This well-researched book was written by Stoddard after many furries asked him whether he had written a book related to his history talks he has given at ConFuzzled. The resulting tome covers everything you wanted to know about furries in the UK. The book covers the following elements:
- How early British children's literature influenced the fandom.
- The rise of house parties and conventions such as ConFuzzled and Scotiacon.
- Information about key figures in the British fandom such as Simon Barber and Ian Curtis.
- A tour of the successes and failures of various cons.
- The connections between the U.S. and U.K. furs.
- Relates how the media have received and portrayed the fandom over the years.
Dissident Signals is a compilation of post-apocalyptic furry fiction published by FurPlanet and edited by NightEyes DaySpring and Slip-Wolf. The individual stories are (very) loosely linked by short paragraphs, written by Slip-Wolf, that relate all the stories as broadcasts intended for any survivors of the ruined world to use to understand what went wrong and how to rebuild. It's an idea which would've been more effective had all the stories been set in the same universe but which does serve as a nice bookending device.
There is a lot of variety in the stories themselves: while most go with a science fiction premise, others include aspects of magic or worlds that barely differ from our own. There are stories where humans and furries coexist (to a certain extent), worlds which are completely furred, and even one story where all the characters are human and the furry aspect comes in a very unique way. Despite all the variety in settings, ideas and originality, nearly all of them are excellently written, though most are quite bleak.
There are a few stories which really stood out to me and which I would like to highlight for various reasons. I will present them in the order in which they appear in the compilation.
Is In a Dog's World set in a dog's world? Well, yes and no. Humans have vanished from Earth, and several species are now "uplifted," gaining human-level intelligence and an anthropomorphic form. The story focuses on dogs and cats, which are now the main inhabitants of North America, and there, if you'll pardon the expression, dogs rule the roost.
Everywhere she looked in the world, it was dogs on top. Politicians, CEOs, the biggest celebrities, even the most innovative scientists -- they were all dogs.
Our main character, Katasha, is a tabby point Siamese cat, preparing for her high school prom and awaiting the results of her college application. She is not happy with the status that most cats have and wants to be a success. As dogs are successful, that is her aim: not to be a dog but to be a part of their world. She wishes to emulate the traits that dogs possess, wants to go to a predominantly dog college, and desires to date a dog.
The Adventures of Peter Gray (Written Dreams Publishing, $16.99) is the first novel by Nathan Hopp. It's told from the perspective of the titular Peter Gray, a young wolf living on the streets of an alternate history New York City in 1899. The Adventures of Peter Gray invites us to experience the city through the eyes of one who loves it and see how both it and Peter's life changes over the year.
I want to start off with the biggest weakness of this book [as a product]: the blurb. The problem with it is that it sets up misplaced expectations and reading then becomes frustrating when those expectations aren't met. The first paragraph of the blurb is fine, but then it makes the whole book sound like it's about Peter's quest for a family and the Newsies' strike. The Newsies' strike is introduced and finished in fewer than 30 pages; the book has 240.
Ignore the blurb and appreciate the book for what it is: a collection of adventures of a young, orphaned wolf in the big city. There is an overall arc to Peter's story, but it develops slowly and organically while many smaller incidents build up to the climax. It's a good structure that works, making the whole book very suitable for quickly picking up and reading without having to worry about forgetting what happened last time.
Nearly all the chapters are self-contained. We meet new characters that stay with us but each chapter has a distinct story. Maybe it's Peter having a picnic with his friends, maybe it's a time when he deals with bullies, or maybe he goes to visit the Statue of Liberty. The various adventures are entertaining and reminiscent of the carefree days as a child. However, that carefree feeling is tempered by the reality that Peter is an orphan, homeless, and broke.
A Wasteful Death is a cross between a murder mystery and a love story set in a city populated entirely by anthropomorphic animals. While the main characters are two Registered Investigators, sort of like police, this story is nothing like Zootopia. Instincts remain, and everyone in this world is acutely aware of the distinction between predator and prey.
The main characters are Marlot Blackclaw, a wolf, and Trembor Goldenmane, a lion. Both are Registered Investigators who, unusually for their territorial profession, work together. What exactly is a Registered Investigator? Their job is to investigate unclaimed kills and track down the person responsible. Unclaimed being the key word here.
In the world of A Wasteful Death, predation is legal and, with a few exceptions such as students or anyone in a hospital, everyone is a potential target. Once someone is killed, there is a tax that the hunter must pay which is scaled according the value the kill had to society. The tax on a homeless drunk would be low but the tax on a wealthy CEO like Aiden Spottedfur is massive, and it falls on Marlot and Trembor to find out who killed her.
Rise of the Patcheé is a self-published collection of three short stories by Eben Prentzler. The three stories are "Part 1 - The Scavenger Wars," "Part 2 - The Scribe’s Crystal" and "Part 3 - Touch of the Firstborn." They are all set in a fantasy world established in his earlier novel, Chronicles of Solo - Moments Away, and revolve around Mother, the title given to the leader of a Patcheé (African wild dog) pack.
When reviewing, or writing in general, it is good practice to keep your audience in mind. I see reviewing as generally having three potential audiences and functions: giving feedback to the author of a piece in order to help them improve, using a piece as an example to teach others what they should or should not do, and providing information to potential readers so that they can judge whether a piece is suitable for them. I feel that, in the furry fandom, all three of these functions overlap: authors are likely to read reviews by other furs, potential readers read the reviews and, with the fandom focused on creation, many of those readers are themselves aspiring authors. As such, I will talk about what does and does not work in this collection and why.
Formerly a Wall Street investor, currently a teacher and storyteller, Mystery Mike McHale has created a new illustrated book for kids, Dino Dogz, with the help of artist Mike Goldstein. “The DinoDogz (half Dogz/half Dinosaurs) are on a Mission to rescue five StegoPup eggs that have been stolen by the evil Dr. D. Stroy (their creator) before the doctor uses them to create an army of DinoDogz to take over the world!!!! Along the way, the Dogz must face off against enemies controlled by the doctor to collect their DinoDNA to transform into their true DinoDogz selves.” The official web site includes the on-line Dino Dogz game. Mystery Mike says there’s a mascot costume on the way too!
The campaign to legalize ferrets as pets in California (yes that’s a thing) recently let us know about My Name Is Musky, a picture book for young people written by Matty Giuliano and illustrated by Morgan Spicer. It’s rare to find a cute book about pets that actually focuses on ferrets! “Poor Musky! A small white ferret is abandoned and left by the side of the road. Things start to look up, though, when a nice lady named Stephanie shows up and saves the day. It’s off to the cozy, warm animal shelter for this little ferret—but will anyone want to adopt a different kind of furry animal friend?” Check out the official web site too.
I don't feel the need to justify bringing up David "Bunny" Garnett's 1922 short novel Lady into Fox in a furry context. As the title suggests, the story involves a lady who turns into a fox. Technically, it is not a story about an anthropomorphic animal, and is in fact about the direct opposite of that, a zoomorphic human. Of course, this is a nitpick. I doubt anyone cares.
On the point of genre, however, there is one area where I would like to make a rather more controversial "take" on the subject matter. Though the novel was a bit unclassifiable when it was first introduced, with H.G. Wells (an author known for his use of anthropomorphic animals) praising it as "a new creation, a new sort of animal, let us say, suddenly running about in the world," a phrase that I imagine had him enthusiastically punching the air at his own cleverness.
More modern takes tend to classify it as a "contemporary fantasy". However, I find it to be entirely different: it seems nothing more (or less) than a tale of the supernatural; a ghost story whose 'ghost' merely requires a few scare quotes - or, put another way, a horror story.
The 2020 Leo Awards winners have been announced by Furry Book Review! (Their URL recently changed from furrybookreview.wixsite.com/blog to leoliteraryawards.wixsite.com/blog . This link, and many of the ones below, contain mature content.)
These literary awards are determined by a group of judges who can vote for multiple titles in each category, so it's possible for several works in each category to win.
The winner(s) and nominees are...
The Cóyotl Awards are awarded annually by the Furry Writers' Guild to recognize excellence in anthropomorphic literature. This year there's a new award category! "Other Work", for things that exemplify the best in furry writing in a way that doesn't fit into the other categories.
The Cóyotl Awards are awarded annually by the Furry Writers' Guild to recognize excellence in anthropomorphic literature. The winners and nominees for 2018, who were announced on May 24 at Furlandia 2019 in Portland, Oregon, are...
Just got back from Biggest Little Fur Con, and of course we’ve got lots to talk about. But first… Udon Entertainment have released the Samurai Pizza Cats Official Fan Book in North America. What’s that you ask? Well according to Wikipedia, “Kyatto Ninden Teyandee is an anime series produced by Tatsunoko Productions and Sotsu Agency. The series originally aired in Japan on TV Tokyo from February 1, 1990 to February 12, 1991… Saban picked up the North American rights to the series in 1991, and produced an English version called Samurai Pizza Cats.” Honestly, that explanation barely cat-scratches the surface of just how weird and wonderful this series was. Fan interest has not waned over the years, and now there’s a book all about it! “The Samurai Pizza Cats: Official Fan Book is packed with the best toppings: Pinup artwork, character designs and profiles, episode summaries, rough concepts, and exclusive in-depth interviews with the show’s creators and original cast.” Check out the preview over at Comicon.com.
These literary awards are determined by a group of judges, who can vote for multiple titles in each category, so it's possible for several works in each category to make the final cut.
The winner(s) and nominees are...
The Ursa Major Awards, established in 2001, are a recognition of furry media across several categories, only some of which are literary. Anyone in the fandom can nominate and vote. The Cóyotl awards, formed in 2012, are specifically literary, and are selected by members of the Furry Writers' Guild – although winners don't have to be in that group.
The Leo Awards have a different arrangement. It was founded by Furry Book Review, a multi-author blog started by Thurston Howl of Thurston Howl Publications (which is separate from the Awards). Nominations can come from the blog's reviewers, or from published authors with enough credibility. Reviewers aren't required to be writers themselves, so the prolific reader can have a say in nominating the stories they like the best.