We’re mostly about anthropomorphic animals around here, obviously, but now and then it’s interesting to find a project about real-life non-humans and their adventures. Such is the case with Four-Fisted Tales: Animals In Combat, a new non-fiction graphic novel by Ben Towle. “In virtually every military conflict in recorded history animals have fought — and often died — alongside their human counterparts. While countless stories of the men and women who’ve served in the trenches, jungles, and deserts of the world’s battlefields have been told, Four-Fisted Tales: Animals in Combat shares the stories of the animals who fought alongside them. From Hannibal’s elephants in ancient Rome to mine-sniffing rats in Vietnam and everything in between, Four-Fisted Tales highlights the real-life contributions of these underappreciated animal warriors. Whether in active combat or simply as companions, these animals served and made their mark on history.” It’s available now from Dead Reckoning.
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.
For many furries, the Fourth of July weekend would be a time that many would make their way to the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in order to partake in the convention of Anthrocon. Due to the current pandemic, most conventions have been canceled for the year of 2020. For those furries looking to reconnect with their community, though, a full length documentary by Ash Coyote is set to release that weekend.
The furry producer did a series of shorter furry non-fiction for her channel which we reviewed here.
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.
On December 11, 2017, Thurston Howl Publications announced the launching of the new annual Leo Awards, to be administered by THP’s Furry Book Review program. They will be furry fandom’s third annual literary award, after the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association’s Ursa Major Awards, presented for works since 2001, and the Furry Writers’ Guild’s Cóyotl Awards, presented for works since 2011.
The Leo Awards are still in the formation stage, but they will first be presented during 2018 for works published during the calendar year 2017. Nominations will be accepted by the Furry Book Review Program through March 1, 2018. The date of the announcement of the winners has not yet been set.
The Leo Awards will be given in the six categories of Novels, Novellas, Anthologies, Nonfiction, Short Stories, and Poems. Nominators must be authors of furry books, two short stories, or three poems, or the editor of an anthology of furry stories, during the past five years. (Or be one of the Furry Book Review’s reviewers. See the Leo Awards nomination list for the full rules.)
Unlike the two prior awards, the winners will be chosen by a FBR panel of five to ten author judges. The winners must be approved by 2/3 of the judges. The nominees will be considered for literary merit. Those that are approved of having such merit will be declared Leo Award winners. Thus it is possible to have multiple award winners in each category. The goal of the Leo Awards is to publicly recommend all of the furry works worth reading in each category every year, not just the single best.
Since their origin in panels and meets at science fiction conventions of the 1980s, furry cons have grown in membership and popularity. Today, they are found on every continent except Antarctica (now there's a challenge). Anthrocon, the world's largest furry convention, welcomed 6,389 attendees in 2015.
Fred Patten's book is the most complete published work (OK, OK: it's the only published work) to cover the history and status of furry fandom get-togethers across the world.
A convention is differentiated from a more casual furmeet by elements including a committee, paid memberships, and a structured event schedule. Most cons last more than one day and take place in a hotel, convention centre, or sometimes camp site or youth hostel.
Those attending Anthrocon this year that have an interest in non-fiction works about our little fandom will not want to miss the session I am hosting on Sunday, July 2nd to preview my book looking at the history of furries, Furry Nation. The book gives this "greymuzzle" freelance writer's perspective, having been in the fandom since 1988; a journey which all began with a surprise invitation in the mail to something called a 'furry party' being held at a Philadelphia Sci-Fi convention.
Furry Nation tells the story of the fandom’s birth and growth, from the earliest “funny animal” comic book fans and convention organizers to the worldwide fandom it is today. Artists, fursuit builders, and fans of all stripes are profiled, and of course our rocky relationship with the Hollywood animation community is also examined. In the book’s final chapter a genetic scientist discusses the possibility that genetic therapy will someday transform humans into actual anthropomorphic animals. Furry has indeed transformed many lives, including my own in ways I never expected— personal experiences that became a part of Furry Nation.
Today there are many academic studies of talking animals in children’s literature. Animal Land was one of the first, and still is one of the best. Whether you look for the original British edition, its American edition (NYC, William Morrow & Co., March 1975, hardcover 0-688-00272-2 $8.95, 336 pages), or a reprint (Avon Books, March 1977, paperback 0-380-00742-8 $3.95, 336 pages), Animal Land is worth reading. You may think that you are already familiar with all the stories covered in it, but Margaret Blount has profiles of dozens that will be new to even talking-animal connoisseurs.
London, Hutchinson, October 1974, hardcover 0-09-118410-X £4.50 (336 pages; illustrated)
This year Dreamworks is celebrating 20 years of animation on TV and the big screen. Among the signs of the celebration is The Art of Dreamworks Animation, a new hardcover book edited by Ramin Zahed. It’s available later this month from Abrams Publishing. “Brimming with concept art, preproduction designs, and character sketches, DreamWorks Animation marks the studio’s 20th anniversary and offers unprecedented behind-the-scenes access into its archives. An introduction by DreamWorks cofounder Jeffrey Katzenberg provides insider perspective on the studio’s most popular films, as does running commentary from artists and directors on all of DreamWorks’ 30 films to date.” By which they mean films like Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, and How to Train Your Dragon. Order it now at Amazon.
Just in time for the new Disney Muppets film Muppets Most Wanted (hitting theaters this March) comes a new tie-in book, The Muppets Character Encyclopedia. According to the Muppet Wiki, this 200-page hardcover book features entries on more than 150 Muppet characters and more than 600 full-color photographs. “The most sensational, inspirational, muppetational character encyclopedia ever! You can play the music, light the lights, and meet all your favourite characters from the Muppets in The Muppets Character Encyclopedia. From Animal to Zoot, meet over 150 of the most memorable and best-loved Muppet characters from the 1970s to the present day. It is packed with facts about Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, The Swedish Chef, and all their wild and wacky buddies. Featuring full-colour images of each Muppets character with annotations. Fact files provide info on each character (and some little known facts), including their role in the Muppets pantheon and details of their first appearance.” It’s available now on Amazon from Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd.
Believe it or not, since its inception in the early 1980′s, the My Little Pony line of toys has had an active (even rabid!) fandom of collectors following it — long before the current Twilight Sparkle and her cohorts took over the world from their base on The Hub. Now available in print again in paperback is The World of My Little Pony: An Unauthorized Guide for Collectors (whew!) by Debra L. Birge and Ann Stroth. From Amazon, here’s the publisher’s plug: “This is the first comprehensive collector’s identification and value guide to My Little Pony. These popular toys were made from 1981 to 1991 and are attracting the interest of collectors around the world. Over 300 color photographs clearly identify over 600 My Little Ponies, some of which are extremely rare. In addition to the ponies, hundreds of related items sold under the MLP logo are shown. A very helpful index of all the ponies featured in the book and a handy price guide with beautifully detailed photography makes this book a must for every My Little Pony lover.” Interestingly, this book was first published by Schiffer Books For Collectors back in 2007 — well before the current My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic craze hit. Isn’t it time for an update?
One of those “not exactly furry, but boy does it have a lotta furries in it” kind of things: Bill Willingham’s award-winning comic book series Fables. Now publisher Vertigo have announced the Fables Encyclopedia: Deluxe Edition, coming in hardcover this October. Here’s their press release: “From Aladdin to Zephyr, The Fables Encyclopedia is a must-have reference guide to the hidden history of every Fables character from Bill Willingham’s multiple award-winning series. Written by noted academic scholar Jess Nevins (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Companion) with artwork by Fables luminaries including cover artists James Jean, Joao Ruas and series regulars Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha, the Fables Encyclopedia provides rich historical information about each character as well as his/her first appearances and respective role within creator/writer Bill Willingham’s imaginative Fables mythos. Willingham and series artist Mark Buckingham provide fun facts and anecdotes along the way. Featuring an exquisite wraparound cover by noted Fairest cover artist Adam Hughes, the Fables Encyclopedia is a deluxe hardcover that’s essential for every Fables reader, old and new.” Vertigo has more are their web site.
Critter Costuming: Making Mascots and Fabricating Fursuits, by Adam Riggs (Nicodemus), is the first published book about fursuit making. You can buy it on Amazon.
Furry author/editor Watts Martin has announced a new online magazine about furry fandom, Claw & Quill.
The magazine's submission guidelines call for unpaid reviews, interviews, profiles and nonfiction narratives in the 1000–2000 word range. While acknowledging a "definite overlap" with Flayrah, Watts expressed a wish for C&Q to be "less “newsy” and more curated."
Many know Watts as a story writer, but he has a long history of publishing and contributing non-fiction to furry 'zines. He previously launched a fiction webzine under the same name Claw & Quill in October 2004, although it proved short-lived. Watts planned to reuse the name for a curated, social story archive similar in concept to Yerf, but the project stalled.
Top o’ the mornin’ to ya, everyone! A belated Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
First off, a quick note: Voting for the 2013 Ursa Major Awards — celebrating the best in Anthropomorphic Everything from 2012 — has just opened, and will remain open until May 15th. Visit the Ursa Major web site to see the nominees and sign up to vote. Then come check out the winners at a special ceremony at this year’s Anthrocon!