One year ago, Zootopia, a story about anthropomorphic animals in a modern setting dealing with the issue of prejudices in society, hit theaters. It was the most highly anticipated film for furries in the last decade, some having even rented out theaters for personal furry gatherings. In the days following Flayrah had a reviewing bonanza in which multiple prominent article writers gave their own reviews of the piece.
Heck, the Fur Affinity banner changed to a Zootopia theme when the movie came out and hasn’t changed since.
But on February 27th, the love for the film was continued to be shown well beyond the borders of furry fandom, as the academy elected it to receive the Oscar for Best Animated feature. It beat out nominees Moana, My Life as a Zucchini, The Red Turtle, and the one that most had thought could take it away from Disney, Kubo and the Two Strings.
If you were around in 1961, you may have seen an obscure animated feature titled Alakazam the Great, about three friendly monsters – Son Goku (monkey), Sir Quigley Brokenbottom (Pigsy), and Sandy – escorting Prince Amat from China to India.
This was part of the first wave of Japanese animated films, known as anime, to enter the United States. The other two features in that wave were Panda and the Magic Serpent and Magic Boy. They were box-office failures at the time, and because of this the anime film genre is still fighting to enter the American theatrical market.
Alakazam the Great was also America’s first cinematic introduction to the ancient Chinese story Journey to the West or Monkey King, as it is better know in America. This legend is over a thousand years old in the oral form. It was written into a novel, probably by the scholar Wu Cheng’en in the 16th century. The first Oriental animated feature, the Chinese Princess Iron Fan (1940), is an adaptation of part of Journey to the West. Alakazam the Great, more specifically, is a movie adaptation of Osamu Tezuka’s 1952-59 My Son Goku manga version of Journey to the West.
Five Fortunes, edited by Fred Patten (FurPlanet), is a collection of five novellas from some of the best writers who write for general audiences in the Furry Fandom. The five stories provided in this anthology are as follows:
- Chosen People by Phil Geusz
- Huntress by Renee Carter Hall
- Going Concerns by Watts Martin
- When a Cat Loves a Dog by Mary E. Lowd
- Piece of Mind by Bernard Doove
I am not sure how well the the term "fortune" applies to the five works, so on that level the collection doesn't feel as if it is all that well tied together as a theme. However, with five long works here it's not too problematic to have them each be their own thing. It's not like there's a lot of "destiny" fans out there. Each story approaches the nugget of self-determination from a different angle: from being mindful of doing the right thing (Geusz), to the finding one's self (Hall), to finding a way to survive the week (Martin) or the condition of one's life overall(Doove).
It's a furry sampler of novel sized works. This size is perfect for people who don't always like short stories because the story's over just as they get to know a character, but also don't wish to invest in story cover to cover. If, somehow, you don't know these writers or their universes, then this is a good place to start learning.
The 2016 Ursa Major Awards vote has been opened! Send them your e-mail address, and you can vote for any of the nominations in 12 categories. Voting closes on Sunday, April 30. Please pass on this annoucement if you're on a furry message forum or social media site!
This year's nominees are...
Fans of furry web comics mourned at news of the passing of Albert Temple arrived this month. This prolific creator maintained a consistently-updated web comic for over 16 years, from July 2000 all the way up to his death in March. This web serial comic, Gene Catlow, delved into the lives of a pair of experienced and respected computer technicians and their many strange adventures.
The two main characters were Gene Catalow (the author's fursona) and his rabbit friend Cotton. The first story arc revolved around Cotton finding a special coffee that unlocked superpowers within him. He's torn away from his normal life as a technician to begin thwarting assassination attempts against an ambassador being held in safe harbor in their anthropomorphic city.
Through the interactions of these characters you learn of a world of political intrigue, where human beings and anthro animals had their own cultural boundaries. Albert did a great job in making it so that you were never fed this in exposition dumps, but instead were purely arrived at through the interaction of the comic's characters.