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February 2014

Review: 'The Cat's Eye Pub', by James Robert Jordan

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (6 votes)
The Cat's Eye Pub (front cover)

3 years after the events of Bound to Play, chakats Midsnow, Blacktail, and their family have made the move and immigration to Chakona the self proclaimed home world for the chakat species.

With intentions of opening their own business they are unaware of the many obstacles and challenges they will face. All while Midsnow's troubled past atempts [sic.] to catch up to hir." (back-cover blurb)

CreateSpace, June 2013, trade paperback $19.95 (308 pages), Kindle $7.99. Illustrated.

The Cat's Eye Pub, like Bound to Play and the forthcoming A Chakat in the Alley, is set (with permission) in Bernard Doove's Chakat Universe. It features those hermaphroditic centauroid felines, along with the humans, Caitians (bipedal felines), Rakshani (bipedal like Caitians but taller and more tigerlike), skunktaurs, and other species of Doove's 24th-century interstellar civilization.

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #18 (‘Avengers Arena,’ ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and ‘Wolverine and the X-Men’)

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

Avengers Arena #11Like I recently went with a triple feature for My Little Pony, I decided to do a pure Marvel comics Pull List. Why should IDW get all the fun? So we’re going to pretend like this is a special Marvel edition, okay? Anyway, until Beast uses bikini wax, make mine Marvel!

I’m sorry, was that weird? I read that somewhere.

Avengers Arena #11

We get a breather issue after the horrific events of issues #9 and #10, in which we had two deaths in two issues; Juston in #9 (nooooo!) and Nico in #10 (did not see that one coming). Instead of dealing with the still rampaging Apex, we catch up with Avengers Academy alumni Hazmat and Reptil, who are hanging out on a beach while the rest of the cast are running for their lives from a crazy girl who occasionally turns into her nice twin brother (it’s complicated).

Fur Affinity announces Project Phoenix; Weasyl traffic spikes

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (6 votes)

On January 15, Fur Affinity made its latest announcement of its intention to revamp their site. This new effort, code named Project Pheonix, is intended to bring massive updated to the site's interface to make it more user friendly, as well as incorporate a simplification of rules and decrease response time to trouble tickets.

However, the news caused a stir as it was stated that Adam Wan, known in the fandom as Zaush, would be leading the user interface development. Major controversy has shadowed Mr. Wan following the note leaks back in late 2010 revealed a private correspondence where an individual went to Dragoneer to discuss the possibility of going public with their experiences of sexual abuses committed against them by Mr. Wan. In that correspondence Dragoneer told the alleged victim they believed taking this action was not a good idea as making such public accusations would lead to public backlash against both the accused and the accuser. The victim took that advise and did not go public. Only after the security leak did the public get a hold of these accusations.

SoFurry releases new IM platform amid site overhauls

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (4 votes)

Project Nexus

SoFurry recently took a further step towards its goal of creating a complete furry community with the release of its own instant messaging service. The announcement was originally made on Twitter but then followed up on the main site itself with further details. Codenamed Project Nexus, the messaging system is using the Jabber/XMPP protocol allowing users to communicate with users on other servers, including Google Talk.

Review: 'All Alone in the Night', by M. Andrew Rudder

Your rating: None Average: 3.4 (5 votes)

All Alone in the Night This is generally well-written, if poorly proofread. But the science/technology seems wonky. And the main character, Dr. Cooper Barnes, M.D., the civilian Chief Medical Officer of the International Space Program’s ISP Frontier in 2065, is surprisingly negatively introduced. Most novels with a medical protagonist state their long-range goal of eliminating disease and putting themselves out of business. Cooper complains on the first page that the last serious disease, ebola, has just been eliminated, and he is out of a job. When he is asked to become the head doctor on an exploration spaceship that will land on new planets with unknown diseases, he asks for medical supplies and trained assistants that are presented as arrogant demands rather than requests.

No one had come to see him in the last few weeks, except for those particularly stupid people convinced that they were sick, and just needed a doctor to tell them that they weren’t. (p. 1)

You can guess that Cooper does not have a good bedside manner.

Novels that feature unpleasant main characters that gradually become likeable are hard but not impossible to bring off successfully. Think of Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. Unfortunately, M. Andrew Rudder is no Charles Dickens. You have to take it on faith, and the reviewer’s promise, that Cooper Barnes will become a better man.

Argyll Productions, July 2013, hardcover $24.95, trade paperback $17.95 (215 [+ 1] pages), Kindle $7.99.

Werewolf game 'Guise of the Wolf' released

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

'Guise of the Wolf' cover Werewolves have been in the news quite a bit, what with Demi Moore and Madonna allegedly following the "Werewolf Diet", and the BBC reporting on werewolves who want to go running on the moors.

And it's not long since January 24, when the first-persion Gothic action-adventure game Guise of the Wolf was released on Steam.

Furry convention history project - can you help?

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (12 votes)

Anthrocon 2007 Fred Patten says,

I am writing a history of all Furry conventions from the first, in January 1989, to the end of 2010, when there were 42 of them around the world. This is 182 pages; almost 45,000 words. Most fans think that it is already too long, so I have stopped with 2010. There were 43 in 2011, and over 60 today.

Here are some sample entries and illustrations:

Albany AnthroCon 1998 – Here Be Dragons The Omni Albany Hotel, Albany, New York July 3-5, 1998 (Attendance: 600)
GoH: Jeffrey A. Carver (s-f author), Jim Groat (Furry cartoonist); Fandom GoH: Dr. Samuel Conway
Charity: Whiskers, a cat rescue group ($3,092) Chair: Roger Wilbur (Aloyen Youngblood)

The activities of the first AnthroCon were repeated and expanded upon. There were special interest group meetings; panels on such subjects as anthropomorphic-animal advertising mascots and “Cleaning Up Our Past”; a puppet show by Steve Plunkett and a Story Hour by Uncle Kage; and a Saturday-night performance by Purple Nurple Live! The previous year’s Moreau Awards were not repeated; the committee considered them a failure since only about twenty members out of 500 had bothered to attend and vote. The 44-page Program Book had a cover by Jim Groat. The AnthroCon had over forty staff members; Roger Wilbur was the official Chairman (CEO), but most of the convention was coordinated by Jonah E. Safar as Organizational Director. The T-shirt was by Jim Groat. There was general agreement that a larger hotel was needed for next year.

Furry gathering held in Ukraine despite unrest

Your rating: None Average: 4 (8 votes)

Politics is far from the agenda when around 20 Ukrainian furs attend local event KharCon, reports Grisli Aklark, editor-in-chief of The Furry Post:

KHARKIV, Ukraine, 28 January -- Amid growing disapproval and violent protests that left 4 dead and hundreds injured in the Ukrainian capital city of Kiev, Prime Minister Mykola Azarov resigned on the morning of 28 January 2014.

He and his cabinet will continue in their roles until the President and the Parliament can form a new government to lead the eastern-European nation moving forward.

The protests ultimately stem from the decision of Azarov to imprison former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who was one of the nation’s most outspoken leaders in the effort to integrate the Ukraine into the European Union.

Some 475 kilometers (300 miles) to the east in Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, the situation has been tense but different. Most of Kharkiv’s residents speak Russian and many do not actively support the integration of the Ukraine into the EU, due to already deteriorating ties with Russia.

A small gathering will be occurring this weekend in Kharkiv, but politics are not on the agenda for discussion. KharCon, a small furry convention that meets several times a year, will take place this weekend, from Friday 31 January through Sunday 2 February.

Continue reading at The Furry PostPhotos: KharCon 1, 2, 3.5 x2, 5, 6Reports: 1, 2, 3, 4

January 2014 Newsbytes archive

Your rating: None Average: 2 (2 votes)

Contributors this month include crossaffliction, dronon, Equivamp, Fred, GreenReaper, Higgs Raccoon, mwalimu and RingtailedFox.

Sharon & Stan Sakai fundraising & call for submissions: hardcover to be published by Dark Horse Comics

Your rating: None Average: 4 (7 votes)

'Famous Bunnies', by Morrison As reported a few months ago, Sharon Sakai has been battling illness. The Cartoon Arts Professional Society (CAPS) have been fundraising for Sharon & Stan Sakai (creator of Usagi Yojimbo) to help with medical bills.

Dark Horse will be publishing a hardcover benefit book The Sakai Project: Artists Celebrate Thirty Years of "Usagi Yojimbo" in association with CAPS. On January 31 the participation of 47 creators was announced with a call for art submissions from industry professionals with a deadline of February 20. The Sakai Project will be released on July 23.

Participating artists include:

Review: 'Sunset of Lantonne', by Jim Galford

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)

Sunset of Lantonne This is Book 3 of The Fall of Eldvar. I reviewed Book 1, In Wilder Lands, here in March 2012, and Book 2, Into the Desert Wilds, in November 2012. Those were a two-part subseries, “the wildling story arc”, within the larger saga of The Fall of Eldvar. Galford said on his website that Book 3 would feature new characters, an elf and a human; and no wildlings (furries). Yet Darryl Taylor’s cover for Sunset of Lantonne clearly features Raeln, a seven-foot tall wolf wildling, with Ilarra, his elf “sister” by his side. Did Galford lie?

Not exactly. The main characters in Sunset of Lantonne are Ilarra, the young elf wizard-in-training, and Therec, the older human Turessian necromancer. Raeln is only a supporting character – but you woudn’t guess it from this cover. Or from the first chapter, which plays up Ilarra and Raeln. Galford debuted Sunset of Lantonne at Rocky Mountain Fur Con 2013. Featuring a furry on the cover was a good marketing move.

And a justified one, if it will get furry fans to read Sunset of Lantonne. It is an excellent novel; Raeln is a memorable character even if he is not the star; and there are plenty of wildling incidental characters. Read it; you will not be disappointed. Also read Jim Galford’s website, especially if you have not read In Wilder Lands and Into the Desert Wilds yet. It contains a tremendous amount of background information on this series.

Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, August 2013, trade paperback $14.99 (545 pages), Kindle $3.99. Edited by Tricia Kristufek.

Review: ‘Free Birds’ is a turkey

Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (5 votes)

Free Birds PosterIn movie geek parlance, a ‘turkey’ is a movie that, well, it isn’t very good.

When Free Birds calls itself “the greatest turkey movie of all time,” it’s more than a little self-deprecating. Yes, the movie is about turkeys, but there’s that double meaning right there. That’s the joke, see. Ha ha.

It opens with a disclaimer reminding the audience that this movie is about talking turkeys; though Free Birds is about an historical event (the first Thanksgiving), it indicates that you should probably not take it too seriously.

Gee, the movie just apologized to me twice before I even got to watch it; that’s not a good sign.