When I was a kid, I had a magic card whose flavour text read, "She had expected death to roar, to thunder, to growl. She did not recognize it when it came hissing to her side." If Phil Elmore had designed that card, it would've probably read, "She had expected death to roar, to thunder, to growl. She did not recognize it when it came in a cute and fluffy guise." That's because Phil Elmore thinks that furry is the latest crack in the foundation of society that will lead to, in his own words, the "destruction of society." He is wrong. He is so, so very wrong.
Many nominations for the 2015 Ursa Major Awards are likely to come from the 2015 Recommended Anthropomorphic Reading List, which has been built up through prior recommendations. The awards are selected by a two-stage process of nominating and voting. Members of the public send in up to five nominations in each of the eleven categories. The top five nominees in each category (more in case of a tie) are then presented on a final ballot for a public vote. Inclusion on the List is not necessary for nomination if a work is otherwise eligible; first published during January to December 2015.
Nominations take place between January 14 (the first day of Further Confusion 2016) and February 29. The nominations will be tallied between March 1 and March 14. The final ballot will be announced on March 15, and voting will take place until April 30. All those who send in nominations will be registered as eligible to vote on the final ballot. Those who did not nominate but wish to vote on the final ballot may register to do so.
The voting will be counted, the winners’ trophies prepared, and the results will be announced at the Ursa Major awards presentation at a ceremony at What the Fur 2016, at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites, Pointe-Claire, Montreal Airport, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, on May 20-22.
The Ursa Major Awards and Recommended List are administered by the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association (ALAA). For information, and to nominate beginning on January 14 and to vote beginning on March 15, go to http://www.ursamajorawards.org/.
On January 7, Ryhan Stevens announced that after many years of development that Beast's Fury, a fighting game that would feature furry characters, would be ceased. This announcement has created a lot of controversy and demand by those who funded the project over its multiple crowdfunding campaigns, two of which were successful. It has brought to bear the risks of public funding of projects by those in both the furry and gaming communities, and has opened discussions about the actual costs of developing video games.
Mary E. Lowd takes over the editing helm of the ROAR series from Bad Dog Books, taking on the theme of "Scoundrels" for this year. The 28 stories in ROAR volume 6 explore scoundrels from the light-hearted to the most dire.
Ms. Lowd went out of her way to look for writers who hadn't written for the furry fandom before and quite successfully brought back gold (along with fan favorites like Kyell Gold).
By the way, the table of contents is slightly off. There's a story out of order and the page numbers get a bit off. Considering the wayward story is about a dog being chased by his future father in law, you might say that he's trying to do this.
FurPlanet Productions, July, 2015, trade paperback $19.95 (294 pgs.). Edited by Mary E. Lowd.
Inhuman Acts: A Collection of Noir is tied together with a framing sequence as Stanley Rivets, private investigator, reviews 13 case files given to him by a mysterious figure.
It's my least favorite narrative in the book as many of these all new stories simply take place on incompatible worlds. Stanley (or his host) is, I imagine, giving the introduction to each story. The introductions are done well enough, but they aren't exactly in the flavor of (nor consistent with) the foreword.
That's OK. You're not really paying for the foreword, nor the introductions. These stories of anthropomorphic noir all stand alone well enough. Some stories are weak in their presentation of the anthropomorphic aspect of the story-telling; by that I mean these stories could too easily be about humans. This doesn't bother some furries.
The best of the collection mix the science fiction, the fantastic, and the crushing atmosphere of dark or darkening worlds to create Ocean Tigrox's vision of furry noir.
Disclaimer: I have a story in this collection.
While I could say that Song of the Summer King by Jess E. Owen is a very satisfying action adventure young adult book played straight (which is true; it follows a coming of age story formula and it knows it), there's a lot of subtle choices made by the writer which makes this book stand out: how inaction is in itself implicit action; how listening can appear to be a prophetic power to those who have never attempted empathy; how refusing to choose between two bad options can be a valid choice.
From the beginning of the novel, Shard lives passively: he's enthralled by a patriarchal society of fascist conqueror griffins who believe only the strongest survive. He lives in constant (well-founded) fear of never being trusted and eventual exile, which are his driving influences to seek strength and social accolades. But when Shard's own heritage gets foisted upon him, he has to choose between being comfortable or being ethically consistent with what he finds to be the truth, all the while reconciling his racial differences from the dominant griffin tribe.
Shard has to question everything when he discovers that the world is more complicated than he once thought, and that it is incredibly frustrating when those closest to him continue to live trapped in their oversimplifications about what it means to live a good life.
Spoiler warning: This review does discuss plot elements some may consider spoilers below the break.
Five Elements Press, 2012, $4.99 Kindle, $25 hardcover, $12.99 paperback (264 pages). Illustrated by Jennifer Miller.
The RainFurrest Annual Charity Anthology was created to celebrate and showcase the literary aspect of the anthropomorphics fandom as well as to raise funds for charity. NSFW: Enter At Your Own Risk is the adult version. Lots of sex with anthropomorphic animals.
Features the following writers, all who donated stories: Bryan Nickleberry, Rechan, Cheshire, Bill Kieffer, Kits and PJ Wolf, and featuring art by Dr. West, Bill "Greyflank" Kieffer and P. Gaither with a cover by Rhari.
The collection is nice, not as uneven as some anthologies, although some stories could use a bit more proof-reading.
Disclaimer: I am one of the story writers of the anthology. I am also the biggest offender in the proof-reading sense.
Illustrated, Dallas, TX, FurPlanet Publications, September 2015, trade paperback $10.00 (124 pages).
M.C.A. Hogarth is a writer who belongs to the Furry Writers' Guild, something I've been involved with these last few months since crawling out from under my bed after hiding there for a few years. I went looking for a few good books about furries with LBQT+ relationships for a future BookCrossing bookbox, because I like to share furriness with my friends.
I wanted to buy a few books from Amazon for the free shipping; something I hardly ever do. I figured I should get to know my fellow writers better, and while this didn't seem like the kind of book I was looking for for, I liked the idea of two different types of ESPers co-mingling, both aliens on an alien world (not to mention, college kids ... education is sexy, am I right?).
I have to admit to being daunted by the size of the book. Four hundred plus pages. I wanted a writing sample, not a bible. I have over a hundred unread books in my queue! Did I really want to push most of those back in order to relate better to a name in a chat room? And it was book one of two. Who writes duologies, anyway?
See also: Fred's review of Mindtouch.
An Anthropomorphic Century; Stories from 1909 to 2008, edited by Fred Patten and published by FurPlanet Productions, is scheduled for release at the RainFurrest 2015 convention, in Seattle, Washington, on September 24-27, 2015. It will be on sale through the online FurPlanet catalog thereafter.
An Anthropomorphic Century contains 20 short stories and novelettes published from 1909 to 2008, mostly in the s-f magazines and books of the latter 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century.
Established in 2008, Furry 4 Life boasts over 24,500 members, but has become hamstrung by an abandoned platform. Staff hope to complete the move by the end of the month, although they warn migration may last until January 2016.
Ning, back in 2008, was the best answer to the question "How can I build a social network for my niche community?". They really were the best option and still remain a powerhouse in hosted social software platforms. We really do owe a lot to them, but we are moving in different directions, and the Ning Platform is no longer a solid solution to our growing community.
The body of what is believed to be Pennsylvanian furry fan Donna See, also known as Sasha Tigress, has been found behind the house of her boyfriend, who she met last October on dating website PlentyOfFish.
Donna of McKeesport, 60, an driver for the elderly, had not been seen since August 14. Her journal shows attendance at Anthrocon and FA: United; according to a fellow fan, she had attended meets since 2005.
George Biegenwald of Shayler, 57, has been charged with criminal homicide, abuse of a corpse, and evidence tampering. He said that he and Donna quarreled about her wish to move in, had been drinking, and got into a fight at his house, in which she hit her head on a dresser after he "flipped her off his back".
Friend and co-worker Margie Byers, who led a campaign to find Donna, doubts George's version of events, calling Donna "one of the most timid people I've ever met", and saying she'd noticed bruises on Donna in the weeks running up to the incident.
FurrTrax is a mobile app, social networking site and collaboration system to help members of the furry fandom organize, plan events, make friends and find other furries in their local areas or with simular interests.
Key features include public and private chatrooms, including video chatrooms, a public shoutbox, webmail hosting, heavily customizable user profiles, with user manageable comments walls and user image gallery and file sharing, GPS distances of members (but not actual pinpoints), event posting and planning, singles and dating, private messaging, image galleries, a section for authors and their stories, including fiction and non-fiction, user forums, a classified section, a user to user store, groups pages with group walls and status updates and notification. Instant messaging is not yet available but is coming soon.
FurrTrax is not a paysite, or a subscription site, and does not require any purchase of any kind to use all of the sites sections. There is however a Donator Rank which offers some basic bonuses including choice of name color, colored chat text, the ability to add background images to profiles, attach extra profile pictures over the default of 10, embed YouTube videos on profile and access the rich profile editor tool. The minimum donation is one dollar. All features not listed here are given to basic members by default.
The FurrTrax mobile site is also in transition to a new Jquery mobile theme, so some pages may not match the look of others. This is temporary.
Update (13:20 PT): Doug Winger has passed away at the Western Medical Center in Tustin, California.
One of the greats, one of the true giants of the furry fandom, has lost his battle with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or emphysema, brought about by smoking and other ailments.
Kevin Hsu is a sexology researcher based at Northwestern University on the outskirts of Chicago. In 2013 he sought, and received, approval from the Northwestern Institution Review Board (IRB) – an ethics committee that oversees research with human subjects – to study furries.
Hsu's research is intended to follow work published by Dr. Anne Lawrence in 2009, which references furries as a group possibly displaying a hypothetical phenomenon associated with fetishistic behaviour named "Erotic Target Location Error". Hsu's hypothesis is that many furries – possibly most – are zoophiles, where that attraction manifests as the furry identity and in activities such as fursuiting, and that furries can therefore be classified as "autozoophiles".
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.