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Redeeming Factors, by James R. Lane – book review by Fed Patten.

Fri 19 May 2017 - 10:30

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

Redeeming Factors, by James R. Lane. Illustrated by Eugene Arenhaus.
Morrisville, NC, Lulu Press, August 2016, trade paperback $19.99 (356 pages), Kindle $2.99.

This should emphasize 2nd Edition or revised edition more. Redeeming Factors was first published by Xlibris Corp. in September 2000, one of both the original self-published books and of furry fandom’s novels. Lane has revised it for this edition. The cover and interior art by Eugene Arenhaus are from the first edition.

In the very near future, the jumperdrive is invented, giving Earth not only cheap and easy space flight but interstellar flight.

“[…] most people bought their own personal starships the way they bought RV motor homes, travel trailers and small pleasure boats. […] For less than five thousand New Millennium UN dollars a person could have his very own basic spaceship, taxes and local license fees extra, space suits and common sense not included. […] The resulting first contact discoveries with distant alien worlds, alien creatures – and above all, alien sentients, with all the biological hazards and culture shocks such events must entail – were quick to follow.” (pgs. 11-12)

“The H’kaah were just one of over two dozen more-or-less sociable non-human sentient species discovered in a loose cluster of stars a mere three hundred light years from Earth.” (p. 13)

Most of the aliens, even those that look like Earth animals such as the otter-like Mn’rii and the bear-like Ruug’h, much less the more aggressive carnivores –

“Humanity wasn’t just about to give ‘smart wolves’ and their ilk free access to entire planets full of defenseless, sentient ‘prey’.” (p. 20)

— are too independent to mix with humanity; but the rabbit-like H’kaah are docile and defer to humans as Big Brothers. And humanoid bunnies are popular with humans, both with children as nursemaids and with adults for NSFW reasons. So why shouldn’t they be brought to Earth?

(This is just a summary of a lengthy prologue that is necessary and interesting, but is quite an expository lump before the story starts.)

Jack Ross is a just-50 ex-US/UN government employee; a former US top-secret special ops agent until he inherited an automobile agency and retired to run it. His former government friends ask him to become one of the organizers of Patrons, a UN/H’kaah joint program to introduce the rabbitoids to Earth society “as personal companions to mostly middle-class families and individuals.” (p. 21) They would serve as, frankly, many third-world “resident alien” humans do in first-world countries, establishing themselves as gainfully employed, able to send money home, and introducing their nationality/species peacefully to the vast mass of humanity who aren’t interested in flying off into outer space. Jack becomes, secretly, one of the bureaucrats who sets up Patrons from the human end, and publicly he becomes the first human “customer” to hire one of the H’kaah.

“In his younger years Ross had seen photos of the world-famous Playboy Clubs before they became extinct, and he had been fascinated by [the] concept of ‘bunny girl’ waitresses, sexy young women wearing clip-on rabbit ears and powder-puff tails. Now, decades later, he was facing a roomful of the genuine article, and he found them to be undeniably feminine and sexy beyond the point of merely exotic, yet at the same time they were disturbingly alien. He noticed that he was beginning to sweat.” (p. 26)

Ross picks the honey-blonde furred S’leen. For the next few dozen pages, the story is about Ross’ introducing her to Florida society and to his home, and their getting acquainted. There are a few mentions of her rabbit-girl nature (he struggles to maintain a professional relationship despite her being “an incredibly sexy creature” with a shy personality), but it’s generally similar to what an average 50-year-old American living alone (he’s a divorcee) might go through upon hiring a young housemaid from a poorer third-world country experiencing America for the first time.

During Ross’ “explaining America”, he makes it clear that he – and Lane makes it clear that Ross is speaking for him – is politically conservative and has a large gun collection. This is pertinent when Ross takes S’leen to a firing range and teaches her to shoot. One of Lane’s more subtle touches is to refer to Jack Ross constantly as “Ross”, while everybody addresses him as “Jack”. This keeps him a more objective protagonist while making it clear that everyone who knows him considers him a good guy.

This is all pertinent because it’s obvious to the reader how this will all turn out, despite Ross’ and S’leen’s determination to keep everything on a detached, intellectual level. A healthy but sex-starved older but still active male and an equally abstemious 20-year-old bunny-girl, alone together?

An ongoing consideration is that S’leen is from a race of herbivores, while Ross is from a race of carnivores. (Okay, omnivores.) Despite the feelings that they develop for each other, S’leen can’t help cringing on an instinctual level:

“It finally sunk in that she was a long way from home, and completely at the mercy of creatures that EAT the flesh of other species.

She started trembling again.” (p. 69)

About halfway through the 356-page novel, old enemies from Ross’ past catch up with them. S’leen kills them thanks to Ross’ gun lessons, but he is left in a condition that:

“‘Don’t get your hopes up, son,’ Green [St. Augustine police Lieutenant Nolan Green, a friend] cautioned, his expression grim. ‘In all my years of military and police work I’ve never seen someone shot up that badly live more than a handful of minutes.’” (p. 151)

and:

“Each damaged or destroyed organ, by itself, would constitute a serious problem, Green explained, but he had saved the worst for last. ‘Besides all that, and besides losing his left eye and the hearing in his left ear, there’s one more thing: Jack is almost totally paralyzed. One of the bullets punched through his belly to lodge in his spine. They’re afraid to disturb it for fear of doing even more damage, but where it is, as well as what the neurological tests show, says that his entire lower body is effectively dead. And because of his breathing difficulty and unstable heartbeat, they’re certain the bullet is affecting the nerves that govern the upper body functions as well.’ Green took a long, deep breath, then added huskily, ‘Hell, if he’s lucky he might not wake up at all,’” (pgs. 194-195)

If Ross is in such a hopeless condition, how can there be a happy ending? With his human and H’kaah friends working together, there are unexpected surprises. Read Redeeming Factors and find out.

– Fred Patten

To support writing by furries, for furries, please visit Dogpatch Press on Patreon. You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, and support all of the team’s news and reviews.

Categories: News

Furry YouTubers You Might Not Have Seen

Fri 19 May 2017 - 10:00

Furry Videomakers are an under appreciated section of the Furry Fandom. A lot of this falls under different factors like how all the Furry sites don’t offer a way to submit video. We covered this topic back when we covered The Raccoon’s Den. Recently; we had a surprise on YouTube when Rainy Chaos was featured as their Artist on the Rise, which exposed a lot of people, Furry or not, to a personality they never seen. Though Rainy being featured had it’s own series of ups and downs.

However, there are more Furry YouTubers then you might think. Many of which are part of a Slack group. Talking about making better content, contributing with other videos, and showing off their work for feedback from their peers. Talking with several members, we are happy to present to you a list of Furry YouTubers You Might Not Have Seen. A highlight of different creators talking about what their channel is about, featuring their most recent or favorite video they’ve produced. So sit back, relax, and enjoy your next possible Furry obsession.

FURRIES IN THE MEDIA by Aberguine

Furries in the Media is a series that reviews video clips that feature furries based on how accurately and fairly the clip represents the furry fandom. News broadcasts, tv shows, documentaries, movies, and even popular youtube videos are often covered in Furries in the Media.

The youtube channel was originally intended to host a vlog series. The idea for Furries in the Media came about during the planning stages of the vlog as a possible spin-off series, and it was quickly realized that the review series had much more potential than the vlog itself.

Many people are only familiar with the furry community through infrequent yet often misinformed representations of furries in mainstream media. This series strives to dispell misconceptions and to better inform the public about furries. Furries in the Media does this by countering the misconceptions and providing additional context and information so that the furry community may be better understood by all.

 

CLAWY VARIETY SHOW by Taijey

My channel is mainly about covering advice and opinions from the mind of a conniving Toon Cat through my series ‘The Clawy Variety Show’. I decided on that name because its Clawy’s take on a variety of things and common topics in the furry fandom that give information to young or new furs or to furs that are curious about said topic. I decided to dedicate my channel to this because I don’t see too many “Toons” doing videos. Now I have seen a handful do slapstick and whatnot, but I’d like to see more toons being toons, while still addressing things of importance from time to time. Plus its more fun when your character is a bit of a clown and it’s insanely fun to see that added into the mix.

 

HOW FURRY IS IT? by Greger Reindeer

“‘How Furry Is It?’ is a series that looks at various TV shows, movies, videogames, and other media, and analyzes their qualities of anthropomorphism. It’s like a furry review show, but better! Hosted by Greger Reindeer, this series takes a more in depth look in media with plenty of research and educated opinion to boot. Come for the anthro analysis, stay or the antler antics.”

 

THE GRIFFCAST by Malwave

The Griffcast – in its basic form – is about 3 friends hanging out and watching bad movies. Or at least that’s the theme we try and bring across.

We don’t censor our thoughts and dig into all kinds of bad and obscure visual media; TV episodes of old cartoons nobody remembers, bad animated movies, etc. Really nothing is off limits…just tends to sway toward animated features most of the time.

The Youtube channel was born from a necessity to have some way for our viewers to see the content. The show started off as a podcast in 2013… more audio and with an entirely different crew aside from myself. That lasted for a good year until we dissolved and put the show on a permanent hiatus. Around 2016, I talked to my friends Sparx and Bootz and we made a few changes. The show you see now is the result.

 

BIOGODZ just Biogodz

My name is Bio and I’m usually known as Biogodz on Youtube & vine. In the furry community, I’m known for making short skits with Al the wolf and Friends. The best videos I’ve made in the past are Stranger in the room series and the cooking skits with Kale the deer.

Thank you to all the creators for featuring their work. Till next time Fluffer Nutters. Have a nice day.

-Matthias

To support writing by furries, for furries, please visit Dogpatch Press on Patreon. You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, and support all of the team’s news and reviews.

Categories: News

The Laputan Factor, by Tristan Black Wolf – book review by Fred Patten.

Thu 18 May 2017 - 10:00

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

The Laputan Factor, by Tristan Black Wolf. Illustrated by Dream and Nightmare.
Bloomington, IN, AuthorHouse, June 2015, trade paperback $16.95 (viii + 193 pages), Kindle $3.99.

Chapters 1 and 2 feature “the large, muscular tiger” shown on Dream and Nightmare’s cover. He is Lieutenant Ambrose Bierce “Night” Kovach, a space soldier aboard the Heartwielder, a huge star cruiser sent to the region around Gorgonea Tertia.

“Gorgonea Tertia was not exactly one of the top stars in everyone’s constellation list, but there were some reports from that general region that might indicate some trouble for travelers going within a short distance of the place. A contingent of Starhawks was to check out the area and report back; orders were strictly recon, no contact and no engagement unless exclusively defensive.

[…]

Kovach was to be part of this team of six, designation Snake Lady, with the call code Medusa, in honor of the most famous of the gorgons. He was to be Medusa Six, covering everyone’s tail – a job he knew how to do very well indeed. He met up with his contingent at the SimCenter shortly after the briefing. It made sense to warm up a bit before going out in the deep cold of space.” (p. 5)

Medusas One through Five, his contingent, are Lentz, a black panther; Tolliver, a German shepherd; Perryman, a hard-looking lop-eared rabbit; Rains, another tiger; and Baptiste, a female Husky. They all answer to Sgt. Sumner, a grizzled bulldog who chomps on a conspicuously unlit cigar.

But in Chapter 3, Night wakes up relaxing on a beach next to his lover, Donovan, a hyena. He’s had a particularly realistic dream, the result of getting hit in the head by a volleyball, he says. He and Donovan are on vacation; two weeks he’s earned from Waveforce Biosystems Technology after being in a coma for two days after testing the experimental SimCenter at work. Donovan doesn’t want him to go back, but he’s okay …

Except in Chapter 4 he’s back to Lieut. Kovach on the Heartwielder, waking up in the sick bay because of a simulation glitch in the SimCenter. Sgt. Sumner tells him:

“‘Nothing bad, but the feedback seems to have knocked a few of you senseless. Tolliver and Perryman are in the next couple of beds. You’re the first one to wake up.’” (p. 19)

He, Tolliver, and Perryman have been caught while taking a routine SimCenter workout that apparently reacted somehow with the Heartwielder’s new Bradbury engines. Or maybe Tolliver had fired one of their equally new plasma shuriken into it:

“The four-five-one engine created a warp field that literally folded space. The ship inside the field was fine, but anything around the ship for a radius of about a half-dozen klicks was ‘folded’ – matter was taken out of three dimensional space and dropped into two or even one dimensional space.” (p. 19)

Etc. at considerable length, including mentioning the coincidence of a researcher named Bradbury inventing the four-five-one drive and his ancestor being a s-f author who wrote a novel titled Fahrenheit 451.   The next several pages and Chapters keep with him as Lieut. Kovach on the Heartwielder, until he abruptly turns back into Night O’Connell working at Waveforce …

Night keeps alternating back and forth, unsure (as is the reader) which is the reality; the futuristic space soldier aboard the Heartwielder, or the present bioresearch genius working on a simulation device. References in his future scenario to Bradbury and Fahrenheit 451 are matched by references in his present scenario to his favorite TV program, The Prisoner, with its hero being Number 6 (Medusa Six?). Those are spelled out for the reader; other references (and The Laputan Factor is full of them) are just thrown out for the reader to catch.

In the present Night has a gay male lover, Donovan; in the future he has a girlfriend, his teammate Baptiste. In both scenarios he suspects that something unknown is going on, and that his life may be in danger. In both scenarios he is attacked? seduced? by “Gemini”, a handsome young wolf posing as a space cruiser sick bay’s nurse/a resort’s masseuse, who may be trying to help him or may be trying to trick classified information out of him – for who or what?

Night starts his own investigations at first:

“Kovach handed the pad back to him [Perryman]. ‘Erase that. And if you’re smart, you’ll erase it from your onboard chip too. You’ve got us as backup for your memory.’

‘Getting paranoid, tiger?’

‘Getting practical. Don’t leave any trails, and don’t talk about it out in the open. Whatever this is, I think we can agree that someone didn’t think that it was supposed to happen … and maybe it shouldn’t have.’

Perryman’s natural eye narrowed somewhat. ‘Meaning?’

‘Meaning we may have just stepped in something we weren’t meant to know about.’” (p. 33)

Later, when his investigations may attract attention, he’s brought into another layer of the mystery:

“‘What the bloody hell have you gotten me into?’ the tiger hissed angrily. ‘Is this a spy game or something?’

‘That would be a ‘something’ category,’ the old bulldog said, ‘but I have no idea how to explain it to you.’

‘Neither do I’ the wolf admitted. He glanced at Sumner, an unasked question in his eye.

‘Can open, worms everywhere.’ He retrieved a cigar from a waist-pouch, jammed the end of it into the corner of his mouth, and set his jaw. ‘Let’s do it.’

‘Do what?’ Kovach asked, his muscles tense.” (p. 67)

There are references within references, worlds within worlds, and if you think you know where this is going, you’re probably wrong – it’s more complex yet.

The Laputan Factor keeps up the mystery, and it’s a very clever one although it does include a lot of high-tech gobbledegook. There are double-references everywhere, but they are easy to ignore for those who do not want to bother with them. Dream and Nightmare (that’s a single artist; he says on FurAffinity that Night is his personal fursona) has ten full-page illustrations in addition to his cover. This is a novel that most furry fans will enjoy.

Fred Patten

To support writing by furries, for furries, please visit Dogpatch Press on Patreon. You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, and support all of the team’s news and reviews.

Categories: News

Tempe O’Kun was on CNN while protesting ‘on the side of justice.’

Wed 17 May 2017 - 10:33

Tempe O’Kun is a popular author of Paranormal Furry Romance, anthropomorphic-animal Westerns, and even game design.

Tempe writes in to share his recent appearance in the news, plus Q&A with me.

“I helped boo my Republican rep whenever he defended Trump-Russia. Normally, I don’t like having my real life intersect with furry, but these are exceptional times.”  See Tempe in cowboy hat on North Dakota’s KFYR-TV:

Things got physical at a town hall meeting this afternoon in Mandan with Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. Two people were escorted from the Coffee with Cramer event by police officers. Things got heated, when Cramer was accused of supporting tax cuts for the wealthy.

Another view of the event from CNN video:

Two men were ejected from Rep. Kevin Cramer’s town hall in Mandan, ND, after tensions flared over the GOP health care bill.

(Patch:) Was it a surprise to be on CNN?

(Tempe:) It was! North Dakota is a sparsely populated and polite state, usually forgotten by the media. Rep. Cramer (ND-R) scheduled his town halls for noon and 5pm, hoping only his supporters would show up. Boy, was he wrong. He’s been booed in every corner of this supposedly red state. I thought I was just going to do my part, so in 20 years I could say I was on the side of justice. I never thought I’d make it on the news, let alone nationally.

I wonder if there is an indirect furry dimension to this. Is it using a creative voice to speak up with experience you honed as a furry writer?

As a writer, I’ve spent most of my life learning to put my thoughts into words, exploring the human condition, and imagining worlds that differ from our own. If I can use those skills to explain how vital is is that people get involved, then I’m morally obligated to do so. If I can make an attention-grabbing protest sign and hold it, I’m bound to do that too. I can’t expect to inspire others to get out and object to authoritarian white nationalism if I just sit at my Twitter account.

Could the issues here affect furries as a type of person any more than the average person?

Most furries are LGBT. The Trump regime is targeting LGBT folks—from removing pro-LGBT statements and policies from government websites, to erasing LGBT folks from the Census, to giving a free pass for Putin to systematically torture and murder gay men in Chechnya – to helping the Republicans pervert the intended secular democracy of the United States into a twisted hellscape of intolerant religious law.

The furry fandom has always been a safe haven for folks to be themselves. For some, it’s the only place to safely do that. If we are silent, these attacks will only continue to escalate.

Even if you don’t care about LGBT rights, you probably want a free and open internet, right? The Republicans are attacking that too.

Furries live in the real world (much as we are loath to admit it). We benefit from clean air, freedom of speech, and a government that supports human rights instead of brutal dictators. Was the US government perfect before? Certainly not. But you don’t fix a system by embracing corruption and dishonor. It takes logical ideas and hard work.

If we dismiss the crisis that is the Trump regime as mere “drama,” if we complain about furry being “so political,” then we will look away until they grab us by the throats. Alt-right Nazifurs are shutting down our cons, threatening our artists, trampling our public image, and then playing the victim—the eternal hallmark of the bully. To justify making your fellow human beings suffer, you must convince yourself that you are the true victim. You hear this in every yowled rationalization: “I can do what I want! If you don’t like it, leave!”; “You mad, bro? Why can’t you take a joke?”; “They’re just words. Why are you censoring me?” None of these excuses are honest. Don’t engage. Don’t feed the trolls.

Furry is a wonderful escape from the harshness of reality. It’s an incredible kingdom of dreams we’ve built, a safe haven for everyone. That’s why it’s been a prime target for Alt-right Nazifurs. They want nowhere to be safe.

You mention you normally don’t like having real life intersect with furry, but these are exceptional times. Why, and what’s your message to other fans?

Being a furry teaches you to see beyond the easy and artificial categories we place others in. That “foreigner” might be your favorite fursuiter. That “lazy welfare queen” might be the struggling artist you cheer for in comments.

Even as Putin’s intelligence services handed our election to Trump, I know the Russian people want only freedom, safety, and peace—just like the rest of us. I know it because I know Russian furries. They’re my friends, fans, and illustrators. Many of them resist their government as it cracks down on free speech and LGBT rights. If they can speak up against a far more competent authoritarian regime, I can’t sit idle.

Our times are exceptional because tribalism – the ancient lie that those outside your little tribe are subhuman goblins – has been grievously wounded by the internet. The old boogeymen (non-whites, non-Christians, non-heterosexuals, socialists, women in pants) no longer scare us, so the old power structures are crumbling. Women, minorities, and the poor have rights and can vote. World peace is an existing trend, not some hippy dream. Terrible conflicts rage on, but wars on the scale of previous generations aren’t happening anymore. Why? Because we citizens of the world are now so interconnected and interdependent. (Wouldn’t you think twice about attacking a country if your friends lived there, or your next commission was coming from there?)

Respect’s not a zero-sum game. Empowering others and treating them with compassion has practical benefits, even for those who might’ve been at the top of the heap before. Altruism is practical. Look at an example in the fandom: most everybody supports artists—with commissions, purchases, donations, or encouragement. We have all these incredible artists producing really cool things for us, and if someone were abusing or cheating them out of money, you’d want to stop that, right? No matter who you are, you’d benefit. If you’re broke, you want to keep seeing cool art for free. If you’ve got money, you want to keep commissioning cool art. And you can bet artists want an altruistic environment since they don’t want to be the next one harassed or scammed. Everybody wins.

The only reason to fight that positive environment is if you’re hoping to scam people. So be wary of those who ask for your fear or hate. They want to use you. They want cannon fodder or cash cows or even just a chorus of trolls to drown out anything that upsets their delicate feelings. People who desire your cruelty want to turn back the clock to the old days, when they could be warlords grasping for blood-soaked gold instead of bitter losers trolling in a comments section. Their time is passing. Pity them. And then block them.

In the furry fandom, we’re at the forefront of this trend toward embracing peace. Ironic, perhaps, that we had to embrace animal personas to see each other as fully human, but I can’t argue with the fact that the furry fandom is one of the nicest places in the world. Everyone who can treat each other kindly is welcome to join in our tomfoolery. We’re united by shared interest and a sense of community, which is certainly the direction we want the world to go. If we try, we can make the world more like the fandom: safe, fun, and free. Together, we can make the future furry.

Do you want others to follow your example, and how?

Absolutely! First of all, be a smart internet user. The internet is a furry’s native habitat. You know how to search for good info, verify rumors, and sniff out a lie. Don’t let people fool you with self-serving memes and propaganda. Share important news stories from good sources, not just ones with wild headlines.  Beyond that, anything you can do is something we wouldn’t have without you.

Can you…

…continue your life without going insane? Great! Be kind to yourself. Do things you love. Fill your time with activities that keep you from obsessing over the negative. Disengage from toxic people. This is the foundation all other resistance is built on.

…be good to your friends? They might be as freaked out as you are. Spend time with people who make you smile and be excellent to each other.

…discourage trolling? Fighting with idiots is a waste of energy. You’re not obligated to correct every fool on the internet. Use your energy in more productive ways. Block trolls, report them, and move on. And don’t let your friends troll people.

…call your representatives? Here’s the number: 202-224-3121. I call almost every day. It takes about 5 minutes to call your two Senators and Representative. Just like ordering a pizza: tell them what you like and what you don’t. Don’t bother calling outside your district, since only constituents count.

…go to a protest? Check out your local Indivisible group on Facebook. Or just bring friends to your Congress member’s next town hall, hold up signs, and boo or cheer as needed.

…donate to the ACLU to fight the regime in court? Here’s the link.

…vote? Most states let you register here.  The next local election in your area might be sooner than you think. Plan ahead and vote early, if you can.

…volunteer for a local election?  There’s tons of options for how you can help out, from calling people and knocking on doors to organizing your friends to go vote. Even better, you could run for office.

…help out a local cause? With basic services threatened by tax breaks for the wealthy, you’d be more welcome than ever at your local animal shelter, food pantry, blood drive, or any other group that helps improve life on this planet.

…do something I haven’t even thought of? You can read more about resisting at the Indivisible guide.

Do you…

…live outside the US?  Stand up for civil rights and democracy in your own country. Be so successful that you shame us into being better.

…own a fursuit? It’s tough for the propaganda machine to spin peaceful protests into “riots” if cartoon animals are squeaking at the cameras.

…have a furry or social media account? Follow people who work to improve the world. Don’t follow people who tear others down or support cruelty.

…have friends/family members who “aren’t political” or even support the Trump regime? Be as open as you feel okay with. Use your time and energy where you think it will be most productive. I’ve found that the best way to win people over is to live the best life I can and be honest about my beliefs while trying to understand others’.

Apart from being on CNN, what’s new with you and your work?

I am almost done with a new Windfall book! Slate is back and illustrating it, inside and out. Expect to see it this summer or fall. I’m also working on a new card game that’s compatible with the Nordguard one—and that uses a property the fandom is also pretty familiar with… ; )

My Sixes Wild and Windfall ebooks are available on Amazon. Physical copies are at: FurPlanet.com and Sofawolf.com.

For my previews and fanfiction, check out my main galleries on Furaffinity or Sofurry.  (I know people go to FA and SF as an escape, so I tend to keep any activism limited to my Twitter.)

To support writing by furries, for furries, please visit Dogpatch Press on Patreon. You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, and support all of the team’s news and reviews.

Categories: News

The ConFurence Archive: a new resource for fandom history, with Q&A by Mark Merlino.

Tue 16 May 2017 - 10:50

Dogpatch Press is honored to host guest writer Mark Merlino.  He’s a fandom founder who helped found the first furry convention (ConFurence Zero in 1989). Mark maintains the Prancing Skiltaire house in So Cal, with fellow fans Rod O’Riley and Changa Lion.  Below is his submission, followed by a part 2 with additional questions I sent.  

Mark is announcing a treasure trove of pre-internet furry lore.  Now you can see stuff like the ConFurence Zero conbook. You may love this if you got involved in the days of trading ‘zines by mail (like me), or if you just want to compare what cons do now to how they did it decades ago.  Now we have a thriving subculture on top of the 1980’s fan ways, with unique features like a cottage industry for fursuiting, dance events beyond compare, and cons every weekend around the world.  But some things never change – this blog is basically my ideal 90’s ‘zine, except I’d love to add more art as it grows. ( – Patch)

Mark in 1989 – and check out the ConFurence Zero Aftermath Report.

(Mark:) Here is my article about fan publication history, the Prancing Skiltaire house library/archive, and the recent creation of the on-line ConFurence Archive made by my partner Changa.  It also mentions Rodney’s and my blog Two Old Furry Fans, and InFurNation (Rod’s labor of love for 25 years of so). There is a real interest in the history of fandoms, and finally a way to research early records.

The ConFurence Archive (at confurence.com)

You can find anything on the Internet! At least that’s the popular perception due to the rise and eventual acceptance of search engines like Google, information aggregation web sites like Wikipedia, and archival collections like archive.org. Where did people find things out before the Internet? Well, libraries! Growing up, I learned all about the libraries in my schools, and the local public libraries and how to use all of them. Card catalogs for finding books by subject or author, and the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature, which indexed hundreds of magazines; these were my Google on dead trees.  My first real job (for pay) was a “page” at our neighborhood branch. The job required putting books back on the shelves, in order. I expanded my responsibilities by keeping the record players in the listening rooms and the copy machine all working (always was a nerd…)  In high school I was a library assistant for 2 years, sorting shipping and receiving, and even rebinding. I spent many hours, from grade school to my time in the university devouring entire libraries. I collected my own books: science fiction and fantasy paperbacks; comic collections (Walt Kelly’s “Pogo” was my favorite); art and reference books, magazines like National Geographic, Natural History, Science, and Zoobooks; and illustrated books for young readers.

ConFurence 4, 1993 – I’m guessing this show-stopper bunny was Shawn Kellers’. – Patch

When I met my partners and we moved in together with friends, all of our collections combined.  We ended up living in a library. (Twilight Sparkle would approve!) In 1970, I discovered science fiction and comic fandom and fan conventions. I began collecting convention souvenir program books, convention reports, and daily newsletters. In the dealer’s room I found fan published magazines (zines) with reviews, non-fiction articles, art and fan fiction. Joining the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS, founded in 1934) I became familiar with Amateur Publishing Associations (APAs), the compiled magazines made of participants pre-printed articles and GenZines, fan published collections of articles, fiction and art. My partner Rodney was also active in various fandoms.  He had his own collection of fan publications (he even edited an APA for a writers’ group). His and other household members’ collections joined mine in our house, The Prancing Skiltaire.

Eventually our shared interest in all things anthropomorphic caused us to take leave of our senses completely, and we organized the first furry fan conventions. I negotiated with venues, signed contracts, and took care of registration, while Rodney handled programming and publications. Convention flyers, advertisements, progress reports, newsletters and convention souvenir program books were produced.  Eventually the convention progress reports became the newsletter InFurNation, mailed to members and other subscribers 4 times a year. (It’s still being published on-line at infurnation.com). Copies of everything we produced, along with business documents and correspondence were filed away. Sounds organized, doesn’t it? It wasn’t.

The important thing to understand is that fandoms, even our furry kind, were chronicled in print and on paper (much of it distributed by the US mail) before the Internet happened. Everything you can find on-line, using the wonder of search technology, had to be put there by somebody. A lot of somebodies who must be willing to work hard, for little or no compensation, to make all of this material available to all of us.

After years of depending on publishing, printing, address lists and bulk mailings, it became obvious that ConFurence needed a web presence. A site was created and maintained intermittently by volunteers (who actually did computer stuff, unlike me) until ConFurence itself became a part of history.

That was the extent of things until a few years ago, my partner Changa began posting scans and digitized video of fannish ephemera he found around our house and shop, on his Google+ and YouTube channels.  Some of it (the ConFurence 0 video, for example) attracted considerable attention. Rodney and I were guests at FurCon in 2014, and our panel on “25 Years of Furry Conventions” (25 years, can you believe it?) was a hit at the convention and on-line, thanks to Changa’s efforts. Surprised by the interest in furry history, Rodney was inspired to start a blog “Two Old Furry Fans” (twooldfurryfans.com), with audio net-casts where Rodney and I talk about our fury interests and experiences (Eventually we’ll be talking with some famous guests, we hope!).

It was this year (2017) that Changa (with a bit of help from us) realized that all the pieces were in place, and it was time for the Next Big Thing. A furry (and related fandoms) public access information archive.

The long abandoned ConFurence.com site, revitalized with nearly 2000 images and files to search (so far) is now the Confurence Archive.  Anyone and everyone can now access documents from the early (pre-Internet) years of science fiction and comic conventions, the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization (C/FO, the first US animation fan club with emphasis on the animation of Japan), and of course, ConFurence and the furry community. The site is still growing, but it’s open now.  Go to confurence.com, and study the extensive material excavated and prepared for you by Changa. Take notes. There will be a test at the end of the semester.

– Mark AKA Sylys Sable

Further Q&A by Patch.

 

Is there any physical part like an actual room where visitors can check out zines and stuff?

Here at the PS, people are welcome to look at stuff anywhere in the common areas, and some do during the parties. We have let some people who were working on projects visit at other times to dig through the shelves and boxes.

I have also let a few people borrow some magazines (anime related) for a month or so, and maybe I will do more of that. We have to be careful of a lot of the old stuff because it is on high-acid paper, often mimeograph, which fades with age, held together with rusty staples. Luckily Changa is scanning such materials while they can still be read.

What’s the rarest/coolest material in the collection… like do you have any unpublished fan works from people who went on to be famous names? (I think there were at least a few in the early 80’s APA days.)

Interesting rare stuff? Well, we have some art by Peter Chung in various C/FO publications. He was a long-time member of the club and went on to create Aeon Flux the post-apocalyptic bad-ass female assassin. Quite a few animation students, including those attending Cal Arts (Disney) got their first taste of anime at the club. Dave Kune, an artist and animator was involved in the local furry community, and an early fursuit maker/performer. He is a professor/administrator for an art school in Laguna. Many of his students display their work at the Orange County Fair, and some of it shows furry influence. Shawn Keller, a Disney animator and character designer for WB (Space Jam) used to have private art shows at furry conventions and also made fursuits and presented them at cons. We have art from them and others who have gone on to become professionals, as well as art from “lost” artists like Jerry Collins (though he does have an FA account now, under a different name). One of the interesting finds of recent excavations were newsletters and correspondence for C/FO New York by and about Jerry Beck, an animation fan that came to California and got involved with the studios, and is now the head of the Hollywood chapter of the International Animation Society (ASIFA), the group that has the Annie Awards, the Oscars of the animation industry.

There is likely a lot more, but I can’t think of any right now…

I wonder if there could be some discussion of collecting some of this info into a retrospective? (I have roughly outlined a “furry coffee table book”.)

We have has some early interest in contributions to the archive, and certainly welcome any. I would enjoy doing more articles and being involved in discussions about fandoms, particularly furry. A few people are working on books about furry. Fred Patten’s “Furry Conventions” book is mainly an index of all the conventions with basic information, until 1999. He rejected any input from us and chose to create his “facts” from the recycled rumors and statements made by people who were trying to do character assassination of me, Rod and other ConFurence staff form the first 11 years of the con.  Joe Strike is working on a furry book, likely from his perspective of comics/science fiction and the early artists, which considered themselves “funny animal” artists. He has been around a long time, as a fan and as a writer, producer and production assistant in the film industry, and no one currently in the furry fandom has ever heard of him :(. One of the founders of the Graymuzzle Facebook community is also working on a book (Grubbs Grizzly). Rodney suggested (years ago) doing a “Furry for Dummies” book, which would be easier for us, since those books are usually a series of topical essays, with lots of illustrations. We could even have content from other contributors. Will it actually happen? I can’t say…

The coffee table book sounds interesting. One of my dreams was to have a (or perhaps several) real furry art gallery shows, in legitimate galleries/museums. I did arrange and curate a large animation art show at the university I attended in 1975. It was one of the largest shows of it’s kind, with more studios and artist represented then ever before. Rod also arranged some gallery shows with an art association in the Santa Ana artist village, with opening planned for the monthly Art Walk. The shows were small, as it was very difficult to get artists to contribute, but the events were well received and got a lot of local press. I think furry art as a genre includes some of the most beautiful illustrative art produced today. A show in a museum environment (not a sales situation) could include some incredible pieces from several personal collections (like ours).

Thanks again to Mark and be sure to check out confurence.com.

To support writing by furries, for furries, please visit Dogpatch Press on Patreon. You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, and support all of the team’s news and reviews.

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Categories: News

Alamo City Furry Invasion: The Furry Furry West – New con for October 2017.

Mon 15 May 2017 - 10:04

Art byTatuJapa

Registration is open for the Alamo City Furry Invasion : The Furry Furry West, October 6-8, 2017.  Follow on twitter: @FurryInvasion

Yay for a new frontier of fun in Texas!  The well-established con is Furry Fiesta in Dallas. The new Furry Invasion is a 4-hour drive south, and thoughtfully scheduled 6 months after.  This fandom IS big enough for the both of them.  That bodes well for success, and it already seems to be going great. They sold out their original hotel (the Marriott), and upgraded (with transfer of reservations) to a nicer place.  Now it’s at San Antonio’s El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel.

What’s cool in the southwest furry scene?  Besides cons, I previously posted about independent efforts to start furry dance parties (a small series by Whines, and FurNightATX by Haven, who is also the founder and fursuiter mascot of HavenCon.) Haven is one of the Guests of Honor at the upcoming ACFI, along with Telephone, Omnom, and Thorgi.

Did I say cool? This con is so far south, I think fursuiters will be glad it’s in October.  So mosey on up to their registration page, and get deputized with a badge for fun.  (-Patch)

Registration info and more:

Lifetime badges only available for this year. There is a limited supply so act now!

Registration pricing:

  • Supporters. $15
  • Attendee. $35
  • Sponsor. $75
  • Super Sponsor $120

Available for additional purchase:

  • Attendee level lifetime badge. $220 only 6 left!
  • Sponsor level lifetime badge. $500 only 2 left!
  • Additional Convention T-shirt. $20 only available to those that pre-register!

Attendee gets a member badge, choice of custom pet tag or wristband, and access to the dealer’s, artist alley, game room and Saturday night dance party.

Sponsor gets all of the attendee package plus a convention T-shirt!

Super Sponsor gets all of the sponsor’s package plus dinner with the guest of honor (Limited to first 20 Super Sponsor purchases) plus entry into a raffle for ATTENDEE LEVEL LIFETIME BADGE!

Vendor table pricing:

  • Dealer’s Den $50 plus any registration. Limited to 8 tables in the Dealer’s Den.
  • Artist Alley. $25 plus any registration. Limited to 9 tables in the Artist Alley.
  • Raffle tables. $5 (not including registration). Limited to 3 tables in the Artist Alley.

Act now to secure your badge or table!  Merchandise at the door is at a limited supply on a first come first serve basis!

Register at: Alamo City Furry Invasion : The Furry Furry West.

To support writing by furries, for furries, please visit Dogpatch Press on Patreon. You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, and support all of the team’s news and reviews.

Categories: News

Animalis, by John Peter Jones – book review by Fred Patten

Fri 12 May 2017 - 10:00

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

Animalis, by John Peter Jones
Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, October 2014, trade paperback $12.99 (330 pages), Kindle $0.99.

Animalis begins with 17-year-old pod pilot Jax Minette, his same-age best friend and commanding officer Hank Schneps, and two other pod pilots being launched into low orbit to intercept a space plane controlled by a rat Animalis.

“At the end of the sparring field, the path turned and joined a road running through the middle of the small base, passing the armory and storehouse. Jax tilted his head up to gaze at the launch shaft of the base’s airport disappearing into the clouds. It was used to sling space planes almost to low orbit, saving thousands of pounds of fuel. It was a magnificent sight. The honey comb pattern of the beams started wide at the brightly lit base and rose up to a slender point a thousand feet in the air, like a giant had pinched the metal and dragged it into the sky.

The view was cut off as they entered the hangar beside the launch shaft and continued walking toward the Hornet. The barracks, the mess hall, the officers quarters, and the command center were all part of the Hornet – a monstrous space plane with two pod bays, four turrets, and room to house forty men.” (p. 8)

Mankind is fighting for survival against the Animalis. The Animalis are all vicious killers.

“Arena fights – Two Animalis fighting to the death. Not just to the death, but till the loser was devoured. Or worse, till the body was thrown into the crowd of Animalis watching in the stands, and they devoured the loser. The Animalis were still mostly animals, and animals needed to hunt. It was better than Animalis hunting on the streets, as long as you didn’t have to watch it.” (p. 21)

The Animalis are supposed to be savage, feral animals. Then how do they build arenas? How do they build space planes and put them into orbit? But they are clearly hostile to humans:

“Hank held his hand out to block the door: ‘Hold on.’

Jax had already expanded one of the crate icons as Hank had spoken. It expanded to reveal its contents: Weapons. Tactical, long-range laser rifles. Jax expanded more icons. Rifles, pistols, shock sticks – the whole plane was loaded with military-grade weapons. The mission had a new layer of complexity. It was illegal. They had to be Animalis militants willing to die to protect their payload. Jax could have a shootout. Blasting holes in the walls, sucking the plastic debris out into space.” (pgs. 22-23)

Jax has only heard about the Animalis and seen videos of them up to now:

“Easy – stay and watch the hole. But as Jax waited, his subconscious mind filled with the conflicting information he had heard about the Animalis, trying to prepare him for a possible encounter. He had seen plenty of videos of Animalis. Of course there were the violent and disturbingly brutal videos of the arena. In Jax’s mind, they confirmed that the Animalis were as unpredictable and unthinking as their animal counterparts. Then there were the videos of Animalis acting like humans, and sometimes super humans: working complex jobs, learning new languages, and most surprisingly, teaching other Animalis similar skills. The behaviors were likely mindlessly programmed into the Animalis through training, and if left alone, the Animalis were sure to revert back to normal animal behaviors.” (p. 24)

Jax’s first encounter with the rat Animalis belies this:

“Up close, the Animalis looked surreal. In gravity, it would have stood upright at about four and a half feet tall. It was like a human, but the proportions were all wrong: head was too big, arms too short, legs too thick, spine too long. And yet every feature had the same design language as a human’s.

[…]

But its face was where any resemblance to human beauty ended. The head was almost identical to its rodent relatives. The long, bent snout of a rat. Two large front teeth. Ears the size of baseballs. Fur that was glossy and black. But the eyes were the hardest to look at – yellow, expressionless eyes. They gave no hint to the creature’s thoughts or emptions, so Jax assumed it wanted to kill him. The image of the teeth breaking through his glass helmet and biting into his face repeated over and over in his mind.

[…]

‘What is this, human? You shouldn’t be here,’ the rat said. The dry lips stretched with large movements, revealing the two jagged front teeth. A growl punctuated its speech. ‘Don’t touch anything. On my plane, and you think this is your space? Confused, it must be confused, insane. […]’” (pgs. 26-27)

The rat Animalis’ ship escapes but Jax and Hank bring back two ferret-like animals of an unknown species they find on it. This raises the possibility that the Animalis are creating new forms of animals. Jax’s and Hank’s commander considers this important enough that he sends them with the mystery animals to Hurley Grimshaw, a young scientist he knows who is developing her own theory that the humans and Animalis can live together in peace. She already has trained Hodge, a fox Animalis, as her assistant.

Jax accompanies Hank, Hurley, Hodge, and the two quasi-ferrets as they roar off in Hurley’s plane/spaceship/flying lab to find if the Animalis are naturally savage or if someone/something is making them that way. They also learn whether the Animalis have been bred or created by the ominous Ivanovich Machine; whether mankind could have been artificially created by aliens in the distant past, and more. There are lots of Animalis:

“Just beyond the next section of desert, beside a large rock formation, were the two kangaroo Animalis. They stood talking while leaning back on their thick tan and white tails. Their khaki shorts and shirts were straight and starched, and matched the expedition hats they both wore. Straps from a harness looped over their shoulders and connected with a heavy buckle across the chest. One of them turned, noticing Jax and Hank approaching.

‘G’day, mates! I’m Talon, and this here’s Wes. Starting bright and early today, aren’t we? So much to see.’” (p. 82)

In fact, everyone except Jax seems to know what’s going on. Jax may not be an idiot, but he seems unbelievably uneducated to be sent on such an important secret mission. Animalis (cover uncredited) is an enjoyable light s-f adventure with humans and intelligent animals mixing in equality, if not necessarily in friendship. My Little Pony fans will love the little Russian horse.

Fred Patten

To support writing by furries, for furries, please visit Dogpatch Press on Patreon. You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, and support all of the team’s news and reviews.

Categories: News

What’s Yiffin’? – May 2017 edition of syndicated furry news.

Thu 11 May 2017 - 10:33

Welcome back, Dogpatch Press readers, to another installment of What’s Yiffin’! In the introduction to last month’s update, we mentioned that due to the manner in which this series is produced, some “big” stories (such as the quagmire surrounding Rocky Mountain Furry Con) are forced ahead one month.  Fear not, in case you were hoping for some “hard-hitting” fake news coverage of what is pretty much yesterday’s news by now, look no further – because the What’s Yiffin’ news team has you covered! Without further ado, here’s all the news that’s fit to yiff! Four stories to either amuse your brain, or make you sigh and lose even more hope in the fandom. Or both.

YEAH, REICH

This month’s top story is a doozy whose ripples have been making their way not only throughout the fandom, but has bled out into the mainstream as well. Denver, CO’s Rocky Mountain Furry Con (“RMFC”) was a convention that lasted exactly a decade. It has met its bitter end and transcended into that big slightly overpriced convention center in the sky. Avid members of the furry fandom (or fans of What’s Yiffin’, we know you’re probably out there somewhere) may recall a spot of controversy last year between RMFC and the Neo-Nazi group Furry Raiders.  The Raiders purchased approximately 25% of the available hotel rooms at the convention, which created substantial problems for normal con goers. Like a festering wound that’s reopened, the Raiders once again reared their heads at RMFC and this time the whole convention has gone up in flames.

Unable to deal with people who have differing political opinions, many furs requested that RMFC outright ban the Raiders and anyone associated with them from attending the convention, to which RMFC declined. This prompted a fur by the name of Deo to throw down the now classic threat of “I can’t wait to punch some Nazis.” This in turn caused someone equally as dumb on the opposite side of the spectrum to start talking about concealed carry and self defense (basically threatening to shoot someone.) The Denver police investigated these threats and determined them to be something worth worrying about, so the hotel responded by asking the convention to increase security. The problem here is that this would’ve cost RMFC upwards of $22,000 just to hire some off duty police officers to patrol the convention. Unable to handle these costs, Sorin, the chairman of RMFC, decided to call it quits and ended the convention’s 10 year run.

But RMFC’s implosion doesn’t end there. The aforementioned fur Deo ended up receiving a cease & desist letter from convention board member Kahuki Lairu.  It was literally signed with a thumbprint, because like the world’s worst Jerry Springer episode, now we’ve got “sovereign citizens” thrown into the fray. For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, “sovereign citizens” disavow responsibilities to the government. This includes concepts such as taxes – speaking of which, fellow news outlet Flayrah discovered that RMFC hadn’t been paying theirs for coming up on a decade. Even better, RMFC continued to bill itself as a “nonprofit” convention, even though its official nonprofit status had been revoked by the IRS in 2011!

In the end, what do we really have to show for ourselves but yet another dead convention? How many conventions need to meet an untimely end, before we as a fandom collectively just get our act together? Or maybe this is a blessing in disguise and the demises of RMFC and Rainfurrest are the fandom’s way of cleaning up its act? After all, like the saying goes, you can’t make an omelette without cracking a few eggs.

HAVING A BLAST!

Let’s shift gears a bit and say hello to our friends in the brony fandom for a change, something we like to try and do at least once a month here on What’s Yiffin’. It’s no secret that with Friendship is Magic entering its 8th season, the brony community is starting to lose its steam, but there are still conventions and meet-ups happening all the time. One such convention — Whinny City Pony Con — took place at the beginning of April and for the most part was just a run of the mill event that carried on without a hitch. That is, until someone phoned in a bomb threat and had the entire thing shut down on Saturday night. We now know the person responsible for the call was a Twitter user by the name @slacka because he just couldn’t leave well enough alone and had to brag about his actions for e-peen points.

“Going from the concert to the panel rooms, having to shut things down because of some pathetic lowlife’s idea of a joke, was devastating.” – Charlie Worthley, convention co-chair

Worthley determined @slacka to be the culprit based upon the user’s oddly specific behavior, and the fact that he was openly gloating about his actions in the livestream of the convention itself where police and SWAT were visible during the shutdown. It is not yet known if any legal action was taken against Slacka. Information from him directly has been difficult to obtain because he blanked his Twitter account after the incident. One thing has been consistent however.  That’s the sentiment toward repercussions for calling in fake bomb threats and “swatting” people; many believe more needs to be done to prevent things like this from happening.  There should be better ways to tell what is and isn’t a credible threat, and appropriate actions should be taken against the latter.

After the convention was shut down on Saturday, festivities resumed the following day for the convention to at least end on a proper high note.

WATERSHIP DOWNS

Last month was April. That meant only two things: Easter, and cheap chocolate the day after Easter. For our friends in Britain, Easter also meant that Channel 5 was showing the animated movie Watership Down to celebrate the holiday. Those of you who’ve seen the movie or read the book the film was based off of know exactly why this is kind of screwed up. Those of you who haven’t, but have noticed the image over to the left, have probably pieced together that at some level something isn’t quite right. Don’t let its nature as an animated film or its cast of cute bunnies deceive you. Watership Down is a pretty horrifying ordeal; the book was written by a World War II veteran, and many believe the contents of the book are based upon his experiences in the war. That’s the level of “real” we’re dealing with here.

Watership Down holds no punches, and is quite gratuitous with its scenes of extreme violence, gore, and even literal death. To give you an idea of how far the animators went, there’s a scene where a group of rabbits suffocate underground. They went as far as to animate their deaths in so much detail that they included the bursting of the capillaries in their eyes. This is like Final Destination levels of messed up, and again Channel 5 elected to show it over Easter weekend. As you’ve probably guessed, this irritated more than a few people who bemoaned Channel 5’s decision on social media, but this wasn’t the first time the station pulled this stunt. A spokesperson for Channel 5 told British news media that they were starting a tradition, and that Watership Down would be airing on Easter every year.

Keep fighting the good fight, Channel 5. If there’s one thing that we’ve learned from British television it’s that they have no shame in showing movies and films that’ll completely ruin you for life. (See also: Threads.)

LATER, ZETA

On April 24th the Twitter account @ExposeTheFandom existed for exactly one day before shutting down. Expose’s goal was to highlight the problem of bestiality within the fandom by screenshotting profiles and conversations from the Telegram chatroom “ZooFurries Society” to put names to potentially illegal activities. Screenshots taken by Expose consisted of user profiles, as well as excerpts of conversations of people complaining about state laws or hinting/bragging about performing illegal acts. Reception to Expose was about what you’d imagine from people unaware of the problem, with most condemning the actions shown in the screenshots and applauding the unknown account owner(s) for their actions.

However, not everyone was pleased to see the fandom’s dirty laundry being aired out for the world to see. Namely many of the implicated. Defenders of the chatroom insisted that Expose’s evidence was fabricated, and that they were all victims of a bait and switch where they had been added to a Telegram chatroom whose name was changed to something zoophile-related and screenshots were taken to defame them. While it would be entirely possible to perform a bait and switch, keep in mind that we’re dealing with an active chatroom of over 900 furs. Occam’s Razor suggests that this simply isn’t the case here, and what we’re looking at are actual snippets from the Telegram group.

In response to Expose, GSD Lovedog (the owner of the Telegram group) closed down ZooFurries Society. The group was promptly remade under the name “The Zeta Corner” and presumably is still in operation, waiting for @ExposeTheFandom2 to inevitably make its appearance.

That’s a wrap on April’s most interesting stories from the fandom, thank you for checking us out! As always, we’d like to invite you to come check out What’s Yiffin’ when it is broadcast live as part of the first Friday show of Gatorbox, every Friday night at 9PM. Follow us on Twitch so you’ll know when we are live!

André “Dracokon” Kon & Rob “Roastmaster” Maestro

Like the article? It takes a lot of effort to share these. Please consider supporting Dogpatch Press on Patreon, where you can access exclusive stuff for just $1.  Want to do something REALLY awesome? Ask two friends to share the link.  Thank you – Patch

Categories: News

The Time He Desires, by Kyell Gold – book review by Fred Patten.

Wed 10 May 2017 - 10:00

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

The Time He Desires, by Kyell Gold. Illustrated by Kamui.
Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, December 2016, trade paperback $9.95 (113 pages), Kindle $7.99.

Kyell Gold’s novella The Time He Desires and novel Love Match have been written simultaneously, so neither one is a spinoff of the other. Aziz Alhazhari, the cheetah protagonist in The Time He Desires, is the father of Marquize Alhazhari, the protagonist’s best friend in Love Match.

Both are set in Gold’s anthropomorphic Forester University universe. Aziz is a 45-year-old Muslim from the nation of Madiyah who immigrated to the Union of the States with his wife Halifa and his young son Marquize two decades ago. He settled in Upper Devos (read: Brooklyn), bought a pawnshop that grows to a chain of four pawnshops, joined a mosque, became active in the community, and has been living more-or-less happily ever after.

Now he is confronted with a major cultural change combined with a midlife crisis. His son, now a teenager, has declared his homosexuality and walked out. He and his wife have been drifting apart; they are still friends but are no longer in love, and have developed separate interests. Aziz is interested in his pawnshops and his mosque – he goes there for evening prayers every day – while Halifa has gotten active in local charities.

Most importantly, and what brings the crisis to the present, is that the Vorvarts group, a huge developer, has been moving into the community. Vorvarts had previously bought two whole blocks for an Upper Devos Homeporium super-mall, “a six-story blue glass and chrome monster” that clashes with the old brownstone apartment buildings and small shops of the neighborhood. Vorvarts had to get approval from the Upper Devos Business Council, the local homeowners’ association, which had been easy. Vorvarts had promised that the fancy Homeporium would bring lots of new shoppers and trade to the community.

“But that had been five years ago, and as it happened, the people […] who’d been forced to find somewhere else to live when their buildings had been bought, they had been part of the neighborhood not easily replaced. The people who lived and shopped at the Homeporium generally stayed there, not venturing outside to quaint old Upper Devos, and when they did come into the pawnshop, distinctive in their clean, crisply cut clothes, they gawked about with the air of tourists visiting a historical monument. Aziz’s business had fallen off; few of those people were hard up enough to have to pawn their possessions, or interested in buying someone else’s memories.” (p. 1)

Now Vorvarts wants to expand into the blocks where the remaining Business Council lives and has their shops. Vorvarts is offering a generous price, but the destruction of the neighborhood would mean the end of the community. Aziz wants to stay, and so does Tanska, a Siberian tigress who has a small bakery, but he feels that it’s a losing battle.

“He looked back into her [Tanska’s] eyes. ‘I want us to stay,’ he said. ‘But I can’t see any way to make anyone else stay. We spent thousands of dollars researching the community laws to see if we had legal grounds to prevent it. Fighting it in court would take hundreds of thousands, more than you and I have, and if we did that it would destroy the community anyway; the rest of the Association would hate us for delaying their payments.’” (p. 22)

Aziz’s best friend Doug, an elderly Prevost’s squirrel who runs a bookshop, is ready to take Vorvart’s money and retire to the sunny beaches of Coronado on the other coast of the States. Aziz’s wife is also ready to sell out and move. She can find charities to become active in anywhere.

“‘You know that the smart business decision is to sell. The money we would make by staying open in this location for another year or two, as people move out, would not come close to the price they’ve offered us.’” (p. 24)

Their disagreement, although peaceful, brings their marriage to its end.

But this looming decision, while important, is not the major plot of The Time He Desires. A frantic red fox, Benjamin Tonnen, comes into Aziz’s pawnshop looking for a video camera that his husband Gerald DeRoot, a cougar, pawned a year ago with their honeymoon film still in it. Aziz is polite, finds the camera, and sells it back to Tonnen. But this gets him thinking about homosexuality; the States’ changing social attitudes towards it, Islam’s teachings about it, how it took their son from them, and what Halifa really thinks about it (as opposed to agreeing with her husband like a good Muslim wife). Aziz wonders why Tonnen’s cougar husband sold the video and their honeymoon footage if their gay marriage is still secure, so he finds DeRoot and hesitantly asks him. What he learns from Gerald, and how he and Gerald – a homosexual, who is supposed to be shunned by Muslims (but Muslims are also supposed to abstain from alcohol, and most Muslims, especially those in the States, don’t worry about that restriction) – come to feel about each other, helps Aziz to make his decision about how to react to the changing community.

The Time He Desires (cover and five full-page illustrations by Kamui) is another high-quality story by Kyell Gold. It differs from his others by looking at homosexuality from a Muslim rather than a Christian attitude. There is an “About This Book and Islam” afterword for those who want to learn more.

Fred Patten

To support writing by furries, for furries, please visit Dogpatch Press on Patreon. You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, and support all of the team’s news and reviews.

Categories: News

Ponyville Confidential: The History and Culture of My Little Pony – review by Fred Patten.

Tue 9 May 2017 - 10:21

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

Ponyville Confidential: The History and Culture of My Little Pony, 1981-2016, by Sherilyn Connelly
Jefferson, NC, McFarland & Co., March 2017, trade paperback $18.99 (x + 254 pages), Kindle $8.99.
Order at McFarland’s Website – order line 800-253-2187

Ponyville Confidential doesn’t contain any artwork. That’s a tipoff that this book has not been authorized or approved by Hasbro, the copyright holder of the My Little Pony franchise.

Connelly emphasizes and re-emphasizes in her Introduction that although she is a fan of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic TV program and the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls movies, she is not a My Little Pony (note the lack of italics) fan. As a child in the 1980s, she hated being talked down to, particularly as a girl-child, and this included all of the girls’ TV cartoons of the time; Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake and especially My Little Pony ‘n’ Friends. She didn’t watch it. She didn’t start watching My Little Pony until Friendship Is Magic in mid-2011 (after Season 1 had finished its initial broadcast), when friends had told her, “Hey, it’s a girl’s toy commercial, but there’s something here.” By then Connelly was a film critic for The Village Voice and SF Weekly (an alternate newspaper for the San Francisco Bay Region, not science-fiction), so she was prepared to study the entire My Little Pony phenomenon, including the Bronies, as both a professional outsider and as a fan – of the post-2010 MLP:FIM, anyhow.

“This book is divided into five parts. Part 1, ‘Family Appreciation Day,’ looks at the history of the franchise from the release of Generation 1 in the early 1980s through the late 1990s, showing how long after both the toys and cartoons had ceased production, My Little Pony continued to be criticized in the media as the worst of children’s entertainment in a way that similar brands marketed toward boys were not.” (p. 4)

Hasbro must have not liked that part alone. It begins with “Ponies: Grosser by the Gross”, about Hasbro’s attempts to merchandize as many ponies as possible, and to cram them all into TV cartoons to maximize their tenuous individualities.

1981 was when Hasbro began the Pony concept with My Pretty Pony toys for girls. They were larger and harder dolls, in realistic horse colors, without combable manes or accessories. The marketing decision was made to redesign them as smaller, softer fantasy toys including unicorns and pegasi in bright colors with combable manes, and a TV cartoon series to promote them as individuals – collect ‘em all. The first TV cartoon, as a 22-minute TV special with 8 minutes of commercials, wasn’t until 1984.

From Hasbro in 1981

Part 2, ‘The Lost Generations (1998-2010)’, covers the attempts to re-launch the My Little Pony franchise between 1998 and 2010. They were lampooned by the media as attempting to breathe new life into a corpse, but Hasbro ignored these on the grounds that little girls didn’t follow media editorials. There were both toys and other merchandising such as music CDs for new little girls, and events for older fans like the first International My Little Pony Collectors’ Convention in Morecambe, Lancashire, England on November 27, 2004. They were successful as individual events, but they didn’t work as reinvigorating the franchise until Lauren Frost was brought on board.

Part 3, ‘Twilight’s Kingdom’, is a reference guide to Seasons 1 through 5 of the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic TV series and the three Equestria Games movies; everything to date. It presents the Season and Episode number, title, writer, date first broadcast, a one-line summary, and Connelly’s grade (mostly A+ to B-, though there is one D-).

Part 4, ‘The Foal Free Press (2010-2015)’ covers the media coverage of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and the movies, from the first notices and reviews that dismissed it as just the 1980s TV cartoons revived – or bewailed it as the return of disguised toy merchandising – to the confusion over just what it was (does it promote feminism? does it promote gender diversity?) and “Look at all the Bronies; ha, ha!”, to the reviews and analyses that took it seriously. Connelly talks about the initial reactions of her acquaintances who assumed that her book would be a condescending putdown of the Bronies and any other adults who enjoyed a cartoon little girls’ toy commercial.

“Sure, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is about fucking cartoon ponies, and the Equestria Girls movies are just about teenage girls, but by that same logic, all that needed to be said about the critically acclaimed Battlestar Galactica reboot – which Time had frequently listed as one of the best shows of the given year – was that it was about sexy killer robots in space. See? Being reductive is never wrong.” (p. 4)

Part 5, ‘Battles of the Brand (2012-2016)’ focuses on both the program’s non-Brony fans, and on the Bronies:

“…many of whom are less interested in Friendship Is Magic as a series of 22-minute character-driven stories with a beginning, middle, and end than with the trappings of the fandom – the fan art, the remixes, the social aspect, and a cult that grew around a certain gray mare.” (p. 125)

It describes how the TV program’s producers have listened to the fans and molded the characters’ personalities and story events on fan reaction, and on the copyright and trademark battles between Hasbro and those (mostly Bronies) who make their own My Little Pony merchandise, much of it off-model if not NSFW and all of it unauthorized.

Connelly points out at the beginning of her book:

“It should also be noted that the words ‘Brony’ and ‘fan’ are not used as synonyms.” (p. 1)

“Galloping with the Bronies”

Furry fandom is mixed all through Parts 4 and 5. Connelly explains the difference, but notes the often dubious implication or explicit misidentification that furry fandom and My Little Pony fandom and/or Bronydom are the same thing.

“On March 3, 2011, the eve of the mainstream media becoming aware of Bronies, transgender activist Kate Bornstein was interviewed by Steve Scher on the talk show Weekday on KUOW 94.9FM in Puget Sound. Despite her best efforts, the conversation kept returning to Bornstein’s BDSM activities160; Scher asked her to explain the concept of “ownership” in a master/slave relationship, and mostly keeping her exasperation in check, she replied, ‘Well, like I was saying, sexual orientation doesn’t necessarily depend on the gender of your partner. It can depend more on, what is it you like to do? For example, furries. Do you know…oh, good!’161 Bornstein paused, and if you listen to the podcast, and you can all but hear her eyes widening in feigned delight. ‘Steve, you’re a closet furry! Oh, look at your bushy tail!’162” (p. 113)

Ponyville Confidential (cover by InHaSemiankova/iStock) is an excellent history of My Little Pony from both a business and a fan aspect, from the beginning of Hasbro’s toy line in 1981, not just of Friendship Is Magic in 2010. The confusion and differences between MLP:FIM fandom, Bronydom, and furry fandom are clarified. Even if some may not agree with those distinctions, they are good arguments. Even furry fans who are not interested in MLP:FIM should find this worth reading. There are extensive chapter notes, an 18-page bibliography, and an index.

Connelly may not have been able to include any illustrations because of lack of permission from Hasbro, but this review is not similarly constrained.

– Fred Patten

To support writing by furries, for furries, please visit Dogpatch Press on Patreon. You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, and support all of the team’s news and reviews.

Categories: News

Nova Seed movie review- a rare find of sci fi animation.

Mon 8 May 2017 - 10:00

Gonzo, trippy, visionary sci-fi is a rich mine for cult movies. A new gem has come to light.

Nova Seed is a great hand-drawn cartoon. You can’t tell from the high quality, but it was animated to feature length (63 minutes) by just one guy in 4 years. (There were a few helpers for stuff like music).  I’m writing for furry fans, and furries love art that’s not mainstream but is full of guts and talent. That’s how this movie works inside limits to exceed expectations.  If your animation gold standard is a blockbuster like Zootopia, gold is common compared to a gem like this.

It’s post-apocalyptic, anthropomorphic sci-fi (that’s a mouthful)… Call it “Zoodystopia”.

The protagonist is Nac, a genetically engineered lion-man. They call him a “neo-animal”. The world is on the edge of destruction and he’s enslaved to fight for the human population.  A deadly weapon is being built under the earth and Nac is the one who can stop it.  Humans treat neo-animals with fear and suspicion, so he’s due to be terminated at the end. They’ll take the life crystal embedded in his chest. Obviously, he’s not too happy about that, so he soon turns from slave to fugitive.  He defies captivity and pursues his mission under fire from all sides. What secret will he find in the lair of Dr. Mindskull?

Dr. Mindskull is the antagonist building the secret weapon, the Nova Seed.  He’s like a Furry Skeletor.  The cast is rounded out by a mysterious girl with uncanny power, a treacherous mutant fly, masked soldiers, a grizzled assassin, and newscasters standing in for the masses. A talking pig makes a funny cameo.

It’s a cyberpunk world of flying gunships and desolate deserts. It’s a decadent future resembling a Moebius comic or Heavy Metal the movie.  Apart from the neo-animal scenes, the world building happens with media fragments efficiently cut between action. Staticky news and surveillance mix in a trippy way on many screens at once, with a motif of breaking glass (which gets important later). Without a huge budget to create an epic world, it makes effective use of minimal exposition. It only tells you just what you need to know while the action moves forward.

Furry fans will love how the lion-man animation shifts from weighty and powerful but mostly human acting, to lunging and leaping like an actual lion during bursts of action.  Fast pacing makes changes so smooth that it all fits his personality. He isn’t drawn with no tail as in Bojack Horseman – often his lashing tail tells his mood.  It’s top notch anthropomorphism.

There’s bonus furry points for an epic hug that saves the world.

I was blown away by how the animation is deployed inside limits for effective mood and story.  No need for zillion dollar CG crowd shots here.  But there are plenty of money shots with vehicle and effects animation.  A comic booky look is achieved with flat color blocks enriched with subtle gradients.  (I assume assistants were valuable for ink & paint.) “2 1/2D” style compositing fleshes out the layouts with sophisticated depth of field and cinematic lighting. (Sorry, those are boring terms…)  I mean nothing feels flat or dead.  Shots with no character animation have lighting playing across surfaces with flickers and electric glares.  It pushes storytelling with mood and color design.  Unlike many low-budget productions, I never felt taken out of the movie by short cuts to avoid labor. The art sings like Judas Priest.

The voice acting is a fine support for good animation.  If I can point out one flaw, it might be sound production that makes you have to pay careful attention to what’s said.  Otherwise, I give good points to effects and composing that improves the story with synthwave music.

You’ve seen high quality sci fi anime, but North American animation very rarely does anything like this.  (This movie is supported by a small but strong Toronto scene with French and European influences.)

Does this perk your ears? Are your whiskers twitching?  Nova Seed looks like what I imagine could come out of my favorite art subculture some day – something like this is a holy grail of furry art.  This movie kicks so much ass, it’s a strong contender for my favorite in animation.  I’m excited to introduce it. Nobody gives support like furry fans, and if it gains more love, I hope it leads to bigger budgets and a great future for this director.

UPDATE: As Arrkay comments, buy the movie direct from the artist’s site for extra bonus features and to give support. You can also find the soundtrack by Stephen Verrall/Lakeshore Records at Bandcamp.

(Vice has a great article about Nova Seed.  I know of only a handful of indie creators attempting such projects. Keep an eye out for news here about these similar 2D animated features in production: Dawgtown and The Saga of Rex.)

To support writing by furries, for furries, please visit Dogpatch Press on Patreon. You can access exclusive stuff for just $1, and support all of the team’s news and reviews.

Categories: News

Civilized Beasts Poetry Anthology, 2015 Edition – book review by Fred Patten

Fri 5 May 2017 - 10:00

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

Civilized Beasts, Poetry Anthology, 2015 Edition, editor-in-chief Laura Govednik.
Manvil, TX, Weasel Press, December 2015, trade paperback $8.99 (86 pages), Kindle $2.99.

This small, slim volume has four Editors and an Editor-In-Chief. Editor Jason Huitt (Lunostophiles) explains in his Foreword that poetry has an image problem; that it “is hard to sell to the masses.” (The other three Editors are Altivo Overo, Televassi, and George Squares.) I agree with his reason that it has a cultural stereotype of being ‘for the elite’. I would also say that it’s too short and plotless.

Civilized Beasts, 2015 Edition contains 55 poems by 33 authors. Most are a single page or less long. That makes Civilized Beasts best for reading in short bursts, a few poems at a time. The anthology is a charity for the Wildlife Conservation Society. “All proceeds from this anthology go towards the Wildlife Conservation Society.”

It is hard to get really “furry” in one page. Only a couple have what might be called a furry plot; notably “Two Thieves on a Bluff” by George Squares, and “Why the Coyote Is: A Legend I Mostly Made Up But Is Undeniably True” by David Andrew Cowan. Most poems are about the beauty of nature; wild animals fleetingly glimpsed, animals frozen at night by a car’s headlights, animals’ eyes glowing at night, and so on. There are several about “trickster coyote”, but almost all are about real coyotes:

“Brown and gray

Sand in a desert sunset

Golden eyes laughing at and with you

Here and gone”

from God’s Dog by BanWynn Oakshadow

Some of the titles are more memorable than their poems, such as “The Mice’s Nightmare” by Stefano “Mando” Zocchi, “A Kiss from a Black Deer” by Dwale, “To My Lover, the Bloody-Faced Fox” by Kits Koriohn, “Ballad of the Weaselish Weasels” by Kenket, “Why I Am Sometimes Jealous of the Cat” by Renee Carter Hall, and “Taking Down the Hummingbird Feeder”, by Denise Clemons.

Other notable authors include Amy Fontaine, Larry D. Thomas, Arian Mabe, Chris Wise, and Alice “Huskyteer” Dryden. The cover is by Darkomi, and there is a title page drawing by Hickupby.

When people say “furry fiction”, they don’t usually think of poetry. Civilized Beasts aims to change that. It is intended to be an annual poetry anthology.

Fred Patten

Categories: News

Call for help with the Fullerton Murder story; and The Furry Code Of Silence.

Thu 4 May 2017 - 10:36

Furry reached new heights in 2016. Disney came to our party.  There was a low point of a chemical attack on Midwest FurFest that turned into a high quality Vice News story.  Notice the title, “CSI Fur Fest” – I’d like to think it was chosen to make up for the other CSI, who did us a disservice. But this time “the media” earned a nomination for a 2016 Ursa Major award.

It was cool that Vice did that story. The media was on our side.  That’s the theme of this post.

In 2017, there was the unreal experience of Furry Nazis grabbing the wheel for a minute and making us swerve into no-man’s land.  Maybe we’re getting back on track, but don’t relax.  Those headlines were rough, but rougher ones are coming.

Look at California, where you might say Furry Fandom really got started. In SoCal, the Skiltaire House is where you can hang out with the founders of the first convention and have a friendly night of fursuiting or watching animation.  That’s where Jennifer Yost was known as a mom to others, including her daughter Daydreamer Fox. They went together.

One day in the fall of 2016, Daydreamer went missing. The Skiltaire put out an alert. I shared it and got contact from a reporter. Then Daydreamer was found. It wasn’t a missing person alert any more. The Yost parents and a family friend were dead and two other kids were orphaned.

Two furries were arrested for triple murder.

It was crazy. That isn’t something we do. I legitimately cried.

A lot of furs felt the same way. I put out a statement for them. Scott, the reporter from the OC Register, helped send it up the chain to national news.  It was carefully meant to tell what furs were feeling with no gory details, to reduce using them for attention. Some trashy blogs tried and got criticism instead of clicks. I jumped into the comments and the regular public supported me.  Scott took my suggestions and quoted people I referred to him. Tips came in and rumors were abated. We turned down subsequent interviews. Out of many sources, Rolling Stone did a surprisingly good job.

There’s a trial soon and the news is going to bring all that attention back. 

There will be clickbait from hacks who want traffic. Professionals will try to tell a deep story about regular humans and a hobby they love. Hobbyists and regular people will dig into the topic to figure things out.

2017’s news brought such a regular person to the fandom.  Boozy Barrister was looking at legal issues of subcultures. He found the RMFC story right when it came out and put it on his blog.  It was like opening a can of tuna for the neighborhood cats. Suddenly he was adopted by the fandom. He’s a face for the theme of this post.

fan art by Ronnie

Good writing helps – will there be a story like Vice’s?  

With all the attention coming for the trial, furries know it’s a bad story. They know the vultures will circle around, and every vulture can pretend to be a helper. Uncle Kage might tell you to avoid them all. That’s a theme since before furries were on CSI.

That isn’t my theme. I started this blog because so many stories were untold.  Regular news doesn’t know how to get it right.  So I got into writing about it like others teach themselves to draw or make fursuits. I’m too yappy to stop. Now I get asked for help. So let me tell you who asked about this.

The Atlantic wants to cover the story.

That magazine is one of my inspirations (like writing by Eric Schlosser).  They do quality long-form stuff unlike fast news that can be shallow.  One way they can set theirs apart is by adding more quality with exclusive info. That means talking to furries who were close to the story.

Sanjiv B. is the writer. He specializes in writing about subculture. I’d like to help Sanjiv.  He’s run into a “furry code of silence.”

I think a Code of Silence was part of why RMFC died.  It involved the leadership and questionable decisions when things went out of control. Privacy is good, but silence can be harmful.

The family’s privacy is more important than fandom public image, but it’s impossible to deny this is a furry story. It’s as if a crime happened at a company or school and they put that in the headline. I don’t think it would be fair to exclude that aspect.

There are a lot of unanswered questions. Respectful coverage could dispel mystery and judgements to help others.

What Sanjiv is looking for:

“My hope is that this is an opportunity to present the furry world as everyday people, full of complexities and contradictions, and prone sometimes to tragedies like this one. If anything, perhaps some misunderstandings about furry culture can be addressed along the way.

In the end, this is a story about a brutal triple homicide, and that’s my focus. It so happens that the people concerned are longtime furries and the fandom was an important part of their lives, so I do need the help of the community. I want to understand the relationships, the characters involved, what their lives were like and how it seems a few young people in Orange County went down such a very dark road. The goal is to portray everyone concerned as a fully human and understandable, not as a cliche or stereotype. Naturally, I want to speak to anyone who know those involved in any capacity, the closer the better. There has to be something we can learn from this.

How Sanjiv ran into a Code of Silence:

“I’ve been quite angrily rebuffed a couple of times. It’s taken me by surprise how some people have responded. In one case I was told of a good person to talk to, but their first response was to threaten to sue me in all caps! I understand that there is skepticism of the media, and with good reason, but I’m not “the media” as a whole, I’m just a writer in LA, and I feel I’ve been prejudged by people who have already made their minds up – which is something furries complain about all the time I’m sure. It’s a little demoralizing! I’ve no intention of misrepresenting anyone. And I can offer reassurances about quote accuracy, going on/off the record, concealing identities if absolutely necessary etc. I get why some groups have a code of silence, like gangs or cults, but furries though? I thought you guys were friendly!

Honestly, my hope was always to make enough friends in the furry world that we could just hang, you know? I want to be familiar enough with the fandom that I can come to events and it not be a big deal. That’s how I think we can really do this story justice and tell it fairly. It would be easy to write sensationalist rubbish, I could have done it already if that’s what I was here for. I’m not. I’m trying to put in the time and effort to really get to the bottom of this. Surely that’s what furries want journalists to do.

I have until early June to get a proper insight. Any help you can give me is much appreciated.”

Reach Sanjiv here.  Telegram: @sanjivbee – Email: mrsanj.b@gmail.com – facebook.com/sanjiv.bhattacharya 

If you can help him, please consider it. I think this is a story that deserves to be told right.

Categories: News

The Earth Tigers, by Frances Pauli – book review by Fred Patten.

Thu 4 May 2017 - 10:26

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

The Earth Tigers, by Frances Pauli
Moses Lake, WA, Gastropod Press, February 2017, trade paperback $7.99 (165 pages), Kindle $0.99.

The Earth Tigers is Star Spiders, Volume One. Pauli considers it to be s-f, not furry, but it has talking spiders in it. Volume Two, tentatively titled Sky Fires, will be published in 2018.

The Earth Tigers is dedicated:
For all the eight-legged beauties, big and small.
Without them, we’d live in a much less friendly
environment.

Unfortunately for reviewing, The Earth Tigers begins in the midst of deliberate confusion and only gradually reveals what is going on. So any traditional plot synopsis would be full of spoilers.

It starts with a spider, Horatch, who is looking for a human to become a “candidate”. He (there is a reason for him to be a male rather than a female spider) choses Milyi, a young girl alone in a forest.

“‘Nicely done.’ A male voice spoke from the trees.

Milyi froze and searched her surroundings. She could see no one. ‘Who said that?’

‘You dance beautifully.’ His calm voice held traces of an echo and had no visible source.

‘Where are you?’ Milyi turned a small circle, watching the vines.

‘To your right,’ he said. ‘The large trunk, and just above your head.’

She turned again, all the way around, and still saw no one. One of the trees was distinctly larger than the others, and Milyi stalked toward it on tiptoe. The bark had thick, deep ruts torn loose in places and covered in sparse moss. The fan branches swooped overhead, casting shadows across the trunk. She circled it, and found no one hiding.

Where are you?’

‘I’m afraid to show you.’

‘Why?’

‘I have many reasons, most of them older than us both.’” (pgs. 18-19)

Horatch finally does show himself.

“Spider. Her mind whispered it, but this thing was too large to match the thought. A round, soup-bowl sized abdomen followed the long legs, the starburst body. In total, the creature was easily as long as her forearm. Milyi counted the legs as it descended. She watched eight toes test the way, clutch and release the bark one after the other. Giant spider.” (p. 20)

Milyi has a greater reason than most to fear a talking, giant spider, but that’s one of the mysteries that is revealed later. Her talking to a spider instead of immediately killing it is enough to get her sentenced to death.

“Why did they despise spiders? No one had ever explained it. If they remembered the source of their enmity, no one ever spoke it out loud. If they had a good reason, no one bothered to pass it along. But they did hate them. She understood that fully for the first time when they’d tied her feet together. She’d betrayed that hate, had lifted herself above it, and now she had no place among them.

They probably had to kill her.” (p. 41)

Horatch rescues Milyi, with the help of wild pigs that his people fellow spiders, the T’rant, have (domesticated? allied with?) But he is running out of time, and leading her to the T’rant city is more dangerous than he expects:

“The tree trunk thrummed and jerked his mind fully awake. An impact. He checked the girl below and found her sleeping, still as a stone. If she hadn’t moved… The tree shook again, harder this time. Horatch felt the vibrations like a wave from the ground, up through his toes, and onward toward the fronds above.

Something big moving, something very big.” (p. 67)

Other important characters are Saku, a human teen; Niatha, the leader of the T’rant; and Angel, a major enemy.

The Earth Tigers (cover by the author) features human adolescents, and it’s impossible to avoid thinking of Horatch as a teenage spider, making this a good Young Adult title. The novel comes to a definite conclusion, but leaves the characters awaiting what will come next. There are enough furry characters (but no tigers, or any other mammals!) to please furry readers.

– Fred Patten

Categories: News

Call for artists! Fur Con teams up with Artsplosion in San Jose, CA on May 13.

Wed 3 May 2017 - 10:30

Ellegy Q. Betea, event mascot by Grey White

May 13, 2017

The Billy DeFrank LGBTQ Community Center
938 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126
Art show 1 to 5 PM
Masquerade 5 to 7 PM
Dance 7 to 9 PM ($10 suggested donation)

Calling all Bay Area Queer Artists! • Musicians • Zinesters • Independent game devs • Painters • Crafters • Illustrators • Digital Artists • Photographers •

Come join us for the seventh #Artsplosion. Hurry, Signups close May 9th! Sign up here, and find out more here.  The Artsplosion is a bi-monthly local arts and crafts exhibition intended to serve the Bay Area Queer arts community.

Fan art by Yamavu

Hello Dogpatch Press,

I was asked to tell you about my upcoming art event that’s furry focused. It’s called #Artsplosion, this is the 7th event, and this time we’re collaborating with San Jose Further Confusion (FurCon).

It’s going to be an art show, costume masquerade, and evening dance! It’s free to attend (though we have a $10 suggested donation at the door for the dance), and free to show work at (though we ask 20% of sales go back to the center as a donation).

So join us on May 13th, starting at 1 PM. We have a great community center in San Jose, easy to get to from public transportation and lots of parking, so I’d love it if everyone came and checked it out!

More information can be found here, or follow the #artsplosion hashtag.

Thank you,
Danger “Dana” Kipnis (organizer)

Categories: News

Wild Things: Cinco De Mayo – furry fetish party in San Francisco, May 5.

Wed 3 May 2017 - 06:00

Friday, May 05, 2017.  8PM – 1AM.

SF Citadel, 181 Eddy St., San Francisco.  

Cost: $25. Dress code: Animal-themed, fetish, creative, etc.

Visit the Fetlife event page for info. Many volunteer positions available.

WILD THINGS is an 18+ party for furries, petplayers, pups, primals, littles, and everyone who accepts them, but the furry community is the heart of it.  The first event was in 2014 (see WILD THINGS tag.)  In 2016 it became quarterly by support of the SF Citadel club.

For March’s Mardi Gras event, organizer Mark explained:

Wild Things wants to be inclusive to anyone who is new, making them feel welcome, unpressured, and free to learn and explore at their own pace, if they wish.  We advocate tolerance and respect for others, so people can live and let live, and let adults be adults however they choose to do so… come without judgements and see for yourselves.

What’s happening this time?  Perhaps sexy party games and pinatas, human/furry pinata suspensions, wrestling/Lucha masks… all that and a taco bar! Previous features continue:

– Music by DJ’s AuralIncarnation (Bent) and Gretchen Weeners (Death Guild, House of Nox)
– Suspensions by Naturalturn (Naughty Knotty)
– Vacuum bed & waxplay demos by Spottacus
– Petplay, puppyplay, and furry demos
– Fursuit gear demos
– The cuddle zone
– Petplay / puppyplay romp!

Meet new friends and participate in fun, playful, cuddly, sexy activities. Dress up, play, and express yourself as part of the show! Creative expression is highly encouraged. The crowd for Wild Things tends to be very LGBTQ friendly, and on the younger, high-energy side, but open to all ages 18+. Shy and new people are especially invited, with a large casual lounge great for meeting new people, multiple DJs, a cuddly blanket fort area, and several activities and demos geared towards those who are new and finding their way. It’s entirely possible to enjoy Wild Things without flirting or indulging your wild side, but SF Citadel is a supportive, accepting environment which allows for consensual BDSM and safer sex practices.

It’s a party guests rave about, whether they’re shy and introverted, or wild and extroverted.  RSVP at the event page, join the Wild Things chat group with over 150 members and growing, or get acquainted with members 24/7 on the Telegram group.

@WildThingsSF Was the BEST. #WildThings I learned things, met people, aaalmost won 1st in Bead collection for Mardi Gras theme. So fun! Unf!

— RandomOmNomFurry (@AnonFur) February 26, 2017

It’s ALMOST the only party of its kind in the world…

@Spottacus @WildThingsSF and for those kinky furs in Germany, come to TailsUp ????

— Zefiro Public (@ZefiroPublic) February 25, 2017

Categories: News

April summary for Rune’s Furry Blog – monthly guest feature.

Tue 2 May 2017 - 08:15

Rune’s Furry Blog showcases “people within the Furry Community…their characters, life, thoughts, and beliefs”. It also covers furry issues and media, with a sprinkle of personal blogging for the character Rune the Angel Dragon.  It’s the kind of furry stuff I like to support.  It came to attention by covering #FemaleFursuiterMonth. Fursuiter profiles are a cool thing I wanted more of.  She joins other syndicated guests like Andre Kon (What’s Yiffin’?) and Arrkay (Culturally F’d) to share her month of writing. Welcome Rune! – Patch

So here we are…entering May. It seems that 2017 has been just zooming by, and so many amazing things have been happening in the Furry Fandom! It’s what I like to refer to as “convention season”! A lot of the more popular Furry conventions are already taking place or happen shortly at the beginning of summer.

But not only that – the Furry fandom is always buzzing with something new. So, this April Summary exists just to fill you in on what you might have missed on this ever-expanding group. Not to mention it’s a chance for myself as a blogger to share with you some posts from my own blog – because I am sure there is something that might just catch your fancy. Let the April Summary get underway!

The Furry Nerdcore band known as “Run, Definitely Run!” decided that it was DISBANDING After Texas Furry Fiesta (Dallas Convention 2017).

The post was made by lead-singer Omnom on April 7th, 2017. He posted on his facebook HERE that their visions for the band were just too different, and, while they would have one last performance, they would not be playing at BLFC as scheduled. There was not much else to be said. It was made pretty clear and people were heartbroken. Fans were trying to see if maybe this was just a late April-Fools joke, but, band members came in and told them that it was indeed true…

Theories of what might have happened at TFF started to circulate, and, for awhile, people were even blaming the Con. While most things have been cleared up in one way or another, people seemed to have now settled on the idea that the band continuing was just not meant to be. We can only wish the bandmates the best in all their future endeavors.
But, the group is still close friends with each other…and that should be one of the most important things.

Fursuit Friday Feature(s) for April!

This is something that is specific to my personal blog and is just a small and fun project that I like to do when I can. These are called my “Fursuit Friday Features”. This is where I showcase off different Fursuits from across the fandom, and I add in a little interview that I have pre-typed, and then the owner of the fursuit fills in the answers to those questions. The point of it is to not only see the amazing character on the outside, but, to also get a glimpse of what the person on the inside is like as well.

Muerte the Butterfly Dragon – owed by: Kiara Blackburn (Aisling Knight) Suit made by: Hollow Creature Creations

While the goal is to do this every Friday…well, life does tend to happen and, I do tend to get rather busy. Thus, it’s not always a guarantee that I will find the time. April was a great example of not finding very much time as I only had one post for the feature that month, and that was the butterfly dragon known as Muerte (and if you wanna check out the interview, you can see it by clicking HERE).

Welcoming my Sister to the Furry Fandom!

It’s one of those bonds that are really hard to explain. The relationships can be so varied. I know siblings that used to love each other as kids, and now, they can barely stand one another. Then, there are cases like my Sister and I where…we hated each other when we were little. But despite even that, I always had her back…and as adults, we are closer to best-friends.

But, no matter your current sibling-relationship, there is always that time in your life when your siblings looks up to you…and/or they want the things you want and want to be involved in the things you’re involved in. Imagine my shock then when 10+ years later and my Sister is asking for a Fursona!!!!

So many people were merely excited that a family member had decided to try this thing out for themselves. I think a bit of it was people being relieved that she had such an open-view of the whole ‘furry’ thing when there are people whose families do not always take it so well.

But, I have always been lucky in that my Sister is open-minded, and she really does her research on things before passing judgement. Like everyone else, she has heard the misconceptions about furries, and she has heard what people ‘claim’ a Furry is. But, unlike most other people…rather than just believe the first thing she heard, she decided to come to me (someone in the fandom) and ask me about it. Now, outside of my wife, she is my biggest supporter, and, she even watches my YouTube videos from time-to-time.

That was the day my Sister became known as “Strawberry the Kitten”. So, if ever you see Strawberry out-and-about on Forums and the like, feel free to give her a nice warm welcome! Also, if you wanna say some words to her here (or on the original blog post HERE), I will be glad to pass on the message!

Art by thelostcause86 on FA / Mia the winged wolf belongs to Element02 / Strawberry the Kitten belongs to Autumn Marie Long

PROTOGENS are the new craze!

Have you ever heard of the Primagen Species? They are a closed-species, created and run by Malice-risu on FA – and the only way to obtain a Primagen is to bid on the auctions they occasionally hold on their FA page. And let me tell you, those auctions are no joke! While the creators are nice enough to allow payments plans, I have seen a single Primagen go for well over $1200! Granted, the more you pay, the more awards are unlocked with the purchase of one’s Primagen…but still. It can get really crazy. The starting bids are low, but then people scurry to scoop one up. The creator’s have said that they do not make Primagens expensive on purpose…they just let people pay what they are willing to.

So, if you have not already guessed it…because they are a closed species with only a few auctions popping up here-and-there, Primagens are a pretty elite kind of species. So many people want them but so few people actually can afford to own one. It was like that dream that was always out of reach for a lot of people…

But Protogens changed all that… On April 8th, Cedar Andrews (also part of the account Malice-Risu on FA) opened up a sub-species to the widely sought-after Primagens and called them: “PROTOGENS“!

So…why are these so special? Well, it’s because they are an OPEN species and therefore they are FREE to make! This option seems to be good enough if not better for a majority of the fandom who are always teetering on the edge of ‘broke’…therefore the Protogens easily exploded the day they were announced, and, they have been clogging facebook and Amino feeds ever since!

But, because they are so similar to Primagens, they have to have rules, right? Well, of course they do. Common and uncommon variants of Protogen are free to make, whereas rare variants of the species can only be bought in an auction very similar to how the Primagens work. Protogens are mostly biological whereas Primagen are mostly mechanical, and because Primagen look more raptor-like, Protogen are not allowed to have any dinosaur-like anatomy. There are other things as well such as Protogen having more rounded visors, they can not take a feral form, and they can not have wings that could be used for flight.

But, with the species exploding like it did, well, designs do tend to go unregulated. But, the creators have been very hard at work – they have been making charts and google documents to assist those looking to make a Protogen of their very own:


^^ Art by Cedar Andrews (facebook) / Malice-Risu (FA) ^^

Protogen Anatomy Chart
Protogen Google Doc (Guide)
Official Facebook Group

Conclusion:

April ended up being a lot more busy than I anticipated, and I can only assume that more will come in May! It is such an honor to get to write for DogPatch Press even as a guest and I look forward to doing more summary-posts in the future! Thank you all for tuning in! I will see you all in the next one. – Rune

Categories: News

How do you say “furry” in other languages? by Fred Patten.

Mon 1 May 2017 - 10:26

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

Remember when Syrian refugees met furries?

My January 2016 call for information about furry conventions for my Furry Fandom Conventions book, announced on Dogpatch Press, contained a comment from Anonymouse that I didn’t address at the time.  He said:

“Russians needs to translate “furry” into their own language. For the last 20 or so years they have not been translating anything, and simply adopting more english words, writing them in Cyrillic letters. If this keeps happening, the Russian language will disappear in 50 years. Mark my words.”

Why do the Russians need to translate “furry” into Russian?  I may be prejudiced because I’m in an English-speaking country, and we take pride in the English language containing so many foreign words.  We call them “loan words”, but there is no sign that we’ll ever give them back.

James Nicoll’s 1991 epigram has become famous:

“The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”

A favorite observation of SF writers is that if a time-traveler from the present went a thousand years into the past, he or she wouldn’t be able to understand the English language then; it’s changed so much.

We look with amusement at the Académie française’s attempts to keep the French language “pure” by regularly issuing lists of new foreign words (mostly English) creeping into French, often with the correct French words that should be used, such as “Le chewing gum” – “gomme à mâcher” is recommended.

What should “furry” be in other languages? Here is a quick list from Wikipedia.

  • Catalan – El furry fandom
  • Chinese – 獸迷
  • 2000 furries from 41 countries responded to a 2011 IARP survey.

    Czech – Furry fandom

  • Danish – furry
  • Dutch – Een furry
  • English – The furry fandom
  • Esperanto – Ŝatantaro de felo
  • Finnish – furry
  • French – Le fandom furry
  • German – Das furry
  • Greek – To furry fandom
  • Hebrew – פאנדום פרוותי (right to left)
  • Hungarian – A furry
  • Indian (Sanskrit) – फररी फैनडोम
  • Indonesian – Furry fandom
  • Italian – Il furry fandom
  • Japanese -ファーリー・ファンダム (furry fandom phonetically in katakana)
  • Korean – 수인러
  • Norse – Furry
  • Polish – Furry (with a note that this is English for futrzak or futrzastość)
  • Portuguese – furry fandom
  • Russian – фурри
  • Serbian – Фури фандом
  • Spanish – El furry fandom
  • Swedish – furry fandom
  • Ukrainian – фурі
  • Welsh – Y furry fandom

– Fred Patten

Categories: News

Spirit Hunters Book 4: Shadow of the Oni, by Paul Kidd – review by Fred Patten

Fri 28 Apr 2017 - 10:00

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

Spirit Hunters. Book 4: Shadow of the Oni, by Paul Kidd . Illustrated.
Morrisville, NC, Lulu.com/Perth, Western Australia, Kitsune Press, February 2017, trade paperback $22.31 (310 pages), Kindle $6.99.

Paul Kidd began his Spirit Hunters novels with Book 1: The Way of the Fox in September 2014. He has followed it up with Book 2: The Open Road in May 2016, and Book 3: Tails High in September 2016. Now here is Book 4: Shadow of the Oni. Like the last two books, this has a cover by R. H. Potter and interior art by Voracious Fescue.

The Spirit Hunters series is set in the Sacred Isles, a fantasy world of traditional Japanese mythology roughly in the Heian era, about 900 or 1000 A.D., with all the yōkai (supernatural spirits) of that world: obake, kappa, oni, tengu, and so on. The Spirit Hunters are four freelance ghostbusters who wander throughout this realm, slaying or otherwise exorcising the evil yōkai: Lady Kitsune nō Sura, a fox woman, and her companion Tsunetomo Tonbo, a huge human samurai, who hope to be paid for their services; Asodo Kuno, a young low-ranking human samurai who has joined them to gain a reputation and higher status; and Nezumi nō Chiri, a shy rat-spirit who Sura has invited to join them. Chiri’s two familiars, Daitanishi the air elemental and Bifuuko the rock elemental, accompany them.

Sura and Chiri, and any other animal-people who the quartet meet, are what make these books worth reading by furry fans. They can shift among three forms: human except for animal ears and tail; anthropomorphic, looking human but with an animal head, full fur or feathers, and tail; and fully animal but still able to talk.

While the first three books are basically light adventures, Book 4 is the darkest yet. It begins with “Twelfth Encounter: Shackles of Honour”, which opens with thirteen straight pages of grim battle, slaughter, blood, and death. A decade later, the four Spirit Hunters take refuge from a rainstorm in a long-abandoned shrine:

“‘Do you sense something, Chiri san?’

The rat gave a shiver.

‘I do not like this place.’ Chiri drew her robes about her shoulders. ‘There is a scent of old bones …’

‘This shrine was important once.’ Kuno looked at the expensive cedar pillars and beams – the towering ceiling. ‘Why would a shrine be left totally abandoned? Surely the entire priesthood could not have been destroyed?’

[…]

The altar had once been tightly bound by prayer ropes. They now lay charred, severed and decayed. Sura searched and found a carved wooden charm – weirdly bubbled and corrupted. She looked at it with an incredulous chill.

‘This is a ward against Oni!’

[…]

Tonbo knelt. He, too, could feel the colder air concentrated just ahead. The huge man kept carefully ready poised at Sura’s side.

‘What is it?’

Sura lowered her guard – her eyes fixed on the empty space just ahead of her. She moved with an almost gentle care.

‘There’s a ghost here….’ She held out a hand, fingers spread, sensing the ebb and flow in the darkness. ‘It’s weak. It’s trying to manifest to us.’

Kuno remained at the ready, sword poised.

‘Is it dangerous?’

‘It’s too weak to manifest properly.’ Sura was deeply interested, and filled with compassion. ‘I can feel it. It’s trying hard. It wants to speak.’

[…]

Suddenly the ghost sagged, as though a terrible memory had flooded into her. She sank down, lost and hollow. She stared at Sura, utterly blank with shame.

‘Know then that it is gone. This shrine failed in duty. The Oni’s blood was stolen.’

The fox felt her ears rise. She moved very quietly careful not to distress the ghost. Sura tilted her head, listening intently.

‘Who stole it, Honoured Ghost? Who took the Oni’s blood?’” (pgs. 33-35)

Sura swears to complete the shrine’s long-lost mission. But how can the Spirit Hunters fulfill an old duty against adversaries that were powerful enough to kill all the priests and temple maidens of this shrine?

“Chiri leaned forward, quietly stroking Bifuuko in her lap.

‘But surely, Sura san, the Oni are forever barred from the mortal realm?’

‘Forever.’ Sura kept her hand upon her spear. ‘But any remnant – any taint will be a thing of purest evil.’

Kuno seemed perfectly satisfied.

‘Forgive me, Sura san – but is that not what we fight in any case?’

‘No. We have never faced anything tainted by Oni.’

Sura turned. She drew in a long, slow breath, focusing her thoughts.

‘Oni are not spirits. They are demons – beings of fantastic power who live in a realm of their own. A blighted land of suffering and rage. They are masters of maho – the magic of blood, death and annihilation.’” (pgs. 39-40)

This is the traditional depiction of Oni; not the modern, family-friendly versions as in TV anime such as Urusei Yatsura. The Hunters’ quest takes them to an obscure, apparently nameless village that seems very ominous, yet it is under the care of Kuraika nō Saburo, a samurai who seems very virtuous. The Hunters must reconcile this. Sura and Chiri transform into their fox and rat forms to go scouting.

“The pair lay down beside their beds, shimmered and changed into their animal forms, then slipped out of their clothing.

Daitanishi pushed open the sliding door that led out into the inner garden. Sura stuck her fox muzzle out into the night beyond, seeing lights still on in the rest of the house. But the doors were all closed and the garden was empty. White rat and fox slipped out into the damp night with Bifuuko hovering softly just over their heads. Daitanishi silently slid the door shut behind them.” (pgs. 59-60)

“Thirteenth Encounter: The Eater of Dreams” is a lighter, more traditional Spirit Hunters tale.   Chiri writes as a pastime, and her works have come to the attention of the Emperor himself. “It therefore pleases the emperor to invite Nezumi Chiri to submit one play to the theatre festival of the city of Koroda, […]” (p. 117)

Chiri never intended her writings to be published, or to take part in a literary competition with four of the greatest playwrights of the Sacred Isles. She gets acute stagefright, but an invitation from the Emperor amounts to a Command Performance; especially with Sura to make sure Chiri does not pass up this opportunity. The Spirit Hunters find Koroda to be overflowing in a lively literary and theatrical festival. The city even has several animal-spirits:

“As they reached an avenue lined with flowering loquat trees, the houses became even grander. Animal spirits enlivened the streets with their colourful dress and tails. As the Spirit Hunters moved onwards along a busy street, they passed a gaggle of cheerful Tanuki spirits drinking in a tea house. A cat spirit samurai walked elegantly past, sunk in conversation with high ranking officials. Patrons at restaurants and people on the streets all took interest as the Spirit Hunters walked by. The strange travelers with their weapons, armour and floating elementals were a colourful sight, even in Koroda.” (p. 122)

Sura, Kuno, and Tonbo are determined to help Chiri succeed, especially after she is sneered at by supercilious literary snobs, and unnerved by finding out that one of the other contestants is a snake spirit (rats and snakes do not get along). But they gradually realize that someone or something is subtly attacking the other playwrights; and corpses drained of blood are found floating in the river. Is one of the contestants sabotaging the others, or is some supernatural force preying upon all of them?

“The serpent woman rippled and transformed into her half-and half form. Her lower body became one great, long, elegant serpent body, and her arms and skin were now covered with scales. Her elegant face still had haunted bronze-gold eyes.

Hijiki Yumio departed, slithering out to the balcony – her long body rippling. She passed by Sura and halted – frowning, but not looking directly at the fox.

‘A kitsune of the great Kitsune. An armed priestess …’ The serpent spirit looked aside.

‘Interesting …’” (p. 130)

“Fourteenth Encounter: The Sword of Blood” returns to the blasted evil of the Twelfth Encounter. Sura and the others, ridding the land of minor yōkai, come unexpectedly upon one that fights powerfully back. It tries to mask a small gateway into the spirit world created by blood magic:

“Kuno drew away, appalled. His hands flexed slowly into fists.

‘Who did this?’

Sura wearily came forward. She looked down at the body with frozen eyes.

‘Someone who wanted to open a gate. Someone who wanted power from the Realm of Dreams.’

Chiri looked away from the little body, filled with sadness.

‘Was it the obake? Did the old man do this to gain his powers?’

Tonbo scowled.

‘He didn’t seem bright.’ The man’s voice was grim. ‘No – this is the work of someone who knows blood magic.’

Kuno stared at the body, bitterly remembering the powers of blood magic.” (p. 228)

A gate into the spirit world has been opened, and one or more monstrous yōkai have been brought into the Sacred Isles by someone who tries to control them by blood magic. Since this is disturbingly near the Sacred Isles’ Sword Shrine, the Spirit Hunters go there.

“The Sword Shrine was the most ancient shrine in the entire Sacred Isles. It had existed since the end of the Oni War – founded by the first emperor while he was still wounded from the battlefield.” (p. 235)

It is also where Sura and Tonbo learned to become Spirit Hunters. Reiju, the Shrine’s head priestess, agrees that the opening of a gate so close to the nine-hundred-year old Shrine is ominous, and is glad to have their help in guarding it.

The reader will meet Sura’s fox Aunt Kagone, cousin Kikyo, and her irrepressible fox-spirit children. There is important background on the relationship between Sura, Tonbo, and Reiju. The encounter ends in a massive battle as the army of the Oni Lord tries to overwhelm the Sword Shrine:

“The flames’ light cast Sura’s shadow hugely onto the gorge wall. The fox figure danced and flashed, fierce and beautiful.

Kagone and Kikyo could only stare, stunned by the image.

Sura’s shadow had nine tails.” (p. 297)

Spirit Hunters: Book 4 is the first in the series to end on a major cliffhanger rather than a comfortable conclusion.

Fred Patten

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Categories: News

The end of Rocky Mountain Fur Con didn’t cure the problem that caused it.

Fri 28 Apr 2017 - 08:40

Article series: 1) Original story about RMFC – 2) A false rumor – 3) Interview with the Chair.

There’s a tumor in the community. It killed Rocky Mountain Fur Con. Look no further than the “Furry Raiders” and their leader “Foxler”, who calls himself “The Hitler of Furry Fandom“.  They hide behind a false front of acceptance, using regular people to help them play innocent while lying about themselves and their beliefs.

There’s a lot of denial about what’s going on.  Recently, that includes a confession that Foxler paid to join a real neo-nazi group, wants to wear a swastika, and threatened RMFC itself. Not-nazis don’t do that. That’s the long and short of it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s sincere or a game. It makes them either neo-nazis or two-faced liars about it. Either way is indefensible and incompatible with a creative fandom. (Keep in mind how historical nazis were toxic to art).

Colorado fur Crummles says:

“I’ve seen the Raiders go way out of their way to antagonize people. Specifically Foxler and (partner) Kody. They’ve shown up places they know they’re banned from, refused to do simple requests, like take down a picture, they have a habit of publicly saying one thing, then through actions or through private conversations they do the opposite.  After antagonizing people, Foxler will turn around and play the victim.  Or he’ll ask how to improve the Raiders image, and when people say something simple, like “ditch the arm band” he’ll completely change the subject, along the lines of “Stop telling me to not be myself!” As a result of his rhetoric and victim complex, he attracts a LOT of super far right people to his inner circle.”

Colorado fur Boiler says:

“The craziest thing is how they continue to deny they have literally done nothing wrong. Foxler and Kody specifically. They refuse to change their behavior and act like screaming chimps when you show proof of their bad behavior. They’ve bullied, they’ve assaulted, they’ve doxxed, they’ve intimidated and they’ve influenced the Colorado community in an exceptionally negative way. They put on this rainbow supportive huggy front, which is absolutely a sham. If you decide to decline their (awful) company for ANY meet, they throw a shit fit and come after you.”

Remember when RMFC 2016 was dragged down by what staff called their “obscenely unfair behavior?  Still, Raiders were on staff and the con wouldn’t dislodge them.  They couldn’t even ban a single bad apple.  There were diplomatic explanations about it, leading to feedback like this:

@BoozyBarrister @DogpatchPress "No, I don't think excising the group everyone has problems with would solve everything." Yes, it would have.

— Flynnja (@FlynnRausch) April 25, 2017

The Furry Raiders split the community in 2016 (before anyone like Deo spoke up).  Of course, when RMFC died the community didn’t magically come together.  There’s a persistent problem that won’t go away until there’s accountability.

Credibility and trust reached an all-time low with collusion between Furry Raiders, RMFC’s CEO Kahuki, and board member Scorch. The RMFC story is the big one, but here are a few extra signs of why people are on edge about leadership.

A Colorado Furries meet announcement invited teenagers to enjoy porn at a sex offender’s house.  On Facebook, Kahuki has been sharing monthly parties hosted with Scorch at the address Kahuki lists for his sex offender registry page.  They’re welcoming teenagers with astonishing language about porn and age of consent.  (Since when do parties advertise that?)

@DeoTasDevil @Fire_Badger pic.twitter.com/llpLblvXN1

— ☽ Spacebat (@MC_Spacebat) April 26, 2017

@MC_Spacebat @DeoTasDevil @Fire_Badger THE HONORABLE ART WAS ORIGINATED WITH A CAPITAL OH YOU MUST BE SHITTING ME

????????????MCGABUN???????????? (@Ega_bun) April 26, 2017

Who went to that party 5 days after RMFC closed? (There’s also video of Foxler and Kahuki being buds at RMFC 2016).

A house resident speaks.  This FA note was sent to Deo about experience of living with Scorch.  I spoke to this person to verify it is their story, with permission to share.  Please remember this is only one side of a story, shared as context about leadership.

Do these give you an impression of professional, trustworthy leadership?  Or does it explain how the Furry Raiders were allowed to do so much antagonizing?  Many furs are fed up, and now they’re working to build a new con, take charge of their meets, and make a better community.

Colorado fur Crummles says:

“In my opinion, the best way to deal with Foxler and the raiders is to shine a spotlight on their terrible views and opinions. Call them out when you see their bullshit and spread the knowledge of their awful behavior. Until they change they are going to be a problem, and ignoring them keeps people ignorant and doesn’t let the community put pressure on them to be less awful. They’ll just fester and grow like a mold if they are ignored.

Ideally they would just… change. Even a little. Admit to mistakes, antagonize people less, and make an earnest attempt to improve their image and faults. If they did that maybe they could be more accepted and less of a detriment to the community, because right now they are a face of the fandom to the outside, and it’s a face that the rest of the fandom doesn’t want associated with them.  Although at this point it’s an effort that Foxler is unwilling to make.”

Colorado fur Boiler says:

“I’m currently monitoring the situation, and working with friends to find appropriate solutions. There will always be those in this community who refuse to see how problematic these individuals actually are. Not everyone under the Raider banner is a total prick, but they are definitely led by an ugly, hateful individual that speaks for all of them when he speaks. I think if we all banded together and created meets where the Raiders weren’t welcome, the allure would diminish. Being a social pariah is fun for about five minutes until you realize you can’t see your friends and the friends you have made are all negative, shit-spewing asshole trolls just like you, which is miserable in the long term.

I really want to see this community thrive. I don’t want to see us separated, but toxic individuals who think it’s funny to be hateful really shouldn’t have a place in our community. I’ve been in the fandom 22 years now. I’ve seen a lot. Our community was based on acceptance, not fear and trolling. Foxler and Kody have created a group in which everyone is welcome, even pedophiles and zoophiles and racists – essentially giving them a built-in “in-crowd”. A lot of them are young, and ignorant, and angry. I know how people need to seek acceptance – but we don’t have to tolerate trolling, hatespeech, and toxic behavior in our fandom (like the awful Burned Furs movement).  I think people are realizing that, and I think where we need to go from here is making sure our community is healthy, and happy, and not full of racists and trolls who do nothing but spread fear and negativity.

Saying ‘no’ is just as healthy and important as saying ‘yes’.”

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Categories: News