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Book review: "Earthrise" by M.C.A. Hogarth

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (3 votes)

The book cover of Earthrise.Earthrise, the first book in M.C.A. Hogarth's Her Instruments trilogy, is a comfy space opera which includes some furry critters. Based on my last visit to her work (books 1 & 2 of The Dreamhealers), the furry species are nice and familiar. The crew of the TMS Earthrise has a centaur with wings, a phoenix, a mated pair of bipedal felines, and a throw-pillow tribble with strong mental powers. Most of these are descendants of slave races that humans created centuries earlier.

The assembled characters have an almost whimsical balance, yet they still feel realistic. When we join them in the story, they're a well-meshed crew. There's a comforting alienness to each of them, a diversity that avoids stereotypes, but claims labels of diversity within diversity, if that makes sense. We mostly see them through the eyes of their captain.

Griffin Ranger, the conclusion, has finally been published

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Griffon Ranger_0.jpgIn January 2015, FurPlanet Productions published the first volume of Roz Gibson’s s-f novel “Griffin Ranger”. Now, as of August 2017, the rest of the novel is now available.

Gibson has been a furry fan favorite since the 1980s, but as a comic-book artist, not a novelist. She wrote and drew “Jet: 2350” for the Rowrbrazzle in 1987, and went on to create one of his most popular characters, the antihero Jack Salem, the sable psychotic killer, in a series of comics published first by Radio Comix in the 1990s and later republished and continued by FurPlanet, notably in the “City of Ice” series.

In 2014 Gibson turned to writing. Her first Jack Salem novelette, “The Monkeytown Raid”, published in the anthology “What Happens Next” edited by Fred Patten, won that year’s Ursa Major Award for the Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction of the year. She has written a few more stories since then, the most recent being the time-travel thriller “Matriarch: Elephant vs. T-Rex”, published as an original Kindle novella in April 2017.

Update 10/15: A statement made about FurPlanet publication on the original article was found to be inaccurate and removed.

Book News: 'Skeleton Crew' by Gre7g Luterman - Now bigger and better

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

A mammalian humanoid stands defiantly in the hand of a giant reptilian creature.Gre7g Luterman self-published his furry science-fiction novel Skeleton Crew though Amazon's CreateSpace in August 2014. The cover art was designed by his wife, H. Kyoht Luterman, and inside were over a dozen full-page illustrations, mostly by Rick Griffin. It got excellent reviews. It's now been picked up and re-published in a new, expanded edition by Thurston Howl Publications, with a new cover by Rick Griffin (seen here, to the right) and new illustrations.

The backstory to Skeleton Crew is that four centuries earlier, the giant Krakun race came to the primitive planet of Gerootec and offered to hire thousands of the over-populated Geroo as their starship crews. The Geroo who went into space (and their descendants) would never see Gerootec again, but they would live in luxury compared to the backward conditions on their homeworld.

Say auf wiedersehen to the meerkat detectives

Your rating: None Average: 3.4 (5 votes)

Meerkly.jpgDo you read German? I don’t.

I have been occasionally checking to see whether any more of the German murder mysteries featuring animal private detectives have been translated into English. Sadly, all we’ve gotten is three of Akif Pirinçci’s eight hard-boiled cat murder mysteries (Felidae and two of its sequels featuring Francis – you’ve probably seen the German “Felidae” animated feature), and the first of Leonie Swann’s Agatha Christie-like sheep murder mysteries (“Three Bags Full” featuring Miss Maple, the cleverest sheep in Glenkill, maybe in all Ireland, maybe in the world). There have not been any translations of the murder mysteries investigated by dog detectives, pig detectives, goose detectives, parrot detectives, and more. Now it looks like the series by Moritz Matthies starring Ray and Rufus, the meerkat detectives from the Berlin Zoo, has reached its final volume with “Letzte Runde” (“Last Round”) from Fischer Verlag (March 2017, 304 pages).

Review: 'The Cold Moons' by Aeron Clement

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

A book cover, showing badgers.You might think, on first glance, that you might not enjoy this 1987 book due to its similarity to Richard Adam's 1972 classic, Watership Down. That's why it sat on my shelf for almost a decade collecting dust, until recently when I felt the need to dip into some more children's literature.

The barebones plot has a group of small, harmless animals, displaced from their homes by man. A group of survivors venture out into the unknown (and very British) countryside with a Moses-like leader. There are trials and tribulations, including a conflict with their own kind, and eventually they find the promised land where they can live in peace... at least for a few generations.

The 2016 Ursa Major Award winners

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (4 votes)

The 2016 Ursa Majors Awards logo.The 2016 Ursa Major Awards have been announced on Friday afternoon, June 30th at the Anthrocon convention in Pittsburgh. The Ursa Major Awards, for the best anthropomorphic fiction of the past calendar year, are presented in twelve categories by the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association (ALAA), and are voted upon by the public on the Ursa Major Awards website.

2016 Cóyotl Awards winners announced

Your rating: None Average: 3.9 (7 votes)

Coyotl.jpgThe 2016 Cóyotl Awards have been announced at the Furlandia convention in Portland. The Cóyotl Awards, for the best anthropomorphic fiction of the past calendar year, are presented by the Furry Writers' Guild, and are voted upon by the 150+ members of the FWG.

Below are listed the winners and nominees of the 2016 Cóyotl Awards.

Best Novel

Winner

The Digital Coyote by Kris Schnee

Nominees

Black Angel by Kyell Gold
Dog Country by Malcolm F. Cross
Flower’s Curse by Madison Keller
Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada

Time to nominate the 2016 Ursa Major Awards!

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (4 votes)

Ursa Major Awards logoFrom January 12 to February 28, 2017, it's time to nominate your favorite furry creations for the 2016 Ursa Major Awards!

Is there a furry comic, story, movie, video, podcast, or anything else with furry content that brightened your day last year? Nominate it – don't put it off until the last minute!

You can nominate up to five things in each of twelve categories. If you're unsure what to nominate, check out the 2016 Recommendations… and you can nominate titles that aren't on that list! It's there to give ideas, to help you find furry stuff that you might not have heard of.

Sometimes, a Nomination or a Recommendation feels like it fits into more than one category. You can browse previous years (like the 2015 Recommendations) to see where something should go. As of 2016 there's a new category: Best Anthropomorphic Non-Fiction Work.

2015 Ursa Major Award winners announced

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (6 votes)

Ursa Major Awards 2015 winners The results of the 2015 Ursa Major Awards were announced at a presentation ceremony at What the Fur 2016 in Montreal, Quebec on May 20, 2016. 1,157 people voted.

Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture

  • Inside Out (Directed by Pete Docter and Ronaldo Del Carmen; June 19)

Runners-Up

2015 Ursa Major Award final ballot

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Ursa Major Awards logo by FoxenawolfVoting for the 2015 Ursa Major Awards, for the Best Anthropomorphic Literature and Art of the 2015 calendar year in eleven categories, is now open. The voting is open from March 15 to April 30. The awards will be announced at a presentation ceremony at What the Fur 2016, in Montreal, Quebec, on May 20-22, 2016.

The eleven categories are: Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture, Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short or Series, Best Anthropomorphic Novel, Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction, Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work, Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story, Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip, Best Anthropomorphic Magazine, Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration, Best Anthropomorphic Game and Best Anthropomorphic Website.

Voting is open to all! To vote, go to the Ursa Major Awards website and click on "Voting for 2015" at the left. You will receive instructions on how to register to vote. You do not have to vote in every category. Please vote in only those categories in which you feel knowledgeable.

This final ballot has been compiled from those works receiving the most nominations that were eligible. Please check the dates of publication next year to make sure that your nominations are only for works published during the calendar year (January through December) in question.

Update (22 May): The results have been announced.

2015 Ursa Major Awards: Only two weeks left to nominate

Your rating: None Average: 3 (3 votes)

Ursa Major Awards logo by Foxenawolf Have you nominated your choices for the 2015 Ursa Major Awards, for the best new anthropomorphic releases of 2015 in eleven categories? Nominations close on February 29, in only two weeks.

The categories are Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture, Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short Work or Series, and so on for Novel, Short Fiction, Other Literary Work (anthologies, collections, non-fiction and art books), Graphic Story, Comic Strip, Magazines, Published Illustration, Game and Website. Works first published or released during the 2015 calendar year are eligible. You may make up to five nominations in each category.

Nominations opened on January 14 (the first day of Further Confusion 2016) and have been going on for a month. The nominations will be tallied between March 1 and March 14. The final ballot, consisting of the five titles in each category that receive the most nominations, 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.

2015 Recommended Reading List closed

Your rating: None Average: 3.2 (5 votes)

Ursa Major Awards banner by EosFoxxThe 2015 Recommended Anthropomorphic Reading List is now closed.

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/.

2015 Anthropomorphic Reading List, December update

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (4 votes)

by Heather BrutonThe ALAA’s 2015 Anthropomorphic Recommended Reading List has already had its November update, and will post its December update in a week. This includes all of the anthropomorphic works published or released during 2015 that have been submitted by someone as being worth reading, looking at, or playing. Look it over and see if you have been missing anything.

If there is any 2015 work that you feel is worth recommending that is not on the List, please hurry and submit it to recommended@ursamajorawards.org.

Call for help: We have a recommendation of Teagan Gavet’s wraparound cover for the EuroFurence 21 Conbook for Published Illustration, but this does not appear to be posted on the Internet. Would someone who has the EuroFurence 21 Conbook please scan the cover and post it on the Internet so we can link to it and everyone can see it?

Review: 'Mindline' ('The Dreamhealers', volume 2) by M.C.A. Hogarth (by Greyflank)

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Mindline by M.C.A. HogarthThe second half of the Dreamhealers duology. The first half of which made me cry no less than three times and I reviewed here in mid October 2015.

There is significantly less crying in this book. While the plot is more dramatic and further reaching than Mindtouch, and the highs even higher the lows are less sublime. The character's discovery of an unfolding relationship and domesticity were such a touching part of the first half that I raved about it for days. This book is lacking that, but it is just as well. I doubt anyone could have duplicated it in another work, even a sequel.

The wisdom we overlook when we fly past a sign at 100 mph, and then have to walk back and pick it up is a valuable lesson. We all have those moments/milestones. Jahir has at least two of them. As does Vasi, although his is more like the opposite and he has to race away at 100 mph to put his wisdom to use.

See also: Review by Fred.

Tampa, FL, Studio MCAH, January 2014, trade paperback $15.99 ([1 +] 341 [+ 7] pgs.), Kindle $5.99.

Review: 'Song of the Summer King' by Jess E. Owen

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

15751365.jpgWhile 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.