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November 2011

October 2011 Newsbytes archive

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

For this month, I’ve kept the tags to ten. Hopefully they catch the furry zeitgeist.

Review: 'Piggy Moto: All-Star Boar Band', by Nicholas McRae

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Piggy MotoThis novel is slightly unusual in that it is a novelization of an audio dramatization. It was serialized as a free audio book by the author in 41 installments from April 5 to October 31 (starting prior to and ending after this book's publication).

Pigs are looked down upon in this world of anthropomorphized animal (including human) nations and magic, of dramatic geographic names like the Burning Lands and Island of the Dead Warlords. Cecil “Eberhard” Berringer, a dwarf boar from the Faunatian Confederacy with a dark ring around his left eye, and his friends Corbin Zellig, Johan Tyson, Gustave Baldur, and Byron Warner, have formed Piggy Moto, an all-boar tuxedo-dressed instrumental and vocal music group, to help boars to gain a better public image.

They rely upon their musical talent rather than upon flashy magical stagecraft to impress their audiences, and do well enough that they are invited to perform in an international music competition, in the distant city of Farpoint in Lancemyth.

Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Productions, June 2011. Trade paperback $19.95 ([iii] + 297 pages).

Video: Furs dance at Meerkat Manor, visit Disneyland Paris

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

The 12th Meerkat Manor dance and Disneyland Paris Halloween 2011 trip, organized by Timduru, took place last weekend. The latter had 60 planned attendees from nine countries.

The fursuiters were reportedly asked to leave the park for 30 minutes after stealing the show from the Disney character performers. [video: Djem; tip: Pegla]

See more: Video and photos and reports from prior Halloween trips.

NaNoWriMo?

Review: 'Housepets! Hope They Don't Get Eaten' (Book 2), by Rick Griffin

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (3 votes)

Housepets! Hope They Don't Get EatenThis book collects the second year of Griffin’s award-winning Monday-Wednesday-Friday full-color online comic strip, Housepets!, from June 1, 2009 to May 28, 2010. Wow!

When Book 1 containing the first year’s worth was published in July, I assumed that Griffin would be publishing these annual collections annually. Nope! And I’m glad to be wrong. This means that we won’t have to wait another year to get the third year’s worth.

Charleston, SC, CreateSpace, October 2011
Trade paperback, $12.99 (66 pages)

Review: 'Sonic Generations'–is it safe to be a Sonic fan again?

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (4 votes)

Sonic GenerationsIt's been a long time since Sonic has had a console game that wasn't bogged down by experiments gone awry, usually withholding polish on what should have been core gameplay.

The Sonic fan-base has debated the exact point at which this downhill spiral began – whether it’s the over-fifteen years since Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles, or the ten since Sonic Adventure 2. However, both classic and modern Sonic fans tended to agree that the games were not improving.

Sonic Colors could be seen as the comeback for those who played it, but I was not one who did. A Sonic fan in my youth, after Unleashed I was done. After playing the last werehog level just to get to the next Sonic one and spending fifteen minutes on clunky platforming – the longest level I ever played in the franchise – I’d had enough. I don’t get paid to put myself through such torture; I certainly shouldn’t have to pay for it with time or money.

So why did I play Generations? Valve offered me a free copy of Sonic 3 and Knuckles (and Sonic 3D Blast, lest we think the ’90s had no bad console games) if I pre-ordered it for $30.

Replaying the levels of the "free" old games, I wondered pessimistically whether these gifts would symbolize the game itself: a solid, flowing platformer (Sonic 3 and Knuckles) with injections of clunky, awkward and nearly game-killing 3D elements (Sonic 3D Blast).

Thankfully, this was not the case.

Review: 'The Meowmorphosis', by Coleridge Cook

Your rating: None Average: 1.5 (2 votes)

The MeowmorphosisOr “by Franz Kafka & Coleridge Cook”, as the cover and title page say. This is a rewriting by Cook of Kafka’s famous novella to turn Gregor Samsa from a giant insect into an adorably cute kitten.

This is a straightforward copy of Kafka’s text, with just the descriptions of Samsa-as-an-insect changed to make him a kitten and to do kittenish things. “He lay in bed on his soft, fuzzy back and saw, as he lifted his head a little, his brown arched abdomen divided into striped bowlike sections.”

Upon seeing the picture of a woman in a fur hat and fur boa, “Samsa felt a powerful urge to leap upon the sample clothes and scratch at them thoroughly, but as soon as it had come, it passed.”

Illustrations by Matthew Richardson. Quirk Books, May 2011. Trade paperback, $12.95 (206 pages)

Review: 'Solatorobo: Red the Hunter'

Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes)

SolatoroboSolatorobo: Red the Hunter is a story-based role-playing game for the Nintendo DS, featuring character design that should more than appeal to furries. If anything, it's as furry as any Star Fox game, and the characters’ animal nature has more effect on the story than just punny names.

The game is some sort of prequel/sequel/something to a game called Tail Concerto. I missed that one, so this was my first introduction to the setting.

Xseed, September 2011 - $34.99 on Amazon

Review: 'Flood Waters Rising', by E. M. A. Hirst

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Flood Waters Rising“… this action-packed space opera will take you to an exotic new world, filled with bold characters and species and surprises at every turn.” (back cover blurb)

This world is certainly exotic. Its intelligent species are the Geedar, well described (and depicted on the cover by ‘Notorious’; Robin McLean) as a doglike people (pp. 11-12):

Sithon, in spite of all the hardships he had suffered as a child, had grown into a fine specimen of an adolescent Geedar. Long of torso and strong in the legs, his arms reached down past his knees, a trait which allowed him to run on all fours or, more usually, on his digitigrade hind legs. His thin, muscular arms ended in hands with thick, black paw pads on the undersides of his fingers, and short, dark claws. […] He had tall, pointed ears, a long snout with a square black nose at the end which stayed wet and shiny unless he was too sick or dry, and blue-grey eyes like his mother’s. The fur covering Sithon’s body was a light grey, like the rest of his family.

Pop Seagull Publishing/CreateSpace, September 2011. Illustrated by Notorious.
Trade paperback $17.00 (483 pages), e-book $4.99.

Review: 'Down the Mysterly River', by Bill Willingham

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)

Down the Mysterly RiverI have been a fan of Bill Willingham as a writer (his art is good but not spectacular) ever since he wrote and drew the Elementals comic book in the 1980s. I still think that Elementals vol. 2 #15, July 1990, is one of the most perfect superhero comics ever written, and I have been reading his Fables for DC Comics/Vertigo since it started in 2002. (The second story arc of Fables, “Animal Farm”, was on the ALAA’s Recommended Anthropomorphic Reading List in 2002.)

But I’ll admit that I totally missed his first novel, Down the Mysterly River (Austin, TX, Clockwork Storybook, April 2001, 230 pages, 100 copies), when it came out ten years ago. Now Willingham has heavily revised it and it is published as a major children’s fantasy under Tor Books’ juvenile Starscape imprint, with twenty-five chapter heading illustrations and an endpaper map by his Fables partner, Mark Buckingham.

Starscape describes it as a “children’s book”. It is, but of the sort that has reviewers comparing it to the Chronicles of Narnia, The Hobbit, the Oz books, The Wind in the Willows, Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels, and others with lots of talking animals and/or are dramatic fantasy adventures – books that most Furry fans will have read. While I wouldn’t rate it quite as high as a classic, this is an adventure that readers of all ages will enjoy.

Tor/Starscape, Sept. 2011, hardcover $15.99 (333 + 1 pages); Kindle $9.99; audiobook $24.99.

Review: ‘Puss in Boots’ is better than the last Puss in Boots movie reviewed

Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (7 votes)

Puss In BootsLast year, DreamWorks Animation put out three movies: the prestige picture, the fun picture, and the Shrek sequel. On one hand, MegaMind did not have the emotional resonance of How To Train Your Dragon. On the other hand, HTTYD did not feature Will Ferrell emerging from his own head screaming “Presentation!” while Guns’N’Roses “Welcome to the Jungle” blared on the soundtrack.

I’m sensing the beginning of a pattern this year. Kung Fu Panda 2 seemed to be the prestige picture for the year. Puss in Boots is the fun picture, with the Shrek sequel squished into it.

Do not go into this movie expecting any kind of emotional resonance or artistic enlightenment. This is not that kind of movie, and was never intended to be. Do go into this movie expecting to be entertained. As pure entertainment, Puss in Boots is worth watching.

A survey of furry story sites

Your rating: None Average: 4.1 (12 votes)

Way back in May 2006, I wrote a little piece called “The State of the Furry Zine.”
This is a somewhat informal update to that survey.

No matter what kind of work you create, thought needs to go into where you’ll publish it. Writers have more to consider; each site handles text differently. Print publications still carry a different weight for writing, as do e-books; there’s a quantifiable difference between having your story read as a Fur Affinity post versus on a Kindle. But has the web won?

Page traffic