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Review: 'The Worth of a Shell' and 'Clays Beneath the Skies', by M.C.A. Hogarth

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Clays Beneath the SkiesThe Worth of a ShellMaggie Hogarth’s Jokka s-f stories, featuring the tri-sexed scaly aliens of the planet Ke Bakil, made their debut in the short story “Money for Sorrow, Made Joy” in the Strange Horizons weekly online s-f magazine on November 26, 2001. Six further Jokka short stories followed to 2010; notably including “Unspeakable”, the third, also published on Strange Horizons on November 4, 2002.

“Unspeakable” was a finalist for the 2003 Spectrum Award1 in the Short Fiction category, and was included in the Strange Horizons: Best of Year Two anthology. There have been more Jokka short stories since 2010.

Are the Jokka sufficiently Furry for Flayrah? Ever since Furry fandom voted overwhelmingly for Avatar over Fantastic Mr. Fox for Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture in the 2009 Ursa Major Awards, it looks like anything alien is Furry enough. The Jokka have scales, manes, tails, moveable ears, and fangs; they drool venom; they lay eggs as well as having live births (their biology is VERY bizarre), and they look enough like bipedal horses that at least one reviewer has described them as “horse-like” despite their illustrations by Hogarth (and the author should know). Yes, that seems Furry enough.

“The Worth of a Shell”: North Charleston, SC, CreateSpace, October 2009, trade paperback $15.00 (394 [+ 1] pages, map), Kindle $3.99.
“Clays Beneath the Skies”: Tampa, FL, Stardancer Studios, June 2011, trade paperback $15.99 (xii + 183 [+ 1] pages), Kindle $3.99. Illustrated by the author. Foreword by Susan Marie Groppi.