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anthropomorphism

'Savage Species': that time Wizards of the Coast called furries a bunch of jackasses

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Savage Species Onager In the far-off time of 2003, Wizards of the Coast published an expansion to the rules of its popular Advanced Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game known as Savage Species. It’s purpose was to allow players to choose one of the many monsters the game featured as a playable race and still allow them to play with players sticking with one of the Player’s Handbook pre-approved playable races, who were either human or basically humans, just with pointy ears or a shorter build than normal.

The appeal to furries is obvious. The Monster Manual contained various anthropomorphic animal races, including minotaurs, gnolls, kobolds and many others that furries would almost rather certainly play than just vanilla humans and the human adjacent. In addition, tucked into the third appendix of Savage Species was added a new “creature template”, which could be added to existing creatures, specifically animals. That template was known as “anthropomorphic animal.”

Unfortunately, this was the far off time of 2003, and the reputation of the furry fandom among other geek cultures was not good. Wizards of the Coast didn’t mind if furries wanted to buy their expensive add-on books, but they also wanted to make sure to signal to all the other non-furry geeks this wasn’t a furry book and also they didn’t really like furries either. They did this with the selection of the example animal that the template was applied to: a donkey, which we’ve covered the symbolism of elsewhere.

Winners of the 2020 Ursa Major Awards

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The Ursa Major Awards logo.The winners of the 2020 Ursa Major Awards have been announced on YouTube!

Nominations for the best work involving anthropomorphic animals in 2020 were taken this February, and the top five in each of fourteen categories were voted on during March.

This year's winners are…

Voting opens for the 2020 Ursa Major Awards

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The Ursa Major Awards logo. The 2020 Ursa Major Awards vote is ready to go! Send them your e-mail address, and you can vote for any of the nominations in 14 categories. (Last year's "Dramatic Series or Short Work" has been split into two separate categories.) Voting closes on Wednesday, March 31.

Please re-post this announcement if you're on an active furry message forum or social media site!

This year's nominees are... [Update (2 May): the winners have been announced!]

Winners of the 2019 Ursa Major Awards!

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Ursa Majors Awards.jpgThe Ursa Majors have announced their winners for 2019, celebrating excellence in the furry arts! Due to Covid-19, there was no formal ceremony at a furry convention this year; instead the results were announced on May 23, 2020 in a YouTube video.

Determined by popular vote, two categories were excluded this year due to not getting enough nominations (Fursuits and Non-Fiction).

The winners and runners-up are...

Winners of the 2019 Best Anthropomorphic Artwork Awards

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Commission for SammyTheTanuki, by Ira-ArnThe winners of the 2019 Best Anthropomorphic Artwork Awards have been announced! There are too many wonderful pieces to show here, so if you have the time, check out the complete list in their Google doc. (Some mild NSFW content.)

The judge's choice winner for 2019 is "Commission for SammyTheTanuki" by Ira-Arn!

And the people's choice winner, which beat the other contenders by a wide margin, is
"Painters" by BubbleWolf.

The other two finalists were "Wildflower" by Neonhorns, and "Adventure awaits!" by Hitmore. There were four runners-up to this category, and over twenty contenders on top of those! A special merit award was given to "Courage on Two Wheels", in honor of Dogbomb.

It's almost time for the 2019 Best Anthropomorphic Artwork Awards!

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Art by Ilya Royz.When it comes to furry artwork, I love to see creativity in detail, mood, backgrounds, world-building and species. I don't follow specific artists, and the high-quality stuff is scattered all over the place, so most of the time I rely on stumbling across artwork I like by accident. Or I find an artist on Fur Affinity who's very good, look at their favorites, and explore sideways. So it's a nice surprise at this time of year to be reminded of the Best Anthropomorphic Artwork Awards, which gives me a fresh starting-point from which to discover new works!

Decolonizing the anthro-animal: Furry fandom, speculative fiction, and the need for newer directions

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The taxidermy of Walter Potter (1835-1918).Anthropomorphic animals have been a means through which we can think about and examine queerness, abject bodies and forms. However, it can be argued that furry fandom has relied on animals under the meanings that western, white culture imagines them to have. This essay offers a critique on how furry fandom, at this current point in time, needs to look for newer directions, inclusive of rupturing the animal concept as we know and think of it right now. Some possible directions include ideas from Indigenous literature and post-colonial identities.

Winners of the 2018 Ursa Major Awards

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The winners of the 2018 Ursa Major Awards have been announced at AnthrOhio - it's been a busy month for awards in the fandom. Lions and tigers coyotes and (now) bears, oh my!

This year's winners and runners-up (listed in descending numbers of votes) are...

Voting starts for the 2018 Ursa Major Awards

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The Ursa Major Awards logo.The 2018 Ursa Major Awards voting window has been opened! Send them your e-mail address, and you can vote for any of the nominations in 13 categories. Voting closes on Sunday, March 31. The winners will be announced at AnthrOhio 2019 (May 23–26).

Please re-post this announcement if you're on an active furry message forum or social media site!

This year's nominees are...

Ursa Major Awards 2018 - Nominations are open until Feb. 16, 2019

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The Ursa Major Awards logo.It's time to nominate the contenders for the 2018 Ursa Major Awards! You can send in your nominations until February 16, 2019. We'll see which of them get onto the final ballot in March, when voting opens, and the winners will be announced at AnthrOhio in late May.

If you really liked something in 2018 that had anthropomorphic content, either inside or outside the fandom, you can nominate up to five things in each category! Nominations are completely optional - you can even skip entire categories. All you need to do is go to the nominations page, click where it says "Enroll", and give it a valid email address. You'll be emailed a code, and you can use that to log in and fill out the nomination form.

Winners of the 2018 Best Anthropomorphic Artwork Awards

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The Awards' Twitter icon.The results are in for the 2018 Best Anthropomorphic Artwork Awards! I'm going to summarize the results below, but if you want the complete version with thumbnails of all the artwork, take a look at the official announcement posted to Google Docs.

Almost all the links go to FurAffinity pages, and they should open in new windows.

Get in on the 2018 Best Anthropomorphic Artwork Awards!

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Crossing, artwork from 2017 depicting a mammoth by Caraid and Nomax.I found out about the Best Anthropomorphic Artwork Awards only yesterday (Dec. 26th), and I wish I'd known about them sooner!

They're a labor of love to the fandom by Bahu, and I'm not even going to try guessing how many artists he must follow on an annual basis to narrow down 29,000 pieces of art to 875 contenders (3%), then working those numbers down even further. And that's not counting the People's Choice Award, which you can vote on before January 1st if you act quickly!

Most iconic anthro of the 2000s & 10s?

BBC's 'Why Factor' talks anthro animals with Cambridge furs

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BBC World Service Why Factor: Animals Are Us Journalist Maria Margaronis interviewed furry fans at a Cambridge Furs meet last month for next week's episode of The Why Factor, a programme exploring "the extraordinary and hidden histories behind everyday objects and actions" through the voices of those involved.

In stories, cartoons, advertisements and our everyday lives, we project human thoughts and emotions onto animals—and claim their strength and style for ourselves in the brand names of cars and cosmetics. Why do we do that, and what do we get out of it? Can we ever know what animals really feel? And are we as different from other species as we like to imagine? Maria Margaronis meets the furry fandom, who put on “fursonas” and cartoonlike animal costumes to meet and socialise. Neuroscientist Bella Williams upends some assumptions about animal brains and explains how to read a mouse’s facial expression; children’s author Michael Rosen sportcasts an insect race. Farmer Helen Reeve reflects on how she feels about eating her own cows. And historian Harriet Ritvo poses a thornier question: what makes our species think we are secure in our dominance over the natural world?

The 18-minute show "Animals Are Us?", which received input from furry artists, fursuiters, fursuit-builders and other fans, is to be broadcast on the BBC World Service on Friday 24 at 18:32 and 23:32 GMT (EDT+4, BST-1), with re-broadcasts on Sunday (21:32) and Monday (04:32, 12:32).

Update (23 April): A four-minute clip featuring several furs is available (transcript below).

Update 2 (24 April): The full episode has been published. There is no additional content featuring furries, but you may find the rest interesting, as it's all about anthropomorphism.

Review: 'The Northern Approach', by Jim Galford

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The Northern ApproachThis is book 4 of The Fall of Eldvar by Jim Galford. I reviewed book 1, In Wilder Lands, here in March 2012; book 2, Into the Desert Wilds, in November 2012, and book 3, Sunset of Lantonne, in February 2014.

The first two are a two-part subseries, “the wilding story arc”, within the larger saga of The Fall of Eldvar. Sunset of Lantonne is a standalone adventure. The Northern Approach, which debuts at Rocky Mountain Fur Con 2014 this month, continues roughly where both Sunset of Lantonne and Into the Desert Wilds end. The planned book 5, Bones of the Empire, will wrap up and complete the series.

What this means is that it is assumed the reader is familiar with the events in at least Sunset of Lantonne. The Northern Approach begins almost a year after the fall of Lantonne at its climax; but in terms of the action it follows immediately, without any synopsis.

Eldvar is a world of humans, elves, dwarfs, talking dragons and more, including wildings which are anthropomorphic animals. The story’s focus on the wildings is why the novels of The Fall of Eldvar qualify for review on Flayrah.

Seattle, WA, CreateSpace, August 2014, trade paperback $13.99 (432 pages), Kindle $2.99.