roofs are falling in. Simon roams through his owners’ empty house, wishing that they’d return to fil his food bowl, but not really believing it after so long. What remains of the town has been scavenged out of food by the abandoned pets and nearby wildlife like Monica the opossum. When two forest animals pass through town – Cliff, a raccoon, and Reynard, a deer with a broken antler – Simon asks to go with them. “I need someone to show me the ropes of the wild.”
In Vacancy four hungry coyotes (also anthropomorphized) chase them back into town again. In Garbage Night the three team up with Barnaby, another dog looking for another town that is rumored to still have humans and their food.
“We were just talking yesterday, in fact, about how we’re gonna leave for that … other town! The one with all the things!”
“Ha, me too. Yeah, it’s supposed to have everything. Why don’t we go together? I know a short cut.”
At the end of Garbage Night (named for the long-gone night once a week when the humans used to set big cans of edible garbage out to be picked up), Simon, Cliff, and Reynard are on the outskirts of the semi-mythical Fallbridge. Their reactions to Barnaby, and what happened to him, are part of the story. To be continued.
Jen Lee is also the author of the semi-animated webcomic Thunderpaw in the Ashes of Fire Mountain, http://thunderpaw.co/ (Warning: it contains the same kind of flashing lights that sent almost 700 Japanese children watching Pokémon too close to the TV (almost with nose prints on the TV screen) to the hospital with mild epilectic seizures in December 1997.) Garbage Night gives her a more varied palette, even if her colors are all muted. Compare the shifting lighting from the daytime scenes on pages 22-23 to the greens within the forest on pages 38-39, the evening scenes on pages 48-49, and the full night on pages 68-69. Look at how she indicates rising or falling voices, or characters talking over each other, by her use of speech balloons; or different characters talking in the same panel by different colored balloons on pages 86-87. Subtle stuff. I want to see Vacancy #3.
@SpotlessEnvy saw my Onion-style headline and suggested writing the article. I asked if they wanted to try it as a guest post. Here it is, with the extra fabulous bonus of illustrations made by Spotless. Check them out for art commissions. – Patch
Unfortunately, it’s a common awkward moment in the day of the smartphone. You hand your phone to a friend, family member, coworker, etc. to show them your vacation photos, the 87 pictures of your dog you took this morning, 2007’s embarrassing Halloween costume or the like, and despite your pleading scream of, “Don’t swipe!” they swipe. In the fandom, what’s the worst thing for them to find on your phone?
How to Be Cool and Play Off that Furry Porn You Forgot Was on Your Phone:
1. I got this phone on Craigslist
Hey, buying gently used electronics off Craigslist, eBay, Amazon, and the like is fairly common these days. Just explain that you didn’t think to clear the memory before using it. “Don’t worry Mom, I’m not a sexual deviant; the person I bought the phone from was!”
2. My roommates/friends like to play obscure jokes
Live in a dorm or apartment with other people? Hang out with friends regularly? If you answered yes to either of these questions, congratulations! You have a scapegoat. “Dang, Jimmy must have messed with my phone while I was in the bathroom. What a stinker!”
3. I’m doing a presentation on current art trends
You could easily swap out art trends for viral marketing or some other topic. Explain that you were researching for a presentation and needed pictures for the slides. “Y’know Carl, you’d never believe how profitable this stuff is. I’m sure Professor Smith’s never seen this topic before!”
4. There’s this obscure virus going around…
There’s all kinds of strange forms of malware and viruses on the net. Who’s to say there isn’t one that instantly downloads 16 gigabytes of suggestive pictures of dog-people onto your phone? “Oh no! Looks like I’ve been hit with the E621 virus!”
5. I share my GoogleDrive with a friend
Or other cloud-storage service. “Look Sarah, we both know Harry is into some weird stuff. My fault for sharing the cloud with him I guess.”
6. Just own up to it
Listen, furries are becoming more and more mainstream. Just go ahead and say it; usually the person will appreciate the honesty. If they’re close enough to you, they probably won’t care that you moonlight as a giant fuzzy husky/dragon hybrid who’s into bondage or what have you.
Pro Tip: if you decide on using one of the first five options, it might be best to have those files stored elsewhere. Don’t wanna lose good quality porn!
– SpotlessEnvy (Check out their art!)July 28, 2017
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World, by Shannon and Dean Hale – review by Fred Patten
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World, by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale. Illustrated by Bruno Mangyoku.
NYC, Marvel Press, February 2017, hardcover $13.99 (324 [+ 1] pages), Kindle $9.99.
The Marvel Comics Group is having hardcover novelizations written of most of its high-profile super-heroes such as Iron Man, for the 9-to-12 age group. Marvel does not go in for animal heroes, so the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and her 300 squirrels are about the only ones who would qualify for interest to furry fans. New York Times bestselling author Shannon Hale specializes in romantic novels for adolescent girls and young women, many in collaboration with her husband, Dean Hale.
This novel recounts the beginning of Squirrel Girl’s career, written in a breezy teenager’s diary style. The comic book stories began in 1991 with her as a 21-year-old college student, but here 14-year-old Doreen Green has just moved with her parents from Southern California to Shady Oaks, New Jersey. “Who runs the world? Squirrels!” Doreen may be prejudiced because she was born with a bushy squirrel’s tail. Otherwise she looks like any young teenage girl, except that she’s super-strong and has retractable claws and “her two front teeth were a little longer than their neighbors. She had to gnaw on things to keep them from getting even longer. Things like logs.” (p. 2) Maple logs are her favorite.
No reason is given for her having a squirrel’s tail, but Hey! this is the Marvel Universe. Doreen used to see She-Hulk while she lived in Los Angeles, and now she’s looking forward to seeing Thor and the other Avengers who live in nearby New York City.
Doreen is hiding her tail in her pants because a 9th-grader with a bushy tail would look kind of freaky*. She left all her old friends, human and squirrel, back in L.A. and she’s looking forward to making new ones. The human teenagers in Shady Oaks are a bit standoffish, but when Doreen climbs a tree in a city park, she runs into a squirrel being squeezed to death in “some kind of weird squirrel death trap.” She frees the squirrel, who runs off.
The squirrel is Tippy-Toe, and that’s how she and Doreen meet. Tippy-Toe and Doreen’s mother Maureen are the only other characters from the Marvel comic book; everyone else is original for this novel. So it doesn’t duplicate from the comic books, just in case you’re familiar with Squirrel Girl’s career. Chapters narrated by Tippy-Toe are in the first person and are slightly more mature. Tippy-Toe acknowledges that the human girl saved her life, she follows her to her human nest, and at night they talk together in the squirrel’s language of Chitterspeak. Doreen gives Tippy-Toe a pink ribbon to wear around her neck. Tippy-Toe is her first friend.
At Union Junior High, Doreen is frozen out by the girls’ cliques. Her first human BFF is Ana Sofia Arcos Romero, another loner because she’s Hispanic and almost totally deaf. Doreen knows Ameslan, American Sign Language because she has a Canadian cousin who’s deaf, so she and Ana Sofia have long conversations in sign language. This just gets them a reputation as being super-weird with the other kids.
Doreen’s first outings as a super-hero (I’d say super-heroine, but apparently that’s sexist) are at night away from street lights. She puts trash back in garbage cans that juvenile delinquents have tipped over, and cleans up graffiti, taking advantage of the dark to let her tail out of her pants and to use her super-strength to leap away or up into a tree to escape notice. She gets a reputation as the Jersey Ghost. Only Ana Sofia and the squirrels know her secret.
Tippy-Toe takes Doreen as a role model and decides to become a hero for the squirrels. They can use one, because whoever set out that squeeze-to-death cage that caught her sets out a lot more, marked MM, for both tree squirrels and ground squirrels. Other tree squirrels include Little Candy Creeper, Fuzz Fountain Cortez, Bear Bodkin, Bubo Nic, and W. Scummerset Maugham, while the ground squirrels have names like Big Daddy Spud, Miranda Creepsforth, Puffin Furslide, and Pug Muffintop. (There are two pages of squirrel names like Suzie Skunkkiller and Henry Hexapod, and I’m not going to quote them all.)
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World is almost halfway through before the plot picks up speed. Doreen gets her Squirrel Girl secret identity. She foils a carjacking, and rescues an endangered baby. She rescues two endangered babies (sort of):
“Ana Sofia [texting]: Good I know ur grounded but a balloon got loose
Doreen: You really need to tie those things to your wrist
Ana Sofia: No srsly I was sleuthing near the burger frog grand opening. A hot air balloon got untethered and is floating away. A man and woman are screaming that their baby is on the balloon” (p. 131)
And she gains her first super-foe; whoever is saturating Shady Oaks with those MM death traps for squirrels. Okay, he’s only a minor super-villain, but she’s only 14 years old. And he is trying to kill her.
There are guest appearances by the Avengers, and even Rocket from the Guardians of the Galaxy turns up for four pages toward the end. Squirrel Girl and Ana Sofia take care of the human side of things, and Tippy-Toe leads the 300 squirrels:
“‘This is where we hold them,’ I shouted. ‘On this abandoned field, this is where we fight! Whether we crush them by acorn or shred them by claw! Remember this day, squirrels, for it will be yours for all time!’
‘CHK-CHA!’ the army responded.
‘Squirrels, what is your profession?’
‘NUTS AND DEATH!’ came the reply.
‘This day we rescue an ignorant world from destruction!’ I said. ‘We protect a world that would call us vermin! Why do we do this? Because we are mighty! Because we are valiant! BECAUSE WE ARE SQUIRRELS!’” (pgs. 288-289)
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World (cover by Bruno Mangyoku) isn’t really illustrated. Mangyoku, a French commercial artist, has done the front and back covers, the endpapers, and one page of Tippy-Toe demonstrating nine martial-arts poses. That’s all.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Book 2, also by the Hales, will be published in March 2018.
*Fortunately, a squirrel’s tail is flexible and mostly air, and it folds up inside pants really easily, although it does make Doreen look like she has a big butt. Squirrel Meets World has over a hundred footnotes like this.
We’re back! I have some treats to back for furs who cut their teeth on waiting for mail to come from sending for box-top prizes! This month’s theme seems to be pins! (One of which ended… these are sorted in the order they are expiring.)
Mer-Cat Pins – I hope you like sushi, because these are Mermaid Cat… Pins. Yes, exactly as it says on the tin. This is a rather small looking project with only 23 backers at the time of writing.
Scribbler DUO: The World’s First Dual-Nozzle 3D Printing Pen – Can you draw, but not 3D Model? Wish you could draw in 3D? Well…. Now you can try! Not inherently Furry itself, but it definitely has possibilities. I’m including this this week in the interest of allowing everyone the chance to make their own choices on backing, but you can’t have that choice without knowing it exists! So, here it is!
Legendary Creatures – One of two board games this week. This one appears to be a Resource Management game with some deck manipulation. It has a very simple and angular art style with a Mythical Beast theme. Enough to warrant a spot on this list. As it is a board game, I can’t attest to how good it is without actually getting my paws on it, but i t does appear to be medium weight and not mere fluff.
Werewolf/Moon Pin – Another Pin, this is one ‘monstrous’ design tho; With wolf and moon, attached by chain. I don’t see any mention of extra Shipping costs, so it may be $15 for a Pin with shipping included.
Bandanimals – Here’s one that’s obviously by furries for furries. It’s a re-design of the muzzle bandannas I’m sure you’ve seen at cons. This update promises a lighter material that is easier to breath through and a 1-sided design so you can flip it around and wear as a non-muzzle normal bandanna.
Beasts of Balance – This is a balancing game along the lines of Jenga. It comes with an App that connects to your smart device that it uses to visualize the game’s scoring. This project in particular is for a 2nd edition along side a new expansion for the base game which actually came out a while ago.
Fauna of the Dirty South – Our last set of pins features punk Opossums and Trash Pandas. I investigated a tiny bit more on this one as I didn’t have much to say on the project and found his instagram a little interesting. Particularly the skull with fuzzy fox ears.
Cartoon Miniatures – We have another set of anthro miniatures, but these ones are a bit more unique with less common species. I like the Panda, but Rinos are rather more exotic when it comes to anthros.
Re:Legend – Multiplayer Monster Rancher X Rune Factory. If that does not ring any bells: Monster Rancher was a monster raising sim where you trained monsters to take part in monthly fighting tournaments, entirely unlike pokemon’s exp grind system. Rune Factory was a farming simulator like Harvest Moon, but also with dungeons and combat. It is currently all clear for a PC release on Steam but has stretch goals assigned for every major console, including the Switch.
I have one final thing I’d like to share this week and that is from a project that has long since ended but which you can now buy their stuff right from their online store. It’s another set of furry miniatures with a bit of Chibi to them. Have a look and pick up any that jump out at you.
Bombshell Miniatures: Kritterkins – Remember these come unpainted.
I know this is kind of old news, but I still see people going on about it. This is about @DeoTasDevil taking down RMFC (allegedly).— Harper (@GunRoar) July 21, 2017
It’s very possible you’ve heard the assertion that Deo (DeoTasDevil) is responsible for the demise of Rocky Mountain Fur Con. There’s been a lot of back and forth about it, and allegedly she’s the main and even sole party responsible. Let’s put aside the various instances of the fallout and just examine the sequence of events pertaining to Deo’s participation.
- In January 2017, Deo tweets “can’t wait to punch these nazis.”
- She receives a reply from someone that they would be amused if she were shot in response to her purported action.
- Deo responds asking if this person was threatening to bring a gun to RMFC.
- Deo contacts RMFC security to inform them of a potential issue.
Let me be clear: I'm aware of no state that allows you to shoot someone for punching you, then crying self-defense.— Boozy Badger (@BoozyBadger) May 27, 2017
^ A lawyer’s opinion.
In April, three months later, the C&D letter and SovCit business happens. RMFC reveals that the hotel and local police have been called numerous times to make various threats (before and after Deo’s January tweet.) This concerns the hotel so much that they demand RMFC pay an additional $22,000 for increased police presence at the property. Shortly after the cost demand, RMFC announces they’re shutting down. Elsewhere, Deo is accused of having made at least some of the calls to the hotel and police, if not having orchestrated the entire phone-based attack. Essentially, some group of people mass called the hotel of the venue to make bogus threats and fake safety/publicity concerns, which led to the hotel asking for extra funding to be provided for increased security (months after Deo’s tweet.)
(Patch:) To update the April article that preceded the closing of RMFC – a clarification was recently added by request. Deo gave an accurate quote of emailing the con only. She didn’t contact the hotel or police in Colorado. At the time it was written, there wasn’t a group dedicated to blaming Deo, so that wasn’t made entirely clear.
Fast forward a few months and Califur experiences the same problem. People begin calling the hotel– though this time regarding the content of one of the panels featured at Califur– making fabricated concerns and threats. The hotel demands a hefty fee for additional security. However, the individuals behind this attack are members of “Alt-furry”. They even discuss formulating a plan to attack AC in a similar fashion.
Who fucked over Califur?
Oh yeah it was those assholes organizing threatening calls inside their AltFurry Discord.
Coincidentally, the people claiming that Deo orchestrated the attack on RMFC are also members of Alt-furry. This makes two conventions that have been attacked in this way with a third planned (though no word on whether or not AC was actually attacked has been given). Assuming we don’t know the identities of who attacked RMFC, we do know that Alt-furry went after Califur. Both follow the same MO, yet we’re told that Deo is guilty by the very people caught redhanded in the second and potentially-third attack.
This is an immediate red flag that the accusation against Deo is little more than deception. The more likely scenario is that members of the Alt-furry group executed both attacks and are attempting to use Deo as a scapegoat, following her sudden notoriety from her tweet being thrust into the public eye. If you add in various things that I’ve skipped over (RMFC’s loss of tax exempt status, the owner’s sex offense record, the poor handling of pseudo-nazi instigation)… it just doesn’t add up that Deo managed to sink RMFC with a vague threat lacking credibility.
Perhaps you’ve heard a different account of the debacle surrounding RMFC, but regardless of what, there’s no denying the suspicious actions from members of Alt-furry that undermine their claims.
Consider this: Your house is burglarized. Not long after, your neighbor’s house is burglarized, but your neighbor manages to catch the burglar. You find out that the thief was planning to rob another home. When you ask, the thief claims that they weren’t the one that robbed you. Would you believe it?
- Screens of Altfurry planning to interfere with Califur.
- Interview with RMFC’s Chair.
- A false rumor about RMFC is repeating history from the Burned Furs.
- How furry fandom is rejecting neo-nazis, “Altfurs” and Furry Raiders who target kids for hate.
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer
The Latte Segment, by Zoe Landon
Portland, OR, Leporidae Media, February 2016, trade paperback $14.99 (282 pages), Kindle $4.99.
This is the purest funny-animal novel that I have ever read. Other than that the characters are all described as animals, there is nothing to differentiate this from any all-human novel.
Sarah Madsen is a young woman working as a marketing analyst in Portland, Oregon. Her boyfriend, Sean, is an unemployed computer programmer from Silicon Valley in California. Sarah relaxes alone almost every Sunday at the Deadline Cafe over an expensive latte laced with mint; her only vice.
“Sarah fidgeted and the corner creaked. She was worrying about money.
Her finances were safe, by most reasonable standards, yet there was a nagging sense that she should be doing better. Perhaps she could save a little more. She could go to fewer movies with Sean and their whole circle of friends. She couldn’t get rid of her television like Sean did; she relied on it too much for work. But she could stop coming to the Deadline Cafe every Sunday. It did feel like the lattes got more expensive the last year or so.
Everything in Portland felt like it was getting more expensive lately. Most of it was inevitable. She moved here when things weren’t very good anywhere, and now things were especially good here. New businesses were popping up in her neighborhood left and right. Businesses that, for one reason or another, she rarely went to.” (pgs. 5-6)
Sarah’s life and circle of acquaintances are built up very slowly. There are Carl, her apartment neighbor, and Deborah, her cheerful elderly landlady who is always running about fixing things in the old building.
“They had a good rapport from the day Sarah first saw the apartment. Deborah was always willing to try and fix anything that came up from the residents, even the sort of work that a woman of her age would rarely attempt. Sarah could hardly think of a time she called for a handyman and it wasn’t Deborah herself that came to fix things.” (p. 20)
There are Michelle, her perky, friendly middle-aged office mate, and Alex, her artist friend who is apparently transgender – he keeps switching from one gender to the other.
“Alex was known to move around with what pronouns he preferred. Sarah was always willing to oblige, but it was the sort of information that needed to be passed around.
He was one of the first people Sarah got to know in Portland. He was offering art lessons at the time, and Sarah took him up on the offer. He fit Sarah’s idea of the eccentric, androgynous artist to a T: a small, curiously fashionable otter, soft-spoken with an excitable and scattered brain. Just the kind of character Sarah wanted to get to know.” (p. 13)
Oh, Sarah is a brown-furred rabbit. Sean is a raccoon, Michelle is a wolf, Carl is a hyena, and Deborah is a coyote. Others are gradually introduced.
Sarah has been working regularly for several years and is well-liked, but she is bored and toys with quitting.
“Sarah could only deal with these months [the hectic end-of-quarters]. She didn’t enjoy the chaos. After four years at this job, however, she learned to manage it. She was in charge of managing marketing campaigns for two different clients, and she kept tabs on them gradually. Her approach was measured; chaos would only bring more chaos. An email here, a meeting there, a phone call on occasion, delivered slowly and when necessary. They weren’t the projects with the best performance or most spend or anything that her bosses cared about, but she kept organized and planned ahead. For that, she was well-liked.” (p. 15)
Sarah’s relationship with Sean might be described as more perfunctory than lively.
“‘So,’ Sean said, ‘I need you to explain something to me. How in the hell have you not seen Young Frankenstein?’
Sarah shrugged. ‘I haven’t gotten into Mel Brooks yet. He’s not my style.’
‘But he’s –‘
Sean cut himself off. He loved debating movies with friends. Most of them were even good for a snappy quip in return, the sort of friendly banter that endeared Sarah to the whole crowd. Sean played well off Kate in particular because she was so loud. Sarah, a more mild-mannered rabbit, wasn’t a good foil.” (p. 11)
Kate is a meerkat. Lee, another member of their movie-watching group, is a ferret. Matthew, the manager of an art-house theater that they attend, is a sharply-dressed ocelot.
One day Sarah gets a form letter from Deborah to all her apartment residents announcing her retirement.
“Don’t you fret, though! I’m handing over the keys to the folks at Waterknell Management. Yes, it’s a big group of folks, but they have a bunch of little families in town. I’ve heard good things about them, so I’m sure they’ll take care of you folks just fine. They’ll be moving in a few weeks from now, October 1st! My, is it almost the end of the year already?
Anyway, their man Andrew will be taking over my office, so I hope you all take a chance to get to know him. He’s a fine young hare, but he’s sure got some little shoes to fill here!” (pgs. 20-21)
Sarah is mildly surprised, but not much since Deborah is so obviously past retirement age. She idly wonders who her new landlords will be.
“‘She did say it was some local management company. Never heard of ‘em, but still.’” (p. 23)
Sarah uses her marketing database to look up Waterknell Management. She can’t find any other locations listed in Portland. But there are other Waterknell Managements all across America.
“Now that it affected her, she found herself sitting at her desk, trying to research the new company. There were a dozen Waterknells, dotted across the country, making claims to anything from suburban townhouses to commercial towers. It was a strange name to be so generic. None looked like they held very strictly to any geographic area, so Sarah wasn’t sure which would be her new landlord come October.
Purely from a marketing standpoint, something was fishy about the Waterknells. Browsing across a few sites between work tasks, she started noticing similarities. The website layouts started to match, almost precisely.” (p. 25)
A more obvious giveaway is that all the Waterknells list the same manager, or president, or CEO: Andrew Casterwall, a brown-grey hare. San Mateo. Houston. He’s everywhere. What does this mean? He can’t be a friendly landlord/building repairman for all of them, can he?
As Sarah goes to work every weekday, watches movies with Sean and her friends, helps Alex put on art exhibits, and drinks lattes on Sundays, she is affected by her apartment’s change of management. To nobody’s surprise but hers, the new management is cancelling all leases and requiring new ones at $500 a month more. Her building is going to be gentrified; have a total makeover and cater to more upper-class tenants; more transients rather than those who consider their apartment their permanent home. None of the current residents can afford the new rents.
Should Sarah protest? She is hardly the first apartment renter to be priced out by a new management. Some of her friends and acquaintances are supportive to her protesting; others just shrug and say, “So move. Why bother to fight it?”
The Latte Segment (cover by Simon Avery) is a well-written, leisurely slice-of-life novel about a young yuppie woman facing a Big Corporation. Compared to the drama of most fiction, nothing happens at great length. There seems to be no reason for the characters to be anthropomorphized animals except that the author wants to call them that. The animals are all human size; live in well-known American cities; go to movies by Hitchcock and Spielberg and Kubrick; eat the same food; and so on. There are no illustrations – even Avery’s well-designed cover doesn’t show anything – so aside from calling Sarah a rabbit every so often, it’s easy to forget what animal each character is supposed to be, and to just imagine the cast as humans. I can’t say that this is a bad novel – it isn’t – but I can say that it isn’t really an anthropomorphic-animal novel except in the most superficial meaning of the term.
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
D’Arc: A Novel from the War With No Name, by Robert Repino. Illustrated by Sam Chung and Kapo Ng.
NYC, Soho Press, May 2017, hardcover $26.95 (386 pages), Kindle $14.99.
I don’t usually quote other writers’ blurbs, but how could anyone resist this from Corey Redekop, the author of Husk, on the front cover:
“Think The Fantastic Mr. Fox, with advanced weaponry, Charlotte’s Web, with armed combat, The Wind in the Willows, with machetes. D’Arc is all this and way more besides.”
S-f author Paul DiFilippo compares D’Arc to Cordwainer Smith’s Underpeople, David Brin’s Uplifted dolphins, Puss in Boots, and Brian Jacques’ Redwall. If I looked hard enough, I could doubtlessly find many comparisons to Animal Farm and Watership Down as well.
D’Arc is a sequel to Mort(e). Almost the first thing that you learn in D’Arc is a big spoiler for Mort(e): yes, Mort(e) the cat, the renamed Sebastian, does find Sheba, the pet dog who he was searching for all through that novel.
The first chapter, though, introduces Taalik and his Sarcops. They will appear again later. They are not Changed animals, but a new mutation. To quote a later description of them: “Part fish, part crab, part cephalopod. A bulbous head. Black eyes. Segmented armor on the spine, with four tentacles unfurling from within. Two jointed claws extending from the shoulders, with longer ones at the pelvis that could be used for walking. A long tail with spikes on the end of it.” (p. 54)
Mort(e) and Sheba appear in Chapter 2. Mort(e) does not join either the Changed animals or the remaining humans. He strikes out on his own – with Sheba. The “strange technology” of the ant Queen that Changed all natural animals into anthropomorphic animals in Mort(e) was actually a pill that the unnoticed ants inserted into each animal; and the Queen had not given this pill to Sheba in order to control Mort(e). After the Queen’s death and the disintegration of the Colony, Mort(e) and Sheba sail up the Delaware River, where Mort(e) gives Sheba the pill that Changes her. They continue past the abandoned ruins of Philadelphia, and finally leave the river and trek into the Pocono Mountains.
Here Mort(e) and Sheba are eating the remains of a giant Alpha warrior ant around a campfire:
“‘I didn’t go looking for you so you could be my pet,’ he said.
Sheba stopped fiddling with a leg and placed it in the fire.
‘You’re free now,’ he said. ‘I can’t be your mate. I won’t be your master. I’m your friend. I don’t know how many lives I have left, but they’re yours, if you need them.’
When she did not respond, Mort(e) took her hand. ‘There is a whole world out there, but I’m going deeper into the forest tomorrow. Do you want to go with me?’
Sheba gazed beyond the flames, out to the mountains rising like black monoliths.” (pgs. 28-29)
They become ant ranchers, domesticating the brainless Alpha giant ants left over after the Queen’s death; a herd that slowly shrinks as the Alphas gradually age and die, and are not replaced.
Many years pass. Chapter 3 introduces Falkirk, a husky officer of the Department of Tranquility of the animals’ growing Sanctuary Union. He is sent from their capital of Hosanna (“a big city with many different species”) to Lodge City, a beaver community. He finds that the beavers have evacuated their city for a refugee camp nearby:
“As they crested one final hill, with the sun going down, they crawled on their bellies so they [Falkirk and two beavers] could peer over the ridge without being seen. Booker followed, though he stopped short of the top. Castor pulled the goggles over his beady eyes.
From the hillside, Lodge City sprawled out before them in the failing light. Several buildings from the human era survived, all built from stone – a post office, a high school, a fire station. Around these decaying structures stood massive mounds of earth and tree branches, the lodges that the beavers preferred.
From his perch on the hillside, the town seemed out of focus to Falkirk, as if some gel had been smeared over his eyes. He pulled the binoculars from his satchel. Through the magnified lenses, he stared at the town for a long time before he could accept what he saw. ‘Why didn’t you come to us sooner?’ he asked.
‘Why did Tranquility send only one agent?’ Castor replied. ‘We need an army.’
Unable to answer, Falkirk looked again, panning more slowly this time. He could make out the contours of it: a spiderweb, consisting of millions of strands, draped over the town like a snowfall suspended in midair.” (pgs. 34-35)
Falkirk and Castor contact Mort(e) and Sheba and ask their help against the spiders. The Battle of Lodge City is brutal but successful, though not in the way that the reader expects. But then Falkirk asks their aid in more cases. More fights.
“‘Let me put it this way. The case number I’m working on for this spider attack is 0519. That means there are 518 cases before mine.’
‘Cases. You mean mutations.’
‘Yes. Most of them are harmless. But we don’t have the resources to address the ones that aren’t. And it turns out that the world is a big place. We have both a country and an ocean to explore. But we’ve been out of touch with the other continents for years. That’s what the expedition is for.’
‘What expedition?’” (p. 109)
Mort(e) isn’t interested. Sheba is. On page 144 she leaves Mort(e), takes a new name as he did – D’Arc, for Dog Joan of Arc – and joins the husky on the Sanctuary Union expedition.
“But her most important question was why. Why would people leave the fragile civilization in Hosanna to explore?
Falkirk put it this way. ‘We want to meet a panda who speaks Mandarin.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘We want to see who’s out there. We want to hear their stories. We want to tell them ours.’
She smiled. He gave her the best answer she could have asked for. ‘What about a lizard speaking Arabic?’
He laughed. ‘Or a silverback gorilla speaking Swahili?’
This made her giggle. ‘How about … a kangaroo. Speaking … Australian!’
Falkirk furrowed his brow. ‘Australian’s not a language.’ D’Arc laughed. ‘It’s not,’ he said.” (p. 160)
D’Arc (cover by Sam Chung) is less than halfway through at this point. Read it to find out what the two uplifted dogs and the expedition discover. There are marvels. There are dangers, external and internal. The story never gets boring. So far, D’Arc is my choice for best anthropomorphic novel of 2017.
Get ready for a big topic about toxic behavior, the cult-like groups doing it, how they’re targeting kids, and how the fandom is cutting ties with it for positive progress. This is a followup to last week’s article: “The Confederate fursuit incident shows how you can’t be a troll and a victim at the same time“. It focuses on the source of the problem:
- At Anthrocon 2017, a troll provoked drama with defenders who claimed he was being unfairly censored.
- The defense missed a basic point – he was an antagonistic outsider who was banned and didn’t register or support the con.
- It showed how trolls twist facts about consequences for bad behavior, so they can pretend to be the victims.
- Posing as victims requires a scapegoat (“SJW’s”). The misinformation is being spread like cult propaganda.
Anthrocon’s letter recognizes how the troll was pushing a “political message” on others. It’s an example of recent fandom activity by alt-right “altfurs” and their enablers. They do it with a twofaced pose that they want “freedom”, want “politics out of fandom,” and are just giving “their side”. But “their side” relies on false middle ground. (In other words, saying the earth is round doesn’t require Flat Earthers to give their side. Newspapers don’t interview vandals to get their side.) The real goal is to exploit and undermine the fandom behind a false front of “freedom”. That includes grooming and recruiting kids, trolling and harassing, dodging accountability, and worse things like welcoming literal neo-nazis (see below.)
Anthrocon’s response shows a reasonable solution not unlike my article’s: point out dishonesty, stop defending it, and demand better. That’s a far cry from claims that “SJW’s” are trying to control fandom ( a weak version of propaganda that “jews control the world”.) Blaming “SJW’s” is really an attack on reasonable standards of the fandom itself.
Of course “SJW’s” aren’t an organized group. Such a vague label can be conveniently given to anybody. On the other hand there are organized troll groups for altfurs and the Furry Raiders. Both use provocative symbols like a Confederate flag or Foxler’s nazi-styling to troll from behind a false front of “freedom”. Both share overlap of core members, and a mission of “battle” against “SJW’s”.
Here’s that mission in a recent video from Furry Raiders founder Foxler. He made it after “raiding” a meet in Colorado to spite them because Raiders and hate groups were banned. Then he complained of being the victim and invited altfurry to join his battle. (see 15:00). Preaching about battle is what cults do.
That gives some context about the bad behavior. The article about trolling at Anthrocon got a lot of response, including from one subject in it, Ricky. Then Ricky chose to leave the Furry Raiders, cueing the topic of cutting ties.
Leaving the group risks punishment for disloyalty.
If a group uses positive attention to groom or recruit members, the negative side might only be obvious to outsiders. Especially if it draws good people who don’t see what organizers do. But the downside can hit insiders too. It happened last week when several associates chose to leave the Furry Raiders and spoke up about the group’s problems, causing backlash.
Colt, Ricky, and DancerSwor are former associates between ages 14 and 18. (That means exposure to Foxler’s anti-SJW battle at barely voting age.) Colt, the youngest at age 14, was quickly disavowed by Foxler for not being a member of the Furry Raiders (yet). Altfurs joined in denying his connection, deflecting the issue of recruiting. Then they attacked Colt.July 13, 2017
Recently left a group called The Furry Raiders. I don't know if someone within the group is talking shit about me or not, but if so then the— Ricky Raccoon @ FM (@ProcyonAves) July 13, 2017
Been feeling more love from the "opposition since I left then the people who said they cared about me, but instantly began making fun of me— Ricky Raccoon @ FM (@ProcyonAves) July 13, 2017
So if they try to spread rumours about me, please don't believe them. They're just mad I didn't want to stay in their stupid cult— Ricky Raccoon @ FM (@ProcyonAves) July 13, 2017
I am overwhelmed by the amount of support I've received. From the way everyone described...well everyone that wasn't a raider I thought I'd— Ricky Raccoon @ FM (@ProcyonAves) July 13, 2017
Forgiven for the shitty decision I made to join and advocate for that group many months ago.— Ricky Raccoon @ FM (@ProcyonAves) July 13, 2017
Why I left Furry Raiders pic.twitter.com/lCjpUSuuB9— SworDanceR (@FurryIdiotSDR) July 14, 2017
Foxler Nightfire has betrayed me. More details + a possible video to come. pic.twitter.com/XGrk9d3KhC— Usain Colt (@ColtDaWolf) July 12, 2017 July 13, 2017
Altfurs, Neo-nazis and Stormfront members support Foxler by harassing a 14-year-old.
Don’t miss Colt’s video about being betrayed by Foxler. It was very disconcerting for Foxler and the altfurs. Fear of losing recruits is why Foxler spitefully “raided” the Colorado meet where he was banned, and declared battle. Meanwhile, altfurs bombed Colt’s video with dislikes and harassment. (Archive). The participants overlap: Foxler is in the Altfurrydiscord group that organizes trolling. Altfurry welcomes members of Stormfront (“a white nationalist, white supremacist, and neo-Nazi Internet forum that was the Web’s first major racial hate site.”)
Here’s a few who supported Foxler by harassing Colt:
- Casey Hoerth / “Len Gilbert” is organizer of @altfurrydiscord.
- Author of erotic nazi fanfic “The Furred Reich” (sample)
- 34-year old financial writer for The Street, and Trump campaign staffer.
- He led the altfurry group attack that “swatted” Califur and cost them $24,000 for security, then lied about it.
- He told Colt: “you look like… a snot-nosed brat who is spreading slander.”
- Nathan Gate / TheBigKK / KryptoKroenen is member of Stormfront and @altfurrydiscord.
- College student from Arizona.
- Hitler fan on Stormfront and Daily Stormer: “Far-Right is 100% completely Facist. At least to me, it describes someone who is willing to go all the way, no matter how violent or cruel, to establish White Nationalism.”
- He told Colt: “what a cringy little fuck… you’ll end up living the rest of your life as a social reject that nobody cares about.”
- Before harassing a 14 year old, he helped Altfurrydiscord attack Califur with fake complaints regarding kids:
- Aethryx wants nazis to rise again:
- He told Colt: “EVERYONE WHO CRITICIZES MY VIDEO AND DOESN’T AGREE WITH ME IS A NAZI!!!!! Fucking children”
- His post about Nazis: “I feel disappointed that I couldn’t live in this society, but I feel courage knowing that the arms will one day rise again. Hail Victory.”
Wow, I didn't realise who this was. I'm genuinely disappointed. Thought he was a cool guy. Later, you could have been better than this. pic.twitter.com/QA0h29ZLq1— Megaplexing Kaiju (@TwitchDaWoof) July 11, 2017
RT [priv]: how do u become that type of person whos like "i wanna be a fuzzy wuzzy bappy husky also i love fascism, big fascism fan here"— TOP CHOMP (@squeedgemonster) April 13, 2016
Those are just a few of the brave trolls who came down on a 14-year-old for cutting ties with Foxler. Something is really messed up with a group that hassles kids for disloyalty. It’s interesting that out of four who recently left, the youngest was treated the worst. (Even more info is withheld by request to avoid negative backlash at others.)
So much for “freedom” and concern for kids.
Positive progress is coming because furries support each other.
That trolling has nothing to do with being members of a fandom. Their goal is to selfishly exploit it and spread hate. That’s not the goal of furs like Ricky, Colt and their friends. They’re here to be fans and artists with a community. Good people can be pulled in to groups with bad organizers, but they’re still furries.
Why are people suddenly evacuating #AltFurry?— Elliot Cerulean (@ElliotCerulean) July 20, 2017
Maybe they realized they were in a cult when Foxler started abusing a "defector" who went public— Zarpaulus (@zarpaulus) July 20, 2017
Actually, the amount of outside respect the fandom has got for actively taking out white supremacists has been impressive.— Hugo Jackson / Arc (@phoenixtheblade) July 20, 2017
They don't want friends, they want followers, obedience, and justification of their own spite. They'll take it out on anyone who objects.— Hugo Jackson / Arc (@phoenixtheblade) July 20, 2017
the salt is so real lmao. furry raiders are a curious bunch; they love freedom of speech until it reflects negatively on themselves.— Liie (@Lucariwhoa) July 13, 2017
To people claiming we "can't" run right-wingers out of our fandom
We already did it with the Burned Furs
You are objectively wrong pic.twitter.com/XGWQmKPsQi
The reason people want altfurry members out of the community is mostly because they contribute nothing of value and ruin things for others.— LOT'S WIFE (@LibrettoTaur) July 21, 2017
a relatively guaranteed passive audience to fling them at in hopes of landing a few recruits who don't know any better.— LOT'S WIFE (@LibrettoTaur) July 21, 2017
Read the above thread by @LibrettoTaur for excellent insight.
Furries grew a thriving community by themselves. There’s drama, but also plenty of support. It comes naturally in a fandom for things made by each other.
Joining cult-like groups happens for a reason. Good people may not see what goes on behind a false front. Casual involvement can only have the positive side. Lonely people who may not have a place in other groups can be manipulated by smooth talk. Outcasts who have earned consequences for bad behavior can find enabling from organizers who recruit them. They can feel more important by dragging others down.
Ruining things and making battle is the opposite of creative fandom. It can be important to confront bad faith and dishonesty and demand better. It can also be important to listen and give space to people questioning involvement. Nobody needs friends picked for them – it’s just good to let them know that they don’t need a cult for that. The whole fandom has plenty of better friends everywhere.
Picking better friends isn’t “policing”.
Another ex-Raider comes back.
When the article was almost done, I got a nice contact from Stoplight. He talked about leaving the Raiders, so I asked if he wanted to say anything. Keep in mind I didn’t suggest anything, it’s purely his thoughts:
“Right now…as an ex Raider, I’d like to say that there is no excuse for my actions that I did when I associated with the Furry Raiders. They were the result of believing a manipulative and vindictive person who cares not for those he uses. It took a drastic turn of events in which he offered a way out that, in a time when I was suicidal and depressed, was appalling. That was when I realized he doesn’t care about anyone but himself and his image.
After that, I can say that leaving was the best choice for me. It freed me from the weight that was placed on my shoulders. I feel that if anyone is currently thinking of leaving that group I encourage you to do so. You may run into people who still hold a grudge against you, but the number of people who will support that decision will out number those who are holding your past against you.”
Found a piece of my past, and decided to rid myself of it. I never want to remind myself of my past actions. I'm moving on to better things. pic.twitter.com/uQ4Ibk5uNP— Stop Light (@StopLightDraggo) July 22, 2017
A cool thing about a fursona is how it represents changing yourself into something new. You can become your best self, or just grow and be different. A fursona isn’t just for “being yourself,” like Foxler says – “Always be yourself and never let anyone change you”. It’s not for being sociopathic, and expecting everyone else to adjust for you because it’s their problem. It’s not about selfishly making “battle” about Nazi armbands, “Raiding” or harassing because you hate change.
Everyone in furry fandom has power to be something new, but it doesn’t just involve yourself. Furry fandom has that “fandom” part. Make-believe isn’t so fun on your own. Sharing is one of those things you learn in kindergarten. But the small fringe of Altfurries and Foxlers didn’t get the message. They can go figure that out in the corner.
Demand better, and every time they try to drag someone down, let two of them leave and come back to the real fandom.
Turn more furries into neo nazis. Called him out, and got this. Stereotypical far-right behavior, act like they care then shove you down.— Feyd (@BluFawx) July 25, 2017
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Tucker Grizzwell’s Worst Week Ever, by Bill Schorr and Ralph Smith
Kansas City, MO, Andrews McMeel Publishing, January 2017, trade paperback $9.99 (242 pages), Kindle $8.49.
Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy, by Doug Savage
Kansas City, MO, Andrews McMeel Publishing, September 2016, hardcover $31.99, trade paperback $9.97 (144 pages), Kindle $9.47.
Phoebe and Her Unicorn, by Dana Simpson. Introduction by Peter S. Beagle.
Kansas City, MO, Andrews McMeel Publishing, September 2014, hardcover $13.99, trade paperback $9.99 (222 [+2] pages, Kindle $7.71.
These three books are samples of Andrews McMeel Publishing’s “AMP! comics for kids” series for children 8 to 12 years old (grades 3 to 7). The AMP! books are a combination of original book-length cartoon-art works and collections of newspaper or Internet daily comic strips. Most of them are not animal oriented, but here are two that are, plus Dana Simpson’s Phoebe and Her Unicorn, mostly for her previously-acclaimed hit in furry fandom, Ozy and Millie (although Phoebe does contain Marigold the Unicorn, and sometimes goblins). Furry fans may want to take a look at some of these. Many are in public libraries.
Tucker Grizzwell’s Worst Week Ever, by Bill Schorr and Ralph Smith, is a standalone original 242-page spinoff from Schorr’s The Grizzwells newspaper comic strip (1987 to present), featuring a funny-animal family of grizzly bears and their community. The newspaper strip is gag-a-day without any continuity. Schorr and his assistant Smith have tried to create a coherent novel, but what they have here is really a collection of lame one-liners with a thin connecting plot line. Astronomy class: “Do you know anything about asteroid belts?” “Only that they’re what asteroids wear when they can’t find their suspenders.” The characters compound the groaners by often breaking the fourth wall and looking knowingly at the reader. You can almost hear a drum-roll’s bada-boom.
Tucker is the young teenage cub in sixth-grade of middle school, with his slightly older sister Fauna. Other family members are Pop Gunther and Mom Flora. Friends include Pop’s buddy Pierpoint Porcupine, and the cubs’ schoolmates Mandy Fox, Hector Lobo (wolf), Lisa DeLovely (bear; Tucker’s crush), Norville Paddlebutt (beaver), Max Turtle, Walter Blimpnik (bear; school bully); and their school teachers and staff Miss Furball, Ms. Belch, Ms. Swinetrough, Ms. Fishbreath, Mr. Wheelbase. The overly-civilized Tucker’s worst week ever is the week anticipating “the ancient father-son rite of passage known as ‘Jaws and Claws’ weekend”, when his Pop and Pierpont Porcupine will teach him how to terrorize hikers, scare off picnickers (leaving their food behind), raid garbage pails, and eat roadkill.
Looking at this funny-animal comic strip forces the reader to consider the ancient conundrum: Why are female funny-animals always fully clothed, while the pre-puberty boys wear shirts and are nude below the waist? Funny-animal adult males can be either fully dressed, shirted only, or completely nude, depending on the needs of the comic; usually whether the setting is in a town or in the forest.
Anyway, Tucker Grizzwell’s Worst Week Ever is 242 pages of furry nudge-nudge-wink-wink and bada-boom. Buy according to your tastes.
Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy is an original 144-page graphic novel in three chapters by Doug Savage, the Canadian cartoonist who draws the webcomic Savage Chickens. Its sequel, Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy: Disco Fever, will be published in October.
The moose and squirrel rabbit are a couple of animals in the unspoiled Canadian North Woods, right by the factory of Toxicorp, “makers of fine toxic waste since 1892”. I expected that Laser Moose would get his light-saber vision from the flying saucers in the first story, but no, he already has it when the book starts. As you may imagine, it is hard to swing a laser beam around wildly in a thick forest without lopping down trees right and left. The wildlife like Frank the deer isn’t crazy about it, either. Rabbit Boy is a wide-eyed innocent who marvels at the stars and the beauties of nature. Laser Moose is a paranoid who suspects that every tree has a monster hiding behind it.
Rabbit Boy: “Isn’t it amazing? I love the night sky!”
Laser Moose: “Well, I don’t. The night sky is fraught with danger… Night is when evil can hide, under cover of darkness, waiting to strike! At night, evil can creep out from the seedy underbelly of the forest, where it –“
Rabbit Boy: “What’s a ‘seedy underbelly’?”
Laser Moose: “Um…a seedy underbelly is…well, it’s not good.”
Since Laser Moose has laser-beam vision, watch out! He definitely believes in shooting to kill first; asking questions afterward.
The stories are mild parodies of super-hero comic books. Some of the villains, who are real and not just in Laser Moose’s imagination, are Cyborgupine, Aquabear, and Mechasquirrel.
Phoebe and Her Unicorn is the first of five (so far) books; the others are Unicorn on a Roll (May 2015), Unicorn vs. Goblins (February 2016), Razzle Dazzle Unicorn (September 2016), and Unicorn Crossing (March 2017). The next will be The Magic Storm in October 2017. This first book collects her daily strips (six weekly days and a Sunday page) from April 22, 2012 to November 18, 2012 – approximately seven months per volume. The strips are rearranged from newspaper-strip format to book format, typically four panels per page (the Sunday pages are reduced), and colored when the newspaper strips were black-&-white.
Phoebe Howell is a 9-year-old fourth grader at Tipton Elementary who meets a unicorn. The unicorn grants her one wish. She wishes for the unicorn to become her best friend. The unicorn, whose name is Marigold Heavenly Nostrils, moves in with her. Her parents and classmates can see and hear Marigold, but thanks to her magic Shield of Boringness, nobody considers her worth calling to anyone’s attention.
Much of the Phoebe and Her Unicorn comic strip consists of Phoebe riding Marigold as the two converse. Marigold drops words of unicorn wisdom, but since she is also incredibly vain and self-centered (“Bask in my wonderfulness.” “The stars themselves are jealous of my loveliness.”), it’s hard to tell how seriously to take her. Continuing supporting characters include Phoebe’s parents, and her two classmates Dakota, her fabulously rich and beautiful “frenemy” who claims to be vastly superior and constantly calls her insulting names like “Princess Stupidbutt”, and the brainy but nerdy Max. The book concludes with seven pages of children’s activities: how to draw Marigold and Phoebe, “Make a Marigold Heavenly Nostrils Stick Puppet”, and similar others.
Phoebe and Her Unicorn, the book, does not present many anthropomorphic animals besides Marigold, but she is on practically every page doing unicorn things, often involving magic such as making the annoying Dakota’s flowing wavy hair disappear, leaving her as bald as Lex Luthor. (In Unicorn vs. Goblins, Dakota is given sentient hair.) One other magical animal does very briefly appear; Todd the Candy Dragon, who spews trick-or-treat candy on Halloween. Rar. Future volumes may feature other anthropomorphic fantasy animals, such as the small green goblins who say only “BLART!” The Phoebe and Her Unicorn books work as well as collections of gag-a-day comic strip collections usually do.
So: the Andrews McMeel Publishing’s “AMP! comics for kids” series that feature anthro animals are a mixed bag; mostly silly and juvenile, but worth checking out. You may find something to your taste.
- Buy Tucker Grizzwells Worst Week Ever on Amazon
- Buy Laser Moose on Amazon
- Buy Laser Moose Book 2 on Amazon
- Buy Phoebe and Her Unicorn on Amazon
- Buy Unicorn on a Roll on Amazon
- Buy Unicorn vs. Goblins on Amazon
- Buy Razzle Dazzle Unicorn on Amazon
- Buy Unicorn Crossing on Amazon
Thanks to Alecta Andromeda for contributing a first guest post.
This is a mature content book. Please ensure that you are of legal age to purchase this material in your state or region.
I keep hoping that a new renaissance in furry erotica is upon us, bringing hot, sexy anthro copulation in increasing quality, but the search for real stars in the genre is tough one as the field still needs to find it’s legs.
On that note, I am excited to highlight an exciting name to watch. Lilith K. Duat and Maria Delynn collaborated on the E-book Balance in Chaos. It’s an oddball title with an overload of exposition in places, but overall the furry and erotic elements are well balanced and hot.
The concept itself is also quite the page turner. Anup is a corollary to Egypt’s Anubis, ruling the realm of the dead as an obsessive (and dominant!) master. Some may say that the furry aspect of this novel is light, and it is, but I have a huge thing for Jackals and always wanted to get laid by Anubis. Egypt and Greek gods are colliding in a conflict of souls and waging war over followers. Turns out as one nation invades another, the Gods of the defeated faith suffer a loss of power. The give and take of this conflict laid a great backdrop for the characters, and it was nice to go into the book with a sense of familiarity.
The plot also gives us a perfect backdrop for the sex! Anup is disciplined and moral. Discordia is a God of Chaos. While first embroiled in combat and disdain, Anup takes a sensual control of Discordia and dominates her with the sheer might of his Jackal manhood. The hesitation, the temptation, the wrongness and star crossed lover plot is a little cliche, but works every way it should.
Me personally, I like my erotica with a hint of violence and sadism (check out my own work to see me go to all sorts of nasty extremes) and Chaos and Balance gives a good dose of that. Discordia’s relationship with her brother Ares is tumultuous, leading to a few torture scenes that honestly got my rocks right off. It’s not so bad as to be out of place or a turn off for more casual readers. The violence works for the plot increasing the desire and love between the protagonists.
Overall, it’s a great read. It’s not the nonstop sex obsessed rave most people consider with a “furry” erotica, but it is nonetheless a sexy book and sure to leave you satisfied and ready for a shower!
Hotness rating 4 out of 5 knots.
- Read Lillith’s book here!
- For Alecta’s blog with NSFW images and story samples, check out her Tumblr page.
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
reWritten, by Jako Malan
Plainfield, CT, Goal Publications, April 2017, trade paperback $15.00 (200 [+2] pages).
The setting of reWritten is a world from which humans have disappeared and been replaced with anthropomorphized Mammalœ.
It’s best not to dwell on the confusing background. The Mammalœ are aware of man’s past existence:
“We are, indeed, not the first to call this world our home. Bright-eyed and naive, our earliest ancestors wandered forth as the sun set on the age of man and rose for Mammalœ. The ruins of their magnificent civilization would be both the foundation and inspiration for our own.” (p. 1)
What happened to man? It doesn’t sound like man became extinct through war, unless it was a war that didn’t include blast damage – the Mammalœ consider man’s ruins to be “magnificent”. Have the Mammalœ (the narrator is an anthro jackal; others are aardvarks, meerkats, springboks, rats, rabbits, mongooses, servals, cheetahs, etc.) evolved to replace man? That would take millions of years. Surely there wouldn’t be anything of man’s left to seem “magnificent”. The Mammalœ civilization seems like a rundown funny-animal imitation of man’s; a smoky city that includes coal power, rickety electric trams, hand-cranked automobiles for the rich; most Mammalœ riding bicycles… The Mammalœ such as the rat and zebra are all the same size, presumably human. It’s easier to just accept that man was here but is gone now, and anthro mammals (Malan is South African; so is the setting – the Mammalœ currency is even rands, not dollars) have replaced him in early-20th-century-style cities.
Professor M. (for Makwassie) van Elsburg (a jackal), head of the Department of Anthropology and History at Mammalaœ University in Bridgend (apparently a major Mammalœ city), is approached at a reception by rich Mr. Oberholzer (a hyrax), the patriarch of the Bridgend Energy Cartel. Prof. van Elsburg recognizes him as one of the most influential and notorious mobsters in Bridgend. (He flaunts it; what’s the point of being influential and notorious if everyone doesn’t know it?) Oberholzer is also interested in the history and disappearance of man, and he has a private museum in his mansion. Five months earlier he and an associate had organized an expedition to the ruins of a human city that they hoped would provide more information. The expedition disappeared; simultaneously Oberholzer’s private collection was burglarized, and his servants began being followed. Oberholzer wants Prof. van Elsburg to lead a second expedition to the ruins, to find the hoped-for information and any clues to the vanished first expedition. Elsburg objects that he’s late-middle-aged and sedentary, without any experience in exploring, but Oberholzer’s request is similar to Don Vito Corleone’s offer that can’t be refused.
“‘Take the train to the Ashton precinct.’ Mr. Oberholzer’s last instructions interrupted my train of thought. ‘That is as far as the railways will take you. In town, I will arrange for my associate to meet you. He will brief you from there onwards. I have already contacted him with the particulars of the assignment. Be vigilant, Professor. Don’t discuss your task with anyone. And don’t disappoint me.’” (pgs. 31-32)
The reader will have already seen the book’s blurbs that describe it as “an existential horror story”:
“In a world only superficially similar to our own, it asks questions that have no easy answers, and answers questions that may have been better left unasked.”
Or in other words: There are things that Mammalœ were never meant to know!
reWritten is curiously like an Indiana Jones-type adventure with attempted assassination, creepy ruins, ominous visions, betrayal, cannibalism. mental programming, body possession, flying death machines, ferocious wild carnivores, etc., as narrated by an old-fashioned slightly stuffy college professor. Little touches in his narrative reinforce this:
“Opening the tent carefully, I peeked outside. I saw nothing out of the ordinary, but could smell the burnt residue from low-grade propellant above that of trauma,” (p. 53)
He’s talking about smelling gunpowder and blood. That’s a wordy way of describing the odor of burnt gunpowder and blood.
“Having dressed myself and finished my morning prayers, I stepped out of the tent again to embrace the fourth day away from home for a second time. My nose tingled with the characteristic aroma of burning coal, above that of chicory brewing in a pot.” (p. 55)
How many explorers start their days with morning prayers? Chicory is usually considered a poor substitute for coffee when coffee is unavailable.
Prof. van Elsburg heads into the Wastelands leading a squad of five mercenaries: Dunswart, a one-eyed honey badger; Marlboro, a stringy meerkat; Xanadu, a burly Cape Buffalo; Magalies, a crazy painted dog; and Isando, an adolescent kudu. Guess what will happen to them?
“The bartender [a bulldog] nodded again; clearly, they [he and Dunswart] had some form of mutual understanding. He appeared to be cut out for his job. An ancient scar stretched across his forehead and muzzle, his arms were muscular, and his dirty apron hid the outlines of a large revolver at his hip.
‘What can I get ye?’ he asked.
‘Something strong, please,’ I replied.” (p. 39)
Here is a description of starting the expedition’s truck on a freezing day:
“Pumping the accelerator, Marlboro opened a valve under the dashboard. The engine bulged with compressed air stored from the last time it ran. One or two bitter cycles later, it spat a tongue of flame before dying. Saturated black smoke poured from the exhaust pipe just beside and above the driver’s door. I was vindicated. It was not just I who did not like the cold!” (p. 48)
The writing is wordy and florid by modern standards. I do not know if this is Malan’s natural style, or he is trying to emulate a 1910s-era slightly pedantic academic. Some of the word choices seem peculiar. “The [railway] conductor, a brown hare, leered impatiently at his pocket watch.” Leered? “An oncoming train stormed past, its obnoxious horn clefting the night.” Not “cleaving”? “Smelt” instead of “smelled”. “‘Amazing,’ lamented Isandro.” “Three rifles and a revolver bayed for her blood, […]”
Here is one of the human ruins, of a railway station:
“The glass door had shattered. We stepped right through the naked steel frame into a dark lobby with a layer of sand and debris covering the floor. The ceilings were tall and adorned with dead light fixtures.” (p. 56)
It doesn’t seem like man has been gone for more than a few centuries at most; a very short time for Mammalœ to repopulate the world.
This review is saying nothing further about the plot, or about what the expedition finds. That’s for the reader to discover. There are some real surprises and, lest I appear to not have read the ending, much of what I say earlier is contradicted. What I have described is the old-fashioned writing style and the attempt to develop a horror-tale mood:
“‘Many strange and terrible things lay in wait on these plains,’ Anzac [a hyena] said. ‘Mother told me stories that would make your skin crawl. Who knows what terrible event ended her life.’” (p. 66)
“It was a buffet of misery, and there was only one guest at this feast.” (p. 96)
reWritten (cover by Tim Jardim) is a different furry novel; supposedly “an existential horror story”, but more mysterious and portentous (and science-fictional) than frightening and horrific (and supernatural), and with an elderly, non-heroic hero who dithers more than he reacts. It’s certainly a change from the in-your-face horror novels that scream and gibber at you. I liked it; I hope you will, too.