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March 2012

2011 Ursa Major Awards nominations now closed

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Ursa Major Awards, by Heather BrutonNominations for the 2011 Ursa Major Awards are now closed. Over 2,020 nominations from 316 nominators were received and are now being tallied.

The final ballot, with the top five nominees in each category, will be announced when voting begins on March 15.

Voting will continue until May 4. The results will be announced and the Awards presented at a ceremony at Califur VIII, at the Irvine Marriott Hotel in Irvine, California on June 2.

February 2012 Newsbytes archive

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Here’s last month’s Newsbytes.

Review: 'PKP for President', by Beth Hilgartner

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (7 votes)

PKP for PresidentHousecats Fluffy and PKP (Princess Killer Pinknose) had it easy living as the pampered pets of musician Colin and novelist Dana Wickey -- until the humans got into financial hardship, and had to get JOBS that took them out of the house during the day. This was 2001, when American households were getting their first home computers. Dana tries to teach Colin how to go onto the Internet, while Fluffy lounges in the background taking notes.

Once the humans are out of the house for the day, the cats have unlimited access to their new computer to get onto the Information Superhighway. Fluffy wants to make enough money (using the Wickey’s names and SSNs) so their humans can become financially independent, quit their jobs, and return to spending all day at home with their music and their writing and fussing over the cats. But she has reckoned without PKP, her aggressively psychotic sister who doesn’t know when to stop. Soon the cats have become computer-savvy enough that they are in danger of getting Colin and Dana arrested for insider trading …

That was in Hilgartner’s Cats in Cyberspace (Meisha Merlin Publishing, September 2001). Now it is ten years later, but only a few months in story-time.

Brigantine Media/Voyage, Dec. 2011, trade paperback $14.95 (272 pgs.), Kindle/Nook/iOS $5.99.

Anthropomorphic researchers launch Winter 2012 survey

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (7 votes)

The Anthropomorphic Research Project has launched its Winter 2012 survey, open to participants 18 or above.

The survey was also given at Furry Fiesta last weekend, where the team handed out 815 survey packets – though only 334 were returned. Respondents have a chance to win a $50 gift card.

The research group's prior results have included distinguishing between furries and those identifying as therians and otherkin, identifying the core interests of the fandom, and measuring differences in gender, sexuality and relationships between furs and non-furs.

See more: Photos of researchers busily working at Furry Fiesta 2012

February furry media roundup

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

Last month saw the Livingstone Daily pen a three-page article on furries, containing quotes from Michigan furs Ian Andersen, Chris Michaels and Steven Landers, and commentary from fandom researcher Dr. Kathy Gerbasi.

The piece contrasts furry as a hobby with therianthropy, and mentions furmeets, MIFurs, and local convention Furry Connection North – although it lacks quotes from event organizers.

Atlanta's Creative Loafing had trouble getting past an obsession with sex in costumes; perhaps not surprising, as the piece was written by the paper's sex columnist. Still, they mentioned this month's Furry Weekend Atlanta and interviewed Lion of the Sun costumer Solion, who emphasized the spiritual and transhumanist nature of his work.

USA Today cited Anthrocon as one of ten reasons to visit Pittsburgh.

Lastly, the Toronto Star's advice columnist Elle set straight a concerned parent whose otherwise 'perfect' son had expressed concerns about relating to 'earth-destroying' humans.

Review: 'Bonds of Silver, Bonds of Gold', by Kristina Tracer

Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (5 votes)

This is a mature content book. Please ensure that you are of legal age to purchase this material in your state or region. (publisher’s advisory)

Bonds of Silver, Bonds of Gold; cover by Turbine DivinityIn an anthropomorphic mixed-species medieval world, Stannis, the eighteen-year-old rabbit narrator, sells himself into slavery at the Slavers’ Guildhall in Jazinsk’s capital for the 100 ducats it will bring to his impoverished mother, and to remove one mouth to feed among his large family. He immediately begins to learn his new status:

The [slave] lynx’s eyes widened, snapping away from mine to look over my shoulder. A moment later, a single clawtip touched the back of my neck, just above the collar that had already begun to itch. ‘That was your one free mistake,’ the [raccoon] slaver said, her voice suddenly full of ice. ‘I warned you before you crossed that threshold: your life is no longer your own. At this point, it no longer matters what happens to you. If I were a harsh master, I’d have beaten you the instant you spoke. If I were a cruel one, I’d have beat you before I collared you and made you thank me for being owned. You won’t always be told the rules. They may change without warning. They may not exist. Regardless, you must do your best to obey. Eventually, you’ll fail, and even if you don’t, you’ll still suffer for it. I’ll try to teach you the basics of your new life, but I will not hesitate to reprimand you, even for rules you do not yet know. Do you understand?’ (p. 8)

Bonds of Silver, Bonds of Gold is a novel of humiliation. Primarily sexual humiliation, described in graphic detail, but whatever kind his masters, their families, and his fellow slaves can put Stannis into.

FurPlanet Productions, January 2012, trade paperback $19.95 (304 [+ 1] pages).

Moar Toons, eh?

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Mordecai and Rigby playing 'Punchies'Alright, kiddos... it's math-time! What do you get when you take Astral Media and Corus Entertainment, and add Time Warner? The answer is Cartoon Network Canada!

Tooning in!

Astral Media and Corus Entertainment (owners of Teletoon/Télétoon), have signed a deal to license the name and programming of Cartoon Network from Time Warner. In a press release dated February 2, Astral and Corus say that Cartoon Network Canada will arrive as a sister network to the currently-operating Teletoon/Télétoon networks, and that the popular Adult Swim program block will air alongside Cartoon Network programming on Cartoon Network Canada. Currently, only some of Adult Swim's programs are aired on Teletoon's "Teletoon at Night" (formerly "The Detour").

While a concrete launch date has not been announced, Astral Media says the network will air sometime in the "Summer of 2012", while Corus Entertainment has hinted that it will launch on October 1, the 20th anniversary of the original American Cartoon Network channel.

Fur-friendly cafe Fernando's to close before Anthrocon 2012

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Fernando'sAs Pittsburgh convention Anthrocon approaches this June, many furs are opening up their wallets, counting up their change, and announcing to friends whether they can be expected this year. Unfortunately Fernando's Cafe, a business dear to attendees, have done the same and found that they will be unable to stay afloat until then. The cafe intends to close its doors on April 27.

Review: 'Peachy Keen Book 1: Tempted', by Mandi Tremblay

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Peachy Keen Book 1: Tempted

It's not easy to admit feelings for a long-time friend; but for the classmates in Mitti's debut graphic novel, their first admission must be to themselves.

It is 1955 and best friends Clover and Logainne are looking forward to graduating from Lincoln High School and getting on with their lives. However when Clover fumbles for an excuse to avoid going to the senior prom with someone, she blurts out Logainne's name as her intended date. Now the whole school thinks there is more to their friendship than meets the eye, putting both their reputations and Logainne's honors student status at risk. As they scramble to contain the damage, at least one of them begins to wonder where her heart truly lies. (back cover)

Sofawolf Press, January 2012, trade paperback $14.95 (131 + 6 pages, B&W interior)

Five hundred new fairytales discovered in Germany

Your rating: None Average: 3 (5 votes)

Anthropomorphic fiction branches from a long tradition of mythic literature. When considering its roots, you may think of Aesop's Fables, or the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson. (My pick for most interesting would be Andrew Lang, who "examined the origins of totemism.")

The discovery of 500 previously-lost fairy tales may add their collector, Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (1810-1886), to the list.

Alan T. Panda convicted of trying to arrange sexual encounter with 15-year-old boy

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (8 votes)

Alan Berlin, known in the furry fandom as Alan T. Panda, has been convicted of trying to arrange a sexual encounter with a 15-year-old boy. [Skirtandzy/WikiFur]

Berlin, a fursuiter, babyfur, and "daddyfur/caretaker with a cub side", first made the news in 2009, when, on May 28, he was arrested on charges of propositioning an underage boy over the Internet. After the boy's parents found sexually explicit messages on his computer, they contacted the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit; two days later, Berlin was arrested.

Video: 'Taylor'

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The sad story of a teenager who turns into a duck.

A 2:40 minute student film by Cody Walzel of the Pratt Institute.