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Review: 'Turbo' goes nowhere, fast

Your rating: None Average: 5 (5 votes)

TurboTurbo is a movie about a snail who dreams of racing in the Indianapolis 500, and that totally works out for him.

Technically, there is not any rule that says a snail cannot race in the Indianapolis 500, just like there are, technically, no rules saying that a dog can’t play basketball, or that your sheepdog in the sheepdog competition has to be an actual dog (at least that one turned out pretty good), but there probably are rules stating that your race between race car drivers has to involve driving race cars. As the end of Talladega Nights pointed out, you can’t just run across the finish line and have that count; I’m sure this applies equally to whatever the technical term for snail locomotion is. [Adhesive locomotion, apparently.]

But, hey, a snail racing in the Indianapolis 500 is the premise, and this is an animated movie, so whatever. Unfortunately, the wonky premise is actually one of the better parts.

Review: 'Claws and Starships', by M.C.A. Hogarth

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

'Claws and Starships' front coverClaws and Starships: A Collection of Pelted Short Fiction by M.C.A. Hogarth is a selection of six short stories that I enjoyed reading just recently. Set in her Paradox universe, the Pelted consist of many races of anthros created by humans in the distant past through bio-engineering. (Read more about them.) Since then, they've grown, diversified, colonized worlds and reconciled with their creators. This particular collection shows a cross-section of several different Pelted cultures, ranging from the technologically advanced to more primitive societies.

Originally published in electronic format in December 2011 (at US$4.99), online sales proved so successful that in June 2013, paperback and Kindle versions became available. That's a good sign! The whole thing is just shy of 50,000 words and over 200 pages long. (ISBN: 9781466035553, 1490427228 and 9781490427225.)

Furries at San Francisco Pride 2013

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (10 votes)

A historic U.S. Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage created intense emotions and record crowds at San Francisco's 2013 Pride celebration. I was informally told the parade drew 1.5 million. Imagine pushing through them in the hot sun with inch thick fur on!

Video by Mallius
For dozens of local furs, the great fun and positive vibes of Pride 2012 were small compared to this year's enthusiastic turnout. If it grows as much in 2014, it'll be awesome to see.

Review: 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic - Adventures in the Crystal Empire' DVD (with bonus Season 1 DVD review)

Your rating: None Average: 3 (7 votes)

Adventures in the Crystal EmpireI can see every part, nothing hides in the heart to hurt me.”
- Shirley Bassey, “Diamonds Are Forever

I think I need to be clear if I am going to continue reviewing My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic; I do not watch this show for the plot.

I don’t mean I don’t find the various ponies sexually attractive, though that’s also true. I know, it surprised me too. I’m not much of a butt guy, for one thing (you poop with those, that’s not sexy), and I have a strict “two legs good, four legs bad” policy about cartoon animals, Nala from The Lion King being the only exception, of course (though I guess kangaroos could be problematic).

Not only is the plot of the show not altogether very interesting, plots in general aren’t very interesting. To bring this review’s song quote into the mix, plot is what Bond villains do; the interesting thing is what happens when a character such as Bond stumbles into this plot and starts shooting the villain’s henchmen in the face.

That’s why I watch this show; characters and gratuitous violence. Allow me to explain in this DVD’s episode breakdown.

Review: 'Remedy', 'Ravel', and 'Render', by Heidi C. Vlach

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

This story takes place on another world, among people who are not humans. The three peoplekinds live together in varied mixtures, with no history of war or racial strife. They work together and still have troubles to face.

All three books have this preface. The three peoplekinds are the tall dragonlike korvi (they are called dragons because of the similarity, though they have feathers instead of scales), the small weasel-like ferrin (they can ride on their korvi friends’ shoulders), and the green-skinned insect/humanlike aemet (with prominent antennae) who have the talent of making plants grow. Further descriptions are brought out in the stories.

“Remedy: A Story of Aligare”. North Charleston, SC, CreateSpace, February 2011
Trade paperback $13.00 (5 + 439 pages), Kindle $2.99.

“Ravel: A Story of Aligare”. North Charleston, SC, CreateSpace, December 2011
Trade paperback $4.00 (91 pages), Kindle 99¢.

“Render: A Story of Aligare”. North Charleston, SC, CreateSpace, May 2013
Trade paperback $13.00 (703 pages), Kindle $2.99.

Webcomic review: 'The Abominable Charles Christopher'

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

The Abominable Charles Christopher There are so many webcomics out there to read, I'd like to direct your attention to one of my favorites: The Abominable Charles Christopher, done in an ink-wash style by Montreal artist Karl Kerschl.

Charles is a silent protagonist, a kind of skew-eyed sasquatch... yeti... thing, neither quite man nor beast. At the start of the comic he stumbles his way through the woods, until the guardian of the forest gives him a quest to mystically weaken the encroaching human city and its hunters who threaten the local balance of nature.

Three comic book reviews: Pull List #12 ('Hack/Slash,' 'MLP' and 'TMNT')

Your rating: None Average: 2 (3 votes)

In this issue, we have two finales; that of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arc “Krang Wars” and the series finale for Hack/Slash, which is even called “Finale.” Then, we have Rainbow Dash in her entry to the My Little Pony: Micro-Series. So, I guess, thematically, Dash’s pet Tank is a tortoise, which is easily confused with a turtle – so that’s kind of like TMNT, right?

Who cares; I’ve never worried about connective theming before. Let’s get to the reviews.

Review: 'The History of Sonic The Hedgehog', by Les Éditions Pix'n Love

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

The History of Sonic The Hedgehog This hefty, de luxe, full-color book is a translation from the French. L’histoire de Sonic The Hedgehog was published in May 2012. Les Éditions Pix’n Love are the corporate author; Marc Petronille and William Audureau are the editorial coordinators. Pix’n Love, founded in 2007 in Cergy, France, advertises themselves as “the world's leading publisher of books relating to the burgeoning and fascinating subject of the History of Video Games.”

The Sonic The Hedgehog video game was introduced by SEGA Entertainment in 1991. The feisty blue hedgehog was designed to be SEGA’s corporate mascot, and his popularity quickly justified that. This book was produced to celebrate his 20th anniversary (more or less).

UDON Entertainment Corp., January 2013, hardcover $49.99 (297 [+ 3] pages).

Review: 'Jane, Jill and Jasie', by Malcolm Cross

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (6 votes)

Jane, Jill and JasieThese stories concern the sex and/or love lives of three female anthropomorphic thylacine clones. Only read if you’re of legal age and interested in a long review, et cetera.

The first story in this collection, “Dick and Jane", deals with the disillusionment and despair of Jane, who must learn to live with the fact that the love she putatively shares with a human man is something altogether more depressing.

“Jill’s Forty-Ninth" (which, for my money, felt to be treading the most well-worn formal path of erotic fiction), tracks Jill, one of Jane’s “sisters", who works a dull office job during the week, but gets dressed up at the weekend to invite sex and other pleasurable indulgences from wealthy men. The story concerns her attempt to negotiate an agreeable arrangement with one man in particular.

The final story, “Jasie’s New Start” is a more straight-forward and minimal affair about Jasie, who seeks out a childhood sweetheart in an attempt to escape from the reputation of her kind as superficial and oversexed, and kindle a new, more stable life. [Bad Dog Books, 2013, $2.99.]

'Top Cat' theatrical feature coming August 2

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Frame from 'Top Cat'Was Hanna-Barbera’s Top Cat ever one of your favorite TV cartoons? It wasn’t one of mine, even in its original broadcast fifty-plus years ago – and there wasn’t much competition at the time.

Yet I am looking on this new theatrical feature more favorably. Thank Roscoe it hasn’t been given the CGI makeover that Yogi Bear got! Or Rocky & Bullwinkle, or the live-action makeover of George of the Jungle or Dudley Do-Right. (Can you imagine a live-action Top Cat played by Brendan Fraser?)

Fans answer call for fursuit-maker reviews, but room for improvement remains

Your rating: None Average: 4.1 (10 votes)

Image from Jillcostumes

A new resource for fursuit commissioners has been shared on Reddit's r/furry subreddit: a Google spreadsheet of makers maintained by open collaboration, to the surprise of the original sharer (who created it for personal use). The r/furry moderators have been asked to add it as a key resource on their sidebar.

Several fan-maintained lists exist to help find and review fursuit makers and commissioned artists. Earlier this year, an important Fur Affinity review account, fursuitmakerreviews, closed unexpectedly to the disappointment of many. As one Redditor explained:

… [it's] a bit of a long story (so I'm told). But basically involved a fursuit maker getting less than good marks and complaining to the admins, who promptly removed the "offending" account. They're trying to rebuild themselves on Tumblr.

Their new Tumblr account and a new, separate Fur Affinity account seem to be starting over from scratch, after losing much important data. It calls attention to the challenges they face. A list is a great resource, but a list isn't a system. Let's consider organizing a better system.

Review: 'Le jour des corneilles' ['The Day of the Crows']

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

French DVD cover of 'The Day of the CrowsLe jour des corneilles (The Day of the Crows) is a 2012 French-language animated film for kids. While I was initially intrigued by the anthros at the end of its trailer, it turns out the furry content is marginal at best. Still a good film though!

The running time is about 94 minutes. It was co-produced in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Canada, directed by Jean-Christophe Dessaint, written by Amandine Taffin, and was loosely inspired by a book written in 2004 by Jean-François Beauchemin.

Pittsburgh reacts to Anthrocon 2013

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (4 votes)

Anthrocon restaurant blackboardPittsburgh's appreciation for Anthrocon was proudly advertised on the active block of shops, restaurants and bars by the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Many had windows and signs marked with "Welcome furries!", cartoon foxes, and Furry-themed specials. Hanlon's, next to Fernando's even served breakfast in souvenir dog bowls. (Yum!)

One block over, I enjoyed a friendly lunch with Flayrah editor GreenReaper, and almost got away with joking about my stories without revealing they were mine, when someone else brought up San Francisco furry activity.

Identity confusion came from the fursuit I wore when we met earlier. Fursuits and furry names have confused me many times, too – it's a reason for badges, and nothing to be embarrassed about. This can lead to benignly playful and revealing situations. I experienced the latter on an airport shuttle.

Review: 'Pile', by Kandrel

Your rating: None Average: 4 (5 votes)

PileWarning: “Pile” contains graphic sex. A lot of it.

Scott Beecham, a young U.S. soldier, is killed in action and brought back to life as a bioengineered part-human, part-jackal “dog-man” member of a secret team of government super-animal-men agents.

Las Vegas, NV, Rabbit Valley Comics, May 2013, trade paperback $9.95 (68 pages; preview).

In most stories, that would be just the setup for much action. In Pile, that is the story. This novella is a quiet mood-piece about Scott’s awakening in what he assumes to be his army barracks to discover that he is no longer human:

I was alive! I couldn’t feel much yet, but if I was thinking, it meant I was still here. Everything else was just going to have to follow. Right hand? Yeah, I could do that, too. In fact, I could feel my right hand. There was something in it. Something I could form a fist around and squeeze. I did that, and I felt whatever was between my fingers bend a bit. (p. 3)

I opened my mouth, and I could feel senses slowly filing back into place. I could taste the air. There were chemicals: bleach, ammonia, rubbing alcohol, and something sweet. I could smell them, too, every bit of them. I could also smell the dog-girl who was leaning over me. She smelled like the sharp smell of water on roofing tar that came in my window every morning after it’d rained.
I could even smell a cat somewhere around. Since when did the army barracks have a veterinary ward? (pgs. 4-5)

Review: 'Earthrise', by M.C.A. Hogarth

Your rating: None Average: 2.6 (5 votes)

EarthriseMaggie Hogarth sent me a review copy of Earthrise (she sends me review copies of all her books; hint! hint!) with a note that I might not want to review it for Flayrah since the main characters are a human and a Space Elf Prince, not Furries.

But there are plenty of bioengineered Pelted, and at least one genuine alien, as major supporting characters in this adventure set in her 25th century interstellar civilization. Hogarth has a lot of fans who read Flayrah, and who will not want to miss one of her Pelted Paradox novels. Earthrise is prominently labeled Book 1 of the “Her Instruments” trilogy, so expect it to end with more to come. Rose Point, Book 2, will be published late this year.

Tampa, FL, Studio MCAH, April 2013, trade paperback $15.99 (410 pages), Kindle $5.99.