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literature

Review: 'Dissident Signals' edited by NightEyes DaySpring and Slip-Wolf

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (6 votes)

Dissident Signals cover Dissident Signals is a compilation of post-apocalyptic furry fiction published by FurPlanet and edited by NightEyes DaySpring and Slip-Wolf. The individual stories are (very) loosely linked by short paragraphs, written by Slip-Wolf, that relate all the stories as broadcasts intended for any survivors of the ruined world to use to understand what went wrong and how to rebuild. It's an idea which would've been more effective had all the stories been set in the same universe but which does serve as a nice bookending device.

There is a lot of variety in the stories themselves: while most go with a science fiction premise, others include aspects of magic or worlds that barely differ from our own. There are stories where humans and furries coexist (to a certain extent), worlds which are completely furred, and even one story where all the characters are human and the furry aspect comes in a very unique way. Despite all the variety in settings, ideas and originality, nearly all of them are excellently written, though most are quite bleak.

There are a few stories which really stood out to me and which I would like to highlight for various reasons. I will present them in the order in which they appear in the compilation.

Review: "In a Dog's World" by Mary E. Lowd

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (6 votes)

In a Dog's World cover. Is In a Dog's World set in a dog's world? Well, yes and no. Humans have vanished from Earth, and several species are now "uplifted," gaining human-level intelligence and an anthropomorphic form. The story focuses on dogs and cats, which are now the main inhabitants of North America, and there, if you'll pardon the expression, dogs rule the roost.

Everywhere she looked in the world, it was dogs on top. Politicians, CEOs, the biggest celebrities, even the most innovative scientists -- they were all dogs.

Our main character, Katasha, is a tabby point Siamese cat, preparing for her high school prom and awaiting the results of her college application. She is not happy with the status that most cats have and wants to be a success. As dogs are successful, that is her aim: not to be a dog but to be a part of their world. She wishes to emulate the traits that dogs possess, wants to go to a predominantly dog college, and desires to date a dog.

Review: The Adventures of Peter Gray by Nathan Hopp

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (6 votes)

The Adventures of Peter Gray cover.The Adventures of Peter Gray (Written Dreams Publishing, $16.99) is the first novel by Nathan Hopp. It's told from the perspective of the titular Peter Gray, a young wolf living on the streets of an alternate history New York City in 1899. The Adventures of Peter Gray invites us to experience the city through the eyes of one who loves it and see how both it and Peter's life changes over the year.

I want to start off with the biggest weakness of this book [as a product]: the blurb. The problem with it is that it sets up misplaced expectations and reading then becomes frustrating when those expectations aren't met. The first paragraph of the blurb is fine, but then it makes the whole book sound like it's about Peter's quest for a family and the Newsies' strike. The Newsies' strike is introduced and finished in fewer than 30 pages; the book has 240.

Ignore the blurb and appreciate the book for what it is: a collection of adventures of a young, orphaned wolf in the big city. There is an overall arc to Peter's story, but it develops slowly and organically while many smaller incidents build up to the climax. It's a good structure that works, making the whole book very suitable for quickly picking up and reading without having to worry about forgetting what happened last time.

Nearly all the chapters are self-contained. We meet new characters that stay with us but each chapter has a distinct story. Maybe it's Peter having a picnic with his friends, maybe it's a time when he deals with bullies, or maybe he goes to visit the Statue of Liberty. The various adventures are entertaining and reminiscent of the carefree days as a child. However, that carefree feeling is tempered by the reality that Peter is an orphan, homeless, and broke.

Review: A Wasteful Death by Sylvain St-Pierre

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (3 votes)

A Wasteful Death cover.A Wasteful Death is a cross between a murder mystery and a love story set in a city populated entirely by anthropomorphic animals. While the main characters are two Registered Investigators, sort of like police, this story is nothing like Zootopia. Instincts remain, and everyone in this world is acutely aware of the distinction between predator and prey.

The main characters are Marlot Blackclaw, a wolf, and Trembor Goldenmane, a lion. Both are Registered Investigators who, unusually for their territorial profession, work together. What exactly is a Registered Investigator? Their job is to investigate unclaimed kills and track down the person responsible. Unclaimed being the key word here.

In the world of A Wasteful Death, predation is legal and, with a few exceptions such as students or anyone in a hospital, everyone is a potential target. Once someone is killed, there is a tax that the hunter must pay which is scaled according the value the kill had to society. The tax on a homeless drunk would be low but the tax on a wealthy CEO like Aiden Spottedfur is massive, and it falls on Marlot and Trembor to find out who killed her.

Review: Rise of the Patcheé by Eben Prentzler

Your rating: None Average: 3 (4 votes)

Rise of the Patcheé coverRise of the Patcheé is a self-published collection of three short stories by Eben Prentzler. The three stories are "Part 1 - The Scavenger Wars," "Part 2 - The Scribe’s Crystal" and "Part 3 - Touch of the Firstborn." They are all set in a fantasy world established in his earlier novel, Chronicles of Solo - Moments Away, and revolve around Mother, the title given to the leader of a Patcheé (African wild dog) pack.

When reviewing, or writing in general, it is good practice to keep your audience in mind. I see reviewing as generally having three potential audiences and functions: giving feedback to the author of a piece in order to help them improve, using a piece as an example to teach others what they should or should not do, and providing information to potential readers so that they can judge whether a piece is suitable for them. I feel that, in the furry fandom, all three of these functions overlap: authors are likely to read reviews by other furs, potential readers read the reviews and, with the fandom focused on creation, many of those readers are themselves aspiring authors. As such, I will talk about what does and does not work in this collection and why.

2020 Leo Awards winners announced

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Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

The 2020 Leo Awards winners have been announced by Furry Book Review! (Their URL recently changed from furrybookreview.wixsite.com/blog to leoliteraryawards.wixsite.com/blog . This link, and many of the ones below, contain mature content.)

These literary awards are determined by a group of judges who can vote for multiple titles in each category, so it's possible for several works in each category to win.

The winner(s) and nominees are...

2020 Cóyotl Awards winners announced

Your rating: None Average: 2.6 (5 votes)

The Coyotl Awards logo.The Cóyotl Awards are awarded annually by the Furry Writers' Guild to recognize excellence in anthropomorphic literature. This year there's a new award category! "Other Work", for things that exemplify the best in furry writing in a way that doesn't fit into the other categories.

The winners and nominees for 2020, who were announced on May 8 on Twitch, are...

Review: The Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (7 votes)

cinrak-covercopymed.jpgThe Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper is a collection of seven short stories written by A. J. Fitzwater centred around Cinrak, a lesbian, capybara pirate. It has a couple of strong elements as well as several weak points. I struggled with my thoughts as I read it and, in the end, I would say that, overall, I found it frustrating.

I will start this review briefly talking about politics. It might seem like an unusual starting point but the introduction makes clear that the book is political and it touches on several hot button issues.

Come for handsome, huggable Cinrak in a dapper three-piece, stay for her becoming a house-ship Mother to an enormous found family, the ethical polyamory, trans boy chinchilla, genderqueer rat mentor, fairy, and whale, drag queen mer, democratic monarchy, socialist pirates, and strong unionization.

What I do like about the way politics is handled in this book, is that it is not set up as a conflict between opposing ideologies; the book presents its favoured way of seeing the world and just leaves it as that. Even the religious character (and there is a fascinating take on religion inside) is played off sympathetically. However, by taking the stances it does, the book is also going to be, though it has no regrets about it, alienating for certain readers. If you can not tolerate a heavy emphasis on, and I quote, LGBTQIA characters, then this book is definitely not for you and you may as well stop here. On the other hand, if that’s what you crave, it may be exactly what you want and you should read further.

2018 Cóyotl Awards winners announced

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (15 votes)

The Coyotl Awards logo.The Cóyotl Awards are awarded annually by the Furry Writers' Guild to recognize excellence in anthropomorphic literature. The winners and nominees for 2018, who were announced on May 24 at Furlandia 2019 in Portland, Oregon, are...

2018 Leo Awards winners announced

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (19 votes)

The 2018 Leo Awards winners were recently announced by Furry Book Review!

These literary awards are determined by a group of judges, who can vote for multiple titles in each category, so it's possible for several works in each category to make the final cut.

The winner(s) and nominees are...

2017 Leo Awards winners announced

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (11 votes)

Presenting the Leo Awards! Established in 2017 to highlight exceptional works of literature in furry fandom, it joins our other two awards, the Cóyotls and the Ursa Majors.

The Ursa Major Awards, established in 2001, are a recognition of furry media across several categories, only some of which are literary. Anyone in the fandom can nominate and vote. The Cóyotl awards, formed in 2012, are specifically literary, and are selected by members of the Furry Writers' Guild – although winners don't have to be in that group.

The Leo Awards have a different arrangement. It was founded by Furry Book Review, a multi-author blog started by Thurston Howl of Thurston Howl Publications (which is separate from the Awards). Nominations can come from the blog's reviewers, or from published authors with enough credibility. Reviewers aren't required to be writers themselves, so the prolific reader can have a say in nominating the stories they like the best.

"CLAW, Volume 1", a new anthology series, edited by K.C. Alpinus

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (9 votes)

For the first time in eleven years, Bad Dog Books has added a new anthology title to its popular FANG and ROAR book series. FANG was started in 2005 for adult M/M homosexual erotic short stories, and ROAR appeared two years later as its non-erotic counterpart. Now we're getting CLAW, for adult F/F lesbian erotic short stories. Along with many other titles, CLAW will be released at the FurPlanet table at Anthrocon 2018.

A red panda DJ rocks a dance crowd.

"Exploring New Places", a new anthology from Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 4 (12 votes)

A feline hiker explores a rocky landscape similar to the Grand Canyon.Exploring New Places, a new anthology edited by Fred Patten, is launching at Anthrocon 2018 this coming week (July 5-8), and can be pre-ordered from FurPlanet! They should be at tables A13-A15 at Anthrocon.

This is an all-original collection of 19 short stories and novelettes of anthropomorphic animals venturing into unfamiliar places - in their own city, on their own world, in space, or in a different dimension entirely.

Whether by the power of music to send you right out of this world; or a rabbit spaceship captain who's searching for the creators of her species; a galactic police agent called to a new planet to solve murders; aliens entering a human university; a gorilla student wandering off in a museum; or two-tailed squirrels confronting interstellar explorers - these are stories for your imagination and entertainment, designed to appeal to fans of both science-fiction and fantasy.

2017 Cóyotl Awards winners announced

Your rating: None Average: 4.4 (9 votes)

The Coyotl Awards logo.The Cóyotl Awards are awarded annually by the Furry Writers' Guild to recognize excellence in anthropomorphic literature. The winners and nominees for 2017, who were announced on May 25 at Furlandia 2018 in Portland, Oregon, are...

"What the Fox?!", a new anthology from Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 4 (11 votes)

The front cover of the general edition, showing a group of furries around a poker table.What the Fox?!, my newest anthology, will be published soon by Thurston Howl Publications. It can be pre-ordered, and after March 3, 2018 it should be available for purchasing directly from their online catalogue.

Bringing together twenty-one original short stories and two reprints, this 291-page collection is about anthropomorphic animals in funny situations. It's designed to appeal to both science-fiction and fantasy fans, as well as fans of humor in fantasy.

Everything from a llama barbershop quartet to a lupine generation gap, a rabbit king battling a dinosaur (or is it a dragon?), a human with a spider fiancée, a dog-hating postal worker turned into a were-chihuahua, inept wolf Vikings, to a dog movie screenwriter – and much more! All these stories are for your imagination and enjoyment. Plus you get each author's favorite animal joke, and a recommended-reading list.