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science fiction

Imagining tomorrow's world, today.

Griffin Ranger, the conclusion, has finally been published

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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

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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.

'Spark: A Space Tail': No future

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)

Spark, A Space Tail"Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?"
- John Lydon, singer/songwriter

"God Save the Queen is the actual worst song, let's not argue."
- Guy Lodge, again

To be perfectly honest, I was a bit excited for this movie, when I first heard of it, if only because furries in space is a concept that has worked in the past; and, hey, vixen right there.

I kept plugging it quietly in the background all throughout 2015 and early 2016 (and you guys thought I only covered Zootopia that year). I mean, what if 2016 had been a year where we had six wide release, fully anthropomorphic world movies ranging in genre from buddy cop, to martial arts, to backstage musical, to crime caper, to space opera, and also Rock Dog?

As it ended up, we got, by my count, one great movie, one good movie, one movie that was kind of meh, one movie that turned out to not exist, one terrible movie and also Rock Dog.

'War for the Planet of the Apes': I read the news today, oh boy

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (4 votes)

warfortheplanetoftheapes.jpgThird time's the charm.

I managed to see both the previous installments of this movie series in theaters (Rise in 2011 and Dawn in 2014). Despite the fact that I went in intending to review these movies for Flayrah when both of them came out, I didn't.

The truth of the matter is that I got bored, and just couldn't be bothered to write anything.

So, I really should have reviewed those other two movies. But it helps that this is the first movie in the series I actually liked, though.

Rise and Dawn are not bad movies; they have a lot of positive qualities to them, but I never really liked them.

This review's lyrical headline comes from the Beatles' "A Day in the Life", and, yes, I'm making that a "thing"..

Review: 'Lagrange' by Phil Guesz

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (7 votes)

The book cover, showing the fragmentary remains of something floating in space.They called Marvin a chicken. And he was. (But only 5%.) He also plays the piano.

In the far-flung, space-traveling future, genetic manipulation has created a small subculture of modified humans that aren't exactly well-respected, but people will at least have sex with them and pay for the privilege. Marvin is pilot of the Pussy Pod, a small ship that safely transports people to and from the Henhouse, a brothel that sits just outside the limits of a space station's jurisdiction.

Legion Printing, May 2012, 78 pages. Available in eBook from Amazon.

Marvin's not a sex worker, but he respects them and cares about them. If he's a trifle ambivalent about his cattle car full of Johns, who can blame him? He's an excellent pilot and deserves more in his life. He shouldn't need to be covered in feathers, but his boss insisted because of the Henhouse's name. For Marvin, every day is a struggle to do his job well and not be bitter. He simply doesn't have the connections to find better work. But a man's got to make a living, even if it's just chicken feed.

Review: 'A Left-Handed Sword', by Phil Geusz

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (3 votes)

A Left-Handed Sword is a novella by Phil Geusz in which the characters used to be human beings. All of them have contracted a singular disease called the Lokiskur virus (Lokie for short), which has transformed them into animals. Lokie not only leaves its victims dehumanized and physically handicapped in their new forms, but often brain-damaged and depressed. They are also highly contagious; Lokie is an affliction that never lets go.

Legion Printing, September 2011, 80 pages. Available in eBook and printed versions from Legion, Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Finally, after a long wait: 'Tai-Pan Universe #51'

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

tp51-52-medium.pngTales of the Tai-Pan Universe #51, a furry science-fiction shared-universe fanzine that was announced in July 2015 as coming soon is finally here. It came out in July 2016, and is a double issue: #51 & #52. With a glossy cover and square binding, it feels more like a book than a fanzine.

As editor Gene Breshears describes it,

We're calling it a double issue, but at 162 pages and with 20 stories, issue 51-52 contains more than four ordinary issues' worth of tales!

It's available for $15 from Rabbit Valley, or from the Tai-Pan Literary and Arts Project. Back issues can be ordered, too - again from Rabbit Valley and also from Second Ed, at a discount. But the news isn't all good...

'Cats and More Cats' anthology to launch at Further Confusion 2016

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Cats and More CatsCats and More Cats; Feline Fantasy Fiction, edited by Fred Patten, is launching at Further Confusion 2016 in San Jose, California over the January 14-18 five-day weekend. The book can be pre-ordered online from FurPlanet Productions. It will be for sale on the FurPlanet online catalogue afterwards.

Cats and More Cats is a reprint anthology of 14 short stories and novelettes of feline fantasy fiction (“the best of the best”) from 1989 to the present, most of them out-of-print today, plus a new essay and an extensive bibliography of cat fantasy books. This is designed to appeal to both science fiction and fantasy fans, and all cat-lovers.

FurPlanet Publications, $19.95 (261 pages). Wraparound cover by Donryu. ISBN 978-1-61450-297-5

Review: 'Otters in Space: The Search for Cat Havana' by Mary E. Lowd (by GreyFlank)

Your rating: None Average: 3.2 (5 votes)

Otters In Space: The Search for Cat HavanaIn an uplifted universe, where the humans sneaked away when no one was looking, Earth is largely cats and dogs.

The dogs rule, at least in North America, and two sisters are trying to get more feline representation in what is supposedly a democracy. Events conspire to separate the sisters, and the level headed sister, Kipper, is forced into a wild adventure to find her sister, or at least solve the mystery that seems to threaten them both.

This is book one of three, with the third coming out soon.

See also: Reviews by Fred and dronon.

FurPlanet Publications, January 2012, 2nd Ed.; trade paperback $9.95 (176 pages); ebook $5.99.

It even has a talking cat

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (4 votes)

Seriously, I have been looking forward to April and the Extraordinary World for five years, when the first in-production news appeared and then its “coming soon” trailer was on YouTube as Un Monde Truqué. They didn't say anything about a talking cat, which is why I didn’t announce it on Flayrah then. YouTube has had to take that trailer down. This new one isn’t nearly as good, but it does have the talking cat in it.

In a steampunk alternate world’s 1941, when Europe is united in a Triple Empire under Napoleon V and its three capitals of London-Paris-Berlin are connected by cable car, scientists have been disappearing for decades. The earlier trailer was about the disappearance of the child Avril (April) Franken’s parents. This new trailer is about the adult April’s hunt for them, with her talking cat Darwin and her companion Julius.

The 105-minute movie, co-directed by Persepolis animator Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci, was released in France on November 4th. GKIDS has picked up the American rights for a 2016 release, in both dubbed and subtitled versions.

Review: 'Mindtouch' ('The Dreamhealers' Volume 1) by M.C.A. Hogarth (by Greyflank)

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

MindtouchM.C.A. Hogarth is a writer who belongs to the Furry Writers' Guild, something I've been involved with these last few months since crawling out from under my bed after hiding there for a few years. I went looking for a few good books about furries with LBQT+ relationships for a future BookCrossing bookbox, because I like to share furriness with my friends.

I wanted to buy a few books from Amazon for the free shipping; something I hardly ever do. I figured I should get to know my fellow writers better, and while this didn't seem like the kind of book I was looking for for, I liked the idea of two different types of ESPers co-mingling, both aliens on an alien world (not to mention, college kids ... education is sexy, am I right?).

I have to admit to being daunted by the size of the book. Four hundred plus pages. I wanted a writing sample, not a bible. I have over a hundred unread books in my queue! Did I really want to push most of those back in order to relate better to a name in a chat room? And it was book one of two. Who writes duologies, anyway?

Studio MCAH, July 2013, trade paperback $16.99 ([3 +] 408 [+ 7] pages), Kindle $5.99.

See also: Fred's review of Mindtouch.

'Ratchet & Clank' comes to the big screen

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What is there to say about the Ratchet & Clank movie that this Cartoon Brew announcement doesn’t say? So Ratchet is a lombax –that’s news to those of us who haven’t played the video game. It’s nice to see the return of the Rainmaker animation studio in Vancouver.

“[V]iewers over the age of 10 clearly aren’t the target audience for Ratchet & Clank” – maybe, but it still looks like fun to this 74-year-old. I guess we’ll wait until next April 29 to see.

'An Anthropomorphic Century'; Fred Patten's new s-f/furry anthology

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)

ananthropomorphiccentury.jpg

An Anthropomorphic Century; Stories from 1909 to 2008, edited by Fred Patten and published by FurPlanet Productions, is scheduled for release at the RainFurrest 2015 convention, in Seattle, Washington, on September 24-27, 2015. It will be on sale through the online FurPlanet catalog thereafter.

An Anthropomorphic Century contains 20 short stories and novelettes published from 1909 to 2008, mostly in the s-f magazines and books of the latter 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century.

Review: 'The Laputan Factor' by Tristan Black Wolf

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

The Laputan FactorTristan Black Wolf's The Laputan Factor opens with software developer Night O'Connell enjoying a well-earned rest in the company of his hyena boyfriend. Or with fighter pilot 1st Lt Ambrose Bierce Kovach about to enter a simulated exercise aboard the star cruiser Heartwielder. As scenes and viewpoints switch, which of these almost-identical, head-hopping tigers is the real one? Both? Neither?

The story that follows is a science fiction gay romantic comedy mystery caper, with two realities' worth of characters helping or hindering the increasingly urgent quest to work out what's going on and how to fix it.

That's about as much as I can write about the plot without the risk of ruining readers' enjoyment by blurting out spoilers. I can't even be specific about which cult 1960s TV series turns out to be vitally important. However, I can and will say that I enjoyed The Laputan Factor very much, and that if you like your furry fiction with buff, wisecracking characters, action, and a touch of mystery, you'll probably enjoy it too.

AuthorHouse, June 2015, trade paperback $16.95 (202 pages), Kindle $3.99. Illustrated by Dream&Nightmare.

'Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe' #51 is coming

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Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe #50Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe, launched in January 1992 by a consortium of Seattle-area furry writers, artists, and editors, and the oldest on-paper furry fanzine still being published, released its fiftieth issue in September 2012. Despite its website’s continued online presence with its semi-annual schedule, the long delay since number fifty was published has resulted in a growing doubt that it is still in existence.

Now editor Gene Breshears has stated that issue number fifty-one is finally ready for the printer, and should be out by the end of this month, or August 2015 for sure. The delay has been partly due to the requirement that all stories in Tales of the Tai-Pan Universe must be consistent with that fictional universe’s 36th-century interstellar storyline. With over a hundred stories by different authors, making sure all details, references, and characterizations are consistent, and the need to get illustrations for those stories, all on a volunteer basis, means it is getting increasingly difficult to prepare an issue.

But Tai-Pan fans can relax with the expectation that issue number fifty-one is about to appear.

Update: Tales of the Tai-Pan #51 & #52 have been published as a double issue – its last.