Decolonizing the anthro-animal: Furry fandom, speculative fiction, and the need for newer directionsPosted by BrandyJLewis on Tue 10 Dec 2019 - 23:49
Anthropomorphic animals have been a means through which we can think about and examine queerness, abject bodies and forms. However, it can be argued that furry fandom has relied on animals under the meanings that western, white culture imagines them to have. This essay offers a critique on how furry fandom, at this current point in time, needs to look for newer directions, inclusive of rupturing the animal concept as we know and think of it right now. Some possible directions include ideas from Indigenous literature and post-colonial identities.
In my recent review of The Adventures of Peter Gray, I made a note that the book had furry characters which it termed furren. It is not something that I spent much time on but, in combination with some other reviews I've seen, it might be worth expanding a little.
During a review of Once Upon a Forest by The Nostalgia Critic, he noted that the children were called furlings. This lead him to ask, “Why is it fantasy films always have trouble just saying the word kids? It’s always furlings or younglings or Shia LaBeouf. Just call them what they are. Kids."
Similarly, in a review of Vampyr on Zero Puncuation, Yahtzee criticised using the terms ekons and skals for what were vampires and ghouls respectively.
Although to be fair to Vampyr, it does seem that ekon and skal are referring to specific subtypes of vampire. In such a case, it does make sense to use specific terms and it wouldn't be unlike the various vampire clans that feature in Vampire: The Masquerade.
The common issue that is brought up in all three reviews is the use of new word to describe something that already has a perfectly suitable word. Why is this done and is it a good thing to do?
ABlueDeer is a gifted artist on Furaffinity, SoFurry, Inkbunny and other venues. He been a full-time anime, manga, video game, and anthro artist since 2007. Throughout his career, he has also diligently pursued a childhood dream to create his own ongoing webcomic series. With this goal in mind he created Dark Blue Comics, an illustration and writing production house a few years ago. It currently hosts The Depths, Moonlace, and Bethellium for free reading. Contributors to his Patreon page receive sneak-peeks of upcoming pages, high-quality art, pin-ups, scripts, and much more.
I have worked in the past with ABlueDeer and other professional artists as a writer and social media expert on several comic projects, including The Depths. With that I was fortunate to be able to speak to ABlueDeer recently about Dark Blue Comics, his artistic dreams, and plans for the future as an artist and a father.
Leilani: First, my thoughts and prayers to your friends and family caught in the devastating Mexico City earthquake recently. I'm relieved they're all safe and accounted for.
ABlueDeer(ABD): Thank you so much. Yes, I was able to visit mine and Shana, my wife's, families and check on them. There was another earthquake while we were there but luckily this one was minor. We also wanted to see if the houses had any cracks or anything. Apparently, most of the damage was done in the south, which is a little far from our families’ houses. Some areas had a lot of damage. Most buildings that went down were old and supposedly preserved because they were of Hispanic heritage, and they were in the very center of the city.
When Anthrocon started in Albany in 1997, the humble gathering went by the name of “Albany Anthrocon”. Two years later the convention found itself moving out of New York State and into Pennsylvania. Through that was learned the first major mistake a fledgling convention could make. Naming your new convention after the city it is hosted in is like someone getting their lover’s name tattooed to their arm. Ironically, it’s a mistake that other conventions still make to this day.
But living through mistakes is what makes one stronger in the end. It has now been about one decade since the largest furry convention had made its home in Pittsburgh. At this point I think it’s a much safer bet to commit to being inked.
As there were 6,389 recorded attendees to this convention, there are just as many stories and perspectives on the convention. So this review will focus on three sections I focused my experiences around: fursuiting, performances, and writing. It is essential to note that reviewing a convention is unlike reviewing any other medium where you can experience a full package. Many panels run concurrently so one has to make a choice, usually based upon one’s preferences.
In 2004, she offered “Flight of the Godkin Griffin,” a sword and sorcery fantasy diary, directly to her audience via LiveJournal, then a popular social blogging platform. (Hogarth still actively connects with fans there, at haikujaguar.livejournal.com.) Each entry ended with a question about a minor thing that could happen next, and readers who donated could vote and have an effect on the upcoming scenes. Years later, once prior publication on the Web no longer necessarily jeopardized a project’s print prospects, Hogarth sold this piece to the small press Sofawolf as a two-volume novel. Although Hogarth may have chosen to blaze the self-publishing path as a response to a traditional publishing industry that did not want her on her terms, she’s well-suited to a flexible, entrepreneurial approach to authorship, combining perfectionism with drive and marketing and management skills honed in the corporate world. “Self-publishing is more agile,” she says. “You can put things out faster, make decisions faster. It’s very rewarding for people like me, who write quickly and respond to change very quickly. There’s no set path anymore, even if you are traditionally publishing. You have to find weird opportunities and try them.”
Publisher's Weekly has been published continuously since 1872 and bills itself as the "International News Magazine of Book Publishing and Bookselling," with a circulation of over 25,000 publishers, librarians, booksellers and literary agents.
Here is the final ballot for the 2013 Ursa Major Awards. The voting is among the five titles in each category getting the most nominations. In several categories, there are six finalists because of ties for fifth place. In the Best Short Fiction category, only four finalists are listed because of too many ties for fifth place.
Voting is now open. Due to a technical issue, nominators will need to acquire a new key. The deadline is April 30.
As is not unusual, there were so many nominations for the fourth, fifth, and sixth place nominees in most categories that one more nomination could have made the difference between a title’s getting on the final ballot or not. Please nominate next year.
The 2013 Ursa Major Awards will be announced and presented at a ceremony at the CaliFur X convention, May 30-June 1, 2014, at the Irvine Marriott Hotel, 18000 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine, CA 92612.
Nominations for the 2013 Ursa Major Awards, for the best anthropomorphic movies, novels, comic strips, games, etc., will close on February 28. Voting for the winner will begin on March 15 and will close on April 30. The awards will be presented at CaliFur X on May 30 to June 1, at the Irvine Marriott Hotel, Irvine, California.
If you have not nominated yet, you have only a few more days to do so. All titles first published or released during the 2013 calendar year are eligible. The awards are given in eleven categories: Motion Picture, Dramatic Short Work or Series, Novel, Short Fiction, Other Literary Work, Graphic Novel, Comic Strip, Magazine, Published Illustration, Website, and Game. The final ballot includes the top five titles nominated in each category.
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.
The eleven categories are: Motion Picture, Dramatic Short Work or Series, Novel, Short Fiction, Other Literary Work, Graphic Novel, Comic Strip, Magazine, Published Illustration, Website, and Game.
Many nominations are likely to come from the 2013 Recommended Anthropomorphic Reading List, which has been built up through prior recommendations. However, inclusion on the List is not necessary for nomination if a work is otherwise eligible.
Fred Patten will have a new anthology, Five Fortunes, on sale at Further Confusion 2014. The 415-page tome, published by FurPlanet, presents five brand-new novellas by fan-favorite Furry authors, four of them featuring their popular characters or settings:
- “Chosen People” by Phil Geusz, set in his Book of Lapism world.
- “Going Concerns” by Watts Martin, set in his Ranea world.
- “When a Cat Loves a Dog” by Mary E. Lowd, set in her Otters in Space world.
- “Piece of Mind” by Bernard Doove, set in his Chakat Universe.
- The fifth story is “Huntress” by Renee Carter Hall, in a new setting of tribal anthropomorphic African lions.
Furry publisher Sofawolf Press has announced use of a new submissions and reviews system, Submittable, aiming to simplify the process for both editors and creative types.
The following anthologies are currently open for submissions:
- Heat #11 (romantic/erotic stories, comics and poetry): open until September 30th
- New Fables (literary fiction and poetry): open until filled
- Hot Dish #2 (longer romantic/erotic stories of 10,000–20,000 words): open until filled
Sofawolf is also accepting submissions for novels and graphic novels. Those interested can visit sofawolfpress.submittable.com to read submission guidelines and submit their work.
Fred Patten, the editor of Best in Show: Fifteen Years of Outstanding Furry Fiction (Sofawolf Press, July 2003; republished as Furry!); Already Among Us: An Anthropomorphic Anthology (Legion Printing, June 2012); and The Ursa Major Awards Anthology: A Tenth Anniversary Celebration (FurPlanet Productions, June 2012), will have a new anthology published by FurPlanet go on sale at Anthrocon 2013.
What Happens Next: An Anthology of Sequels presents eleven new stories by fan-favorite Furry authors featuring their popular characters:
- M. C. A. Hogarth and her Alysha Forrest
- Brock Hoagland and his Perissa and Maelith
- Kevin Frane (Rikoshi) and his Iolite League
- Kristin Fontaine and the crew of the interstellar freighter Tai-Pan
- Michael Payne and Cluny, the sorceress squirrel with Crocker, her human familiar
- Jenner and Dr. Benjamin Rat, M.B., B.S. D.R.A.N.Z.C.O.G. F.R.A.C.G.P.
- Kyell Gold and a new tale of Argaea
- Elizabeth McCoy and her feline centauroid Kintarans
- Chas. P. A. Melville and his Felicia, the Vixen Sorceress
- Ken Pick and his Brigit Bunny on the planet of the foxlike Thalendri
- and Roz Gibson and her Jack Salem
Interesting news for writers of fanfiction as Amazon announces Kindle Worlds, an e-book platform which invites published and aspiring authors to submit original titles based on licensed properties, to be sold in the Kindle Store.
Kindle Worlds titles of 10,000 words and upwards will sell for $0.99 - $2.99, with royalties set at 35% of net revenue. Short stories of 5,000 to 10,000 words may also be accepted for publication, with a royalty rate of 20%. The platform is to launch in June.
Many furry scribes, as well as mainstream authors, cut their writing teeth on fanfiction for series as diverse as Pokémon, Harry Potter and the Final Fantasy universe; famously, Fifty Shades of Grey started life as Twilight fanfic.
Twelve-times Ursa Major Award winner Kyell Gold has announced his withdrawal from the Best Novel and Best Short Story categories this year, and for "a few more going forwards", to ensure that other authors win:
There is precedent in other awards for frequent winners stepping back. One of the people on the Ursa Major committee told me that in a musical award, when someone wins three years in a row, they are retired from that category by the award. That's not how the Ursas work: they have been very hands-off and admirably resistant to public opinion. When Stan Sakai won the Best Comic award multiple years running, they assured people that in time, other comics would win, and they were right. In response to my multiple wins, they have assured people that, in time, other authors will win.
I have no doubt that they are correct, given the profusion of talent in the fandom. In fact, each of the last two years I have been convinced I would not win one of the two awards (perhaps neither). But I have also observed that it would probably be better for the writing scene if that day comes sooner rather than later.
Rabbit Valley are looking for authors to submit stories for their ongoing anthology projects. They will be publishing several anthologies in 2013 and need authors to submit stories for review. Check out their submissions page for details.
M.C.A. Hogarth is raising money on Kickstarter for print, e-book and audiobook editions of her fantasy of manners serial Black Blossom, sequel to The Aphorisms of Kherishdar and The Admonishments of Kherishdar (review), featuring the Ai-Naidar – a race of feline aliens.
Money raised is to go towards "cover art, layout; all the things that make a physical book great." Backer rewards include the book, e-book or audiobooks, calligraphy bookmarks, and related short fiction.
A week from conclusion, the fundraiser has passed several stretch goals, and stands at $4646 of its initial $1500 goal (with 95 backers).
Update (30 Aug): There are now 100 backers, for a total of $4770.