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April 2012

Fur-st draws fans to Tokyo; fursuiters jump rope at Kemospo

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (3 votes)

Furry fandom has had an international following for over a decade, most notably in central Europe, the UK, Australia and Russia. Japan has been a tougher nut to crack, but the rise of local kemono events (many dominated by fursuiters) suggests they may be catching up fast.

March 20 saw the third instance of Fur-st (?????), in Minato, Tokyo. The one-day event included sales of fanzines prepared by a circle of local artists, and attracted 270 fans.

Fur-st 3 came two months after Kemospo, a furry sporting event held in a gymnasium in Skukza, Mie Prefecture. Promoted with the worrying slogan "No sports, no life", the five-hour schedule included dodge-ball, extended jump rope, free throws, and a 20m relay (photos).

The largest furry event in Japan is the annual Kemocon, held each November in Kawasaki. Japan also has an equivalent to Frolic, and saw a kemono doujinshi exposition in 2011.

Review: 'The Prince of Knaves', by Alflor Aalto

Your rating: None Average: 4 (6 votes)

The Prince of KnavesNote: This book deals with homoerotic themes and desctiptions [sic.] of erotic acts. (publisher’s advisory)

Prince Natier of Llyra, heir to the throne, is a spoiled brat. As far as King Rasdill is concerned, Natier can do no wrong.

Every night, Natier sneaks out into the city; there, he takes on the persona of Rivard, a slightly more mild-mannered fox. As Rivard, Natier is able to do all the things that would not become a prince -- he goes to brothels, helps a local gang of thieves pull off robberies, and gets drunk off his tail on mead. (back-cover blurb)

The Prince of Knaves gets off to a good Furry start. There are a fox king and prince, a cougar catamite, an otter bath attendant, two bear guards, a raccoon exchequer, and a squirrel secretary, in just the first five pages.

But – EVERY NIGHT the prince sneaks into the city, disguises himself as a commoner, spends the night in drunken revelry, even helps a local gang of thieves to pull off robberies, and neither his royal father nor any of the palace servants suspect anything? (No wonder he sleeps all morning, every day.)

Las Vegas, NV, Rabbit Valley Comics, March 2012, trade paperback $20.00 (406 pages + map).

Video: A teddy bear with a potty mouth

Your rating: None Average: 3 (4 votes)

Coming in July from Universal: an R-rated comedy about a teddy bear who says s*** and f***. You are supposed to be 17 or older to watch this trailer.

Coming in November: "Full Steam Ahead!: The Life and Art of Ward Kimball", by Amid Amidi

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (4 votes)

This is pretty tangential to Furrydom, but on November 21st Chronicle Books will publish a biography of Ward Kimball (1914-2002), the animator responsible for many of Disney’s most anthropomorphic cartoon characters from the 1930s until his retirement in the 1970s.

Review: 'The Admonishments of Kherishdar', by M.C.A. Hogarth

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

The Admonishments of KherishdarThis delightful booklet is a companion to the author’s The Aphorisms of Kherishdar, published in March 2008. To repeat what I said in my review of that booklet, “Kerishdar is the empire of the Ai-Naidar people; tall and slender tailed felinoid aliens of a society that spans five worlds and several thousand years, with laws and customs that have served us for as long as we have walked these earths. (pg. [1])” That booklet contains twenty-five short-short tales “designed to illuminate these customs and unwritten traditions”.

The Admonishments of Kherishdar are twenty-five more very succinct tales illustrating what Kherishdar society demands in the cases of transgressions against society. Fada (improper guilt) – dashalin (covetousness) – enil (non-conformity) – emeth (cutting; lack of empathy) – noshan ekain (vanity) – diqut (rape) – navel (child abuse) – mesiln (criminal negligence) -- and similar grievances. Not crimes, exactly, but violations of Kherishdar social mores.

CreateSpace, May 2009, trade paperback $20.00 (xi, 57 [+ 1] pages, some color; self-illustrated); eBook $2.99.

Science fiction fandom, 1970's cosplay photos, and documenting furry origins

Your rating: None Average: 3 (8 votes)

On io9, Ron Miller posted a gallery of his photos of Cosplayers from 1970's science fiction conventions. (NSFW)

This subculture spun off Furries, and it made me wonder if any proto-furry costumes were included. The closest I saw were a bird-woman and insect characters, who could be described as anthropomorphic, but not "furry".

What are the earliest records of organized furry activities? I'd guess these are somewhat underexposed and could be better documented [Yarf #46 (Jan 1997)].

Video: 'Madagascar 3' trailer

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (8 votes)

I can't believe that nobody has posted this here yet! Coming June 8.

Fur Affinity changes thumbnails; more updates promised

Your rating: None Average: 2.6 (13 votes)

Fur Affinity has just released a new thumbnail system and promised further updates for the site over the coming week. As I've criticised FA for not providing updates, I can't very well ignore this development. So, first off, congratulations to FA for doing basic site maintenance. However, the promised updates appear little more than a coat of paint to distract from the real problems.

'Regular Show' profiled by Wired

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

Regular Show is a finalist for the 2011 Ursa Major Award in the Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short Work or Series category, which makes this Wired interview with the TV program's creator, J. G. Quintel, of interest.

Wired: I guess this is my follow-up fan service question: Rigby is a raccoon, and while he can stand and walk upright, he often runs on all fours like a quadruped. By the same token, Mordecai is a blue jay: can he fly?

Quintel: I have seen that question many times! I don’t think he’s ever going to fly… in the way that I think people are hoping he will fly. I think he’s the shape of a bird, but I don’t like to think of his so much as a bird as a person. He’s a person. The same thing with Rigby, although he does get down on all fours to run because it looks pretty cool.

I don’t know that Mordecai would be able to escape a problem just by flying.

Wired: If it serves the plot, Mordecai can fly.

Quintel: Yes, pretty much. I think the only place where it will ever be acceptable for him to fly is in that live action short that we just released through Facebook.

Ursula Vernon's 'Digger' nominated for Hugo Award

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

Digger, by Ursula VernonUrsula Vernon's Digger has been nominated as Best Graphic Story for the 2012 Hugo Awards. [tip: Schreibergasse; Ursula's announcement]

Digger has been collected in a series of six volumes. The first volume was published in July 2005; the story concluded March 2011 at 759 pages.

Digger won the Web Cartoonists' Choice Award for Outstanding Black and White Art in 2005-6, and Outstanding Anthropomorphic Cartoon in 2006, and has been nominated for several other awards, including the 2005 Ursa Major Award.

The Hugo Award will be decided by members of the 2012 World Science Fiction Convention (ChiCon 7). Per the WSFS constitution, sec. 3.3.6, the entire run of Digger is eligible this year.

Review: 'The Worth of a Shell' and 'Clays Beneath the Skies', by M.C.A. Hogarth

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (9 votes)

Clays Beneath the SkiesThe Worth of a ShellMaggie Hogarth’s Jokka s-f stories, featuring the tri-sexed scaly aliens of the planet Ke Bakil, made their debut in the short story “Money for Sorrow, Made Joy” in the Strange Horizons weekly online s-f magazine on November 26, 2001. Six further Jokka short stories followed to 2010; notably including “Unspeakable”, the third, also published on Strange Horizons on November 4, 2002.

“Unspeakable” was a finalist for the 2003 Spectrum Award1 in the Short Fiction category, and was included in the Strange Horizons: Best of Year Two anthology. There have been more Jokka short stories since 2010.

Are the Jokka sufficiently Furry for Flayrah? Ever since Furry fandom voted overwhelmingly for Avatar over Fantastic Mr. Fox for Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture in the 2009 Ursa Major Awards, it looks like anything alien is Furry enough. The Jokka have scales, manes, tails, moveable ears, and fangs; they drool venom; they lay eggs as well as having live births (their biology is VERY bizarre), and they look enough like bipedal horses that at least one reviewer has described them as “horse-like” despite their illustrations by Hogarth (and the author should know). Yes, that seems Furry enough.

“The Worth of a Shell”: North Charleston, SC, CreateSpace, October 2009, trade paperback $15.00 (394 [+ 1] pages, map), Kindle $3.99.
“Clays Beneath the Skies”: Tampa, FL, Stardancer Studios, June 2011, trade paperback $15.99 (xii + 183 [+ 1] pages), Kindle $3.99. Illustrated by the author. Foreword by Susan Marie Groppi.

Fur Affinity bug permits huge avatars; former mod banned

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (9 votes)

A recently-reported bug in Fur Affinity and its subsequent exploitation has led to several user accounts being banned for periods from a few days to a few months. The bug allowed a user to modify an image file and then upload a giant avatar, unconstrained by usual FA limits.

Giant FA icon

The bug seems to have originally been found by Scott J. Fox, who posted about it on Twitter and made an FA journal which was later deleted. Around 10 hours later he was suspended from the site for three months (now seven days). Dragoneer maintained that the suspension was appropriate, saying that:

Promoting people to exploit an issue with "Enjoy breaking FA!" made your intent quite clear.

Also involved in the giant avatar episode was Benchilla, who served as an FA forum moderator for seven months in 2010. Initially he was suspended for two weeks, subsequently calling the episode "harmless fun" and the bans an overreaction. Less than an hour later, his two week suspension became a permanent suspension, and his forum account was soon banned as well. Dragoneer clarified that the two week ban was for the avatar, and it was extended because of his "previous history of hijinks" with the site.