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October 2013

Review: 'Wereworld: Nest of Serpents' [and] 'Wereworld: Storm of Sharks', by Curtis Jobling

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (6 votes)

These are Books 4 and 5 in Jobling’s Wereworld saga. Book 1, Rise of the Wolf, was reviewed here in May 2012, and Books 2 and 3, Rage of Lions and Shadow of the Hawk, were reviewed in January 2013. The final volume, War of the Werelords, will be published on October 8.

The Wereworld Young Adult series is set on the island-continent of Lyssia on a fantasy world, in which each of the kingdoms is ruled by a therian Werelord who can transform into an animal, including birds and fish. School Library Journal has called the series “Game of Thrones for the tween set”. In Wereworld: Rise of the Wolf, teen farmboy Drew Ferran learns that he is adopted and is really the werewolf son of the murdered Wolf King Wergar of Westland, Lyssia’s most powerful nation, which has been usurped by Lion King Leopold who has replaced the old wolf aristocracy with his own lion nobility.

In Rage of Lions and Shadow of the Hawk, the animal nations of Lyssia fall into civil war over whether to acknowledge Drew’s claim to the Westland throne, or whether they should acknowledge any ruling nation rather than declaring their independence; while the supporters of the Lions try to reconquer the whole island-continent. Drew gains allies, but he is betrayed several times, and loses his left hand.

How complex the series has become is shown by Nest of Serpents beginning with a Cast of Characters that takes four pages. Wolflords, Lionlords, Catlords, Staglords, Hawklords, Ratlords, Crowlords, Jackallords, Bearlords, Foxlords, Horselords – you name the animal, and there is probably a werelord for it. (I don’t think there are any Skunklords or Raccoonlords – but those are North American animals, and these are American editions of British books.) And lots of human commoners.

“Wereworld:?Nest?of?Serpents”, Jan.?2013, hardcover?$16.99?([xiv]?+?494?+?[4]?pgs.), Kindle?$9.78.
“Wereworld:?Storm?of?Sharks”, May?2013, hardcover?$16.99?([xvi]?+?454?+?[10]?pgs.), Kindle?$9.78.
Both by Curtis Jobling, published by The Penguin Group/Viking, with a map by the author.

September 2013 Newsbytes archive

Your rating: None Average: 3 (3 votes)

Contributors this month include crossaffliction, dronon, Fred, GreenReaper, Higgs Raccoon, Kakurady, mwalimu, Rakuen Growlithe, RingtailedFox, Patch Packrat, Poetigress and Sonious.

By the way, this is the third year anniversary of Newsbytes.

Fangcon circus coming to Knoxville in November

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

This promotional newsletter was provided by Fangcon. Story written by Nightwolf.

Welcome one and all, to the furriest show on Earth! Come to a convention unlike any you've seen before!

What makes Fangcon stand out from the rest? We've packed this weekend full of activities to enjoy all weekend long by all ages. Test your skill and luck at our carnival corner, with games provided by furries from all over Tennessee. Enjoy the fursuit parade and watch the suiters compete in the fursuit games. For a more refined feel, take a seat in the poker tournament. Relax in the hotel's heated pool before the late night dances.

Animation: "À la française"

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (5 votes)

'À la française' poster À la française, a very anthropomorphic student film by Julien Hazbroucq, Ren Hsien Hsu, Emmanuelle Leleu, William Lorton, and Morrigane Boyer of the SUPINFOCOM animation school of Arles, France, has won Best in Show at the (40th annual) SIGGRAPH 2013 convention in Anaheim, California, July 23-25, and is considered a sure nominee for the 2013 Best Animated Short Film Award (Oscar) at the 86th Academy Awards, March 2, 2014.

Here are a 1’24” extract, a 47” Vimeo trailer, and a SUPINFOCOM press release (in French).

P.S.: Many of SUPINFOCOM's student films are anthropomorphic. Here is a clip from "Home Sweet Home", about anthropomorphic houses, from the international animated film festivals circuit; and another from "My Little Croco", about a crocodile who is married to a sheep.

Furry Let's Play 'Retromania' to raise funds for kids on Nov 2

Your rating: None Average: 3 (4 votes)

Retromania is a Let's Play series by 2 the Ranting Gryphon & DJ EAR, focusing on retro-style games. It's one of several new shows being produced for "RGStv", which is intended to be a 24/7 Internet TV station for furries.

XTRA FundCover

On November 2, Retromania will go live for a full day of gaming & comedy as part of the Extra Life worldwide fund raising event to raise money for children with terminal illnesses. Hosts are asking for a donation of $25 each (a dollar per hour of gaming) to reach their target goal of $1,000. Funds raised are to go directly to The Childrens Hospital Colorado.

The event starts at 8am and will be streamed live on RGStv until 9am the next morning. Viewers are encouraged to suggest games, spread the word, and listen in on November 2. You can watch Retromania on the RantingGryphonStudio YouTube channel.

See also: Retromania on Facebook and the RGS page on Extra Life

Pokémon 2013 theatrical movie coming October 19 to Cartoon Network

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (4 votes)

Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened poster Love it or hate it, you gotta admit that Pocket Monsters, a.k.a. Pokémon, are anthropomorphic. In Japan, “monsters” are any fantasy animals; “pocket monsters”, like Pikachu, are monsters small enough to fit into your pocket – although since they were introduced almost twenty years ago, there have been some giant Pokémon as well.

The annual Pokémon theatrical movies started in Japan 16 years ago and are still being churned out, but in America they have gone direct to TV for the last few years. This year’s, Pokémon the Movie: Genesect and the Legend Awakened (96 minutes), will premiere in English on the Cartoon Network on October 19, at 12:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. It will follow last year’s movie, Pokémon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice at 11:00 a.m., if you haven’t seen that yet.

When big trouble threatens the big city, it’s up to Ash, Pikachu, and their friends to stop it!

Review: 'What Happens Next', edited by Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

What Happens Next: An Anthology of Sequels What Happens Next: An Anthology of Sequels is a collection of short stories by 11 authors, assembled and edited together by Fred Patten. The theme? Each work is an expansion upon story universes that the authors have previously established.

If you're not familiar with the writers or their worlds, don't worry; each story is pretty self-contained. You're not going to feel like you're being left out; Fred provides an introduction to each, explaining the settings and contexts to new readers. Altogether it's about 430 pages long, and was published in July 2013 by FurPlanet, ISBN 9781614501169. The cover art is by Sara Miles, and each story is accompanied by at least one illustration, from a variety of artists.

This review was heavily re-written after listening to episode 4 of the Fangs and Fonts podcast.

Gromit statue auction raises £2.3m for Bristol children's hospital

Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (9 votes)

Between July 1 and September 8, the Gromit Unleashed exhibition saw the city of Bristol play host to several dozen statues of Gromit, the anthropomorphic dog from Wallace and Gromit.

On 3 October, the statues were auctioned to raise money for an expansion of Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. One lot, Gromit Lightyear, designed by animation studio Pixar and depicting Gromit as Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story franchise, sold for £65,000.
Gromit statues
The eighty-one statues, depicting Gromit in a variety of styles, were designed by several artists, including Nick Park (creator of Wallace and Gromit), and Simon Tofield (animator of Simon's Cat). In total, £2.3 million was raised for the hospital. Nick Park said he was "stunned" by how successful the auction was.

Furry Movie Award Watch: September 2013

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Well, enough of the doom and gloom, it’s a brand-new, shiny awards season. This month, let’s look at how the race is shaping up at the Oscars. Maybe we’ll even spare a thought for the Annies.

Animation: 'Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 1/8'?

Your rating: None Average: 2.8 (4 votes)

The Cartoon Brew has a critique by Amid Amidi of Sony Pictures Animation’s Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 hybrid CGI/cartoon 6’46” short, “Earl Scouts”, in which Barry the strawberry and one of the pickle foodimals humorously(?) try to kill each other.

Did you know that there were any Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 short cartoons? I didn’t, but the whole “Earl Scouts” is on YouTube. Seeing is believing … well, not that foodimals are real, but that “Earl Scouts” is. Officer Earl is at the beginning and the end, but most of the short features the two anthropomorphized foodimals. Does Sony Pictures Animation plan any more shorts like this?

Howard Hardiman's graphic novel 'The Lengths' launched in hardcover edition

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (4 votes)

'The Lengths' poster I reviewed Howard Hardiman's The Lengths in December 2012. Originally released in seven issues, the complete story arc is now available in a hardback collection from Soaring Penguin Press.

To recap, The Lengths follows gay college dropout Eddie as his blossoming relationship begins to conflict with his secret life as a male escort named 'Ford'. Eddie, his boyfriend Dan, scary pimp Nelson and the supporting cast are all dogs. The dialogue is realistic, the black and white London backdrop atmospheric, and the situation both intriguing and touching. The series has received positive reviews from sources as diverse as Gay Comics List and The New Statesman.

The new edition was launched at Gosh! Comics in Soho, London, on Friday 11th October. I went along to buy a signed copy, and was lucky enough to enjoy a chat with the author (and a bone-shaped cookie).

Survey: Furry fandom in digital spaces

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Ben Walker, a British undergraduate student at Keele University in Staffordshire, is conducting research on the design of online social spaces. He has created a brief survey for members of the fandom and is seeking candidates for interviews and focus groups.

[The] point of this research is to aid the design of online social spaces. If forums and community sites can be made to fit their communities better, the experience users get from them improves.

This project combines my two degree subjects, Computer Science and Geography (the human centric stuff) with the aim of utilising both to provide some tangible benefits to online communities. Being on the edge of the fandom I thought looking at Furries would be more interesting.

The project supervisor is Dr D.C McKay of the School of Physical and Geographical Science. Those interested in participating may complete the survey linked above, or email Ben.