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Time to nominate the 2016 Ursa Major Awards!

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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.

Spike "Boss Pony" Nico, founder of club Rainbow Tiger, passes on

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On Janurary 13, Equino Faukland, a friend of Spike Niko, posted about the passing of the founder of Rainbow Tiger to the club's group:

Hello my friends from Rainbow Tiger. I wish I was coming to you with something other than bad news, but with a heavy heart I must inform you that yesterday Spike Nico, the Boss Pony of the Rainbow Tiger passed away. Some of you might know that Spike was sick back in June with some lung issues and was in pretty bad shape. However, always the fighter Spike pulled through and was in full recovery. However his illness resurfaced this winter with a vengeance. He died in his bed yesterday from complications of his illness.

Review: 'The Secret Life of Pets', Cute and colourful fluff

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A dog sits in front of a door, waiting for its owner to come home.The Secret Life of Pets [trailer] is the first of two animated movies released in 2016 from Illumination Studios, most known for its films Despicable Me and Minions.

Compared with their competition at Disney and Pixar, Illumination relies less on strong storytelling and instead leans more heavily towards pure charm to make their movies successful. In the past, they've accomplished this with cute and colourful characters, and a child-friendly sense of humour.

With that history in mind, The Secret Life of Pets continues its studio's charm offensive, compensating well for a bland and forgettable story.

VancouFur 2017 drops art show after failing to find new staff

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VancouFur 2017 logo Canadian furry convention VancouFur will have no art show at this March's event, due to a failure to replace departmental staff who resigned mid-October.

We are very sorry to announce that VancouFur's Art Show has been cancelled for 2017 due not being able to secure adequate staff and leads for the department. We thank everyone who put time and effort into the department this year and we hope that it can resume in future years!

Artists who paid for panels in the show are being contacted to arrange refunds.

The news follows the resignation of art show lead Mesa and her partner Silvermink, following their attempt to get a fan alleged privately of attempted rape banned from VancouFur, which led to intense debate for several weeks.

Newsbytes archive for May to December 2016

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Due to Earthfurst and Dronon having to reconstruct these Newsbytes from Twitter, Facebook and the archive.org Wayback Machine, the formatting may have been changed from the original links. Hopefully everyone has been attributed correctly! A few URLs have been replaced because the original ones stopped working.

Contributors during this period include Acton, aquariusotter, Ahmar Wolf, crossaffliction, dronon, earthfurst, Fred, GreenReaper, Greyflank, Huskyteer, InkyCrow, Kakurady, Patch Packrat, Rakuen Growlithe, RingtailedFox, Snow The Fennec Fox, Sonious and TyphonDog.

2016: A grueling year of growth for furry fandom

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There have been many articles speaking to the harshness and cruelty of the year 2016. This time in history has been seen in such a negative light that people have gone so far as to make horror trailer parodies of the year itself. Barring the turbulent political results in countries such as the United States and United Kingdom, many of the celebrities that brought forth stories of endearment and inspired a generation passed on this year.

But just like you this year the furry fandom has been filled with reminders of our own mortality and that while some may try and use the fandom as an escape from these very realities, death and political strife caused by general interactions have made themselves apparent this year more than any in recent memory.

Review: 'Furries: A Documentary', by Eric Risher

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (9 votes)

Two fursuiters stand side by side, contemplating the city at night. Furries: A Documentary [trailer] is a 33-minute video about furry fandom directed by Eric Risher. The project started as a short student film he made for university in 2009 called Through Fox's Eyes [trailer], after which he began gathering footage to turn it into a full documentary.

In 2015, Eric used Kickstarter to fund the final stages of the production, and doubled the modest $2,500 he'd hoped to receive. The completed work appeared in May 2016 – as did the online release of another fandom documentary, Fursonas (81 min.) by Dominic Rodriguez, who'd secured more attention and better distribution.

I think Furries is definitely the stronger of the two; it projects a much more positive vibe!

Review: 'The Secret Life of Pets', animated film

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (7 votes)

A group of pets stare at a cityscape. The Secret Life of Pets [trailer] is Illumination Entertainment's latest CG animated film offering, released on July 8, 2016. It's an entertaining comedy that's been doing quite well at the box office. I went to a weekday early evening screening, and the theater was packed with about an equal mix of adults and kids. Everyone seemed to enjoy it!

The story starts in an apartment building in Manhattan. Max (voiced by Louis C.K.) is a terrier who adores his owner, a young woman named Katie. One day she brings home a second dog, a huge, shaggy brown Newfoundland named Duke. Max and Duke don't get along at all. Their conflict results in them getting lost in the city, avoiding animal control officers and a gang of abandoned pets led by an insane white rabbit named Snowball. Meanwhile, the other pets from the apartment building embark on a quest to find them, led by Gidget, a white pomeranian.

Review: 'Bodies in Motion', by Robert Baird

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Bodies in Motion coverThis review is part of my commitment to reviewing anthropomorphic literature during Furry Book Month.

Romance and sex have always surrounded travel, and the vehicles we use for it. Even in the age of mass transit, there's still a thrill in leaving the known behind and moving as a stranger among strangers.

A sense of movement, freedom and adventure pervades these seven tales of M/F erotica, each set in, or set in motion by, a different form of transport.

Self-published ebook, 2016, pay what you want.

Review: 'Dog Country', by Malcolm F. Cross

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dogcountry.jpgThis review is part of my commitment to reviewing anthropomorphic literature during Furry Book Month.

A crowdfunded war fought by genetically identical dog-people created as soldiers and emancipated into a world that doesn't understand, or always approve of, their special talents.

What could possibly go wrong?

Edane, Ereli and their hundreds of brothers were grown and trained to form fighting units, but the company that created them was shut down when they were still, biologically, children.

Now adults, some scrape a living as mercenaries, doing odd jobs, or fighting for a betting audience. The lucky ones have a career in MilSim, a realtime combat simulation game, but some figures in the sport are starting to argue that they're too good and shouldn't compete.

Self-published, 2016, ebook (288 pages) $4.99 (US) / £3.99 (UK).