For 15 years, the Ursa Major Awards lacked resources. Costs came from organizer pockets. This year they tried a GoFundMe, and it’s getting close to the goal!
- It’s not there yet and still needs your help. Please see the fundraiser here.
- Don’t forget to vote for the awards!
Here’s some good news courtesy of Fred Patten.
At a recent Anthrocon Board of Directors meeting, it was approved for Anthrocon to match up to $350 in donations received in the UMA’s GoFundMe campaign to cover trophy manufacturing and costs.
The donation is viewed as a way to support writers. Many publishers release new works at Anthrocon, and the con has a substantial writing track which doesn’t cost much to run. Anthrocon spends a lot to support fursuiters (they can get special souvenir tags, for example), but the writing track has never asked for more.
During the discussion, it was noticed that the ALAA hasn’t gotten other cons to donate yet. It was suggested the ALAA use this opportunity to ask other cons to match a portion of GoFundMe donations too.
There was discussion of making Anthrocon’s donation regular annually – if other cons donate regularly Anthrocon is likely to join in, probably matching their amounts. Now is the time to step up and help.
AnthrOhio has agreed to host the 2019 UMA presentations, and Biggest Little Fur Con the 2020 presentations.
Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon. You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward. They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.
[Note from Patch:] Thanks to Summercat for this guest post. It’s a follow up to: Ever hear that Altfurries are just trolls? A real Nazi leader is taking them seriously. More than a few commenters had a mistaken impression that Dogpatch Press was original poster for a photo of “nazi furries”. We weren’t. That was a screencap, and it wasn’t posted to endorse the contents. An automatic feed to Twitter made it the cover image there.
We’re creatures of the internet. We all know that images and photos can be ripped from their context and spread around with new interpretations that show them in a different light than intended. Context matters, even for items that appear to be clear cut.
A prior article I wrote about Altfurs includes a photo shared by Neo-nazi Andrew Anglin. It shows three fursuiters posing happily in front of a Nazi flag.
I’ve seen this picture for years. I’ve heard many stories about it – that it was someone’s home, it was a Nazi museum, or that it was photoshopped. I’ve thought poorly of those who were in the photo, disappointed in all three and especially towards one of them, who I had admired up to that point.
The truth of the matter is fairly innocent. The picture is real and not photoshopped – but resharing it has stripped away the crucial context.
[Patch:] Here’s examples of the photo being used to represent Nazi furries. These bring up other interesting info too.
- An article at TheRooster.com makes it cover image for the story of the Furry Raiders ruining RMFC.
- A Geek.com article has the photo (also reposted to the Hatewatch twitter account with 76,000 followers.) The article was written by a former admin of Portal Of Evil, a site devoted to cataloguing the worst of the internet. It was from the bad old early 2000’s “yiff in hell furfags” time. Portal Of Evil spread hate and debate about fandom members like 2 Gryphon, who joined the Nazifurs Livejournal group. The Geek.com article gives background about the Second Life troll group “Furzis”, without getting to the part where the Furry Raiders spun off from it. The NaziFurs on Livejournal claim to have invented the “pawstika” armband, and want no connection to Furzis or the Furry Raiders. Hilariously, everyone involved sounds like they would be first in line to be executed by fascists AND each other.
- Incidentally, you may also notice a famous “Furries for Trump” image that I’m told also misrepresents the furs in it.
In response to the article on Altfurs being taken seriously, Beetlecat spoke up about the provenance of the picture – and identified herself as one of the three suiters. In 2009, they were among a group of six furries who visited the Alberta Aviation Museum. Beetlecat, RavenWolf, and Amran were in suit. They spent time posing for personal photos of their fun trip, never expecting to be immortalized for the wrong reason.
This was taken at an aviation museum in Alberta in like 2005 when you could make a Nazi joke without people getting seriously concerned lol— Adum (@HorseWengh) August 22, 2017
It was taken at the Alberta Aviation Museum. And yeah no one in that photo holds any Nazi views.
Source: I'm on the left.
These photos were provided by Amran (the foxcat suiter with the red marking), from the same trip. This is not a Nazi museum or someone’s home shrine, but a Canadian museum and an unfortunately taken-out-of-context pose. According to Beetlecat and Amran, none of the three hold Neo-nazi viewpoints. Amran has even stated that the photo was uploaded without their permission.
@foxcats (Amran) wrote:
Hello Dogpatch Press! Someone pointed out to me your article showing an image of three fursuiters posing with a display of WWII artifacts at a museum. This photo was taken at the Alberta Aviation Museum in 2009 with a group of six, including myself, who had gone for a short tour there. (In the photo are Beetlecat, RavenWolf, and Amran – myself). Unfortunately someone had uploaded this and other photos without our consent. It took off quickly afterwards. I’m linking you to a few other images from this outing to help show that it was taken at the Aviation Museum. I’d like to confirm that as Beetlecat said, this was an innocent tour. None of us hold views aligning with how the photo has often been misinterpreted.
Context always matters. Nearly a decade ago, not as many people on the internet were as sensitive to the appearance of Nazi symbolism as today. Social media wasn’t as much of an organizing center for the kind of hate group activity that came together in Charlottesville in 2017. At the time I was still thinking that most Nazifurs were either trolling or doing it as mockery of Nazism. It would still be a number of years before I realized differently.
What was intended to be a silly picture got removed from the original context and made into some sort of pro-Nazi Fur image, against the wishes of those pictured. Hopefully this clears some things up, and though I never expressed my disappointment, I own an apology to Amran for thinking ill of him like that.
UPDATE from Patch:
An interesting response came immediately. The photo itself needs context, but not so fast about relieving the local community, says an Alberta furry.
Sick of local furs acting like it's okay to be obsessed with nazis as long as they don't hold the views. Sending you some more info on this that I think was purposefully left out.— Akira DevilDog (@TheraAkuma) March 14, 2018
I’ve been an Alberta Furry since 2011 and there is a lot about the local community that I think is being covered up to save their reputations. I’m not here to say they all have nazi views, mostly I think they’re enablers and I’d be extremely skeptical of them saying Alberta Furries are anti-nazi at all.
I dug up some old threads relevant to your recent article about the museum pic, as well as some very recent telegram messages from local furries that show they’re still supportive of nazi imagery. There’s also a couple locals with nazi fursonas, one is an artist that’s been toning it down to avoid getting in trouble. I would say the entire local fandom, at least back then and lesser now, was supportive… It’s okay to be nazi as long as you’re not “serious” about it. Ever since AltFurry came out there’s been some removal of art, retconning nazi fursonas so they’re just “German”, things like that. Alberta is a very right wing province so I’m not surprised there’s so much love for “hugo boss”.
Of the three in the photo, Amran and Beetlecat hold no nazi views as far as I’m aware. Ravenwolf mostly isn’t in the fandom anymore. His mate at the time had a book collection with nazi literature (this was a few years ago and he claims he doesn’t remember).
It’d be a shame if it was all swept under the rug because “uniform fetishists” aren’t “real” nazis. Your article is rock solid, just the reaction the locals had about it all was very shady. Let the screenshot gallery speak for itself.
UPDATE 3/17/18: One artist who appears in the gallery, Eerie, responded.
I have no affiliation to alt right views and have made a permanent decision to not draw anything of the sort, related or otherwise. I have drawn Nazi imagery in the past, but at the time I was naive and did not understand the complexity of the imagery. I was interested in the history aspect and was trying to make a comic about it, but I have since decided scrap the idea and start from the beginning and am revising my characters.
I am also trying to remove what has been drawn (kind of hard on the internet). The commissioner of the image wanted their and my character in that type of setting. I’m pretty open minded and didn’t think much of it at the time. Those said commissioners also have no affiliation with the Alt right view as I know them personally.
Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon. You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward. They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.
Finally, the YouTube channel for the furry fandom has enough videos about foxes to make a whole playlist. Our latest episode is all to do with the classic 1973 Disney film Robin Hood. This timeless classic surely set many young minds onward to furrydom. Our guest writer Tempe O’Kun has Arrkay squawking all about the stable relationship between Robin and Maid Marian.
Hey, who’s that middle fox in the thumbnail? Why it’s a Patreon sponsor in a YCH slot with art by Underbite Dragon! It’s a thing we’ve been offering since August on our regular episodes.
In other news, the creators of Culturally F’d will be in attendance at Furnal Equinox 2018, and they’re running a couple of panels. Rusty gets into those in this months F’d Up Date. Rusty also responds to the amazing comments left on Fursuiting a History Part 1: Masks.
4:30-6:00PM Friday March 16
YouTubers meet and discuss the platform in an open Q&A discussion with a group of confirmed guest speakers from all genres! We have gamers, live streamers, fusuiters, a cooking show and an entomologist. We even through in a few jack-of-all-trades just to keep things lively! Furries are so talented! Arrkay and Underbite are moderating the discussion and we hope to talk about production, post-production, using YouTube, building channels and communities in online video entertainment.
Culturally F’d Panel
7:30-8:30PM Saturday March 17
Arrkay and Underbite share whats new and what’s up with the channel, and a sneak peak for whats next with Fursuit History (though Dogpatch readers may already have a clue). Culturally F’d actually premiered at FE2015, so this marks our third year in production! Most of our very first fans subscribed after meeting us at our first panel where we screened Episode One and outlined the general plan for the series. We’re now at Episode 58, with over 150 videos uploaded to YouTube (including F’d Up Dates, live streams, promo videos and Patreon Exclusives).
Show creator Underbite Dragon is now in the band Xephyr, with fellow furs Clumzy, Turi and Cobalt. Three dragons for every lion! Catch their performance at Furnal Equinox: Friday March 16 7:00-9:00PM alongside the fluffy duo Foxes & Peppers.
You can also catch an encore performance at a real human venue! Xephyr and Foxes & Peppers are performing the Hard Luck Bar on Monday March 19, 8:00PM (It’s the same venue as Howl Toronto).
The alt-right, or alternative right, is a loosely-connected grouping of white supremacists, neo-Confederates, neo-Nazis, neo-fascists, and other far-right fringe hate groups.
The “alt-lite” is frequently contrasted with and compared to the political alt-right, with which it shares some features, but the alt-lite remains distinct from the alt-right in that it claims to reject identity politics—including the white nationalism and racialism of the alt-right—though they share other key features and beliefs.
Learn more from the Anti-Defamation League – From Alt Right to Alt Lite: Naming the Hate.
Below is a guest story sent in by an unnamed furry, shared for awareness about how hate groups gain influence in a subculture like furry fandom.
A springboard into the alt-right.
Reading your article: (A deep dive into the Altfurry mission to “redpill” fandom with hate) motivated me to speak up on a similar topic. There’s a bigger number of “conservative” furries, and their less vocal communities, which often serve as a springboard into the alt-right. Those groups often distance themselves from the altfurs because they genuinely don’t like (some) extremist viewpoints of the altfurs (to a degree). But despite that, the membership gets caught in an echo chamber that slowly pushes them towards more and more extreme views.
This is a ground level report. My experience wasn’t in actual altfurry, but I ended up within circles that shared similar sentiment and beliefs about the SJWs, trans people, Jews, “globalists and leftists”, and similar. People often believe that they would manage to spot those and avoid them, but that isn’t true. I did, but still ended up as an active member. Many in those groups don’t fall into the “stereotypical” picture of the alt right. There are often liberally inclined people, gay people, or even trans people. That often conceals the much more extreme members, and makes it seem as a “neutral” place, and sometimes it’s easy to disregard the extreme members.
But constant bashing on certain topics from extreme members and tons of “information” that get dumped onto you, with lack of proper opposition (more vocal people against it get kicked out), slowly distorts perception. Many people stay “moderate” right, but I have seen many pushed into extreme beliefs.
It took me some important self realizations to finally get away out of that cursed echo chamber. I believe it’s important to demystify it and make the community aware of how easy it is to end up, or get pushed into such groups.
It takes time and support to get rid of distorted views.
Before everything, I’m asking for a bit of understanding. I’m not writing to argue, defend or excuse anything, but to give insight in how things like this can happen. I’m still neutral/ambivalent to some things because of how long I’ve been exposed, but I’m trying to get rid of them. Being surrounded by people like those distorted my views. It takes time and support to get rid of them, and it’s been just a couple of months for me, after being in it for a few years.
Compared to your article about alt-furry, my experience was much more grounded, and the groups I was a part of didn’t have that recruiting. I even met some higher ranking members in them personally, and they have shown me what is going on in the upper hierarchy. The groups acted more as a “safe space” for members, rather than a recruiting ground. Some were just alt-lite, and some were alt-lite furries, or had hidden/separate channels for furries. They had a better grasp of real life than what the alt-furs have.
This is just a story of what my experience was, and it is not, and should not be reflective for others. The communities that I was in were more moderate (on average) than the full blown fascist/sexist/racist/xenophobic alt-right ones. But there are still many malignant people in those alt-lite groups, who are just not as extreme as the actual alt-right. I have never shared the ideas of the alt-right. There is nothing nice to say about them.
When I felt unwanted, their community drew me in.
As a quick profile of myself, I was always voting for socially aware parties, participating in some protests for social and minority rights, and actively working to help people during the massive influx of immigrants and refugees that we had a few years ago. At the same time I was already somewhat participating in right-leaning groups. It wasn’t that I shared beliefs with those people, but their community made me stay.
I understand and feel for the sexual, ethnic or any other minority parts of the furry community and their issues, but the discourse was alienating. It was generalizations like “the whites are again at it”, “cis people don’t understand”, ”they’re a cishet male”, etc. The constant stream wore me down. Trying to raise concerns about it was rarely met with understanding. I never cared that I was straight, cis, and white. Those weren’t an important part of my character. There were nice people who let me know that they weren’t referring to me in those posts, but it made me feel unwanted. So I just gave up on the regular community.
I started interacting with other furries who weren’t bringing up politics, or going somewhat against the regular community. It felt better, as I stopped seeing the blame for something that I wasn’t even guilty of. With time, I started joining alt-lite furry communities. They made me feel welcome. I could talk about things that might have been controversial and ended up in a callout fest. People there were disagreeing with me but also discussing. They seemed more reasonable and despite politics being an often important topic, people were talking about other things too. It felt good.
These groups weren’t large, but they were spread out, with members in multiple groups leaning towards the right wing. I had time to get to know some of the members more personally, and it was a more varied bunch than I expected. It wasn’t just straight white dudes, but there were gay people, women, variety of skin colors and even some trans people. I was intrigued about how they joined, and I realized that many had similar experiences to mine. They felt unwanted for a variety of reasons, and these communities accepted them. Some were doxxed and received death threats because they were disagreeing with the general community, others were betrayed by close friends and lost support, some were ridiculed for their beliefs in completely unrelated topics, or were disregarded because they weren’t a part of some minority. A decent number of them didn’t join alt-lite groups because of their political or social beliefs, but because those groups welcomed them and offered them acceptance. I was one.
Again, it’s not my interest to defend any of it, but to give an insight and understanding into how these things happen.
Debating or ignoring extremists
Of course, it wasn’t all nice. There were a certain amount of extremists who were alt-right and full blown fascists or bigots. I was cautious of arguing or calling them out, because I didn’t want to get ostracized again, especially knowing how the alt-right can be hostile. But other people were arguing against them. It was something that I hadn’t seen before, so I started participating too. Most of them didn’t share my views, but they didn’t kick me out.
Not many people in the community looked favorably towards the alt-right, maybe agreeing in some broad strokes, but mostly considering them man-children. Most had favorable views towards topics that I found distasteful at best, abhorring and disgusting at worst. It went from conservative beliefs to creation of an ethnostate, denying trans rights, heavy opposition to what they considered SJW’s, hostility towards non western european / american nations, and global / jewish conspiracy. It paled to the degree of what the alt-right does, but it was there. I kind of ignored them because there are always maniacs in all groups.
An important rule in many groups was no stirring up drama. It was mostly used when people got personal during discussions, and wouldn’t drop issues. It was supposed to apply to everyone, but eventually there was more leeway for those right wing oriented ones. For a long time I ignored that because I was privately laughing with some of the alt-right, having the impression that they were community buffoons.
The danger of a safe space that welcomes extremists
After being a part of such groups for a while, your beliefs still stay the same, but you start giving leeway to those you disagree with more and more. Using a variety of insults and phrases becomes more and more acceptable, you start ignoring more and more of the extreme views, because you stop considering them as worth of talking about. You stop minding topics that you’d vehemently disagree with before. The topics brought up almost always end up with some of the more extreme members joining in, so you ignore them. And you don’t notice how your perception gets distorted.
What you’d argue against before, you stop caring, slowly some of the arguments and “information” that you see start having some sense, or at least worthy of being considered. You get assaulted by tons of data that you have to sort to find what is the issue in it. By the time you finish taking apart one thing, three more get thrown at you. You still go against over-exaggerated narratives that they throw at you, but some of the data starts chipping away at you. The more you dig into it, the less you see the whole picture, and the godawful bigoted narrative that they present.
This starts affecting interactions with people outside of the groups. Before you were just pushed away, but now you start getting defensive, which in turn makes people even more upset with you. And you have no clue why, because in your perception, you didn’t change. It pushes you even deeper into alt-lite groups, as they offer also other content than politics. You stop caring about the general population. The longer you’re in those groups, the less you care about what you disagree with, and more about what you have in common. Art, movies, series, games, food, nature, whatever. You avoid politics, thinking you won’t be affected by it, and feel cozy in the situation.
“No drama” rules = weak defenses
Now the more extreme ones are still tossing awful shit at you, and you don’t care any more. Sometimes a newcomer may argue, and they get kicked, and you don’t care. You just see some leftist arguing with the local extremist who you don’t pay attention to.
When you do take up discussion, both inside and outside those groups, you do it weakly, because you know that its just going to be a constant stream of dumb and annoying things. You stop caring about those topics, as it becomes a self maintaining circle of apathy and not wanting to be involved (again) in something that is too stupid to argue against. You hope that people understand that some of it is inherently bad, so why should it be even talked about. If you try, you have to go against what the alt-right extremists are throwing at you, muddling the whole picture.
The biggest danger of such groups is not realizing that your experience and worldview is being distorted, and being slowly pushed more and more towards apathy, despite their beliefs going against it. Those groups don’t do it intentionally, as the alt-right ones do, but it’s a side effect of constant exposure. It doesn’t matter if someone is social-democrat, labour, conservative, liberal, green, centrist, unaffiliated or whatever other political party they might be. Being in such alt-lite groups affects everyone, some more, some less, and it distorts them.
It becomes hard to get out of those groups. People argue for or against your beliefs without too much drama, and you feel appreciated without being insulted, you are set with what you have and become complacent and lose empathy to those outside. You lose motivation to try, and nobody is there to point out what is happening. If I hadn’t met one amazing person, I probably would be still stuck in those groups, having my perception slowly distorted to be more and more favorable towards the alt-right.
A wake-up call
One outspoken person stayed a bit longer on one server, and didn’t get kicked as fast, so I had time to get to know them. They were somewhat similar to me when I joined, just much more vocal. It felt good to have someone who shares the same social awareness as I do. Up until they got banned, I ignored and dismissed when newcomers were getting kicked out, and cared more about the regulars. But now the “management” and some other regulars were trash talking them and it was straight up awful. It broke the image that I had.
I started looking into other groups and noticing the same thing. They were straight up awful to anyone who wasn’t a part of them. More and more extremist voices were being tolerated and supported. I realized that I had lost the human touch I had before I became a full time regular member. With time, I slowly started interacting less and less, finally leaving all of them them.
It’s been a couple of months and rejoining the regular furry community takes a while. Getting rid of distorted worldviews isn’t simple, and there are still issues that pushed me away the first time, but I learned how to deal with those to a degree. I know that I don’t want to end up back in those alt-lite groups. If I could share one important lesson about it, it would be how to discern people who are misled, from those that are malignant alt-right, and how not to push them into it.
People can be misinformed, have bad or old information, and use it to argue. At the start that was often me, but instead of being offered information I felt alienated. Also, being honest to oneself about different information isn’t simple, and people often miss it. Looking back now I see a lot of similarity between what people similar to me were saying, and what the alt-right are doing, but there are some important differences.
The alt-right forces you to argue little details, and they want you to do it publicly. They intentionally ignore requests to go back to the general topic. They start swapping phrases and terms as if they’re all the same thing. They always counter whatever is said and don’t back down or accept being wrong, but always try to one-up it. The purpose is to annoy and upset you.
Don’t cede them the spotlight. Call them out for doing something wrong, and if they don’t step back, they’re doing it intentionally. When that happens, don’t waste any more of your time to let them share their views.
When people toss out some generalizations, ask them simply- do they have any questions about it? Good meaning people, and those who are misled, will have questions. Their tone will change, and they won’t stick to single talking points. They’ll raise issues they might have, be polite, and ask questions. Don’t be hostile towards them just because what they said had might have bad implications. If nothing else, don’t feed the hate. (Also, please avoid “the cishet white males” posts. It’s hard for me to have sympathy when phrases like sound similar to stuff that the alt-right says.)
A bit of understanding can bring a lot of change – but don’t waste your time if there is none. Thanks to people who offered me a chance and understanding, I managed to get back into the furry community.
Thanks to this guest for their story. Get in touch via the About page to submit guest posts. – Patch
Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon. You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, or get Con*Tact Caffeine Soap as a reward. They’re a popular furry business seen in dealer dens. Be an extra-perky patron – or just order direct from Con*Tact.
(CONTENT WARNING – discussion of sex and abuse.)
Zaush is one of the bigger stars of furry fandom. He’s one of the top most followed artists, who cranks out copious amounts of porn. It’s drawn to a pro level and earns him a full time income on Patreon, with high demand from an audience of furverts who couldn’t find it at a friendly neighborhood porn shop. It’s a perfect niche if that’s what you’re into. Or maybe it’s a dark corner Zaush has painted himself into – judging by concerning practices that have come to light.
I’m not that familiar with his stuff. Personally, I’ve avoided it because that kind of porn turns me off. That’s not because of being judgemental to fetish. In my critical opinion, it’s more like cute cartoon animals doing sticky gang bangs could use all the cute and not so much sticky. And I wish established Disney characters weren’t getting bent out-of-character. But my main dislike is for the stories and power dynamic in them. I love furry art for showing more warmth and feeling than live human actors; but this art gives me bad feelings. The stories seem to reward bullies taking sex from prey like taking candy from a baby.
This brings up common jokes about his characters getting younger and younger over time.
At one point in mid 2017, I even had a disagreement with someone about that – and now let’s cut to the chase. That gut feeling got vindicated. Private messages with a commissioner on Zaush’s personal account have leaked, and warning: 1) they can be described as catering to pedophilic interest. 2) It’s not just art – there’s real pics of little kids in bathing suits used for art reference. 3) There’s also actual porn of the “barely legal” genre.
WARNING AGAIN: THIS CONTENT IS VERY BORDERLINE. IT APPEARS TO BE LEGAL ACCORDING TO KNOWN INFO, BUT YOU SHOULDN’T CLICK IT IF BORDERLINE IS RISKY TO YOU.
- Image 1 – explicit images of adult actress Sammie Daniels
- Image 2 – another explicit image, claimed to be mainstream
- Image 3 – chat
- Image 4 – images of kids in bathing suits
- Image 5 – images of kids in bathing suits
- Image 6 – images of kids in bathing suits
What followed deserves credit; there wasn’t effort to lie, and that helps a lot for an honest discussion. And, even if borderline-legal, there’s a LOT to discuss. This is part of the point of the article: if this stuff is going to get made, consumers of it should be fully aware of what they’re supporting.March 6, 2018
To break this down, the borderline content is the extreme of cub art. Here’s what I last posted about that – it’s arguable that people who role-play as being kids are doing something harmless and even therapeutic or positive. Boozy Badger, a fandom lawyer, said similar stuff about AB/DL acceptance being harmless or good (for example, supporting people with medical incontinence.)
But there’s a difference between that and using pics of real kids to produce porn of imaginary ones.
Where do you start with what that difference means?
Arguably you could say a fictional depiction of an underage person, like a cartoon, is violative of the law. However, while this could theoretically happen, prosecutions to conviction on such a provision (Federal here, PROTECT Act) are rare. /1— Boozy Badger (@BoozyBadger) March 5, 2018
Legally, it’s murky; you could start with calling cops, but they probably won’t do anything about it.
But you don’t have to stop with calling cops. Communities don’t run by having people arrested, if there is even a technical violation – and that’s a last resort. Relying on technicality is unlikely to solve a problem; it’s what “borderline” stuff is made to evade. Of course, on the positive side, there’s parents, families, organizers, and institutions to encourage good stuff. This community largely lacks those – but it doesn’t lack people who make effort to create their community.
That’s why we get to talk about it.
Zaush appears to be catering to an audience with a lot of money flow. When I see the talent he’s using, I feel a bit disappointed. If this is the top art furries support, why not aim higher? Good writing should be able to succeed whether or not it involves sex. OK, but I framed this as a problem – if it does good business and people want it, what problem?
Well, that demand comes from a community that gave Zaush a platform – without cons, and publishers, and websites, and users for them, he wouldn’t have his niche. That reminds me of hearing (unverified) that Zaush isn’t accepted as a client by the main fandom publishers – but more to the point, Furaffinity appears to bend rules for his art that others don’t get to bend. Those rules are against explicit art that depicts underaged characters – which Zaush does all but semantically (since they’re just “labeled” as not underage.)
Judging by what was in those PM’s, the semantic exemption is hard to claim any more. Supporting such rule bending (because people want their porn) suggests a community double standard for popularity.
That’s why we get to talk about it.
There’s precedent for regulating this content. Softpaw Magazine was banned from several cons and the Ursa Major Awards, and FurAffinity was unable to make payment processor relationships due to porn on the site. It arguably restricted fandom growth into a niche. Wanting freedom for that is a double edged sword that cuts into other freedoms. And it’s not just about whether Zaush’s stuff is harmless or not – what about relaxing standards so much that actual illegal stuff gets mixed in? There’s precedent for that too, such as when a Softpaw contributor was arrested for illegal images of children.
It relates to a “group ethic” that was in my article: R.C. Fox arrested for child pornography, furries question fandom connections. That can make slippery slope arguments that I disfavor (I don’t think tame cub art leads to child abuse), but a group can still have consistent standards.
As far as Zaush being harmless… that’s also a point of contention; in 2010, he was accused of rape and predatory behavior. He gave a long answer that leaves many people unsatisfied, with no explanation for what a putative victim had to gain by lying – especially since the story came to light from private messages and it wasn’t shared for public attention.
The contents of Zaush’s PM’s came out that way too. How a reader treats those (and if he gets favored) vs. how they treat the private messages of a woman talking about rape (and if she doesn’t) may say something about their standards.
When I had a gut feeling about the content of Zaush’s art hiding a deeper problem, and got vindicated for that… there’s a similar feeling many others have about his behavior. Cops don’t arrest for feelings, thankfully. But on the flip side, an average abuser has many victims and gets away with it for years before getting caught.
That’s why we get to talk about it.Another issue that followed this.
About me – my experience includes years of fighting powerful abusers that few people know about; and by relationship there was another such fight that pulled a family apart. A side supported an abuser, and a side wanted justice but couldn’t get it because statutory limitations ran out before the problem could be spoken about – but a civil judgement was ultimately won. The costs for that are terrible and often only the lawyers win.
That’s why people don’t talk about it. It’s frustrating as hell and has insidious effects.
Another affecting thing is how I most likely have a sleeping disorder that means I’m always writing between midnight and dawn. Dealing with frustration on sleep deprivation should be avoided. And I’ve been religiously replying to all Twitter contacts, but the followers keep rising so much that it’s good to stop trying (I love you all though!)
This was some context for charging in to defend a friend, not even looking at who I was replying to and posting some overreactive stuff. It got this feedback:
(them) Hey patch, i was trying to defend your efforts to expose zaush earlier, and i just gotta say you did a really piss awful job of handling the shit you stirred with it. i really don’t get why over a misunderstanding you needed to go for the kneecaps bringing up someone’s dead husband like that. I really had to ruminate on saying something to you for a while, I’d be lying if i said the way you carry yourself into these things really inspires my trust. It’s one thing to need to straighten out some idiotic bullshit whining about drama and the inconvenience of calling out harmful garbage in the fandom, like, i’m with you 100% on that. And, sure, maybe not everybody uses the word “condone” that way, I did have to look it up myself, but the insinuations you made by bringing up someone who’s literally been dead for two years as if their widower has a vested interest like you did was totally uncalled for, you had absolutely no fucking reason to hint at that conclusion, it was honestly juvenile and really lays bare the sort of exaggeratedly divisive attitude you bring into issues like these. I figured it was better to bring this to you directly to give you the opportunity to consider it yourself. You ought to know that even someone with a wide tolerance to raising hell for the right reasons, like me, has been cringing at the way you do things from time to time and just scoffed at that low blow you decided to take there. Take this from somebody who genuinely wants you to do well and achieve something for this community… i have nothing to gain from saying any of this to you. Please don’t make me regret it. Godspeed.
(me) Bringing up a guy’s dead husband “in the moment” was a horrible idea. It’s not that simple however and would be a mischaracterization to call that an attack, I didnt name either person or direct it at them. It was a general comment to friends of mine who were being aggressively brigaded from off site. Which a person did before blocking and couldn’t have been expected to see a no name comment. That doesn’t make others involved innocent, and although it was totally unfair of me to talk about one person from the past, it’s a current topic with others that’s constantly brought up about who is defending who and why. I don’t fault anyone for defending offenders as people either, I don’t want people to be sent to live under bridges.
(them) We’re coming from the same place but how we handle it is super important, and if you want to avoid the perception of being a shallow shit stirrer it’s even more important. The best approach is just to lay out why there’s a problem with that attitude and let it be, digging in like that never goes well.
(me) The whole drama boils down to a friend of mine was unfairly brigaded over a “do nothing” expectation and I overreacted in tone. My friend btw is far from immature or reactively social-justicey about this stuff. In fact i think she’s military and a super clear communicator. If she was upset about being mistreated, that really told me something was wrong.
(them) you’re in a position where tone management is key to success. not necessarily an enviable position.
Laying out what that silencing effect is and does can be more useful than just characterizing them for creating it. I always try to use collaborative language as well:
“I know how much anxiety it can produce to see people in our timelines going on about something like this, but we can’t prioritize our comfort and convenience over other people’s safety” – “When we’re saying ‘leave it to the police’ and shutting down other methods of recourse, we’re not only abdicating social responsibility to communicate a danger to people who may run into this person, but failing to recognize how high the bar is for something like this to become legally actionable — if we wait to meet that threshold, perhaps nothing ever happens and people keep getting hurt.”
Material outcomes > personal dynamics. Collaborative linguistic structures > direct characterization and indictment.
I definitely don’t write this stuff to make friends or I’d stick to safe stuff. You win some and lose some, but I can try to learn from it.
Furclub: “A repeat/regular nightclub event by furries for furries.” It’s a dance party independent from cons. See the list of parties at The Furclub Survey.
The countdown is on for an amazing furry dance party – one day left!
Space Camp is bringing dancing, DJ’s, fursuiting and costumes, craft beer, and waterfront views on San Francisco and the Bay Bridge. It happens at a massive 1200+ person hangar converted to a brewery. There’s 10,000 sq. feet of indoor fursuit-friendly naturally cooled space, free secure parking, and a huge outdoor patio with food trucks.
It joins Frolic party, Wild Things, and Party Animals as events for SF Bay Area furry night life. Those happen as often as monthly, but this is the first annual Space Camp that won’t come back until 2019. So don’t miss it!
They already have several hundred presale tickets sold. A success for the first party means even better to come.
Kinda exciting. We have 4 flying in from Canada, several from LA, and folks from New York, Seattle, Denver, Portland and more all flying in for #SpaceCampParty THANKS!!!!!!! Guess all those flyers we put out at FC worked! This is going to be one helluva party!!! pic.twitter.com/nHPZP1MSVq— Space Camp (@SpaceCampParty) February 21, 2018
It’s a team effort for multiple local crews. The mobile sound system is a Burning Man art car with upper deck hang out space. There’s a video wall with lights galore. A Cuddle Dome. And the food trucks include GrilledCheezGuy and Royal Egyptian Cuisine, with a special menu made exclusively for this party.
@NachoHusky (contact on Telegram or Twitter) is the organizer. Check the main site for more info.
Founder of Neo-nazi website The Daily Stormer praises Nazifurs and Altfurs as good examples for his wider movement.
One defense of Nazifurs I’ve heard over the years is that they’re just adopting fascist fashion to get a rise out of you, or even that they’re mocking real Nazis. This doesn’t hold up well to me, as ones I knew in 2005 who said they were joking are mostly taking their act seriously now.
Something about staring into the void, I guess. Or maybe I was a shitty judge of character when I spent time with them as a naive 20 year old? It could be a bit of both. Friends of mine have looked on former mutuals with horror when I’ve pointed out how far some have gone.
But people still claim that we’re being ridiculous if we take this seriously. They say that real Nazis could never be – or accept – Furries.
That denialism gets weaker and weaker when real Nazis look at nazifurs and love what they see.
Who is this dude thats promoting Foxler and saying that Nazis should embrace Nazifurs? None other than Andrew Anglin, founder of the premier Neonazi website “The Daily Stormer“. Anglin is the real deal. Nazi, white supremacy, the whole nine yards. Here he is promoting the worst our community has, and holding them up as examples to his own.
It could be a PR move to shame his own people into acting. After all, since people have started confronting these racist assholes, attendance has been dropping at their events and their movement fracturing. I guess it turns out confrontation is the best way to address these people.
Shaming members to act by upholding altfurries, while privately regarding them as disposable tools, would be consistent with history. Gay nazi leaders were powerful until they were purged. (The most consistent thing about fascists is being two-faced for power.) But it’s not like intentions make it any less malignant.
PR move or not, this real Nazi has treated Altfurs as true Aryan Brothers. Altfurs are reaching back and responding positively. In fact, we know they’ve been trying to get nazi leaders attention for a while. Anglin, in current responses to his followers, is taking them seriously and at face value.
Maybe it’s time for the Furry Fandom to do the same.
Note from Patch: This isn’t the first furry connection to The Daily Stormer. Furry-troll turned neo-nazi Andrew Dodson, who participated in violence at the Charlottesville rally in August 2017, reached out to associate with Weev (the Daily Stormer web admin) and Sam Hyde (a funder of the site). Dodson has since been active at cons and with altfurries.
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
The Fuzzy Princess, vol. 2, by Charles Brubaker. Illustrated.
Martin, TN, Smallbug Press, February 2018, trade paperback, $10.99 (175 pages).
The Fuzzy Princess, volume 1, was reviewed here last September. These are the adventures of interstellar Princess Katrina of St. Paws and her bat (Chiro) and bear (Kuma) escorts, and the humans on Earth that she moves in with (Jackson, a boy wizard, & his older sister Jordan) and their friends (highschooler Gladdie, her little sister Tara, and Rick). Kat and her companions come to Earth in a flying box (cats love boxes) that has her large interdimensional room inside it. Kat has a detachable tail that can be magically turned into anything. Kat, Chiro, and Kuma use magic/alien technology to make other people see them as normal humans. Kat’s ongoing adversary is Krisa, a rat spy from Mousechester who is usually locked inside a birdcage.
The Fuzzy Princess is Charles Brubaker’s Internet humorous comic strip, in color (this reprint volume is only in black-&-white), updated three times a week. It’s not gag-a-day; there is an ongoing story line.
But! Brubaker also publishes The Fuzzy Princess as a series of independent comic books from 24 to 36 pages, printed on demand by IndyPlanet in Orlando, Florida. This volume 2 reprints the comics from #8 to #11, with some new material. These also appear on the Monday-Wednesday-Friday online strip.
The Fuzzy Princess volume 2 contains four adventures. Kat, Jackson, and Gladdie explore a neighborhood “haunted house” that is the lair of three robbers who disguise themselves as movie monsters. Kat organizes a combined human Christmas party/St. Paws Winter Fest. Kat’s mother Queen Felicia visits Earth to make sure that she’s all right, and Krisa uses the occasion to try to steal Kat’s detachable tail, with the help of a fat bully called only “Bloated Whale”. Kat and Jackson have to babysit Gladdie’s spoiled little sister, Princess” Tara, who blows up a TV set and menaces Jackson with a scrap yard’s giant electromagnetic. Mr. Tim, Jordan & Jackson’s exhausted next-door neighbor, falls asleep in the middle of their apartment-house hall one night. Kat & Kuma, not wearing their human disguises, try to take him home and he wakes up on them, thinks the talking cat & bear are the result of a dream, and leads them on a wild night to Joey’s Pub where Kuma wins an open-mic contest as a bear reciting haiku, Kat gets drunk on catnip, and she demolishes Sparrow, a hulking bully.
The Fuzzy Princess is funny. It’s worth reading whether it’s an online comic strip, an independent comic book, or these reprint paperbacks. Enjoy.
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Reborn, by J. F. R. Coates
Capalaba, Qld., Australia,, Jaffa Books, October 2016, paperback, $15.00 (271 pages), Kindle $4.26.
“‘Jesus fucking Christ, I have a tail.’” (p. 49)
You can tell from that sentence that the speaker is not a furry fan. It’s Captain Rhys Griffiths, a rising naval officer of the Terran Interplanetary Empire; soon to be promoted to one of the youngest Admirals of the TIE. Or he was, until a transporter accident puts his mind into the body of a lowly, giggly starat.
The starats are described earlier in Reborn:
“Rhys glanced back to find the reason for his [Cardinal Erik’s] reaction; one of the starats was approaching. Starats were a breed of artificial creatures, created in a laboratory over two hundred and fifty years ago. They were still the pinnacle of genetic engineering. Pressure from the Vatican had led to all genetic research laboratories closed down shortly after the creation of the starats. They had been created from a concoction of many different animals’ DNA, so many that even their creators had lost track. The result had been a short, furry humanoid of reasonable intelligence and capable of speech, mostly resembling a stoat or weasel. They had been bred to be subservient and weak-willed. As a consequence they were perfect at what they had been designed for: namely to serve humans in whatever way they could.” (p. 16)
Rhys spends a couple of weeks wallowing in drunken self-pity at his transformation before coming out of his funk:
“Neglecting to take a glass, Rhys chose to drink straight from the bottle instead, but he failed to take into account the design of his new mouth. Crimson liquid poured from the side of his muzzle, spilling on to his cheeks and shoulders, staining his overalls red. Suppressing an irate growl, Rhys tried again with greater care, taking just a small swig from the neck of the bottle. Still the wine wetted the fur on his cheeks, but more of it reached the back of his throat.” (pgs. 56-57)
He finds, needless to say, that the starats are much more intelligent than anyone in the TIE has realized. Once he accepts that he is now a starat –
“His humanity was fading away to nothing. Was there anything left of Captain Rhys Griffiths, the human? Did he even care anymore? For sure, there were times he wished he didn’t have to put up with the revolting discrimination starats faced, but were he offered the opportunity to become human once more, he was no longer convinced he would take it.” (p. 207)
– he leads them in their fight for equality in the Empire.
The quality of the writing in Reborn is all right. Despite this, Reborn is one of the worst s-f novels that I’ve ever read.
In 1982, the mystery author Bill Pronzini wrote Gun in Cheek, a collection of hilariously bad excerpts from mystery novels that he had read over decades. Their writing was good enough, but they included such things as bank robbers who stole a fortune in $100, $50, and $25 bills. The U.S. government has never printed $25 bills. A private eye drives in his sports car from downtown Los Angeles to Catalina Island. Santa Catalina Island is 22 miles off the coast; it’s only reachable by ship. There are countless cities whose police forces consist of the most arrogant, inept, and stupid policemen imaginable, to make the amateur detectives look more intelligent.
Reborn is like that. The spaceships of the Terran Interplanetary Empire have front windows on their bridges, not viewscreens. Their spaceports are described as though they are steampunk:
“Then the retractable roof closed, gears and metal grinding and screeching […]” (p. 30)
Granted the Normandy Spaceport on Ceres is described as old-fashioned and in dire need of being modernized, but can you imagine any spaceports ever being built using lots of mechanical gears? Reborn is not the first s-f novel where a transporter accident puts a human into a furry body; that’s Bernard Doove’s Transformations (Fauxpaw Publications, July 2005). But in Transformations it’s the result of a freak accident combined with deliberate sabotage. In Reborn it seems like poor transporter maintenance &/or inept operators; you wonder why it hasn’t happened before.
The Chancellor of the TIE has an original Van Gough painting in his luxurious spaceship. It’s spelled Van Gogh. Cardinal Erik of the Vatican is “a sour-faced man who looked to Rhys with an expression of intense dislike.” (p. 10) He always wears his sumptuous scarlet-&-gold robes, and speaks with an “oily voice”. “Cardinal Erik licked his lips maliciously.” “Cardinal Erik said with a smile that filled Rhys with dread.” “Cardinal Erik twisted his face into a look of concentration; it appeared to be quite an effort for him not to look disdainful.” “With an unnecessary flourish of his robes, Cardinal Erik stalked off […]” (pgs. 16 and 17) Can you guess that Cardinal Erik is a villain?
More pertinently, the 3- or 4-foot tall furry starats have been omnipresent for over 250 years, performing menial labor, but nobody in the Terran Interplanetary Empire has ever noticed that they are more than just simple and happy “rodents”. (In the rival Centaurian Governance of Planets, they have full equality and can openly hold complex jobs.) The parallels with 19th-century African-Americans is obvious, but while the South may have worked to promote the “happy but simple natives” image into the mid-20th-century, the social leaders in the South knew the difference. Here everyone in the TIE government and military is taken by surprise that the starats are intelligent enough to be unhappy about being held down and patronized as morons.
Reborn (cover by Samuel Hogan) is dramatic and well-enough written to hold your interest if you don’t have anything better to read; and it’s a feel-good adventure to identify with the furry starats as they get humans in the TIE to pay attention to them.
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
What the Fox?!, edited by Fred Patten, will be published by Thurston Howl Publications on March 3, 2018. The book can be pre-ordered from Thurston Howl Publications. It will be for sale on the THP online catalogue afterwards.
What the Fox?! is an anthology of 21 original short stories and two reprints, of anthropomorphic animals in humorous situations. This is designed to appeal to both s-f & fantasy fans, and fans of fantasy humor. Each story has an illustration by Tabsley (the cover artist) or Jeqon.
The anthology is available in two editions. The regular edition is in trade paperback, and the illustrations are in black-&-white and grayscale. The deluxe edition is in hardcover and the illustrations are in full color. Each edition has a different cover.
From a llama barbershop quartet to a lupine generation gap, a rabbit king battling a dinosaur (or is it a dragon?), a human with a spider fiancée, a dog-hating postal deliveryperson turned into a werechihuahua, inept wolf Vikings, a dog movie screenwriter, and more; these are stories for your imagination and enjoyment. Plus: each author’s favorite animal joke, and a recommended reading bibliography.
FAPD, by Sofox
Perfect Harmony, by Jaleta Clegg
Counter-Curlture, by Televassi
The Carrot is Mightier Than the Sword, by Nidhi Singh
A Web of Truths, by James Hudson
Suddenly, Chihuahua, by Madison Keller
Kenyak’s Saga, by MikasiWolf
Rapscallions, by Mary E. Lowd
Dazzle Joins the Screenwriters’ Guild, by Scott Bradfield
A Late Lunch, by Nightshade
Riddles in the Road, by Searska GreyRaven
The Lost Unicorn, by Shawn Frazier
Boomsday, by Jennie Brass
Oh! What a Night!, by Tyson West
Moral for Dogs, by Maggie Veness
Broadstripe, Virginia Smells Like Skunk, by Skunkbomb
A Legend In His Own Time, by Fred Patten
The Cat’s Meow, by Lisa Pais
Woolwertz Department Store Integrated Branch Employee Manual: Human-Furred Relations, by Frances Pauli
A List of Erotica Clichés You Should Avoid in Your Heat Submission, by Dark End
The Best and Greatest Story Ever, by Mog Moogle
Self-Insertion, by Jaden Drackus
The Best and Greatest Sequel: Pron Harder Damnit!, by Some Guy Who Is Definitely Not The Main Character
Regular edition: $18.00. Deluxe edition: $25.00. 291 pages. Cover by Tabsley; 28 interior illustrations by Tabsley and Jeqon. Regular ISBN 978-1-945247-30-9. Deluxe ISBN 978-1-945247-31-6.
Hey furries! The Ursa Major Awards for the best anthropomorphic media of 2017 are now open for voting. Go vote between March 1st – March 31st on the UMA website: http://www.ursamajorawards.org
Can you imagine running these fandom awards for 15 years and not having enough help? I recently covered the story of financial difficulty and understaffing. Rod O’Riley, a key member of the award committee, is a fandom founder who organized the first furry parties and conventions in the 1980’s. He’s been covering costs out of his pocket for 15 years. There’s now an Ursa Major Awards GoFundMe taking donations to cover the costs of running it. Because I don’t just bark about critical stuff, I’m going to contribute $100. Can you give some too?January 25, 2018
Before we get to the nominees, here’s some special notices. For Best Dramatic Series or Short Work of 2017, check out OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes. This Cartoon Network show got a lot of fandom notice for their episode “We’ve Got Fleas”. It makes a suspiciously cute callout to things we love. Wait for this: an interview with a writer/storyboard artist for OK K.O. is publishing soon on this site and it’s a fandom connection you’ll love.
The banner up top is special art we had made by Mexican furry artist Meteor-05 to give you a suggestion for Best Magazine. And Dogpatch Press isn’t even the only nominee from the culprits who make it happen. Best Other Literary Work has two from Fred Patten. Best Non-Fiction Work has an essay by me in Furries Among Us 2. There’s also Fred’s Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989-2015 … but nobody should worry if your first pick is Furry Nation by Joe Strike, the first formally published fandom history, many years in the making. How did this category get so tough for picking just one?
Here’s the Final Ballot. Winners will be announced at a presentation ceremony at FurDU 2018 at Gold Coast City, Queensland, Australia on May 4-6, 2018.
Best Motion Picture
Live-action or animated feature-length movies.
• Ferdinand (Directed by Carlos Saldanha; December 15)
• Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 (Directed by James Gunn; May 5)
• My Little Pony: The Movie (Directed by Jayson Thiessen; October 6)
• Rock Dog (Directed by Ash Brannon; February 24)
• War for the Planet of the Apes (Directed by Matt Reeves; July 14)
Best Dramatic Series or Short Work
TV series or one-shots, advertisements or short videos.
• Doodle Toons (Directed by Jack C; Pilot episode to “Deleted Scene: Fast Food Follies”)
• Duck Tales [2017 reboot] (Directed by John Aoshima, Dana Terrace; Season 1, August 12 to December 2)
• Here’s the Plan (Directed by Fernanda Frick; April 27)
• Kouka and Bibi (by Dan Variano; January 8)
• Mascot Fur Life (Directed by Jens Wernstedt; December 23)
• My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (Directed by Jim Miller, Tim Stuby, Denny Lu, Mike Myhre; Season 7, episodes 1 to 26)
• OK KO! Let’s Be Heroes (Directed by Hwang Ki-hoo, Chang-woo Shin, Sunjae Lee, Byungjae Oh, Eunyung Byun, Sunhung Kim; Season 1 Episode 1 to 42)
Written works of 40,000 words or more. Serialized novels qualify only for the year that the final chapter is published.
• Always Gray in Winter, by Mark J. Engels (Thurston Howl Publications; August 10)
• Black Friday, by Jan Stryvant (CreateSpace; September 8)
• Kismet, by Watts Martin (Argyll Productions, FurPlanet Productions; January 12)
• Otters in Space III: Octopus Ascending, by Mary E. Lowd (FurPlanet Productions; June 30)
• The Wayward Astronomer, by Geoffrey Thomas (Corvus Publishing; May 9)
Best Short Fiction
Stories less than 40,000 words, poetry, and other short Written works.
• Behesht, by Dwale (in ROAR volume 8; June 30)
• Beyond the Great Divide, by S. H. Mansouri (in Cirsova Heroic Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine #5; Spring 2017)
• Lieutenant Kruger and the Mistress Jade Trophy Game, by Kathy Garrison Kellogg (in The Cross Time Cafe; October 5)
• The Moon Like an Unhatched Egg, by Mary E. Lowd (in Symbol of a Nation; June 30)
• Rickety V, by Rechan (in Intimate Little Secrets; March 24)
Best Other Literary Work
Story collections, comic collections, graphic novels, non-fiction works, and serialized online stories.
• Arcana: A Tarot Anthology, edited by Madison Scott-Clary (anthology; Thurston Howl Publications; November 9)
• Dogs of War, edited by Fred Patten (anthology; FurPlanet Productions; January 12)
• Intimate Little Secrets, by Rechan (collection; FurPlanet Productions; March 24)
• ROAR volume 8, edited by Mary E. Lowd (anthology; Bad Dog Books; June 30)
• Symbol of a Nation, edited by Fred Patten (anthology; GoAL Publications; June 30)
Best Non-Fiction Work
Includes documentaries, opinion pieces, and news articles.
• Furries Among Us 2; More Essays On Furries By Furries, edited by Thurston Howl (Thurston Howl Productions; August 18)
• Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989-2015, by Fred Patten (McFarland & Co.; January 3))
• Furry Nation, by Joe Strike (Cleis Press; October 10)
• The Shocking Furry Fandom Conversation. Yes, Really! (on YouTube, featuring Stefan Molyneux; October 16)
• 3 Ursa Major-ly Painful Victories, by Rooview (on YouTube; April 23)
Best Graphic Story
Includes comic books, and serialized online stories.
• A&H Club, by Rick Griffin (Internet; January 7 to November 25)
• DreamKeepers, by David & Liz Lillie (Internet; January 2 [#340] to December 18 [#385])
• Endtown, by Aaron Neathery (Internet; January 2 to December 25)
• Lackadaisy, by Tracy J. Butler (internet; Lackadaisy Gimmickry to Lackadaisy Deliria)
• TwoKinds, by Tom Fischbach (internet; January 5 to December 28)
Best Comic Strip
Newspaper-style strips, including those with ongoing arcs.
• Carry On, by Kathy Garrison Kellogg (Internet; January 1 to December 29)
• Doc Rat, by Jenner (Internet; January 4 to December 29)
• DreamKeepers Prelude, by David & Liz Lillie (Internet; January 6 [#350] to December 28 [#393])
• Freefall, by Mark Stanley (Internet; January 2 to December 29)
• Housepets!, by Rick Griffin (Internet; January 2 to December 29)
Edited collections of creative and/or informational works by various people, professional or amateur, published in print or online in written, pictorial or audio-visual form.
• Dogpatch Press, ed. by Patch Packrat (Internet; January 5 to December 25)
• Flayrah, edited by GreenReaper, Sonious, and Dronon (Internet; January 1 to December 30)
• FurryFandom.es, edited by Mike Retriever (Internet; February 19 to October 9)
• InFurNation, ed. by Rod O’Riley (Internet; January 1 to December 31)
• Typewriter Emergencies: A Journal of Furry Lit, edited by Weasel (Weasel Press; May)
Best Published Illustration
Illustrations for books, magazines, convention program books, cover art for such, coffee-table portfolios.
• Bone, cover for Always Gray in Winter by Mark J. Engels (Thurston Howl Publications; August 10)
• Baron Engel, Prepare to Engage the Enemy, cover for A Different Perspective by Bernard Doove (June 8)
• Ashley Foy, Valentine’s Gifts (February 14)
• Teagan Gavet, cover for Dogs of War, edited by Fred Patten (FurPlanet Productions; January 12)
• Teagan Gavet, cover for ROAR vol, 8, edited by Mary E. Lowd (Bad Dog Books; June 30)
• Idess, cover for Otters in Space III: Octopus Ascending, by Mary E. Lowd (FurPlanet Productions; June 30)
• David Lillie, cover for The Wayward Astronomer, by Geoffrey Thomas (Corvus Publishing; May 9)
Computer or console games, role-playing games, board games.
• Cuphead (Developer and Publisher: StudioMDHR Entertainment; September 29)
• Night in the Woods (Developer: Infinite Fall, Publisher: Finji; February 21)
• Sonic Mania (Developer: PagodaWest Games and Headcannon, Publisher: Sega; August 15)
• Star Fox 2 (Developer: Nintendo and Argonaut Games, Publisher: Nintendo; September 29)
• Yooka – Laylee (Developers: Playtonic Games; April 11)
Online collections of art, stories, and other creative and/or informational works. Includes galleries, story archives, directories, blogs, and personal sites.
• The Cross Time Cafe (forum for comic discussions, including many on the Recommended List)
• e621.com (art, discussions, etc.))
• Furry Writers’ Guild (Supporting, informing, elevating, and promoting quality anthropomorphic fiction and its creators)
• Inkbunny (furry art community)
• WikiFur (furry fandom encyclopedia)
Voting is open between March 1st – March 31st on the UMA website: http://www.ursamajorawards.org
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
The Flower’s Fang series.
This is a colorful mixture of furry and high fantasy.
Snow Flower: Arara’s Tale, by Madison Keller.
Portland, OR, Hundeliebe Publishing, May 2016, trade paperback, $5.99 (72 pages), Kindle $0.99.
Flower’s Fang, by Madison Keller.
Portland, OR, Hundeliebe Publishing, August 2014, trade paperback, $14.99 (354 pages), Kindle $0.99.
Flower’s Curse, by Madison Keller.
Portland, OR, Hundeliebe Publishing, June 2016, trade paperback, $13.99 (238 pages), Kindle $4.99.
These three books are bibliographically complex. Flower’s Fang and Flower’s Curse are advertised as a two-volume set. The first edition of Snow Flower was published on December 21, 2014. The second edition, with proofreading errors corrected and still with Keith Draws’ cover, was published on May 16, 2016. It was reprinted with Teagan Gavet’s cover, retypeset more compactly from 126 pages to 72 pages, with the new subtitle “Prequel Novella to Flower’s Fang” added, and the city of publication changed from Seattle, WA (CreateSpace’s office) to Portland, OR (Keller’s home), on April 20, 2017. If you order it today, you’ll probably get it with Teagan’s wraparound cover.
Flower’s Fang has three listed editions, all dated August 2014. The typography of the title lettering changes, but all have the same illustration by Johnny Atomic. The third edition has two maps added.
Flower’s Curse has two editions listed, both dated June 2016. The second edition has a new cover by Idess Sherwood (the cover of the first edition is by Keith Draws), and includes the maps.
The main protagonist of all three books is Arara, a young Jegera (anthropomorphic wolf) in a fantasy world dominated by a “Kin-Jegera Empire”. The Kin are humanoid and human-sized flower fairies or elves, who wear ornate silken robes (see the cover of Flower’s Fang) and uniforms:
“‘How are you feeling?’ A melodious Kin voice asked her. The Kin hovered over Arara, her yellow petal hair framing her green face like a sun halo. The scent of the Kin’s petals reminded Arara of a sweet flower, but it was strong to the point of being overpowering.” (SF, p. 23)
The Empire is satisfactory to both, but the Kin are definitely the aristocracy and the Jegera are the peasants. The Jegera wear some clothes and can walk two-legged, but they usually run on all fours. The Kin ride the Jegera like horses.
“‘You can’t go treating her differently, Athura.’ Eraka grinned and looked at Arara. ‘That settles it. Go put on your shorts and vest. There is still snow up in the foothills, and we don’t want you getting cold.’
Arara barked in delight and scampered off to get dressed.” (SF, pgs. 3-4)
Snow Flower is a novella of Arara’s puppyhood.
“‘Dad, tell mom I can go [hunting] with you.’ Arara wagged her tail. She’d never been hunting before, while school was known and dreaded.
True, for the first couple of days Arara had been excited and eager to learn. But that was before she’d met Kerka. The first day he’d left her alone, although she’d known from his thoughts that he had stared at her most of the day wondering what was wrong with her. Arara hadn’t been able to say anything to him about it though, because her parents had made her promise to keep her telepathy a secret. She’d been able to hear others’ thoughts since she was born, but her parents told her other Jegera couldn’t; they could only hear thoughts sent by gefir.” (SF, p. 2)
Arara and her parents Eraka and Athura are the omegas of their Jegera pack. Gefir is talking by thoughts. Arara is different from the other Jegera in more than being able to hear thoughts.
“‘I guess I like Gror,’ Arara conceded. ‘But Kerka is mean to me. He said my white fur is ugly and that my tail is broken.’
‘He’s just never seen white fur before, Snow Flower,’ Eraka prodded. ‘And your curly tail is perfectly natural.’”
‘She might be the same age as when you first went hunting, but she’s not even half as big as the other puppies.’ Athura squeezed tighter until Arara yelped and struggled.” (SF, p. 3)
Snow Flower (Teagan Gavet’s wraparound cover shows Arara confronting Kerka) is about how Arara plans to use her secret power of hearing thoughts to get revenge on Kerka, the class bully; and what happens. Keller weaves real lupine alpha-omega social relationships into this. Arara’s pack lives in Last Home, the farthest north community of the Empire where the Kin do not usually come, so the Kin only have a very brief role in this story.
Flower’s Fang, a full novel, is set many years later. Arara and her classmates are about to graduate from juveniles to adults. She is still the omega of her school, blamed for everything that goes wrong. She is looking forward to leaving them all and leaving home, to go alone to Sebaine City, the capital of the Empire.
Prince Sels, the other protagonist of the series, appears. He is a young Kin (shown on Johnny Atomic’s cover), and the Kin are described at length. Of importance is that each Kin aristocrat has a personal Jegera guard; a combination of a military bodyguard and a talking mount.
Prince Sels is the equivalent of Arara among his people. He is young and insecure. Nobody listens to him despite his rank, except Jeron, his childhood Jegera guard. He is pushed around by his servants, and his Kin relatives and “friends”, led by his cousin Lady Sesay, offer him advice and guidance that works out to what they want to do. When he does muster enough willpower to give orders that they don’t like, they just ignore him and issue their own orders in his name.
“Sesay’s pink petal-hair seemed to glow against the dark wood of the carriage. Her tapered, green Kin ears were barely visible through the thick mass of petals framing her heart shaped face. Sesay flashed a tight smile at him, her blue eyes sparkling under her leafy eyelashes, and primly folded her hands in her lap. Sels suppressed a wince, knowing that smile meant a lecture was coming. Even after a full moon-cycle of constant travel, Sesay’s clothes were immaculate. His own robes looked worse for wear, despite Jeron’s diligent care.
Where Sesay had a mass of petals flowing down around her face and over her shoulders, Sels had an elegant growth of vines tipped with dark purple flowers. The wind had left Sels [sic.] vines in a messy tangle, and Sels made a mental note to have Jeron braid them tomorrow morning before the hunt.” (FF, p. 8)
Prince Sels and his entourage are required by custom to travel to Last Home to witness and congratulate the Jerlings (Arara’s class) on their graduation. The ceremony includes a “first adult” hunt by the adolescent wolves of a dangerously deadly beast. Part of the custom includes Sels’ own rite of passage; he is expected to select one of the Jerlings and sedyu-bond with him or her to replace Jeron and be his adult Jegera guard-mount for the rest of his life. Sels senses Arara’s similarity among the Jerlings to his own omega-position, and determines to stop being pushed around and pick her to sedyu-bond with. However, the other Kin just ignore him as usual and announce that he has picked two other Jerlings (that are closer to their own interests) to be his sedyu-bond candidates. Sels is still too immature and insecure to protest aloud.
The rest of Flower Fang is Sels’ and Arara’s secret campaign (with Jeron’s help) in Sebaine City, the Empire’s capital and seat of the Kins’ royal court, to make Arara his sedyu-bonded guardian. It could be considered a variant on Romeo and Juliet with Juliet at first believing that Romeo is only being nice to her to ridicule her.
“Wheezing, Arara stumbled over to her overstuffed pack and grabbed a strap.
Sels, who’d been watching the whole exchange with a puzzled expression, arched one eyebrow. ‘You can lift that?’
‘Well enough,’ she said, hoisting it up onto her back and immediately toppling over backwards. Arara sprawled on her back on top of the pack, her legs kicking at the air.
High pitched giggles filled the air for a moment before something muffled them. She lifted her head to see Sels laughing with the blanket pressed over his mouth. Jeron stood next to him, his face buried in his paws and his shoulders quaking.
Before Arara could wriggle out of the straps, Eraka grabbed the bag with one arm, lifting it and Arara off the ground. She slid free, landing on the grass with a thump, tail between her legs.” (FF, pgs. 95-96)
(Since the whole Flower’s Fang series is not illustrated, it is sometimes hard to tell when a wolf is standing on two or four feet.)
There are deadly royal politics, assassins, “dark plots”, and a rebellion before the more-or-less happy ending.
Flower’s Curse begins with Arara and Sels finally bonded:
“Arara marched along the edge of the stage, uncomfortable with the audience’s gaze on her and sweltering with her thick fur packed in her ceremonial leather armor. Arara resisted the urge to reach under the armor and scratch her chest where it chaffed her. Through the bond Arara could feel that Sels was equally uncomfortable in his heavy, jewel-bedecked robes and elaborate vine-do.” (FC, p. 1)
But immediately there is drama:
“A Jegera wearing the uniform of a royal guard rushed onstage skidding to a stop in front of the Queen and Arara. ‘Your majesty, a mob has stormed the gates. They are inside the palace. We must get you and your family to safety.’” (FC, pgs. 3-4)
“‘What happened?’ Arara mumbled, her voice a hacking hoarse cough.
Sels chewed his lip, glancing between Arara and the door. ‘I was holding off the rioters with my fire when someone struck you with a lightning spell. I think it was meant to look like a natural strike, part of the storm.’” (FC, p. 9)
There are more deadly royal politics, assassins, and “dark plots” before Flower’s Curse comes to a happier ending.
Arara and Sels appear to be 14 or 15, adolescents frustrated by feeling like adults but treated by the real adults around them like children. Their adventures are told with plenty of drama and magic, and Arara and the Jegeras’ being anthropomorphic wolves make this a fairy tale that furry fans will enjoy.
A trial run for a convention had a behavior issue. Part 1 looked at what happened and Part 2 had sources and issues. Before publishing there was a request for comments from the organizer, then others responded. Keep in mind that some of them responded before chat screens were published and seen.
That individual was banned. We have an official rules page. Check us out https://t.co/8vlRtfYVvg
I can not speak for all individuals and what they'll do. But I do not tolerate that behavior.
Here's the official con chat. Please check the website for only con associated chats. pic.twitter.com/H6Mk7NNmme
— RadFox ACFC (@ShRadow_Fox) February 25, 2018
Radfox chatted more in private message.
The con was small and humble in nature but I consider it a success with the amount of fun had. We had approximately 30 to 35 turn out. Everyone had a good time and kept within reason there were no incidents with the hotel or their security. At this time the con felt more like a big party but I am hoping to expand. I want to run it unlike a traditional con I want to run it as more of a open-ended schedule. We had 2 scheduled events. These included shooting on the beach on Friday. The other was the big group picture on the boardwalk. Aside from that we all did our own thing we adventured along the boardwalk and enjoy the amenities of the hotel including their wonderful pool casino and restaurants… As far as partying and in your words frat party we were rather tame in comparison to other furry cons we had a no drug policy. Everyone that drank in my room at least was carded and ID’ed. Nobody was overly drunk in need of an ambulance or medical attention. As the chairman I limited myself to 1 to 2 drinks per night.
The official chat was formed by a group of friends with an idea to expand. It has a set of rules as you saw in my recent tweet. We grew it by passing out flyers and telling friends to tell friends about it and add them to the chat. As for the issue you referenced, that was an individual that crossed the line breaking the rule about no racism and I told him to stop. When he refused I banned him. I, myself, and ACFC do not tolerate that behavior hence the individual was banned. There is only one official chat associated with ACFC found on the website. The other chat we broke off from ACFC to do whatever it wanted. I am not associated with it and neither is my staff.
I named some names in the story, and asked if they would be staff or part of future events, and if he could discuss their behavior in the chats.
None are on staff. Only well known friends that will adhere to the rules and promote a positive light are staff. Whatever they do outside of ACFC’S chat is up to them. I do not follow their affiliations. However, if they break my rules and they are banned as you saw.
“Are you aware of how Jerreh came to be a member of the chat? Is he friends with members?”
I am not sure how he got in but he is not in the official one (he’d be banned after seeing this). The link to ACFC is available to everyone and anyone can add anyone. Jerreh did not post in the main chat ever. But no that is 100% not allowed or tolerated at ACFC. I do not want to speculate but if I had to guess someone added him to start drama and a fight.
A reader sent this private message.
At the time, many trolls were trying to throw up a smokescreen or use intimidation to stop the article from publishing. (Later Radfox apologized and I said there was no need, that stuff is part of my “job”.) Then the article came out and some people started connecting people in a group photo to chat activity they didn’t do.
As far as I can tell @RazzaTheKanga had absolutely nothing to do with activity in the article posted yesterday. He's in this group pic and there's angry messages at people in it. Please don't do that, it's not a good way to connect to net activity. https://t.co/Jqw3rKVbor
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) February 27, 2018
@rileyyfox was in a group pic going around with angry messages at people in it. I don't support a group pic counting as a bad thing apart from a story. I think he had nothing to do with chat activity in the story. Sorry rileyy.https://t.co/omNQmeUWm4
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) February 27, 2018
There was a lot of criticism about including Koss in the story, making bad side effects he didn’t deserve. The story info was reporting about posts from a public/official chat. I tried getting more facts by asking for comments before publishing, but didn’t get any help to decide. Two reasons for sharing the info were 1) A wider topic about behavior. 2) Being thorough and showing that events did happen when there was dispute about if they did. After the article published Koss did chat and agree to share a few extra words.
You're not racist. I'm sorry for side effects. Stuff like asking for takedown is also part of attacks I'm getting to hold back news and there's at least one source in fandom that doesn't play that. If you contact a news source its worth asking for off record chat, if they agree.
— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) February 26, 2018
Reading this over.. I had no idea it got "that" bad. Errm. I'm kind of glad this happened now I suppose. More so because the people I was defending have been defended a bit in the article too. Ive never liked this behavior, in fact it always kind of made me uncomfortable anyhow.
— Koss Kelir@FWA, EF (@KossKelir) February 27, 2018
There were requests to try reducing judgement about people in the story. Koss sent this screenshot of Kazu (who is in some of the chat screens) making friends again with Trenton.
There was much more info about people improving relationships afterward and saying good things about each other that’s personal so I won’t share it.
This was one of the hardest stories to write ever on the site. It started by request of multiple tips. The amount of preparation was significant, with research I don’t ordinarily do. There was a lot of emotional concern about people in it I won’t get into (because covering a heavy issue isn’t about making friends.) It was a big challenge to sort the info. It couldn’t easily be re-written for different approaches (like removing someone). One criticism was made about putting it out in 3 parts in 3 days, so assumptions were made after the first part. On the other hand all the questions and criticism improved the second part. Keep doing that and help me to write better (or fail better) because there’s not really anyone else doing this or a boss to rely on for it, just a fandom that I hope will keep improving.
In response to @DogpatchPress regarding ACFC, I wanted to issue a statement and apology regarding the handling of an incident in our chat. I will own up to it and more importantly fix it. pic.twitter.com/58KxDuWpdL
— RadFox ACFC (@ShRadow_Fox) March 1, 2018
About this story (Continued from Part 1:)
You’re looking at sensitive info that needs calm. For example, please don’t post event group pics by themselves to criticize event goers. I don’t support that because it’s not clear which were involved or innocent from one photo. Just as importantly, some people involved with mistakes could use support now.
This follows controversies in fandom in 2017 that peaked with the closing of Rocky Mountain Fur Con. Mismanagement and abuse of tolerance killed the con. This New Jersey event seemed to be near that ballpark. But unlike RMFC, the furry in charge was more caught up in other people’s actions, so it’s not about him so much. And Trenton (the furry who was mistreated) wasn’t making a strong statement like Deo – he just asked for respect.
The story wasn’t tipped by Trenton and he never asked for help. I was watching the chat when he tried to directly solve a problem. It led to intense peer pressure on others by haters, so it wasn’t good enough by itself. I think when haters use such tactics to recruit, it’s not solved by people just keeping to themselves if they don’t get along. Also, if hate groups are trying to grow, waiting until people leave them isn’t the only way to respond. So if there are side effects from publishing a story, there already are effects from not. The best thing that can happen with a story like this is take it as a real issue, then have a calm conversation. I think 75% of fandom drama recently is just about upholding that issues are real and can’t be trolled and denied out of existence. That’s why this article is giving sources. To be honest, I wish this wasn’t going out and it will hurt people, but it would hurt to not put it out. I’d love to see change and growth come from it.
The damage incident in the story had nothing to do with racism. It was part of a wider topic about behavior (did it remind you of another con story?) There was a request for their side first. Also, the line about Graymuzzles didn’t please everyone – sorry guys (you helped found the fandom). Same to good fraternities.
Summary of Part 1:
- A small New Jersey furry group threw a party at a casino and the hotel was damaged (although it was taken care of.)
- Radfox, the organizer, then decided to make it a real convention for the future.
- The chat group for the party had a history of hateful posts.
- Trenton (who is a black furry) complained about a stereotype meme and asked for better behavior if the chat was official for a con.
- Radfox redirected offensive posting to an “anything goes” side chat, where members doubled down with racist hate for Trenton.
- Radfox was peer pressured to discourage listening to “SJW” complaints, but said he was trying to start a real event and couldn’t have racism.
- Members carried on attacking the concern and Trenton with neo-nazi stuff. About 6 were most responsible but others enabled.
- Part 1 asked: will those members be helping to found or staff a future event, and will fandom support it?
I just wanted to share this tweet:
in complete seriousness I’m so happy seeing people starting a dialogue in this fandom on drugs, alcohol, and fun
we all should not be creating an atmosphere where people who, for whatever personal reasons, don’t partake in alcohol/drugs are looked at like they have 3 heads
Is that message forcing things on people and taking away their freedom? Does it deserve hate? Or is it just being a mature adult?
Compare it to the key moment from the New Jersey furry chat with Trenton. He criticized a stereotype, and asked them to be adults. The reason is because the “Ugandan Knuckles” meme shows a coded-black character being hung on a noose. Apparently that was so unreasonable that it deserved extreme hate.
That’s the story’s Deo Moment. Are you puzzled about what’s wrong with it? (If you really need a target to hassle about this more, use me.)
Below there’s around 200 screenshots (from TWO chats that didn’t share all members) in linked galleries. Again this is very sensitive info. People in it may deserve support for distancing themselves. To name 3 – Radfox, Koss, Kazu. If you see others in these screens, I highly recommend asking them if they support the words in them without judging until they answer. There are active requests to withhold this info and not be judged for things people aren’t going to support. Putting this out can have a long lasting impact against a very quick change of heart, and it’s a tough decision but I think it’s important to see what happened because it does exist in the community.
Can this be the start of a community thing where we’re all getting better?
- Hotel Damage (main chat) – Imgur gallery of screenshots
Details of damage that opened the story. A pipe is broken and floods 12 floors of the hotel, but it’s taken care of.
- Uganda Knuckles meme (main chat) – Imgur gallery of screenshots
The meme comes up and chat members attack “pussies” who wouldn’t allow it. Trenton disagrees with one post of it and is told to shut up.
- Making an anything goes chat (main chat) – Imgur gallery of screenshots
Radfox redirects offensive stuff to the side chat. Trenton talks about a better face for the con, and making more effort to be funny with jokes, instead of just posting hateful stuff. The chat has more discussion about the meme being lame and old. (Member list is withheld – some were already inside or not involved.)
- Reactions in the main chat – Imgur gallery of screenshots
Assigning another chat gets treated like an attack. They say “Fuck PC and all it stands for” and Trenton starts to get retaliation.
- Hate in the new chat – Imgur gallery of screenshots
Extreme hate starts here. They mock “uppity negros” and Radfox for listening to complaints. “Have we lost the culture? Free speech tossed to the side by butthurt PC vultures.”
- Reinforcing hate and peer pressure (1) – Imgur gallery of screenshots
More members pile on. They post zoo porn (dozens of porn posts aren’t shared here) and neo-nazi propaganda. Posts say “lynchthenigger”, “cotton pickers” and they attack “white knights” and people who want to change things. Radfox says “You can be yourself, I don’t want that to be the face of the con” and protests about the money he has spent while they attack him.
- Reinforcing hate and peer pressure (2) – Imgur gallery of screenshots
Radfox tries to reason with them about the effort he made. He asks if they can behave that badly in a regular con chat. They attack him for being “Master cuck” and not leaving the chat as it was. Radfox explains that other people left and he doesn’t want it called a con for Alt Furry or to be Furry Raiders 2.0. They blame Trenton for having a more important opinion because he is POC and act like he came in new and started “slinging shit”. Radfox says Trenton was in the chat long before others and has been an acquaintance for years.
- Reinforcing hate and peer pressure (3) – Imgur gallery of screenshots
The chat pressures Radfox to ignore “a small minority” who would be offended, and blames them for “slander”. They say “real people don’t give a shit” and to ban complainers. They accuse Radfox of making popularity more important than “being yourself”, “letting these faggots change who you are,” looking weak and being “SJW bitchboi”. They say “Bowing to the conformity isn’t very rad” about letting “pronoun power jockies strip away the very idea that this con was founded on.” Trenton is bashed: “slave play” and “basketball American”. Radfox says his con can’t be a platform to be racist.
- Reinforcing hate and peer pressure (4) – Imgur gallery of screenshots
The chat accuses Radfox of seeking popularity and tells him not to be scared, nobody will listen to a handful of “SJW faggots”, and to ban anyone causing problems over it. “We should be allowed to say whatever we like“. They accuse Trenton of starting it and “dindunothin”.
- Reinforcing hate and peer pressure (5) – Imgur gallery of screenshots
“It’s OK because he’s black. He’s immune to all social and federal laws” – “He’s just gonna keep flinging shit and nothing is going to change” – “Not all black people are niggers, but a fuckton of them sure are.” They tell Radfox the problem can be fixed with just moderate racism so they can say what they want. “Eliminate all of the problem causing assholes like Trenton.” – “The problem really is people who’ll try to slander the group.”
- Bonus: “nigger” posts from the main chat – Imgur gallery of screenshots
- Some other posts against Trenton – Imgur gallery of screenshots
A few people in this made so much effort simply to be disrespectful assholes. Isn’t it really easy not to do that? And it was all about a spam-level meme – not important information, a controversial opinion about the world, or personal expression. How much more proof could you need for such activity being code for racists, than how much real racism happened in response to criticism?
Here’s some of the most active enablers. Be aware that other chat members may not have known their connections.
“Kaine the Salt Lord” AKA Kaine Orren / Konrad
“big tiddy christian roblox gf” – Baden Sergal AKA @Sergalfag
this is why we need #altfurry
— (((Baden))) (@BadenSergal) September 14, 2016
Jerreh AKA Prime Breeder
Poster of propaganda in the New Jersey chat sourced from terrorist group Atomwaffen Division. It’s a tightly controlled group. His posting history in Altfurry Discord ties to outside neo-nazi influence, raising questions about how far it goes.
“Legally” AKA Remy
Here’s why “frat” was in the title for part 1. (Where’s the fursona?)
Part 3 will share feedback from people involved. A whole group had a small handful leading this activity but maybe public light can lead to better.
Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon and access exclusive stuff for just $1.
In February 2018, Radfox, a New Jersey furry, helped a small group of friends meet for a fun weekend party in a room suite at a casino. The success led Radfox to launch a real convention for a future date. The ad-hoc trial run was named Atlantic City Fur Con.
Behind the scenes, trouble was baked in from the start. Some members seemed to consider the purpose of the con to be frat-style partying and being “offensive“. This comment came in with the original story tip:
Apparently it was bad – lots of noise complaints, there was thousands of dollars in hotel damage. Someone pushed someone into the shower which broke the nozzle or something. Caused MAJOR water damage. It went through multiple floors and into the kitchen.
Review of the Telegram group for the event found lengthy discussion about thousands in damage. A pipe was broken and flooded 12 floors of the hotel.
This is only a minor part of the story. We’ve all made mistakes and had bad luck, and it’s only money, right? It’s not bad like trashing a person.
Radfox was asked for comment by direct message on Twitter on 2/24/18. He told me: “Everyone had a good time and kept within reason, there were no incidents with the hotel or their security.” I asked him again: is it really true there were no incidents with the hotel or their security? His last reply before blocking messages:
February 11, 2018
And then it got worse. After the party, the chat group (linked on the official website) kept talking about making a con. The group was full of edgy behavior, like dozens of hits for the word “nigger” covering a 7 month span. Frequent posters appeared not to be held to rules like this, until Radfox was asked to comment for this story.
A black furry criticized a stereotype meme in the chat. He called for better behavior if it was going to be the official face for a new con. In response, he was scapegoated for racist attacks. It came from known altfurries and included hate propaganda from a neo-nazi terrorist group.
Radfox redirected the discussion to a “no holds barred anything goes” chat group that was already set up long before as an “After Dark” for the main chat. Most of the story happened there. Hundreds of hate posts were made in there about the black furry who wanted better behavior. They called him “uppity negro”, nigger, “basketball American” and more. Radfox joined, watched the racist posting, and received intense peer pressure from members. To his credit, he told them he couldn’t support racism. They negged him as a “pussy” to discourage him from listening to complaints or trying to tone things down, and resolved to attack those who would try.
February 26, 2018
Radfox was only the host and didn’t bash anyone. Observers of this story defend him as a good person who runs inclusive parties. However he oversaw the event, and even designated a safe space for hate and used it for con business. It showed a deeper relationship to members than just people he “banned”, where the new chat was used during the hate posting to consult them about the agenda of the con. He didn’t agree with the peer pressure and wanted better behavior – at least for the public face – but let it go in private. That doesn’t solve the problem if members of this group will be involved in founding a convention.
That’s the story in a nutshell. A hotel was damaged and group members attacked a black furry for asking for better behavior. This report will look closer at who they are and what they represent, and ask: will they be attending or staffing a future event? And will fandom want anything to do with it?
A longer statement from Radfox plus over 200 screenshots gathered for this story will be shared in next parts.
Had a great weekend and trip with @ShRadow_Fox ! Thanks for inviting me out to hang with you and go to your con! ACFC was a blast I met so many awesome people! And partied all night. Hope next year we do something again! pic.twitter.com/YbcwLgdIyo— Riley Fox (@Rileyyfox) February 12, 2018
(Please don’t use group pics to get mad at party goers – it’s not a good way to tell who was involved online.)
Let’s back up and talk about partying. I’ve never cared for complaints about fur cons forgetting art and being taken over by costuming, dancing and drinking. Parties are fine by me, and I think there’s more art than ever. When (*some*) graymuzzles lament about how back in the day, it was more about carrying a sketchbook and quietly drawing around a table, it sounds like old fogeys wanting early bed time. Things are getting bigger and more diverse, so let the kids play.
But sometimes a thing stares you in the face, and says here is The Problem. What happened in this story isn’t about creativity and positive expression. It’s the bad kind of party influence like you see with frats that do hazing, peer pressure and vandalism. Letting loose for fun shouldn’t include spreading hate for its own sake just to flex selfish power. But that’s how this event came to have haters consulted for its purpose.
That’s not partying right:
PARTY TIP: The only thing we should hate is hate.— ANDREW W.K. (@AndrewWK) December 4, 2014
PARTY TIP: Focus on love, partying, and bringing joy to the people around you.— ANDREW W.K. (@AndrewWK) August 29, 2017
What set them off: A key moment was a screenshot from the New Jersey furry chat where Trenton, a black furry, criticized the coded-black Ugandan Knuckles meme. The worst part was a post with the character hung on a noose. He didn’t call them nazis, but asked them to be adults and put more effort into comedy besides just dumb offense. Apparently that was so unreasonable that it deserved extreme retaliation.
Trenton’s concern was attacked as “PC dictatorship”. When Radfox moved offensive behavior to a new chat, they said one SJW was making him bow down to conformity and “shilling”. They said it would kill free speech and stop them from “being themselves”. They said Trenton was the problem, he should be banned, and called him “dindunuffin” for ruining their fun. Bad behavior made him speak up, and they doubled down and called him a nigger because he complained.
Then here’s some of the post history of the chat they were defending from his request.
Radfox answered complaints about “SJW’s” and defended caring, because the bad behavior made about 10 other people privately complain and drop out of his group. Apparently they were reluctant to speak up. But it didn’t matter to members who piled on him for listening to “one SJW”. They wanted Trenton banned.
Banning Trenton as well as others would be a perfect example of defective “centrism”. Compare the above posts and look at how much they got away with. And Trenton was the problem for speaking up once? Do you think this explains why nobody else did before? Thankfully Radfox didn’t fall for it.
The most aggressive were about 6 outspoken altfurs and a dozen supporters. They attacked Trenton’s concern to the extent of filling the chat with zoo porn and hate propaganda. If you look for the source of the propaganda, it’s a neo-nazi terrorist group in the news for murder called Atomwaffen Division.
1/ Last month, we revealed Sam Woodward—the accused killer of Blaze Bernstein, a gay Jewish student—belonged to the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division.
We’ve uncovered 250,000+ messages from the group’s secret chat room. We want to show you some of them. https://t.co/fxXpKKS1ud pic.twitter.com/b6IuPu2pV4
An Atomwaffen member murdered a student in California and earned approval from the other neo-nazis. They planned terrorist attacks to start a race war. Group access is tightly controlled. The New Jersey furry group poster (Jerreh) is known for altfurry posting history that ties to outside neo-nazi activity.
The news report above discusses the neo-nazi propaganda and it’s maker (Denton):
“Records and interviews show Denton goes by the name Rape in the online conversations, and he appears to be involved in nearly every aspect of the organization. He shapes Atomwaffen’s ideology, chooses designs for its distinctive black-and-white posters and online propaganda, and selects the books that new recruits must study as part of their initiation.”
These posts followed it in the New Jersey furry group, showing their “ironic” behavior and sincere belief.
Radfox appears to have fallen in with a bad crew. To his credit, he didn’t make it worse by bending for peer pressure, but his friends are still pushing for retaliation. Threats have already been received to Dogpatch Press for planning this report, before it was published.
I’d love to know what enabled them to slide into fandom and act like this behavior is OK while nobody told them no so far. Radfox may not know the extent of how bad the altfurries among his friends are. Can he be supported to part ways with haters?
Parties are rad. It’s not rad to get some obnoxious, selfish assholes who don’t seem to be creating art or bringing anything positive to a community full of queer nerds. And assholes who support hate are antithetical to what furry is. These things can’t coexist. Personally, anyone who thought so would be no friend of mine.
What is this even doing near the fandom? Pick one… hate or furry.
- Part 2 will look deeper at over 200 screenshots showing the events, the perpetrators, and their ties to hate groups.
- Part 3 will share statements and threats received from people in the story.
Reminder to anyone pushing for retaliation, who look the other way about your own group: Racist is as racist does, and like Chris Rock said –
If 10 guys thinks it's ok to hang with 1 Nazi then they just became 11 Nazis. Alt right / white supremacist it's just nazis. Fuck Nazis.— Chris Rock (@chrisrock) August 15, 2017
Even in non-writing communities in the furry fandom, many furries are aware of the Ursa Major Awards. They’ve been around for about 17 years, have presence at cons, and each year they receive many voters. However, for all their legacy, Thurston Howl – (a furry publisher who assisted with social media and marketing for the UMAs in 2017) – has come forward with concerns involving the UMAs’ recent soliciting for donations and GoFundMe campaign.
A transparency concern.
Until now, there has been no formal budget or accounting for funding. Fred Patten, Secretary of the ALAA (Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association, which runs the UMAs), told Howl on 5/30/17: “I cannot remember that the Treasurer for the ALAA has ever submitted a formal treasury report.” Fred confirmed there were no records for 17 years, and later added:
I don’t know how much it costs to print UMA award certificates, buy frames for them, ship them to the recipients, make and ship powerpoint presentations, etc., and I don’t know how much total in donations we’ve gotten over the years…
There have been complaints in email discussion by associates. ALAA member Bernard Doove said: “I would like a report on the finances that is more than ‘we’re broke.'” And on 5/4/17, a donor reported that they considered their donation “an unwise decision that could have been put to much better use elsewhere.” There were even fears of misappropriation, but Bernard Doove found no evidence when he looked in the bank accounts. The explanation seems to be fees of $156/year to maintain a Checking and Savings account if they have under a $300 minimum balance each.
It honestly seems like an issue of mixing small fan efforts with more formal organization, like how fandom started. ALAA Treasurer Rod O’Riley was a fandom founder who helped start Confurence in 1989. He responded to a request for comment:
The problem is not transparency — the problem is a lack of funds to be transparent about.
All donations have made their way into our bank account, and have been spent on either what they were supposed to be spent on — making and mailing out our trophies and plaques — or else were swallowed by the bank fees. ALL donations. Sometimes they took a while to get where they were going — as recently, when PayPal and our bank’s on-line system had difficulties talking to each other, for reasons I still do not understand. But eventually, they got where there were going.
Good faith is evident when many operation costs have been paid out of pocket by Rod and other ALAA members. However, when public contribution is wanted, more formal fiduciary duty should be expected. Can we see a budget for expenses? Will there be accounting for what is received and spent, and a report? Without such efforts, donations could be received under mistaken expectations. There should be clarity for donors reached by public appeals.
The understaffed committee.
When Howl consulted ALAA members in 2017, Fred Patten explained:
The ALAA has always been an understaffed volunteer organization. We have had to take who we can get. Rod is literally the only person who has shown any interest in handling the ALAA’s assets. We can’t afford to fire him; who would we replace him with?
Let me emphasize that the ALAA does have some real expenses, and with all donations going into Rod’s pockets and him paying for those expenses personally, we are basically trusting that his financial contributions outweigh the amount of the donations we get from other people.
On top of all of this, for con presentations of the UMAs, Rod apparently charges the ALAA for some services, such as assembling “and delivering” a Powerpoint presentation. Volunteering is work, but isn’t every con run without compensation? It seems that Rod puts in a great deal of work into both the ALAA and the UMAs, and the ALAA board allows respect for his long experience and devotion. A clear budget could help assure that to the public.
Here’s some steps for proper accounting to solicit more and better help:
- A finance 101 book for indie business could solve some issues such as what the IRS expects.
- Start a basic bookkeeping system – such as with Quickbooks or free Google Sheets.
- Optionally, set up a Chart of Accounts for income and spending categories.
- Make sure all income and expense transactions are tracked.
- Post a clear budget and promise annual reports.
- THEN crowdfund for expenses with full transparency.
I’m actually very appreciative of the system you laid out. Other than the paperwork to fill out for the US of A (which is new now that we have a Tax ID number), much of it is things we’ve already been doing — again, when asked. We simply have to make them habitual even even not asked. Can do.
CAN YOU HELP? PLEASE COMMENT.
Let’s solve this to raise donations and make the Ursas what they always promise to be – a fandom institution to rely on, be proud of, discover with and enjoy!
Are you willing and able to volunteer skill for the understaffed needs? How about donations to offer, contingent on progress? Specifically, there’s a wish for small, stable, solid yearly contributions out of the budgets of big cons to sustain the awards. Can any con organizers assist?
Soon, the UMA GoFundMe campaign will be reposted on Dogpatch Press and promoted with a reminder about needs that generous people can help address. Solving these problems would be a good way to help repay what Rod and associates have done for fandom since the beginning.
Additional comments from ALAA members, February 2018.
The ALAA has needed volunteers for years, but we have lost members rather than gained, and we are all doing as much as possible to keep the Ursa Major Awards running. I’ll be donating money from my personal funds once again for the 2017 Award trophies, and I will be flying up to Queensland where the awards ceremony will be held at FurDU this year in order to run the event. The cost of that comes out of my own pocket too. I’m willing to do my bit for the cause, but we desperately need more people with the skills required to improve it.
Fred Patten adds:
Often it isn’t as much the money as the time & effort to cover the bureaucratic details. Rod has also been handling all the correspondence and financing to have our trophies made and mailed to the recipients. I don’t know exactly how much labor and money is involved, but Rod has been taking care of it alone for over 15 years now.
Since 2015, we have replaced the first UMA trophies — the framed certificates — with the lucite trophies, which are more expensive.
I have told McFarland & Co., the publisher of my Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989-2015, to donate all my royalties directly to the ALAA, but so far this has been less than $200. Something else that I have been trying to get is some of the better-established furry conventions to regularly donate $100 a year to the ALAA. Is there any way to arrange for a regular small donation from, for example, Anthrocon or Further Confusion or Midwest FurFest or Megaplex or Biggest Little Fur Con or Furry Fiesta or Anthro Weekend Atlanta? If we could get just $100 each from some conventions, we should meet our annual budget.
Visit the Ursa Major Awards site to learn more about what they do.
Furry Ambassadors – a recognition program
“Furries ruin everything.” “F#$king Furries.” “Yiff in H$!!.” The furry community can face stigmatization from the mainstream – and for some, fursecution is real. That being said, there are good people who put a lot of effort into the furry community. Between helping people financially, educationally, or by going out of their way to help keep the peace, there are good furs out there who deserve to be recognized for their efforts.
On June 1st, 2017, the Furry Ambassadors Program was initiated on Fur Affinity: http://www.furaffinity.net/user/furryambassadors. An ambassador is someone who protects people, promotes prosperity, or works for peace. Meeting one of those three duties has become a requirement for someone to be recognized a Furry Ambassador as well, as this is not a popularity contest. Being a Furry, however, is optional.
The list of Furry Ambassadors to date are as follows.
- June 2017: The chairman of Anthrocon, Dr. Samuel Conway aka Uncle Kage aka kagemushi
- July 2017: Doctor Courtney “Nuka” Plante aka Nuka-kitty
- August 2017: Aberguine from the YouTube channel Furries in the Media
- September 2017: Arrkay and UnderbiteDragon of the YouTube Channel CulturallyFD
- October 2017: Founder of the International Anthropomorphic Research Project, Dr. Kathy Gerbasi
- November 2017: Civil litigation lawyer Boozy Barrister Badger
- December 2017: DogPatch.Press, founded by Patch O’Furr/Patch_Packrat, with Furry Historian Fred Patten, and contributing editor Pup Matthias.
- January 2018: (skipped due to holidays). More is coming soon… please get in touch with them to nominate furries who deserve recognition!
Want to nominate your own FurryAmbassador or learn more?
Please visit our FurAffinity page for more info!https://t.co/vD8rwja1FS
How are they selected and what’s the goal?
Anyone can be nominated to be a Furry Ambassador. We have a list of everyone nominated, and pick someone to be reviewed. A vetting process then occurs for the nominee. We research the person to see if they have met the ambassador requirements, as well we reach out to people who have had contact with the nominee to get any additional background and or perspective. If the nominee passes the vetting process, then a recognition is written and privately provided to the nominee to review. If the nominee consents, then at the beginning of the next month, the recognition is posted on the Fur Affinity account and posted to be shared across various art blogs and social media outlets. If however the nominee does not meet the ambassador requirement upon review, then the recognition is shelved. A shelved recognition can be reviewed at a later time when evidence of the nominee’s meeting the ambassador requirements can be identified.
So what is the benefit of being recognized as a Furry Ambassador? Does it make the person into a super fur, or do they win an award? Absolutely not. Being a Furry Ambassador is just the ability to have a title, plain and simple. Obviously, a title would not change a single thing about these members of the furry community. That being said, giving someone the prestigious Furry Ambassador title is a way to give a big shout out to highlight the positive things that furries are doing to make the fandom a better place. Help is always appreciated in the way of nominations.
As far as future plans are concerned, the number 1 goal is to simply strive for consistency, plain and simple. Ideally, with enough participation, the Furry Ambassadors program will hopefully continue with minimal to no interruptions for a very long time, as we do not see an end of good furries to review any time soon! Also, we have a few ideas on how to give rewards to those recognized as Furry Ambassadors. A Ko-fi tip jar has been set up, and funds permitting, we are looking to make buttons, or if funds permit, challenge coins to give to those recognized! http://ko-fi.com/X8X17Y8J
Who is involved?
In the spring of 2017, a Texas furry artist by the name Pez Wolf got bit by the fur suiting bug, and started working on his own fursuit design. Having a shoe string budget and being in close proximity to fur bashers, Pez shelved the fur suiting and redirected his energy into researching the furry fandom. Pez repeatedly ran across furs who have been making great steps toward reducing the stigmatization of the furry fandom, and making the furry community more acceptable to the mainstream. Pez’s day job is working at a major financial institution that has a culture of recognition. Pez took the values he learned at work and applied them to the furry community by recognizing furs who have made contributions to the Furry Fandom. Thus the Furry Ambassador program was created.
Azarion has been a part of the furry fandom since 2013, where the kitsune has found the warm and fuzzy welcome of many new friends. Ever since Azarion discovered the negative press media coverage from main stream media sources, he has been determined to bust the typical myths about the furry fandom. In the fall of 2017, Azarion stumbled upon the Furry Ambassador program, and knew immediately that he wanted to be a part of the writing and administrating processes. Azarion is currently studying humanities with a focus on the European Continent, and learning about other peoples and cultures has always been a big interest. Being able to promote and give exposure to people that are making a positive impact on the fandom has provided him with a new field of research that’s also given him plenty of warmth and fuzz.
Note from Patch:
This is a great idea worth supporting! And what an awesome honor to even have them notice me before I noticed them. If you think other furries deserve it, that’s why you should send them YOUR nomination to spread the love.
It reminds me of this excellent thread I noticed, and one key point I’m highlighting that shows why I think Furry Ambassadors is a great idea.
Just realized I've seen the furry fandom go from a recreational clique to a legit counter-culture.— La Renarde Écrivaine (@threetails) February 17, 2018
Sooner or later, the furry fandom will have to show a clear preference for its own art, music, costuming, etc.— La Renarde Écrivaine (@threetails) February 17, 2018
Rune’s Furry Blog showcases “people within the Furry Community… their characters, life, thoughts, and beliefs”. It also covers furry issues and media. Welcome Rune! – Patch
“We’re all mad here…”
This year at Texas Furry Fiesta, 3866 fuzzbutts fell asleep and found themselves in Wonderland! This number bumped up the convention to being on the top 5 conventions list, falling just under Furry Weekend Atlanta (FWA).
This was my 2nd time going to TFF and it has always held a special place in my heart for being my first-ever con. This year was an adventure as the convention had grown so much that it was in a new venue for a brand-new experience! Because it was so fresh and so new, I decided that a type of review was in order. So, taking from my personal experiences and the comments from others, I compiled a list of things that set the convention apart, and maybe the not-so favorable things about the convention that can hopefully be fixed in the future.
So buckle up and take this trip down the rabbit-hole with me as we explore the brand-new Texas Furry Fiesta (Lonestar Wonderland)!
(Right-Left): Radar & Owen
- Growing Numbers!
I have made a habit of reading through the con-books because they always offer the most interesting information. As someone that is still new to TFF, I could not believe how small they started in comparison to other conventions. In ten years their numbers have grown so drastically when their first con only had 542 people in attendance! Crazy, right? Now here we are in 2018 and we almost broke 4,000 people… it really just blows me away!
But a growing number means a demand for a larger space… and this year the convention took place at the Hyatt Regency, right next to the Reunion Tower in Dallas Texas. Already I noticed an improvement from last-year’s space (which I will go into detail about down below)- and it made for a much more comfortable con-experience than the previous year.Because of the larger space, I found that I had more time to actually notice what was around me. I saw a lot of familiar faces and the ‘Texas regulars’, but I also saw a lot of new faces as well. New suiters and a lot of people new to the con-scene. I saw even younger fursuiters than I witnessed last year and at ACFI and just the amount of people really shows how the fandom continues to grow, to evolve, and to include more-and-more people of varied ages, backgrounds, etc. It’s exciting. Every convention is like witnessing another moment in Furry history… and I always find myself getting excited and just feeling so humbled and honored at the thought that I get to be part of it all.
- Hyatt Regency!
The Hyatt Regency is a gorgeous hotel placed right next to the Reunion Tower in downtown Dallas. It has 28 floors, multiple rooms to rent for panel spaces (spanning across 3 floors from ground-level)- a pool, a hot tub, a bar, and even a gift shop. It conveniently attaches to the DART Train for easy travel between points, and I heard it was close to some of the most interesting neighborhoods/communities in Dallas. The layout of the hotel had mixed reviews… but I must admit that I had no trouble finding my way around. The pocket-booklet that everyone was given at registration gave an incentive to travel around the convention and locate all the most popular spots. Think of it like an interactive-tour or some sort of scavenger hunt for stamps. Upon filling your pocket-booklet with stamps from the various locations, you were given a special TFF pin at the help desk. My only complaint was that more people did not know what this part of the booklet was for, let alone that there was a prize. I found myself telling many people about it when they were wandering around lost… but again, the layout was not that bad. I feel like after wandering around for one night, I had most of the locations memorized. I did not have to refer to the map very often and only got lost one time the entire 3 days that I was there. The hotel also had various maps scattered across their walls so that people could use it for reference if they did not have their paper map (again, located in the pocket booklet).
Most panels seemed to take place on the 2nd floor and past the bar. There were multiple small rooms down a hallway located right next to a set of elevators. If anything, I could see where such a small hallway could be missed or overlooked- but at least people could go straight from the panels to their rooms. All the bigger events like the raves, concerts, and the dance competition all took place on the first floor where they could set up the stages. The Dealer’s Den was also located on the first floor.
The lobby area contained the Artist Alley as well as the Art show… and while not as convenient as other locations, at least they had a sizable space. As a fursuiter though, I will say that having the Headless Lounge in the lobby could be kind of a chore. Going up-and-down escalators when tired and/or hot… then mixing that with low-visibility seemed more like a hazard…but at least on Sunday it was moved to the 1st floor where it was more accessible. The Hyatt also had a massive outdoor area for smokers and a place where people could just cool off if they really needed to. This space was located on the first floor and conveniently placed next to the front desk.
Last year’s TFF seemed ‘cramped’ at best, with a lot of people shoving past each other and people being shoulder-to-shoulder. So, the relocation to the Hyatt really was a breath of fresh air. I found myself able to see more of the convention since I was not constantly bumping past other people, and it was a lot more comfortable walking from space-to-space. Even activities and panels were more roomy and there was barely anyone left with places not to sit. Compared to last year where people were listening to their panels out in the hallways for lack of room, this really was a treat.
As for the location of the hotel, I was not a fan. That seemed to be one of the more major complaints. While the hotel did connect directly to the DART Train, for those that were driving, getting to the hotel could be confusing. Also, there was a lack of stores and other such places around the hotel which some people heavily rely on when they travel. UberEats and other delivery services were a near necessity because the Hyatt almost seemed isolated compared to other hotels. It was also a more ‘expensive’ space… but I found that the comfort of having enough room to walk and play in suit made it worth it.
Parking for the convention was not fun and was another major complaint that I will go into detail about down below-but overall, it is something that I believe can be fixed for later cons. If I could change anything about the hotel rooms it would only be that they add in a microwave and maybe a bigger refrigerator. Overall I would say the move to the Hyatt was a smart one, and overall it was a raging success!
After the first night, the convention was being referred to as “Elevator Hell” and “Elevator Con” because with 3800 people all running around the convention, the elevators quickly became backed up. People were trying to pile in the elevators in dangerous numbers just to get up to their rooms. I was on the 11th floor, and though my wife was fit enough to take the stairs… I was not (especially while in fursuit). Unfortunately, the inability to get up the stairs applied to several furries, and hostilities quickly grew with people trying to determine who and what had priority when it came to traveling in the elevators.
Volunteers and con-staff did eventually step in and create a line system for the elevators, but this was only taking place on the floors with panel spaces (1st and 2nd floors respectively)- this grouping helped people get up to their rooms but it did nothing for the people trying to get down. I say the worst of it was on Saturday because my friends and I could not get down from our room for the longest time, and it nearly resulted in our missing the fursuit parade.
From what I heard, a lot of it boiled down to the hotel not understanding just how insane this convention was going to be. Their lack of knowledge on the fandom and how it operates made for a lot of confusion in more than just the elevators. We occupied most of the hotel for that weekend, and naturally they had other guests as well that did not know what to do when it came to furries. They did not have enough staff to have people monitoring every elevator segment on every floor, and this is understandable. Like parking and other things…I think this just means that next year there can be room for some major improvement. Also, considering this was our first year at the Hyatt, my thoughts are that it can only get better from here.
But people really should be more considerate when it comes to elevators. If they are already packed and your room is not too far away- if you are able to, please take the stairs! Also, have courtesy for those with luggage or for those wearing fursuits. Please let them in the elevator before you because chances are they are in the bigger hurry and have the most need to get somewhere.
(Left-Right): Escap’e,Thump the road kill possum, Rune
- Parking Problems:
Like the location of the hotel, the parking was really confusing. There were 3 parking lots where one could park for the convention, but there was not many indicators of which parking lot you were in when parking! The radish-lot was the main hotel parking which quickly filled up. It was the one located closest to the front of the hotel.
There was also the Reunion Tower parking which was the larger of the parking lots. It was the 2nd closest parking lot being right behind the main entrance to the hotel. Lastly, there were parking lots located far down the street called lots B-through-E where there were a lot of parking spaces available… but the location was so far and so isolated from the hotel that most people did not know those spaces even existed. While a lot of people got the con-rate parking for $5… there were those of us (like myself) that parked in the Reunion Tower parking (thinking it was the hotel parking) only to leave the convention with a $57 parking bill to pay. I do agree with others that while the Hyatt’s website had a list of parking rates… it was very unclear which lots were what and what prices people would actually be paying. So, this convention was not so kind for those of us actually staying at the hotel even though staying at the Hyatt was meant to be more convenient.
So the costs were not nice for those that could not get the con-rate, and the locations were not the best with people bringing in a lot of luggage. I found that the location of the parking was not kind to fursuiters nor was it kind to those with disabilities as the back of the hotel lacked ramps of any kind even though most of the parking was in the back of the hotel, and the doors lead directly into the lobby space.
There were those that said that using the DART Train was the best way to get around if traveling around Dallas, and while we did have experience with Uber, getting them to find your location at the hotel was not very successful unless you were willing to meet the Uber at the front doors. There were those that rented bicycles to get around but for most of us it was just too cold.
At least for next year I have learned what I can do better to cut down on costs. Getting con-rates for parking is a MUST, and getting to the con 2 days before the con is probably the way to go. My first night in Dallas (Thursday)- the parking lots were already full. We spent so much time circling the hotel to find a lot that was open and that had space that we missed pre-registration by 14-minutes. So, even though we were at the convention, we could not take part in any of the early events. But, we don’t blame the hotel or the convention, and we can only do better and plan better for next year!
- The overall cost increase:
I will say that expenses have increased since TFF last year. Even with con rates and such, a lot of people ended up spending a lot more money than they intended. The Hyatt did not provide any form of free breakfast but I found that their massive servings could work if people were splitting meals. I shared steak and eggs with my wife which cost us $18, but we easily split it and still felt full. The only downside was the coffee costing so much… the drinks were not cheap so it made up most of the bill.
Bars at a hotel are never on the cheap side, so it’s often recommended that you bring your own booze. I did like the bar’s selection but found that they added a lot more alcohol than most places, and I was not sure on the quality versus the cost. There was also a $50 holding fee for those that opened a tab… and that hurt a lot of people’s bank accounts (in which I hope they got everything sorted out).
Like mentioned before, the parking was rather costly for those that were not able to get the con-rate. For those needing to use Uber or take the Dart Train… by far the train was cheaper, with Ubers ranging anywhere from $25-$65 depending on the type of vehicle you might need. Lyft was a more expensive option, and cabs are even more expensive than that. Again, there were bikes to rent, and while cheap, the weather was really cold…so riding a bike on slick sidewalks was not at all advised.
Food ended up being the biggest cost for those going to the con. While there were microwaves downstairs, they were few in number. The shops in the hotel were overpriced with small drinks costing $3 or more. Even vending machines were $2 and did not take cards which meant a trip to an ATM and paying the ATM fee if you do not carry cash. Pizza delivery and other delivery services were available- as well as services like UberEats.
The Hyatt was not cheap. A room for 4-nights and multiple beds spiraled past $700 easily. Take that into account with registration costs of $50 and then parking, food, and spending money for souvenirs, and there were people easily going past 2k for the trip. So it was much more costly than last year and that was a problem for a lot of people. But, like with all Furry Conventions, these cons are a luxury and something you need to save and budget heavily for. My wife and I made sure we brought our own food to eat (for the most part) and next year we will bring a lot more variety as well as snacks to cut on spending.
(Left-Right): Rune & Elana
- Scheduling & Panels:
I personally thought that panels this year were a lot more varied than cons-past. I found that there were more panels and more things that I was interested in personally. I also liked that they seemed to have more ‘adult’ panels than last year. But, there was a good blend of new things and familiar favorites like the McGuyver Fursuit Challenge and the Fursuit Games. I did not hear many complaints about scheduling, and everything that I attended always started on time.
There might have been some confusion for the panels that got swapped on Sunday (to new locations), but I was not affected by this personally. As far as I know, only some game rooms had issues with what times they needed the rooms versus what times the hotel let them stay in said-rooms. Also, there was a bit of a flub when it came to the closing ceremonies not reserving the room they wanted to be in… but all-in-all, everything was very organized and went very smoothly.
I found that there really was something for everyone, and my problem this year was trying to get to everything while balancing my shopping and my suiting! By far my favorite events was the Rocky Horror Picture show performance, the Dance Competition, and learning how to brew beer. I also really liked the video game room (even though I did not play anything)- I liked how much space they had this year and variety, and my friends spent a lot of time in the tabletop gaming room which they enjoyed very much!
- Food Trucks!
A solid improvement to the convention were the food trucks. It was something that TFF had in the past but that was not available for last year’s con. They were in high demand and this year we got some down the road from the Hyatt. They had a limited window, but they offered a nice alternative to eating at the hotel restaurant or having to order another pizza. My wife bought a cuban sandwich for $10 that easily fed the both of us and it was delicious!
Some people complained about the weather and the lines, but those were minor things. For the time they were there, I found them to be really convenient and very cost-effective for those on a budget!
Picture time with Zarafa!
- The Fursuit Parade!
I loved the fursuit parade this year! Like the rest of the convention last year… the parade last year at TFF was stuffy and cramped. There was not much space between the suiters and the crowd and overall it was hot and mostly uncomfortable. But this year was such a breath of fresh air!
Not only was there enough space to where 2 suiters could easily walk side-by-side with each other, but there was space between the fursuiters and the crowd! They also placed a tape trail on the ground, marking the route for the parade, and it was super helpful! The route was short-and-sweet… but it was set up to where everyone got the chance to see all the suits in all their glory. I had no complaints about any of it, I really thought that the organization, the space, the lines, and the route were excellent. So my hat (or fursuit head) goes off to whoever set it all up because they did a fantastic job! Even the room where all the suits were waiting to leave was roomy and cool which was a real treat and made for a wonderful experience!
- Compliments to Con-staff!
I did not hear a single complaint about the con staff this year. All the volunteers and the people involved were more than helpful, and with all the chaos that a new convention brings, I really feel like they went above and beyond to help people out. I utilized the help desk often and they always had an answer for my questions. Even when it came to “elevator hell” the staff stepped in and got everything under control as best as they could.
There were reports of people in suits having trouble with people touching them without permission, suits getting damaged, and other sorts of complaints in which they said the staff went above-and-beyond to help those suiters and make them feel safe in their suits again. I can not imagine the time and energy it takes in running the con, so again, I applaud the amazing staff and volunteers at TFF and everything they do so that we can have a fun and fuzzy weekend!
Shewulf got photobombed! Please tell me who this awesome suiter is!
A new venue space (much like a new convention) is bound to be chaotic. There are going to be flaws and be hiccups, but that’s all stuff that can be fixed. For some issues, that falls on con-staff and the hotel to fix… and for others, it’s a matter of learning from experiences and making better choices the next year around. But it’s fixable.
This year I followed my con-prepping tips and really tried something different. I tried to find that balance between time spent suiting, and time just walking around and taking everything in. I took less photos and videos because I wanted to remember the convention as something I lived first-hand rather than through a phone screen or camera lens.
Naturally, there were panels I missed, plans that fell through, and things I did not get to do…but those were small things that I took as they were. I did not feel as ‘obligated’ to do certain things and I did not push myself to rush to everything that looked interesting. So, by far, this was a much more relaxed and stress-free con than the previous year’s. This was my wife’s first TFF and she said it was not as overwhelming as she thought it might be. She too was able to relax and she said that she had a blast! She saw some amazing suits, and we ran around and played, and everything about it was a good time despite the massive bill that we placed on our credit cards.
So, I still say that this was a good year for Texas Furry Fiesta… and I can not wait to see how it gets better in the years to come. I’m already looking forward to next year’s theme which was revealed to be Dungeons & Dragons (tabletop RPG). So let the hype and countdown for 2019 begin!
But let me know what YOU think. Did you attend TFF? What was your favorite thing about the convention? What was your least favorite thing? What was your favorite suit that you saw? What about your favorite panel? Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comment-section down below.
Thank you all so much for reading, and as always, I will see you all in the next blog!
This started with a guest submission by Rama the Golden Liger, a fur in Honduras. I collaborated with a lot of editing to smooth out the language and add extra info and another point of view. Fred Patten helped connect with even more furries who sent info at his request. Thanks Rama and Fred! – Patch
The Diversity of the Latin American Furry Fandom
We know how furry fandom started in the U.S. As it grew there, the mainstream media, the internet, its memes and popular YouTubers, and other influences put the fandom within a stone’s throw for many young people. Now across borders, different cultures are experiencing a growth of furry fandom among many international influences they already have.
Latin American furries are a result of all this exposure. The internet helped many young people get interested in the art, behavior, and culture of the furry creatures they see on the screen. Many Hispanic furry fans are males mostly from around age 15 to their 20’s. They came across fandom through friends, memes, anime, manga, and fan art. There are popular YouTubers like Khazoo, who spread the term “furry” through his videos. Of course, there was also Zootopia spreading popularity of anthropomorphic animals around the world.
(Patch): International reach reminds me of studying animation under an “old master” who in 1989, helped lead a nonprofit mission to Latin American countries to reduce AIDs among street children. They traveled around to test screen educational cartoons on the side of a van. The audience was poor kids who were vulnerable to exploitation and had low access to schools. The films they were shown were life saving, and most importantly to this story, the language of cartoons was universal across borders to all levels of literacy. Of course internet users in 2018 are the main topic here.
Khazoo is an example of how furryness spreads now. This teenage Spanish-language Youtuber from Mexico may not be known to English speakers. He was born in 1999 and only uploaded his first video in 2016, but soared to 31.5K followers on Twitter and nearly 600,000 youtube subscribers so far – much more than any specifically furry internet celebrity! How did he start? According to a wiki about him (use Chrome/Google Translate), Khazoo started with general teen audience content like gaming and cartoons. While he joked about being in love with Judy Hopps, fans called him “furry” but he denied it, until finally admitting it to everyone – a story I’m sure we can all laugh about in any language!
Latin American fandom does have old school furries; those who joined the fandom in the beginning or have been there for more than 15 years. From talking with some of them, they all got into it through comics with art from – for example – Nakira, JK Willard, Kese, or K9. And of course cartoons and books. Later on, the boom of the internet brought them to a community of those who loved anthropomorphic animals.
Even if furry fandom in these regions is still following development in North America, it’s already showing exponential growth; not only in the number of people who join every day, but also in the quality of fursuiters, artists, gamers, and more that have come from it.
Some examples are:
- The amazing works of Coby Wong, the fursuit maker from Brazil. She’s considered one of the most qualified makers in Latin American fandom.
- Talented artists like GAB SHIBA, Anhes, Peritian, Señor Nutria, and more from Mexico and Argentina.
- E-sports gamers like Noah Fox from Mexico, right now living in the U.S.
Some of them answered questions for this article.
One furry who spoke was @NoahFFox. He discovered furry fandom when he was 16 years old. He’s been in the fandom for four years, and since he moved to the U.S. he’s become a big Hispanic representative on Smash. He’s recognized as the only one using the Toon link.
From the comics partnership of GAB SHIBA – Zurdo is the artist (and Cross is the writer.) Zurdo shared his story about the fandom and how things started. He joined furry fandom 13 years ago when he was 16 and a friend showed him anthropomorphic art. He sees in the Latin American furry community a big opportunity for improvement. It can get a little chaotic because it’s now populated almost entirely by youths, but as it develops you can see how much good it can do, as more join year by year. There’s fear of the young population misunderstanding what furry fandom is; what role it serves, and that it’s not only about porn or yiff art. But he hopes to see more and more mature furries in Hispanic fandom as it grows with time.
From the same who brought you UBEAR, we bring you the ubearPOOL pic.twitter.com/Q7vm3ksbxw
*otter in spanish* pic.twitter.com/xpeYJgmB3G— Illegal porn artist (@senornutria) June 9, 2017
(Patch): GAB SHIBA has a smart approach. The comics are frequently wordless, or posted with dual-language for wide appeal – but they don’t just stay G-rated. Some are mildy sexy and others are even explicitly adult.
The same for Señor Nutria’s art. Maybe in the U.S., one may think of some Latin American countries as having conservative religious traditions or maybe not being the most tolerant, but some of his art is up there with the hottest gay yiff porn – showing that wherever furries are, they may spread a certain freedom or even counterculturally unbound expression in their creativity.
At Further Confusion in January 2018, I met Señor Nutria on his first trip to a fur con outside of Mexico. He was super friendly but still a little shy of being on camera, so I got a pic of work in progress at his dealer table instead. He said his younger brother, a teenager, had recently gotten into the fandom from seeing furry art.
Let’s not forget Paco Panda, the popular Mexican artist already widely known in fandom. And – Dogpatch Press has generous website admin support from Mexican fandom.
Latin American furmeets and cons
Many countries already have active communities and cons where they gather to exchange experience and knowledge, and socialize with other furs of their region. Some Hispanic countries started to do this as recently as two years ago, some four years. They are getting bigger and bigger. As new as furry fandom is in Latin America, you will notice how the media is interested in it and seek to interview these new animals in their lands. You can also see how many of the fursuits are hand made mostly by fans for themselves. Only a few can afford to buy a professionally made suit. But that’s the lovely part. You can see the large amount of effort and love this community is putting into its hobby and fandom.
The biggest gathering right now is the Brazil FurFest. Then there’s Vidafur and Fursummer in Mexico, and furmeets in Argentina and Chile. Here’s videos, with info about the first con in Mexico below.
(2/22/18) BrasilFurfest sent appreciation and a comment: “Brazilians aren’t Hispanic. Latin America is made of countries that speak Spanish, French, Portuguese. Hispanic refers only to people who speak Spanish.” (Apart from this, many from the region probably do meet there.)
BrasilFurfest – Brazil
Vidafur – Mexico
Furmeet – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Furmeet – Santiago de Chile
(Patch): There was rare media coverage of Peruvian furries in 2015. The standard “furries 101” article added useful tidbits: It was “still somewhat unusual” to see furries in Lima because their group was little more than four years old, and “the members of this tribe in our country are no larger than 100.” It also claimed: “In Latin America, Chile is a privileged country for furry fandom.” I’d love to know more.
Mexico’s first con – info gathered by Fred Patten.
Leonardo Davalos wrote:
The fandom is growing and very quickly and expanding to other countries, for example here in Mexico, the fandom isn’t unknown like it was before, and I’m happy that I had become one of the new members of this fandom.
In Mexico, the first meet was held in Guadalajara in 2008. It was a FurMeet called VidaFur. In 2010 it was held in Mazamitla, and in 2013 it was held in Guanajuato. In 2014 there was no event. The theme in 2017 was Furs in Space. This year it became a great convention with approximately 170 attendees. The name is now changed to Confuror, to be held in November 2018.
There were 27 staff members for the 2017 event. Some of them were Hugo Nieto, Henry J. Doe, EddBear, SoraDezWolfox, Zachary Huslion, An Ju Hope, Nathan de Xolotl, Foxhell, etc.
The activities were the following:
- Dance competition
- Drawing, traditional drawing, and sock puppet workshops
- Writing, character creation and GAB SHIBA speeches
- Fursuit Parade and Photoshoot
- Relay race
- Lazer Wars
There were more than 30 fursuiters in the event. There was no donation. Here is a blog of one of the attendees, Koidel Coyote.
“8 years celebrating local furmeets in our city… We all finally evolved this event to a new level turning it in to a Convention.”
Growth of Latin American social networking and more
Mike Retriever of Furryfandom.es, in Madrid Spain, writes:
I’ve read that article in Spanish, from Furry Amino. Amino is like a ‘Facebook’ kind of website/platform. Latin Americans like to use it. I don’t know of any other furry groups using Amino, only Latin Americans. It has some kind of integration with smartphones or something. Honestly I don’t get very good vibes from it, it seems very commercially-driven, like Fandom Wikia. It’s a social network geared towards fandoms. I’m very suspicious of non-furry websites catered towards furries. Flayrah’s GreenReaper says of Amino Apps they’re doomed to fail because they don’t allow porn! That’s a funny fact!
In 2008, Greenreaper’s Wikifur site launched a Spanish project in collaboration with Latin American furs. It was one of the first on the wikifur.com domain in a foreign language (along with Russian), showing them on the edge of growth.
On Wikifur I found that in 2014, when Mexico’s Vidafur didn’t meet, the members collaborated in a different gathering of many fur groups in another city, Fursummer. It lists the groups as: Vidafur, GTFur, Enfurry, Urban Clawz, Bicifurros and Tonalli Furs.
How cool is that? Getting small groups from across a country to pitch in and make a bigger meet shows the DIY ethic of fandom around the world. I love that art doesn’t need one language, and look forward to sharing more about the diversity it brings. In a small way, this international conspiracy represents a nicer future for everyone.
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Mythic Transformations, by Kris Schnee
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, December 2017, trade paperback, $7.99 (189 pages), Kindle $2.99.
This collection of fourteen short stories by Schnee is about transformations rather than anthropomorphic characters. “In this story collection, people not only encounter these beings but become them.” (blurb)
“Guardians of Mistcrown” is set in a traditional fantasy world. Darius, a young mapmaker, is looking for a new caravan route through the Mistcrown mountains. He finds a cave guarded by Zara, a griffin, who is compelled to kill anyone who comes too close to a hidden source of magical mana. Darius and Zara trade bodies, to Darius’ dismay. But he finds that there are advantages to being a powerful, flying, ageless griffin – if he can just break the wizard’s spell that binds him to the mountain cave with the mana.
“The Petlyakov-15 Amusement Engine” is for video-game geeks.
Devjn, a hard-core video-gamer, finds an old 1980s Eastern Bloc video game in a yard sale.
“He called the saleslady over from her busy work of rearranging battered stuffed animals. ‘Is this some kind of custom case on a Nintendo?’
She shrugged. ‘It was my cousin’s, but then he moved out all of the sudden. Wasted all of his time playing video games.’” (p. 27)
Devin is intrigued by the “PE-15” Cyrillic lettering, and amused by its apparent imitation of old American/Japanese video games.
“The next day he dug up a copy of ‘The Legend of Zelda’ and blew dust out of it. He smiled at the shine of the classic golden cartridge. The PE-15 came on and showed him … ‘The Legend of Svetlana’?” (p. 28)
Devin plays deeper and deeper into the PE-15. Since Mythic Transformations is a collection of stories of “people not only encounter[ing] these beings but become[ing] them”, the only question is what will Devin turn into? Hint: it isn’t a fairy-tale princess.
“Little Grey Dragons” takes place in a classic poor Russian village. Washerwoman Alexi’s brother Petrov, the blacksmith’s assistant, finds two strange warm eggs in the forest.
“They turned at a noise from the egg that Alexi had touched. It was cracking. Alexi stared as the cracks spread for several long minutes, and finally a creature’s head emerged. Grey flesh, a grey snout, and a grey eye watching her. She stood there frightened and confused. ‘Petrov,’ she whispered, ‘what is this?’
Petrov murmured, ‘Not Firebirds. Zmei.’ He stared at the other egg, obviously willing it to crack, and it began to do so.” (p. 37)
Petrov determines to use the dragons, Washer and Cinder, to make their fortunes. Alexi becomes more fearful that he is overreaching himself. Eventually Petrov becomes Cinder:
“Alexi froze. Petrov, or the dragon, or whatever they had become, reared up on powerful hindlegs and crushed a boulder. There was no Cinder, only one being that was as large as her old cottage. She stared up into a fanged muzzle that was like an echo of her brother’s face.” (p. 58)
In “Griffin Rider Venn”, Venn is a farm boy who is drafted into the town militia and ordered to guard – something. When the militia is defeated by Imperial soldiers riding dragons, Venn flees into the forest until he comes to an overgrown ziggurat.
“The light took him through twisting halls to a room so big its upper reaches were lost in the shadows, hinting at a tangle of metal cords up there. All along the walls stood glassy jars bigger than a wagon on end and covered with frost. Venn shivered. Whatever this stuff was, it came from ancient times and might do anything at all. No two legends agreed on what the ancient world had been like, except that it had ended in collapse and the forgetting of many wonders. Some of which were dangerous to learn.” (pgs. 62-63)
One of the glassy jars decants a griffin that Venn names Nev and learns to ride as an aerial battle charger. The reader won’t be surprised when Venn becomes Nev early in the story. It’s more about how he as a flying griffin combats the Imperial human-mounted dragons to save his people.
“Kentauroi” is obviously about centaurs, if you know your Greek. Cecrops and his tribe are building a new community in ancient Greece when Athena and Poseidon appear before him.
“Cecrops stood up, shaking, and dared to speak. ‘I don’t understand, glorious ones.’
Athena sighed hard enough to rustle the trees. ‘Don’t bother with flattery. You’ve already been marked by fate. You and your clan are destined to rule this land and build a mighty city. The great wet one over there, and myself, will offer you gifts. All we want is for you to choose one of us as your patron goddess.’
‘Or god,’ Poseidon rumbled.” (p. 78)
Whichever one Cecrops chooses, he is bound to offend the other one, and the Greek gods are notorious for punishing those who offend them. The title gives away what Cecrops and his tribe are turned into. But is being a powerful horse-man really such a curse?
“Ivan and the Black Riders” (reprinted from ROAR vol. 6) is a sequel to “Little Grey Dragons”. It’s also the first story in which the protagonist gets to choose what he becomes. Petrov, now the powerful Dragonlord, offers to recruit Ivan.
“The dragoness [Alexi] held the scroll up to Petrov’s left eye. The Dragonlord rumbled, ‘As I thought. My lieutenant says you’re a former mercenary with a good head on his shoulders. You wish to be young and healthy again? Then join my Black Riders.’
Ivan straightened, feeling the weight of years seem to lift from him already. He guessed: ‘The wolves outside?’
Petrov tapped dagger-length claws on the floor. ‘Exactly. You wouldn’t cross one of them, would you? You’ll have the brains of a man, and be healthier than you ever were while killing some tribe of goat-screwing bandits or bowing to your local Tsarevich bastard. You like hounds, yes? All I ask is that you become mine.’
Ivan stood in the hot cavern, staring at the dragon. He’d come this far; he’d made a sacrifice. If the Dragonlord wanted to change him, it was worth accepting. He lowered himself to his creaking knees and said, ‘Yes, my lord.’
Petrov smiled and shrank. Ivan startled. The Dragonlord had become human, a young man in flame-colored robes. He paced around Ivan, casting shifting shadows. ‘What shall I try? I’ve been experimenting with my powers. I could make you a nice stealthy black wolf, or white with powers of healing and inquisition, or red for battle. Maybe a she-wolf? They can fight. Or even a pup that I can put through a few extra years of training.’” (pgs. 88-89)
Ivan chooses a black wolf-man, to become one of the Dragonlord’s Black Riders. Later, he comes to regret his choice. What he does about it is the story.
The remaining eight stories are short, mostly under ten pages each except the last, “The Temple Beneath the Ashes”. A couple are not transformation tales, but all are fantasies. Mythic Transformations (cover by Fotokostic) is an enjoyable collection of imaginative fantasies, almost all about men (or women) transforming into something other than human.