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Episode 57 - The Con Funk of Forty Thousand Years

Southpaws - Fri 10 Jul 2009 - 01:09
This week on KnotCast, it's Anthrocon report show! Fuzz, Zap, Isty, and Savrin tell their tales. Also this week, we answer questions regarding age gaps, 10 year anniversaries, and body image issues. All this and more on episode 57 of KnotCast! Episode 57 - The Con Funk of Forty Thousand Years
Categories: Podcasts

Alone in the Dark

Furry Book Reviews - Wed 8 Jul 2009 - 11:00


     This is my first ever post on livejournal, so hopefully it comes out okay.

    I've read several short story collections, and "Alone in the Dark" is one of the best I've ever had the pleasure of reading.  Sometimes with short story collections, a couple of pieces feel out of place, or you just skip over some and move on to the next story.  Will Sanborn made sure that wasn't the case here.  I read it from cover to cover, and I enjoyed every minute.

     It has wonderful stories that cover tales of horror, psychological thrillers, ghost stories, and everything in-between, both with lighter and darker themes. He was able to get tons of great writers within the fandom, including Tim Susman, Thomas Shaw, Chris Goodwin, Brian Miller, Austin Crowder, and many others. 

     Renee Carter Hall contributes her great story “Waking the Beast”, which played on some of my biggest fears, beginning forcefully strapped down, and somebody wielding a large knife.  It makes me cringe just thinking about it. Then there’s Watts Martin’s “Carrier”, where he took the idea of infected anthros and gave it a superb non-zombie twist, which is simply brilliant if I must say so.  Kevin Frane adds his story “The Stars are Wrong”, which is a riveting tale about an astronomer who seems to be the only one that notices the constellations have gone completely out of whack.  It was so good, it had me reading well past my bedtime.  And even Will Sanborn brings his own tale "Faded Celluloid Dreams", which is one of the most original uses for an anthropomorphic character that I've seen in sometime.  It's a story about a human who meets an old, forgotten vampire bat that was genetically engineered for roles in old Hollywood monster movies.

     Plus the book has wonderful artwork from Heather Bruton, Sara "Caribou" Palmer, Amber "Vantid" Hill, and many more.  It is simply a great read with some fantastic stories I'd recommend to anyone.  You can purchase it at Amazon, Furplanet, or Lulu.com.  So go pick up a copy, you won't be disappointed.

Alone in the Dark

Furry Book Reviews - Wed 8 Jul 2009 - 11:00


     This is my first ever post on livejournal, so hopefully it comes out okay.

    I've read several short story collections, and "Alone in the Dark" is one of the best I've ever had the pleasure of reading.  Sometimes with short story collections, a couple of pieces feel out of place, or you just skip over some and move on to the next story.  Will Sanborn made sure that wasn't the case here.  I read it from cover to cover, and I enjoyed every minute.

     It has wonderful stories that cover tales of horror, psychological thrillers, ghost stories, and everything in-between, both with lighter and darker themes. He was able to get tons of great writers within the fandom, including Tim Susman, Thomas Shaw, Chris Goodwin, Brian Miller, Austin Crowder, and many others. 

     Renee Carter Hall contributes her great story “Waking the Beast”, which played on some of my biggest fears, beginning forcefully strapped down, and somebody wielding a large knife.  It makes me cringe just thinking about it. Then there’s Watts Martin’s “Carrier”, where he took the idea of infected anthros and gave it a superb non-zombie twist, which is simply brilliant if I must say so.  Kevin Frane adds his story “The Stars are Wrong”, which is a riveting tale about an astronomer who seems to be the only one that notices the constellations have gone completely out of whack.  It was so good, it had me reading well past my bedtime.  And even Will Sanborn brings his own tale "Faded Celluloid Dreams", which is one of the most original uses for an anthropomorphic character that I've seen in sometime.  It's a story about a human who meets an old, forgotten vampire bat that was genetically engineered for roles in old Hollywood monster movies.

     Plus the book has wonderful artwork from Heather Bruton, Sara "Caribou" Palmer, Amber "Vantid" Hill, and many more.  It is simply a great read with some fantastic stories I'd recommend to anyone.  You can purchase it at Amazon, Furplanet, or Lulu.com.  So go pick up a copy, you won't be disappointed.

The way this works

Furry Book Reviews - Tue 7 Jul 2009 - 16:07
Just so people know, if you're not familiar with LJ communities: you do NOT need to be a member of furrybookreview to read the postings. You only need to watch it. If you become a member, the expectation is that you will post reviews and contribute.

I know I was confused about that, so I just thought I'd toss that out since there have been a lot of people joining, and nobody posting. Let's see some reviews, people!

The way this works

Furry Book Reviews - Tue 7 Jul 2009 - 16:07
Just so people know, if you're not familiar with LJ communities: you do NOT need to be a member of furrybookreview to read the postings. You only need to watch it. If you become a member, the expectation is that you will post reviews and contribute.

I know I was confused about that, so I just thought I'd toss that out since there have been a lot of people joining, and nobody posting. Let's see some reviews, people!

Knotcast Presents - Heathen City

Southpaws - Wed 24 Jun 2009 - 00:13
In this episode of KnotCast Presents, Fuzz is joined by four members of the creative team behind Heathen City volume 2. Writer Alex Vance and artists Blue Panther, Krahnos and Vahn Fox discuss the creative process involved with a team of international artists with very different styles. Heathen City 2 will debut at Anthrocon and will be available at the FurPlanet tables in the dealers room. Stop by, buy a copy, have Krahnos and Vahn sign it and meet some KnotCast cast members. Links: www.HeathenCity.com http://HeathenCity.FurPlanet.com http://www.furaffinity.net/user/osfer http://www.furaffinity.net/user/krahnos http://www.furaffinity.net/user/bluepanther http://www.furaffinity.net/user/vahnfox Knotcast Presents - Heathen City
Categories: Podcasts

AD 006 - The Perfect Totem - Totemism and spirit animals meet the modern world in this wonderful story from Sofawolf Press' New Fables. "The Perfect Totem" by M. C. A. Hogarth (www.stardancer.org) Read by Peter Katt (www.peterkattvoice.com) Information

Anthropomorphic Dreams - Fri 19 Jun 2009 - 15:31
Totemism and spirit animals meet the modern world in this wonderful story from Sofawolf Press' New Fables. "The Perfect Totem" by M. C. A. Hogarth (www.stardancer.org) Read by Peter Katt (www.peterkattvoice.com) Information about "New Fables" can be found at www.sofawolf.com Music by Infinity Squared (http://www.furaffinity.net/user/infinitysquared) AD 006 - The Perfect Totem - Totemism and spirit animals meet the modern world in this wonderful story from Sofawolf Press' New Fables. "The Perfect Totem" by M. C. A. Hogarth (www.stardancer.org) Read by Peter Katt (www.peterkattvoice.com) Information about...
Categories: Podcasts

Episode 56 - Ask Us Anything

Southpaws - Fri 19 Jun 2009 - 00:17
This week on KnotCast, Savrin, Fuzz, Zap, Istanbul, and Bucktown tackle an open topic week! We get plenty of followups, lots of random questions, and hear some messed up stories. Also, Fuzz talks about a lot of new stuff coming out at AC, and Zap talks about his new great idea! All this and lots of knots on episode 56 of KnotCast! Episode 56 - Ask Us Anything
Categories: Podcasts

Episode 55 - Furcon Fantasia

Southpaws - Fri 12 Jun 2009 - 00:26
This week on the uber long episode of KnotCast, Savrin, Fuzz, and Istanbul are all about the conventions. We read emails asking us about medical issues regarding dongs, how to not be an ass to an ex, and get an email that was stuck in the tubes about MUCKs. In the topical portion of the show, we get a lot of emails with other peoples impressions of conventions, we do a lot of silly plugging, and have a very nice long conversation about cons ourself. It's a very long and very relaxed episode this week on KnotCast! Episode 55 - Furcon Fantasia
Categories: Podcasts

Dream-Carver: an Ironclaw novel

Furry Book Reviews - Tue 9 Jun 2009 - 01:38
Dream-Carver: an Ironclaw novel
by Erin van Hiel
Sanguine Productions, 2007
208 pp., ISBN 1-932592-01-6




Dream-Carver is a fantasy adventure novel that takes place in the world of the Ironclaw role-playing game, roughly equivalent to the 17th century but with magic. Does one need to know anything about the game to understand the story? No. As a reader who has never played Ironclaw, I had no problems following the book.

What became immediately apparent about the setting were the houses of nobility in fierce competition, each house based around a different species. At first I was worried that I would have to write side-notes to keep track of various characters, groups and alliances. (Blame Guy Gavriel Kay's novels, and my terrible memory for names.) But as soon as I was a few chapters into the book, I found my fears were unfounded. The number of major characters is modestly small, and because much of the story takes place at sea, political plot complications are greatly reduced.

The narrative switches its point of view between characters fairly frequently, but the central character is Annarisse, a horse priestess and a disfavoured but proud daughter of nobility. The start of the story finds her abruptly reassigned from an orphanage to be the spiritual guardian for Baron Treeden MacDuncan, a young wolf nobleman.

Treeden is a well-written, unlikeable character. Self-interested and lacking in empathy, most of all he seeks to escape from his mother's powerful connections that keep him on a short leash. Annarisse's presence being the latest manifestation of her distant control, he bares the priestess no kindness.

Having come into possession of information about a lost pirate treasure, Treeden hopes to gain enough wealth to afford himself a certain amount of independence. To achieve this, he employs the boat and crew of Captain Salvatore, a gruff, older fox whose expertise as a sailor is overshadowed by a drinking problem, the result of years of regrets.

The dynamics between these characters are at the core of the book, and although there are additional antagonists (a rival fox admiral also seeking the treasure, and a mysterious underwater entity), the three of them generate a good deal of conflict just by being on the same ship together. In all their interactions, Annarisse, Treeden and Salvatore are constantly aware of how their actions might effect their well-being, their short-term power struggles against one another, and their long-term relationships with the noble houses.

Annarisse quickly discovers that she can no longer work for Treeden's family in good conscience, making her presence on board somewhat superfluous were it not for her spellcasting and healing abilities. (This was one part of the book that felt stereotypically RPG-ish.) On the other hand, her newfound resolve allows her to act as a free agent, whereupon she allies herself with Captain Salvatore. While the two of them disagree about the Captain's ethics and lifestyle, they unite under a mutual distrust of Treeden.

Annarisse is very pious and proud; she takes her calling seriously and wants to help others achieve a sense of goodness and piety - although recognizing that not all spiritual battles can be won, goodness will do. Dedicated without being fanatical, she questions her own decisions and frequently regrets that her more petty emotions sometimes hold sway in the heat of the moment. This fallibility, at ends with her desire to uphold her greater beliefs, and her awareness of her personal weaknesses and sacrifices, made her an extremely believable character for me.

Turning now to discuss the story-telling, although it was an entertaining read that made me want to know what happened next, I had little sense of where the plot was actually going at any given time. The characters were very much caught up "in the moment". Their present circumstances kept changing, causing them to constantly readjust their immediate goals so that their long-term interests might eventually bear fruit. Events conspired against them - being suddenly attacked at sea, stops at ports and distant islands, storms - even the nature of the treasure hunt changed.

Other curious features of the story involved a weasel thief who seemed too clueless of the severity of her situation, a wolf spy who was added and removed from the plot without really accomplishing anything, and how Treeden's presence as an antagonist suddenly ceased to be a factor two-thirds of the way through the book. Finally, the confrontation against the ultimate enemy for the treasure was rather quick and somewhat underwhelming.

As it turns out, the reason the story was structured this way was that it was inspired by an actual Ironclaw RPG campaign that the author had played. I didn't realize this until I had read the acknowledgements at the end of the book, although had I been more observant I could have also found out from the book's jacket. In retrospect this explained much of the above; the campaign had certainly made its characters jump through a lot of hoops.

In terms of furriness, despite the setting and the occasional references to ears, claws, etc., I didn't find the first half of the novel to be particularly furry, but this changed as I got deeper into the book and more exotic anthropomorphic races were encountered - bats, a tiger, and undersea creatures.

The author's writing style is very direct, focusing on the situation at hand and keeping a clear understanding of the characters' motivations. If anything, I think the book could have benefited from a stronger, more evocative sense of atmosphere and emotion in places where it was mostly physically descriptive, but overall I liked it. I was able to picture the surroundings and was never confused as to what was happening.

What interested me the most in the book was not the adventure nor the treasure-hunt, but the story of the growing understanding and respect between Annarisse and Salvatore as characters. Ultimately, this was the real tale being told. And there are many other plot details I've deliberately left out of this review to avoid spoilers, lots of things that added both depth and flavour to the story. The end of the book is a positive one, achieving closure while at the same time leaving open the possibility for a sequel. In short, if you don't mind that this sea adventure has an RPG feel to it, Dream-Carver is an enjoyable read that I would recommend.

Dream-Carver: an Ironclaw novel

Furry Book Reviews - Tue 9 Jun 2009 - 01:38
Dream-Carver: an Ironclaw novel
by Erin van Hiel
Sanguine Productions, 2007
208 pp., ISBN 1-932592-01-6




Dream-Carver is a fantasy adventure novel that takes place in the world of the Ironclaw role-playing game, roughly equivalent to the 17th century but with magic. Does one need to know anything about the game to understand the story? No. As a reader who has never played Ironclaw, I had no problems following the book.

What became immediately apparent about the setting were the houses of nobility in fierce competition, each house based around a different species. At first I was worried that I would have to write side-notes to keep track of various characters, groups and alliances. (Blame Guy Gavriel Kay's novels, and my terrible memory for names.) But as soon as I was a few chapters into the book, I found my fears were unfounded. The number of major characters is modestly small, and because much of the story takes place at sea, political plot complications are greatly reduced.

The narrative switches its point of view between characters fairly frequently, but the central character is Annarisse, a horse priestess and a disfavoured but proud daughter of nobility. The start of the story finds her abruptly reassigned from an orphanage to be the spiritual guardian for Baron Treeden MacDuncan, a young wolf nobleman.

Treeden is a well-written, unlikeable character. Self-interested and lacking in empathy, most of all he seeks to escape from his mother's powerful connections that keep him on a short leash. Annarisse's presence being the latest manifestation of her distant control, he bares the priestess no kindness.

Having come into possession of information about a lost pirate treasure, Treeden hopes to gain enough wealth to afford himself a certain amount of independence. To achieve this, he employs the boat and crew of Captain Salvatore, a gruff, older fox whose expertise as a sailor is overshadowed by a drinking problem, the result of years of regrets.

The dynamics between these characters are at the core of the book, and although there are additional antagonists (a rival fox admiral also seeking the treasure, and a mysterious underwater entity), the three of them generate a good deal of conflict just by being on the same ship together. In all their interactions, Annarisse, Treeden and Salvatore are constantly aware of how their actions might effect their well-being, their short-term power struggles against one another, and their long-term relationships with the noble houses.

Annarisse quickly discovers that she can no longer work for Treeden's family in good conscience, making her presence on board somewhat superfluous were it not for her spellcasting and healing abilities. (This was one part of the book that felt stereotypically RPG-ish.) On the other hand, her newfound resolve allows her to act as a free agent, whereupon she allies herself with Captain Salvatore. While the two of them disagree about the Captain's ethics and lifestyle, they unite under a mutual distrust of Treeden.

Annarisse is very pious and proud; she takes her calling seriously and wants to help others achieve a sense of goodness and piety - although recognizing that not all spiritual battles can be won, goodness will do. Dedicated without being fanatical, she questions her own decisions and frequently regrets that her more petty emotions sometimes hold sway in the heat of the moment. This fallibility, at ends with her desire to uphold her greater beliefs, and her awareness of her personal weaknesses and sacrifices, made her an extremely believable character for me.

Turning now to discuss the story-telling, although it was an entertaining read that made me want to know what happened next, I had little sense of where the plot was actually going at any given time. The characters were very much caught up "in the moment". Their present circumstances kept changing, causing them to constantly readjust their immediate goals so that their long-term interests might eventually bear fruit. Events conspired against them - being suddenly attacked at sea, stops at ports and distant islands, storms - even the nature of the treasure hunt changed.

Other curious features of the story involved a weasel thief who seemed too clueless of the severity of her situation, a wolf spy who was added and removed from the plot without really accomplishing anything, and how Treeden's presence as an antagonist suddenly ceased to be a factor two-thirds of the way through the book. Finally, the confrontation against the ultimate enemy for the treasure was rather quick and somewhat underwhelming.

As it turns out, the reason the story was structured this way was that it was inspired by an actual Ironclaw RPG campaign that the author had played. I didn't realize this until I had read the acknowledgements at the end of the book, although had I been more observant I could have also found out from the book's jacket. In retrospect this explained much of the above; the campaign had certainly made its characters jump through a lot of hoops.

In terms of furriness, despite the setting and the occasional references to ears, claws, etc., I didn't find the first half of the novel to be particularly furry, but this changed as I got deeper into the book and more exotic anthropomorphic races were encountered - bats, a tiger, and undersea creatures.

The author's writing style is very direct, focusing on the situation at hand and keeping a clear understanding of the characters' motivations. If anything, I think the book could have benefited from a stronger, more evocative sense of atmosphere and emotion in places where it was mostly physically descriptive, but overall I liked it. I was able to picture the surroundings and was never confused as to what was happening.

What interested me the most in the book was not the adventure nor the treasure-hunt, but the story of the growing understanding and respect between Annarisse and Salvatore as characters. Ultimately, this was the real tale being told. And there are many other plot details I've deliberately left out of this review to avoid spoilers, lots of things that added both depth and flavour to the story. The end of the book is a positive one, achieving closure while at the same time leaving open the possibility for a sequel. In short, if you don't mind that this sea adventure has an RPG feel to it, Dream-Carver is an enjoyable read that I would recommend.

Episode 54 - Worst Firsts

Southpaws - Fri 5 Jun 2009 - 00:47
This week on KnotCast, Bucktown is back with us to talk worst firsts! Savrin, Fuzz, Istanbul, Kyo, and the aformentioned Bucktown Tiger talk worst firsts on a lot of things. Bucktown and Istanbul talk RCFM and Morphicon, while Savrin and Fuzz talk A-Kon 20. It's magical! Also this week, we get the best email in a long time, hear some messed up stories about coming out young, get asked about gritty furry graphic novels, and hear a follow up or two. All this and more on episode 54 of KnotCast Episode 54 - Worst Firsts
Categories: Podcasts

Analogues - 004 - May 22, 2009

Analogues - Tue 2 Jun 2009 - 17:04

Analogues - 004 - May 22, 2009Analogues Episode 4 Recorded May 22, 2009It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine) © R.E.M.All other content ©2009 Tanuke Media Analogues - 004 - May 22, 2009
Categories: Podcasts

KnotCast Presents - X

Southpaws - Sat 23 May 2009 - 13:34
On this episode of KnotCast Presents, Fuzz interviews 5 of his fellow contributors to the new Sofawolf anthology, "X". For complete details on X, please visit http://www.kyellgold.com/x KnotCast Presents - X
Categories: Podcasts

AD Extra 001 - Carl - Anthropomorphism isn't just for animal characters. This story looks at an android facing his own obsolescence."Carl" by (www.furaffinity.net/user/slyford) Read by Peter Katt (www.peterkattvoice.com) Music by Infinity Squared...

Anthropomorphic Dreams - Tue 19 May 2009 - 21:26
Anthropomorphism isn't just for animal characters. This story looks at an android facing his own obsolescence."Carl" by (www.furaffinity.net/user/slyford) Read by Peter Katt (www.peterkattvoice.com) Music by Infinity Squared (http://www.furaffinity.net/user/infinitysquared) "Alone in the Dark" may be purchased at:www.amazon.com/Alone-Dark-Anthropomorphic-Tales-Things/dp/144043865X AD Extra 001 - Carl - Anthropomorphism isn't just for animal characters. This story looks at an android facing his own obsolescence."Carl" by (www.furaffinity.net/user/slyford) Read by Peter Katt (www.peterkattvoice.com) Music by Infinity Squared...
Categories: Podcasts