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Interview: Polish con-runner and forum admin Lemurr

Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (9 votes)

Pablo Lemurr, by Maciej 'Agent'WeFurries interviews furry convention-runner and administrator Pablo Lemurr. Transcription: Solovari.

Nickson: Soo, Lemurr, hi!

Lemurr: Hi-hi, hello.

Nickson: OK, so, who wants to start?

Pillgrim: Lemurr, please, introduce yourself to our listeners and tell us what you do in normal life. When did you become a furry, how did you get to know about this sub-culture and so on?

Lemurr: I am a professional web designer and a programmer. I've been furry for, like, five years. I came upon the fandom from browsing some YouTube channels; then I saw the keyword, googled it and came up with some Polish forums. Nothing really special, I guess.

Nickson: Can you tell us more about your fursona?

Lemurr: I don't think it will be a surprise. My fursona is an anthro lemur. Nothing special or fancy like colored fur, just a plain lemur.

Nickson: It's interesting that you are a lemur because sometimes people choose different species.

Hi-jera: What's more interesting is that he pronounces it like l'amour.

Lemurr: I am sorry about the pronunciation, I just pronounce it this way - lee-murr. What's pretty annoying is that everyone thinks I chose this fursona because of Madagascar, but it's not so. I just like the stripy tail and stuff.

Reviews: 'Critter Costuming: Making Mascots and Fabricating Fursuits', by Adam Riggs

Your rating: None Average: 2.6 (10 votes)

Critter CostumingVirtual Costumer magazine, published for members of The Silicon Web Costumers' Guild (SiW), has reviews of the fursuit-making manual Critter Costuming in its latest issue.

Phil asked me to review it. I don't make costumes, just wear them, so I put out a request to the Furry community for their reviews. I selected two to share, by Schrix and Kellan Meig’h.

Critter Costuming: Making Mascots and Fabricating Fursuits, by Adam Riggs (Nicodemus), is the first published book about fursuit making. You can buy it on Amazon.

R is for Review: 'The ABCs of Death'

Your rating: None Average: 3.2 (6 votes)

The ABCs of DeathAnybody can die, evidently.”
-“ABC”, Robert Pinsky, United States Poet Laureate

Necrophilia is more erotic than that [censored!].”
-SWfan, Flayrah commenter

The ABCs of Death is the brainchild of producer Ant Timpson (an end credit suggests the whole thing was inspired by a nightmare of his): take 26 horror directors from around the world and give them a letter of the alphabet. They then pick a word with that letter, and direct a short film for $5,000 that depicts a death involving that word.

Pretty simple, and a great concept for a horror anthology, but why the review on a furry site? Well, there’s Thomas Malling’s “H is for Hydro-Electric Diffusion,” which is basically a live action Tex Avery cartoon. And there are plenty of animal-related shorts available, as well; some of the best shorts on the roster, including “D is for Dogfight,” “N is for Nuptials,” “P is for Pressure” and “Q is for Quack,” involve animals, if not always anthropomorphic.

But are these highlights worth the time for furries?

Review: 'The Iron Breed', by Andre Norton

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

The Iron BreedAndre Norton (Alice Mary Norton, 1912-2005), “the Grand Dame of science-fiction”, was one of the first authors of Young Adult s-f, and of anthro s-f. At a time when most s-f featured teenage or adult human heroes fighting alien adversaries, her novels often starred humans working with sympathetic anthro aliens against human villains, anthro protagonists, or humans transformed into anthro aliens.

Today, Baen Books is reprinting many of her out-of-print s-f titles, two novels in each book. The Iron Breed reprints two of her anthro classics together for the first time: Iron Cage (Viking Press, September 1974; original cover by Bruce Waldman) and Breed to Come (Viking Press, June 1972; original cover by László Gál). If you have not read them before, read them now.

Baen Books, January 2013, trade paperback $12 (448 pages), Kindle $8.99 (preview).

The weird crossover of furries and industrial music: Part 1

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

Industrial music is aggressive, exciting and ominous, with futuristic themes of dystopia and urban decay. As art, you might call it the cold, metal shadow to the light side of nature, animals and furry things. It's a big contrast to the sunny electronic pop that furry con-goers may expect. (Does music have anything to do with animals, anyways? Well, heavy metal gets associated with Wolves...)

It's a challenge to make this weird connection and wonder who wants to read about it. (Not coming soon: my article about Furries and Juggalos.) It might be oil and water to many, but let's shake it up and see if anything mixes. In Part 2, I'll be posting interviews with DJs.

Review: 'Sandeagozu', by Janann V. Jenner

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

'Sandeagozu' front coverThis unique and imaginative animal fantasy, set during 1932, features five cagemates from a large New York City pet shop specializing in exotic animals, who plan to escape and set out across Depression-era America for that legendary animals’ paradise, Sandeagozu – the San Diego Zoo. Led by Sherahi (“tiger killer”), the giant pythoness, the band of odd fellows consists of her, Manu the langur, Dervish the coatimundi, Dutchess the scarlet macaw, and Junior the venomous cascabel (a South American rattlesnake).

Virtually all the reviews summarize the plot as that: five exotic animals escape from a New York City pet shop to journey across America to the San Diego Zoo. Yet Sandeagozu is not exactly that, and very much more than that. That event, the meeting of the animals in the pet shop and their decision to escape together, does not begin until page 103. Jenner first builds a leisurely but fascinating backstory, rich in detail and characterization. The reader barely notices, and does not care, that the main story has yet to begin.

Illustrated by Robert Crawford. Harper & Row, October 1986, 442 pages, $18.95; ISBN: 0-06-015633-3

What is Flayrah's future?

Your rating: None Average: 4.4 (7 votes)

Once, Flayrah was the the only place to find information on the Furry fandom. You might see a comment on a board or on IRC, perhaps LiveJournal, but there were not a lot of options. The few conventions out there would make a post here, perhaps some themed newsletter, but that was about it. You knew you could find Flayrah with news on it.

Now, over the years the fandom has developed, but the news mediums really have not. There are more diverse sources out there, but many are self-seeking. I won't go into that. More power to them is all. Yes,?you?can?say?Furry News Network,?but?it?never?really?got?going. A year? Maybe two. It copied a lot of the stories here, and occasionally something new would pop up. But that died out soon enough.

The fandom is constantly growing and furries want news, but do they know where to find it? I don't think so. I looked at the visitor stats below. They represent what a meet might have, and are not a good representation of the fandom's numbers.

Review: 'DreamKeepers, volume 3, Intentions Entwined', by Dave & Liz Lillie

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

DreamKeepers vol. 3 coverThe last time I reviewed DreamKeepers, with vol. 2, Flight to Starfall back in Anthro #18, July-August 2008, it was by David Lillie & Liz Thomas who had just gotten married. Now it’s by Dave & Liz Lillie. The marriage seems to be working out.

Volume 1, Awakenings (Anthro review), was published in December 2006. There was a less than two-year wait for volume 2 in April 2008, then a five-year gap to volume 3. But it is 144 pages, as opposed to the 98 and 102 pages of volumes 1 & 2. Nevertheless, let’s hope that the wait for volume 4, chapters 10-12, is not as long.

“The Dreamworld is a mysterious reality that parallels our own,” begins the introduction in volume 1:

Humans cannot enter this reality – we can only catch fleeting glimpses of it through our dreaming, unconscious minds. […] Every last person has a DreamKeeper, an embodiment in the Dream World. So long as your DreamKeeper lives, the nightmare hordes cannot enter your mind through your dreams. Everyone’s DreamKeeper is completely unique – your personality and subconscious influence your DreamKeeper’s appearance and abilities.

Vivid Independent Publishing, April 2013, trade paperback $24.99 (133 [+ 11] pgs.), Kindle $4.20

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #10 ('Avengers Arena,' 'MLP' and 'TMNT')

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Avengers Arena #6For this exciting, groundbreaking, unprecedented 10th issue we’ve got the two IDW stalwarts, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It’s the first issue of a brand new character based Micro-Series for the ponies, while the turtles’ on-going shows up for the eighth time in a Pull List!

Joining these two will be a newly featured series, because it’s been a while since Pull List has featured a good, old-fashioned superhero-with-some-furry-characters comic. Finally, stay to the end for the super-duper bonus feature that … is actually just a previous issue index, so it really isn’t that exciting.

Avengers Arena #6

The story: the super-villain Arcade, best known for once trying to kill the X-Men with a pinball machine, feels his superhero body count isn’t up to scratch, so he’s decided to have himself a little teen superhero deathmatch. A bit derivative, but Arcade gleefully cops to this, calling this new Murder World inspired by a “children’s book”. Furry fans have Avengers Academy alumni Reptil to root for, as well as a new character, Nara the fish girl.

Furlandia: Portland's first furry convention overshadowed by MTV controversy

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (7 votes)

Furlandia splash, by Marco the CatA convention can be made or broken on one simple principle: communication. It can seem so simple to do, but when the number of people you’re trying to do it with goes up, it becomes a complex issue.

In the modern (mis)information era, public relations has changed from a hassle typically tossed to the side 'til bad news arises, to a demanding necessity where your job is to prevent strife before it occurs. Slacking can cause a brushfire that one has but a single extinguisher to put out.

Which brings us to an example of such unfortunate episodes: Furlandia, the third new furry convention to spawn in the past two months. This one was held in Portland, Oregon. 270 showed up and over $1,000 was donated to PAW Team, which provides veterinary care for the pets of impoverished locals. The donation comes with an asterisk, though, as it came from MTV; fans threw in $6. [Update: Comments suggest this only reflects Sunday's count.]

I was not at the convention; however, I know some who were, and I’ve looked into all sides with an open mind and am giving my best assessment. Most importantly: I’m evaluating why this incident blew up as it did, so that future convention leaders can avoid undue stress.

Review: 'Kairos. T.1/3', by Ulysse Malassagne

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

KairosKairos, volume 1 of 3, has just been published in France. It was announced here last month with an animated trailer from Studio La Cachette in Paris that had me salivating for the album! (Ankama’s catalogue lists a volume title that does not appear on the volume; “His Kingdom”.)

Now the book is here. Is it worth the hype?
(My thanks again to Lex Nakashima for making this review possible.)

Oh, yeah. This first album is both disappointing and tantalizing, only beginning to show the world in the trailer; its first scene, where the dragons emerge at night to kidnap Anaëlle, does not come before page 23 in the album.

Tome 1 ends with Nills, Koyot (the short, brown, beaky character), and Kuma (the big, green dragon? with short chin whiskers) walking towards the castle. Much is to be revealed in t.2.

Roubaix, France, Ankama Éditions, April 2013, hardcover €11.90 (64 pages; on Amazon.fr).

Furry Movie Award Watch: April 2013

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

Sorry for the delay, folks; I know all five of my regular readers were on pins and needles (hi, mom!). See, GreenReaper emailed to tell me that Fred had linked back to my Cinderella review on the new Cartoon Research site, and just like the time he emailed me about some video game site which quoted my Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 review, my computer died. Obviously, there's some connection here. Anyway, it's all their fault. Shame on you guys.

Review: 'Doc Rat. Vols. 8-10', by Jenner

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)
Doc Rat vol. 8
Doc Rat vol. 9
Doc Rat vol. 10

These three pocket-sized books contain the Doc Rat daily (Monday-Friday) comic strips from #951 to #1088 (February 15 to August 25, 2010), #1089 to #1218 (August 26, 2010 to February 23, 2011), and #1219 to #1426 (February 24 to December 12, 2011).

Each volume collects approximately six months of the strip, except that Jenner does not break them off in the midst of a story sequence. That is why volume 10 runs to 110 pages, the longest in the series to date.

“Doc Rat. Vol. 8, Yeah Not Too Great, Doc”, December 2011, trade paperback AUS$16 ([76 pgs.])
“Doc Rat. Vol. 9, There When I Needed You, Doc”, June 2012, trade paperback AUS$16 ([76 pgs.])
“Doc Rat. Vol. 10, Listen, Doc”, December 2012, trade paperback AUS$18 ([110 pgs.])
By Jenner, Platinum Rat Productions, Melbourne, Vic., Australia

Video review: 'DreamKeepers Vol. 3' by Dave and Liz Lillie

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

See more: DreamKeepers, Dave's Essays, Leon on Youtube - animated intro by Rei Vagan.

Review: 'Sale Bête', by Maïa Mazaurette and Jean-Paul Krassinsky

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Filthy Beast, vol. 1: the hamster catastrophe; art by Jean-Paul KrassinskyI thank Lex Nakashima again for ordering these books from Amazon.fr and loaning them to me.

Hmmm. Well, you certainly gain a vocabulary of current French slang from reading this series. Ordi = PC. Les etrons = turds. La clope = cigarette. L’enfoire = bastard. Catin = whore. Lolcat = Sorry; that one’s American.

Filthy Beast (or Dirty Beast) Volume 1, “Hamster Catastrophe”, introduces the Bastogne family; father (unnamed), mother Vivienne, older daughter Elizabelle, younger daughter Amandarine, and cat Clarky. Their world is like ours, except that there is a factory, La Fabrique, that makes living pets to order.

An animal isn’t improvised here. We guarantee domestic PERFECTION.

Customers can order a bunny, a cat, a puppy, a ferret, a squirrel, a tarantula – anything – made to their choice. Calm to playful. Dominant to submissive. Quiet to expressive. Solitary to social. Stupid to intelligent. Brave to cowardly. Energetic to lazy. There is a long list. Eleven-year-old Amandarine whines that one of her classmates got a blue pony with wings for HER birthday, that her parents had designed it to graze on only the weeds in the garden … Their housecat Clarky comes from La Fabrique. He’s pale pink dotted with darker pink hearts; he’s intelligent; he loves everybody; and so on.

So the Bastognes decide to get Amandarine a designer pet for her birthday.

“Sale Bête. T.1, Hamster Drame”, January 2012, hardbound €10.60 (54 pages).
“Sale Bête. T.2, On Ira Tous au Charadis”, April 2013, hardbound €10.60 (48 pages).
Marcinelle, Belgium, Editions Dupuis; both written by Maïa Mazaurette, illustrated by Jean-Paul Krassinsky.