Pixel Scroll 4/13/17 Hark! What File Through Yonder Pixel Scrolls?

(1) ODYSSEY CON LOSES SECOND GOH. Honoring the reasons for the withdrawal of Monica Valentinelli, another Odyssey Con GoH has dropped out — Tad Williams made this announcement on Facebook:

I am sad to announce that I won’t be appearing at the upcoming Odysseycon. I feel a debt of conscience to guests of this con and to others whose complaints of harassment (and worse) at gatherings in our field have gone unheard and unresolved.

At the same time it seems to me and Deb that the issues are complicated and a lot of people must be having a very miserable time right now. We don’t want to contribute to the heat, and hope that things can be improved for everyone in the future. Odysseycon have been straightforward in their dealings with us, and gracious when we withdrew. I wish to extend my apologies to any members of the convention who will be disappointed by my not attending.

(2) TOOLMAKING. And today, Monica Valentinelli is looking for knowledge to make cons safer.

How can we…

  • …teach people not to harass?
  • …teach allies what to watch out for?
  • …foster healthy and safe communication about harassment?
  • …teach people how best to enforce harassment policies?
  • …address safety concerns that are not part of an official claim?
  • …share experiences between conventions so each con doesn’t live in a silo?
  • …implement better documentation policies so materials aren’t lost?
  • …help allies understand how to support victims?
  • …help victims have the confidence to come forward?
  • …guarantee that personal e-mails will not be posted publicly?
  • …help victims/allies mitigate the losses that come from making hard decisions?
  • …teach con goers how we take their safety seriously?
  • …teach con goers what to do next if something should happen?
  • …address what proper resolutions are and how they should be implemented?
  • …leverage our social communities better to review our convention attendance?
  • …help con runners decide how to implement training for their staff?
  • …help con runners understand how important it is to have the right people on staff to handle this?

I am 100% certain there are other questions I am missing, as I am speaking through the lens of my experiences. Regardless, I feel that the first step is to ask questions like these before they can be answered. Then, we need to have those hard discussions to take additional steps.

(3) TALKIN’ ABOUT M-MY REGENERATION. Beware, this will make your head spin — a video of every Doctor Who regeneration at Yahoo! TV. (The only bad part is you have to watch at least 30 seconds of a commercial before the video begins.)

(4) CARRIE FISHER. Is there anybody who hasn’t seen the Star Wars tribute to Carrie Fisher yet? Or who doesn’t want to watch it a couple more times?

(5) ROLLING IN THE GREEN. You might have said that’s a lot of lettuce to ask for a 50 pence coin, but the Royal Mint’s offering of a Peter Rabbit 2017 UK 50p BU Coin for £10 has sold out.

The Mint also put out a set of coins in 2016 to celebrate Potters’ 150th anniversary –

Features four coins depicting some of her best-loved characters: Peter Rabbit, Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, Jemima Puddle-Duck and Squirrel Nutkin

(6) PKD FILM FEST. The fifth annual Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival takes place May 25-30 in New York City.

The program showcases over 100 films, premieres, panels, virtual reality demonstrations and celebratory gatherings as the festival continues its salute to the master of science fiction, Philip K. Dick.

Highlights include the world premieres of Maryanne Bilham-Knight’s A Life Gone Wild (2016) and Jean-Philippe Lopez’s III (2016), North American premiere of Adam Stern’s FTL (2017), USA premieres of Caroline Cory’s Gods Among Us: The Science of Contact (2016), Rasmus Tirzitis’s Vilsen (2016) and Ove Valeskog’s Huldra: Lady of the Forest (2016), east coast premieres of Niall Doran/Justin Smith’s Sixteen Legs (2016) and Renchao Wang’s The End of the Lonely Island (2016) and NYC premiere of Bruce Wemple’s The Tomorrow Paradox (2016).

The festival will also launch PKD Talks: Conversations with Luminaries, Visionaries and Mavericks, a new panel series discussing scientific, inspirational and world changing themes with industry professionals including author and physicist Dr. Ronald Mallett, acclaimed directors Maryanne Bilham-Knight and Caroline Cory, web host Joe Cerletti, astrophysicist Rudy Schild, computer scientist Jacques Vallee and more distinguished guests.

Check out the full schedule here.

(7) ATWOOD STORY ON TV. The Verge has seen the first three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale and gives the show an enthusiastic endorsement.

But The Handmaid’s Tale is more than a political jab. In the first three episodes provided to reviewers, it’s a dystopia that manages to stand out in a television landscape already full of apocalypses and oppressive imaginary societies. It’s a colorful TV series about a woman negotiating domestic drama, and judging from its initial installments — all three of which will be released simultaneously on April 26th — it might be one of the darkest shows on television this year.

(8) THE EVENING NEWS. Problems with a furry convention have made it onto TV. That’s not surprising anymore, is it? But this is still a story that makes a fan’s hair (or fur) stand on end — “Amid allegations of unpaid taxes, neo-Nazism, and sex offender, Denver furry convention canceled”.

Head of company that operates RMFC exposed

But the letter was not signed by an attorney, nor did it contain language or punctuation consistent with those typically used by lawyers. But it did contain a red thumb print, sometimes associated with a movement the Southern Poverty Law Center identifies as extremists.

And Kendal Emery, the man who signed the letter and the self-identified “Chief Executive Contract Law Officer” for Midwest Anthropomorphic Arts Corporation, is a convicted sex offender.

The Arvada man pleaded no contest to three counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor in 1993 in Alamogordo, New Mexico, near his native Carlsbad. New Mexico court records show he served at least probation and underwent out-patient counseling as part of his sentence.

But that isn’t the end of Emery’s issues: though he registered Mid America Anthropomorphic and Art Corporation in Colorado in 2005 at an Aurora address and also with the IRS, the IRS revoked the company’s status in May 2011 and has not reinstated it

(9) WHAT MAKES A WRITER REAL. Sarah A. Hoyt’s inspirational column “You’re real” ends:

A contract won’t make you real.  Writing more will make you real.  Indie and traditional both thrive on content.  The more you write the more you’ll make.  And in indie, this is all in your hands.  You don’t need anyone to give you permission.

Go write and publish.  Stop obsessing about being real.  I say you’re real, and in proof thereof, I’ve made the following certificate, which you can download, fill in and print at your convenience.

STOP GIVING AWAY part of you income for nothing, particularly to small presses of dubious value.  Write.  Publish.  Repeat.  Become a professional.

(10) EUROCON NEWS. The first announcement with details of 2017 ESFS Business Meeting has been made available on the European SF Society website.

The ESFS General Meeting for 2017 will take place at U-Con, the Dortmund (Germany) Eurocon, on June 16-18.

(11) TODAY’S DAY

Scrabble Day

By far the best way to celebrate Scrabble Day is with Oxyphenbutazone. That’s right, Oxyphenbutazone is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug – you already knew that – but it’s also the word that, in a single play, can give the highest possible score on a Scrabble board. The chances of it ever coming up are similar to the chances of winning this week’s lottery, as you’d need to join all seven of your tiles with eight already on the board across three triple word scores. Still, it’d be worth waiting for, scoring 1,778 points. You’d almost certainly win the game with that.

(12) TODAY IN ALTERNATE HISTORY

April 13, 1967 — In another reality, 50 years ago today would have been the end of Star Trek. The final new first-season episode, “Operation — Annihilate!,” aired April 13, 1967. Only an unprecedented letter-writing campaign, spearheaded by Bjo Trimble and other science-fiction writers and fans, got the show renewed for a second season.

(13) TODAY IN REGULAR OLD HISTORY

April 13, 1970 — …disaster strikes 200,000 miles from Earth when oxygen tank No. 2 blows up on Apollo 13, the third manned lunar landing mission. Astronauts James A. Lovell, John L. Swigert, and Fred W. Haise had left Earth two days before for the Fra Mauro highlands of the moon but were forced to turn their attention to simply making it home alive.

(14) MATH OF KHAN. Why, this is heresy! Space.com says “Redshirts Aren’t Likeliest to Die – and Other ‘Star Trek’ Math Lessons”.

Grime first focused on an age-old assertion: that crewmembers wearing red shirts in the original “Star Trek” series, which denote working in engineering or security, are far more likely to be killed off than any other shirt color.

That claim, in fact, is false — more “redshirts” died on-screen than any other crew type (10 gold-shirted, which are command personnel; eight blue-shirted, who are scientists; and 25 red-shirted, Grime said), but that calculation fails to take into account that there are far more redshirts on the ship to start with than any other crew type.

In other words, we’re looking at the probability that you are a redshirt if you die (58 percent) — what we want to know is the probability that you die if you’re a redshirt, Grime said.

Grime used the “Star Trek” technical manual to find out how many of each crew type there were, which painted a different picture: out of 239 redshirts, 25 died, which is 10 percent. Out of 55 goldshirts, 10 died, which is 18 percent! So you are more likely to die as a goldshirt, Grime said.

Oh, so it’s actually true – this is just a lawyerly exercise in lying with statistics.

(15) FAN MAIL. Alastair Reynolds praised Erin Horakova’s Strange Horizons article article about Captain Kirk:

If you have a little time on your hands I commend this excellent Strange Horizons article by Erin Horakova on our changing (and inaccurate) perception of the character of Captain Kirk…

Regardless of the quality of the individual episodes, though, I quickly found myself wondering when this legendary bad Shatner was going to turn up, because all I was seeing – right from the outset – was an efficient and convincing portrayal of a man in a complex, demanding position of authority. Shatner isn’t just much better at playing Kirk than the popular myth would have it, but the character itself is also much more plausibly drawn than the supposed brash womaniser of the insidious meme.

Erin Horakova dismantles this false Kirk in expert fashion, while lobbing a few well-earned potshots at the reboot films.

(16) THE NEW NUMBER SIX. John  Scalzi continues Reader Request Week with “#6: Reading as Performance”.

  1. Recognize it is a performance. Which is to say that you can’t just go in front of a room, mumble your way through fifteen minutes of text, answer a couple of questions and go home (I mean, you can, but it won’t turn out the way you want it to). You actually have to be up and on, from the moment you get to the event until the moment you’re done. Which is draining, but can also be fun. When you read, don’t just read the text, act it. When you’re answering questions, don’t answer quickly, answer completely. When you’re signing, work to make it so the person you’re signing for feels like that those 30 seconds with you is a pretty good 30 seconds of their life. Know all this going in, and prepare.

(17) WAITRESSING FOR GODOT. Ann Leckie was prompted by Scalzi’s post to add her own thoughts – “On Performance and Sincerity”.

Now as it happens, I have a tiny bit of theater experience, along with that music degree, so I’m actually pretty comfortable onstage. But you know what else I think has helped me–years of waiting tables. I am a serious introvert, but working at waiting tables gave me practice interacting with lots of strangers for hours at a time, keeping my demeanor pleasant and mostly cheerful. It’s practice that has stood me in good stead for a lot of my non-writing-related life, actually. In a lot of ways waiting tables can be a really miserable job, but that aspect of it, learning how to be “on” very pleasantly and confidently, has been super valuable to me.

(18) WHAT GOES UP… Just don’t ask for an explanation: “Mysterious X37-B ‘space plane’ stays in orbit for 677 days – and no one knows why”.

A mysterious robotic ‘space plane’ has now been in orbit for a record 677 days – and America is remaining silent about what it’s doing up there.

The robotic Boeing X-37B craft – also known as Orbital Test Vehicle 4 – conducts long missions in orbit, carrying a classified payload.

Observers have speculated that the Space Shuttle-esque vehicle might be designed to destroy satellites – or work as a ‘movable’ satellite itself.

(19) LOST BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. Evidently, Scotland’s witch prosecution records leave something to be desired. Atlas Obscura has the story — “Maggie Wall’s Memorial”.

A mysterious monument where a woman who records say never existed was burnt alive for being a witch.

…Outside of a small village of Dunning, nestled in the former parklands of Duncrub Castle, lies a monument. It’s a collection of stones about 20 feet high, topped with a cross and decorated with gifts left by visitors—pennies, feathers, shells, fluffy stuffed animals, and tiny tea candles. The stones bear the words in stark white lettering: “Maggie Wall burnt here 1657 as a witch.”

Scotland was home to nearly 3,800 people accused of witchcraft between 1500s and 1700s, the vast majority of whom were women. In the end, about 1,500 were murdered as a result of witch hunt inquisitions. However, mysteriously, there is no record of a woman named Maggie Wall being tried as a witch. What’s more, there’s no record of the monument itself until 1866, though a forest surrounding the monument called Maggie Walls Wood was documented as of 1829.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian, JJ, Carl Slaughter, Michael J. Walsh, Martin Morse Wooster, Cat Eldridge, Steven H Silver, and David Doering for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contirbuting editor of the day Rev. Bob.]

2016 Ursa Major Awards Ballot

Image by EosFoxx

Voting has opened in the 2016 Ursa Major Awards for the Best Anthropomorphic Literature and Art of the and will continue until April 30. The winners will be announced at Anthrocon 2017 (June 29-July 2) in Pittsburgh, PA.

Anyone may vote. Go to the awards website and click on “Voting for 2016” at the left for instructions on how to register to vote.

This final ballot has been compiled from those eligible works receiving the most nominations.

2016 Final Ballot

Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture

  • Finding Dory (Directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane; June 17)
  • Kung Fu Panda 3 (Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni; January 29)
  • The Secret Life of Pets (Directed by Chris Renaud and Yarrow Cheney; July 8)
  • Sing (Directed by Garth Jennings and Christophe Lourdelet; December 21)
  • Zootopia (Directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush; February 11)

Best Anthropomorphic Dramatic Short or Series

  • Bunnicula (Directed by Jessica Borutski, Maxwell Atoms, Robert F. Hughes, Matthew Whitlock, and Ian Wasseluk; Season 1 episodes 1 to 8 [TV])
  • The Lion Guard (Directed by Howy Parkins; Season 1 episodes 1 to 22 [TV])
  • Littlest Pet Shop (Directed by Joel Dickie, Steven Garcia, and Mike Myhre; Season 4 episode 10 to Season 4 episode 26 [TV])
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (Directed by James Thiessen, Jim Miller, Tim Stuby, and Denny Lu; Season 6 episodes 1 to 143 [TV])
  • Petals (Directed by Andrea Gallo and Alvaro Dominguez; November 29 [student film])

Best Anthropomorphic Novel

  • Dog Country, by Malcolm F. Cross (Amazon Digital Services; March 28)
  • Fracture, by Hugo Jackson (Inspired Quill; September 1)
  • My Diary, by Fredrick Usiku Kruger, Lieutenant of the Rackenroon Hyena Brigade, by Kathy Garrison Kellog (The Cross Time Cafe; April 2)
  • The Origin Chronicles: Mineau, by Justin Swatsworth (Dolphyn Visions; June 14)
  • Sixes Wild: Echoes, by Tempe O’Kun (FurPlanet Productions; June 30)

Best Anthropomorphic Short Fiction

  • 400 Rabbits, by Alice “Huskyteer” Dryden, in Gods With Fur (FurPlanet Productions; June 30)
  • A Gentleman of Strength, by Dwale, in Claw the Way to Victory (Jaffa Books; January 24)
  • Marge the Barge, by Mary E. Lowd, in Claw the Way to Victory (Jaffa Books; January 24)
  • Questor’s Gambit, by Mary E. Lowd, in Gods With Fur (FurPlanet Productions; June 30)
  • Sheeperfly’s Lullaby, by Mary E. Lowd, in GoAL #2 (Goal Publications; March 27)

Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work

  • Claw the Way to Victory, ed. by AnthroAquatic (Jaffa Books; January 24 [anthology])
  • Gods With Fur, ed. by Fred Patten (FurPlanet Productions; June 30 [anthology])
  • Hot Dish #2, ed. by Dark End (Sofawolf Press; December 1 [anthology])
  • The Muse, by Alex Cockburn (Rabbit Valley Publishing; March [background booklet for Lucid’s Dream])
  • ROAR volume 7, ed. by Mary E. Lowd (Bad Dog Books; June 30 [anthology])

Best Anthropomorphic Non-Fiction Work

  • The Art of Zootopia, by Jessica Julius (Chronicle Books; March 8 [book; making of feature film])
  • Burned Furs and How You Perceive Porn (Culturally F’d: After Dark; October 6 [podcast])
  • CSI: Fur Fest; The Unsolved Case of the Gas Attack at a Furry Convention, by Jennifer Swann (VICE Media; February 10 [Internet])
  • Fursonas  (Directed by Dominic Rodriguez; May 10 [documentary film])
  • 17 Misconceptions About Furries and the Furry Fandom (Culturally F’d #23; February 11 [podcast])

Best Anthropomorphic Graphic Story

  • Endtown, by Aaron Neathery (Internet; January 1 to December 30)
  • Lackadaisy, by Tracy J. Butler (Internet; Lackadaisy Sabbatical to Lackadaisy Headlong)
  • Lucid’s Dream, by Alex Cockburn (Rabbit Valley Publishing; March)
  • Swords and Sausages, by Jan (Internet; January 10 to December 25)
  • TwoKinds, by Tom Fischbach (Internet; January 6 to December 25)

Best Anthropomorphic Comic Strip

  • Carry On, by Kathy Garrison (Internet; January 1 to December 30)
  • Doc Rat, by Jenner (Internet; January 1 to  December 29)
  • Housepets!, by Rick Griffin (Internet; January 1 to December 30)
  • Kevin & Kell, by Bill Holbrook (Internet; January 1 to December 31)
  • SaveState, by Tim Weeks (Internet; January 6 to December 28)

Best Anthropomorphic Magazine

  •  Dogpatch Press, ed. by Patch Packrat (Internet; January 4 to December 20)
  • Fangs and Fonts (Podcast; episodes #57 to #72)
  • Flayrah, ed. by crossaffliction and GreenReaper (Internet; January 1 to December 29)
  • Fur What It’s Worth (Podcast; Season 5 episode #8 to Season 6 episode #8)
  • InFurNation, ed. by Rod O’Riley (Internet; January 1 to December 31)

Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration

  • Tracy J. Butler, cover of Anthrocon 2016 Souvenir Book
  • Dolphyn, “Hey Baby, You’re the Cat’s Meow!” in Anthrocon 2016 Souvenir Book
  • Teagan Gavet, cover of Gods With Fur, ed. by Fred Patten  (FurPlanet Productions, June 30)
  • Iskra, “Autumn”, FurAffinity, October 22
  • Jenn ‘Pac’ Rodriguez, cover of Claw the Way to Victory, ed. by AnthroAquatic (Jaffa Books, January 24)

Best Anthropomorphic Game

  • Bear Simulator (Developer and Publisher: Farjay Studios; February 26)
  •  Major \ Minor (Developer: Klace; Publisher: Steam; October 11)
  • Overwatch (Deveoper and Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment; May 24)
  • Pokémon Sun & Moon (Developer: Game Freak; Publishers: Nintendo and the Pokémon Company; November 18)
  • Stories: The Path of Destinies (Developer and Publisher: Spearhead Games; April 12)

Best Anthropomorphic Website

  • Culturally F’d, ed. by Arrkay and Underbite (YouTube [furry history & sociology])
  • E621 (Internet [furry art & discussion])
  • Fur Affinity (Internet [furry art & discussion])
  • The Furry Writers’ Guild (Internet [FWG news & discussion])
  • WikiFur (Internet [furry wiki])

[Thanks to Fred Patten for the story.]

Patten Chronicles Furry Fandom Conventions Worldwide

Furry Fandom Con coverFred Patten’s fanhistory Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989-2015 is now on sale from McFarland & Company, Publishers.

Patten says, “This is the first study of furry fandom published by a publisher outside of the furry specialty press itself. It indicates that furry fandom is becoming an accepted subject for academic study.”

Furry fandom—an adult social group interested in anthropomorphic animals in art, literature and culture—has grown since the 1980s to include an estimated 50,000 “furries.” Their largest annual convention drew more than 6,000 attendees in 2015, including 1,000 dressed in “fur suits” or mascot-type animal costumes. Conventions typically include awards, organizations, art, literature and movies, encompassing a wide range of creative pursuits beyond animal costuming.

This study of the furry subculture presents a history of the oft-misunderstood group and lists all conventions around the world from 1989 through 2015, including organizers, guests of honor and donations to charity.

Furry Fandom Conventions, 1989-2015 is 242 pages, illustrated with more than 50 furry convention posters, program book covers, website banners, T-shirts, and other artwork; including 8 pages in full color.

Patten To Launch Anthology at Further Confusion

Dogs of War, edited by Fred Patten, is launching at Further Confusion 2017 in San Jose, California over the January 12-16 five-day weekend.

Dogs of War is an all-original anthology of 23 short stories and novelettes of anthropomorphic animals (not just dogs) in military scenarios, from battle action to boot camps, on land, at sea, and in space.  This is designed to appeal to both s-f & fantasy fans, and fans of military s-f.

From a rabbit army’s training camp, to a human army turned into wolves, praying mantises in spacesuits, rattlesnake troops, prejudice against uplifted rat sailors, multi-tailed fox warrior priestesses, and more; these are stories for your imagination and enjoyment.

Contents

  • Nosy and Wolf, by Ken McGregor
  • After Their Kind, by Taylor Harbin
  • Succession, by Devin Hallsworth
  • Two If By Sea, by Field T. Mouse
  • The Queens’ Confederate Space Marines, by Elizabeth McCoy
  • The Loving Children, by Bill McCormick
  • Strike, But Hear Me, by Jefferson P. Swycaffer
  • End of Ages, by BanWynn Oakshadow
  • Shells On The Beach, by Tom Mullins
  • Cross of Valor Reception for the Raccoon, Tanner Williams, Declassified Transcript, by John Kulp
  • Last Man Standing, by Frances Pauli
  • Hunter’s Fall, by Angela Oliver
  • Old Regimes, by Gullwolf
  • The Shrine War, by Alan Loewen
  • The Monster in the Mist, by Madison Keller
  • Wolves in Winter, by Searska GrayRaven
  • The Third Variety, by Rob Baird
  • The Best and Worst of Worlds, by Mary E. Lowd
  • Tooth, Claw and Fang, by Stephen Coughlan
  • Sacrifice, by J. N. Wolfe
  • War of Attrition, by Lisa Timpf
  • Fathers to Sons, by MikasiWolf
  • Hoodies and Horses, by Michael D. Winkle

The book can be pre-ordered from FurPlanet Productions. It will be for sale on the FurPlanet online catalogue after the convention. Price:  $19.95.  455 pages.  Wraparound cover by Teagan Gavet.

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M. C. A. Hogarth: Peltedverse Creator, Artist, and SFWA VP

By Carl Slaughter: M.C.A. Hogarth is a prolific author. Most of her stories are in the Pelted universe.  She is also a fiction illustrator and illustrates her own stories. She also does coloring books and children’s books. She is a Kickstarter veteran and advises other authors on Kickstarting. Hogarth is VP of the SFWA.

CARL SLAUGHTER:  Why are most of your series in the same universe?

M.C.A. HOGARTH:  There’s a George Eliot quote that goes ‘How unspeakably the lengthening of memories in common endears our old friends!’ I love writing broadly and deeply in the same setting because it gives us—the readers, me—the opportunity to settle in, become more than tourists, develop a group memory. I now have multiple settings where my readers remember “historical” details, often before I do. We’re properly sunk in at that point, and that’s when you get community.

In the end, I guess I like people. You don’t come close to understanding a person without living with them for a while.

M. C. A. Hogarth

M. C. A. Hogarth

SLAUGHTER: Obviously, your fans like the Pelted universe. What’s the appeal?

HOGARTH:  When I was super-young, I was deeply attracted to Star Trek for its optimism, and I thought ‘I want to make a world that people would want to live in.’ And so… I did. I populated it with friendly animal races, because who doesn’t love talking cats and foxes and giant birds? And then added fascinating aliens, because who doesn’t long to explore the unknown and find it welcoming? I gave it a noble war, so people could have a chance to defend the true and good. I made that war complex, so people could find ways to redeem evil. I made the universe expansive so that its potentials felt limitless. I made it nuanced, so people could find their own struggles in it. I added dragons and elves, because come on. Dragons. Elves.

It’s unashamed space opera, and I think just about everyone can find a place they belong in it. And it’s been in continuous development for over twenty years, so it feels like a real place to a lot of readers.

The Peltedverse is a refuge, and everyone can be a hero, whatever heroism means for them. I think that’s why a lot of people enjoy it.

SLAUGHTER:  Which Pelted series is ideal for which type of reader?

HOGARTH:  I chose to go with the “Valdemar”-style development of the Peltedverse, because I always felt it was easier to jump into a setting with several complete stories than trying to catch up to Book 24 in a single series. So, yes, there are multiple threads, and some of them are dark and some of them are bright. The war stories are the harshest, and those start with the Princes’ Game books (Even the Wingless is Book 1). The gentlest are the slice-of-life pastoral “college campus” stories of xenotherapists Jahir and Vasiht’h, which start with Mindtouch. Somewhere in the middle, in the action-adventure slot, are the books of the Her Instruments series, which starts with permafree Earthrise. There’s also a sleeper series about one of Fleet’s military crews, the Stardancer, that I’m starting to develop now. That’s going to have a more classic Trek feel (“new adventure every week”).

earthrise-cover-for-ks

SLAUGHTER: You describe your Kherishdar stories as “genteel and meditative,” “dense and contemplative,” “provocative,” and “controversial.”  What is it about these stories that justifies these descriptions?

HOGARTH:  With Kherishdar I wanted to tackle the idea of a caste-based system that worked. This is a society where everyone has a proper place, and no, you don’t step outside it. We’re conditioned to think of that as appalling. But what conditions would apply, I wondered, to make it not so? What if they were right? Could I write that universe?

This is not a minor question, since every form of collectivism is blood-and-bone-anathema to me, from a familial history perspective.

So I embarked on this experiment (via crowdfunding—my readers paid for all 50 pieces of flash fiction in my original plan) and discovered that, yes, yes I could imagine a world where this worked. And it was profoundly uncomfortable to contemplate that world unless you immersed yourself in it, and its mindset. This is part of the reason I started developing its language so fully, so that we could “speak” the language and see what it did to us. The two flash fiction chapbooks led to a full-length novel (Black Blossom) about the power of negative ideas and how cultures can fail to intersect productively.

It’s worked out well enough that I’m serializing a new novel via Patreon. It’s a pleasure to have so many of my Ai-Naidari fans back (and using my own vocabulary to comment on events as they unfold!).

SLAUGHTER:  Compared to your other fiction, the Kherishdar series seems much more message oriented than entertainment oriented.  Lots of sociology and philosophy.  Like a parable.  What are the lessons we humans can learn from these other species?

HOGARTH:  I’m not sure anything I write is intentionally message-oriented, honestly. At least, it doesn’t come from a place where I want to lecture. I like using fiction to explore ideas and thoughts that would otherwise trouble me, or intrigue me: it’s a safe place to do that, and I invite my readers to come see what happens. But the ‘what happens’ is always the paramount thing. Any thought experiment is bloodless without involving characters you care about and a story you want, breathlessly, to reach the end of, just to see what happens next. The stories I want to share from Kherishdar are about how your relationship with your society affects everything about you. Maybe in the process, we question what kind of relationship that is, and whether we are giving ourselves to it fully enough. But that’s really between the reader and the text. What concerns me most is how any of that plays out for the characters: for the high priest of Shame, the gentle calligrapher, their guardian keepers, and now the Public Servant who has been tasked with the unenviable project of understanding aliens—us.

SLAUGHTER:  What can we learn about identity and gender from the Stone Moon trilogy?

HOGARTH:  It always makes me smile when people ask what I intended to say with gender in my series about the Jokka. Because there are three sexes (female, male, and neuter), and because you have two opportunities during puberty to flip to a new sex—and this is not under your control—people assume that I wanted to talk about gender identity. But the strongest thread for me in this setting was less about identity and more about the relationship between biology and society. Because the breeding sexes are fragile and tend toward early death or (more often) early senility, the population has been in a slow decline for generations. The powerful struggle in the Stone Moon trilogy is what you do when the needs of individuals and the needs of the species conflict. How does society solve that problem?

I won’t say that I found The Answer, because I don’t think there is a single answer. But we spend three books asking questions and seeing how the possible answers fall out, and I think that’s a valuable exercise.

I think by now you can sense a repeating theme in my work, which is about the intersection of the individual and their community.

SLAUGHTER:  Is it fair to describe your Godkindred series as your most humorous and is it fair to say that you and the main character make a deliberate effort not to take the plot too seriously?

HOGARTH:  I don’t know that I’d call the Godkindred saga humorous? But it’s supposed to be a lighter read, and fun in places. It gets awfully serious in other places, though—this is a book that I thought would be ‘fluffy’ and within the first third of the first book took on the morality of genocide. Whatever it might have started as, it became another series of opportunities to struggle with big questions. Having a furry on the cover doesn’t change that.

There are some funny scenes, though. I seem to recall at least one bubblebath with a griffin, fox, and snow leopard girl. The publisher asked me to illustrate that one…

SLAUGHTER:  Does Godkindred have a message about religion or are you just using religion to provide readers with an opportunity to have some fun?

HOGARTH:  My books always have some mention of religion, whether it’s an important part of the plot or an animating force for some of the characters. The Godkin’s religion requires its members to breed toward divinity, by choosing mates of different animal species. The more species in your bloodlines, the more ‘diffuse’ your animal characteristics and the closer to that godhead you come.

As you can imagine, this doesn’t go over well with the territories the Godkin are busy annexing into their empire. Maybe there’s a message there, but I suspect everyone’s going to take away a different one based on what they go into the book thinking. Certainly the main character finds it far more complex an issue than she thought going into the events of the novel.

SLAUGHTER:  Twin Kingdoms series:  “Technically a high fantasy romance novel, but with significant world-building. The leads are two composers, a hermaphrodite and a man, and there is a poly component with a true neuter human. Pastoral, low-conflict, and sweet.”  That’s mouthful of descriptions.  Can you break it down for us?

HOGARTH:  Hah! I think that’s the best I managed, in terms of reducing it to its component parts. Expanding it, I’d say that I wanted to write a romance novel that would appeal to me. Which meant it had to have good world-building. It had to eschew artificial inflation of tension through plot devices that distract from the relationship. And it had to be beautiful. Since I’ve always liked multiple sexes, I thought I’d go with human ones this time. This gave me a bonus opportunity to write asexual romances, which are some of my favorite kind. Book 2 in this series, in fact, is a romance between a male and a neuter (Cantor for Pearls).

Honestly, I loved doing the world-building for this setting. It has a magical system that is inherently unfair and concentrates power in one geographic location. The bitterness between that population and the countries around them is part of the texture, and gives me the chance to once again explore cross-cultural issues. Book 1’s protagonist falls in love with a member of the imperialist nation that destroyed his country and his culture. That’s an issue he has to spend multiple books working on. It was gratifying to me to have people read Thief of Songs and try to tell me that I’d made it too easy, only to have them go on to Book 2 and come back to say, ‘Oh, I see. This is a recurring theme. That’s a lot more realistic.’

SLAUGHTER:  A Rosary of Stones and Thorns:  “Old school urban fantasy, from the beforetimes when narrators didn’t have to be snarky or sexy.”  Did I miss a transition?  When and how did this happen?

HOGARTH:  I’m not sure when it happened, but at one point urban fantasy was Charles de Lint and now it’s a subgenre of paranormal romance. Don’t get me wrong, I love paranormal romance! And I like urban fantasy too. But I rarely see myself in the narrators of those novels. I don’t like snark. I’m not into sarcasm, which is often used as a form of emotional assault. And while I don’t mind everything being about sex in one or two series, you do sometimes want there to be another focus. Just for contrast, you know?

Rosary was one of my first novels. It’s an unabashed redemption fantasy. It’s got (asexual but very romantic) angels. It’s got a crazy mythology only barely based on Christian and Gnostic legends. Christians often don’t want to read it because it takes liberties; non-Christians are often afraid to try it because it looks too Christian. My poor little book. It’s really about how love is our salvation. I like to think that’s a theme that resonates with everyone. The people who do give it a chance usually tell me they re-read it every holiday season.

SLAUGHTER:  If they don’t breathe fire, and I assume they don’t hoard gold either, nor demand sacrifices, how can the creatures in The Laundry Dragons be identified as dragons?  In this form, how are they distinguishable from other species?  How do they fit into the canon of dragon literature?  Or am I overthinking it?

hogarth-laundry-dragons

HOGARTH:  It’s a kid’s book, Carl. You’re overthinking it. *grin*

SLAUGHTER:  How about some samples of the rhymes in The Laundry Dragons?

HOGARTH:  Here you go then:

They run the wash cycle
when they want to get clean
Hot water and bubbles
give them all a bright sheen!

Plus they like soaking,
and splashing and scrubbing:
there’s no laundry dragon
that dislikes washer hot tubbing.

I am not an amazing poet, mind. My decision to make children’s books had nothing to do with a feeling that I had any special talent in that regard. It was purely selfish: I wanted to read my daughter things, and I wasn’t find enough things I liked in the library/bookstore. So I did it myself (story of my life, here). By that measure, Laundry Dragons was a great success: not only did my daughter like it, but she proudly took it to school and handed it to her first grade teacher to read, and created singlehandedly an entire classroom full of Laundry Dragon fans. To this day, when I walk around her school, kids I can’t identify greet me and when I ask how on earth they know me, they say, ‘You’re so-and-so’s mom, the Famous Writer! I loved the Laundry Dragons!’

The second set of books I did, about Vinnie the Armadillo, also served this purpose (they gave me something to read to Daughter that we had a context for, in this case, books set in Florida with familiar flora and fauna). But by the time I wrote those, Daughter was old enough to watch and understand the process. I asked her what kind of plots would interest her, and what kind of messages she thought it would be important for kids to hear. I would print out drafts and read them to her and ask her opinion on each chapter. I’d show her the illustrations as I created them. She opined on the cover art (“You can’t put the unicorn on the cover, Mommy, or boys will never want to read it.”). I showed her how I uploaded it, and explained the process of approving the proof. Then I showed it to her on retail sites.

The insight this gave her into ‘Mommy’s job’ was immense. I still think of the Vinny the Armadillo books as collaborative works. We haven’t done anything similar since, but some part of me wonders if there won’t eventually be some Mommy/Daughter YA books because, once again, I don’t feel like there’s enough for us to read together.

SLAUGHTER:  Space marine sounds like an awfully generic term to me.  So explain the legal basis for the novel Spots the Space Marine getting pulled from Amazon and give us a thumbnail history of the resulting controversy.

HOGARTH:  There was no legal basis. It was a farce, based on an attempt by a foreign company to stretch its domestic and very narrow trademark to apply to properties it had no control over. Games Workshop had a trademark for space marine in the UK that applied to board games. It decided to see if it could convince Amazon that trademark should also apply to fiction in another country. Amazon didn’t want to take sides because they didn’t feel it was their business to make legal rulings, so they pulled the book.

You can read about it on Wikipedia. It was pretty disgusting. I’m grateful for the internet support that rallied around me, even if in my crusaders’ enthusiasm a lot of incorrect information was thrown around, including that I’m a single mom struggling to survive on my royalties. You can more properly imagine my husband comforting me while I cried at the injustice of it, and giving me the sage advice that helped me write the post that got the whole mess fixed.

It was miserable, though. I’m glad it’s over. And yes, you can buy the book on Amazon today.

mca-hogarth

SLAUGHTER:  Which speculative fiction Kickstarter campaigns have you been involved in and what lessons does From Spark to Finish have to offer?

HOGARTH:  Ah, Kickstarter. I’ve run 10 campaigns now, and all of them have succeeded. Four were for art. Six were for novels.

My strategy has always been to run short campaigns with modest goals that have a chance of overfunding, and then to sock away the profit to put into a new project. For a while I chained Kickstarters this way, seeding the new projects with the slush from the old. That was fun! And that experience is what led me to write the Kickstarter guide (From Spark to Finish: Running Your Kickstarter Campaign).

That book has checklists by the way. Checklists are mighty. Also cartoon jaguars, because cartoons.

SLAUGHTER:  Any speculative fiction Kickstarter campaigns in the near future?

HOGARTH:  Oh, certainly. Kickstarter is my favorite way to pay the cost of print and audiobook editions for my books, and I have several I’d like to put in that pipeline. I’m gratified to be living in a world with sites like Kickstarter and Patreon that allow us to work directly with our readers to make the things we both want happen. It’s empowering. It’s a great time to be a writer!

SLAUGHTER:  You do a lot of art.  Is it a hobby and/or to complement your fiction or do you also do it on a professional/commercial basis?

HOGARTH:  I think of myself as a storyteller, and art is just another medium to tell stories. I do consider myself a professional artist—I think I decided that the first time I sold an original painting for four digits—but I don’t do work-for-hire or commissions. Most of my work is either sold to buyers (the gallery/fine art model), or used for my own work. About half my books have my art for covers; some have interior art, as well. And I’m always drawing to explore the settings I’m making, or the characters, so there’s a lot of plot-based work as well. I’ve taken to putting some of those in the backmatter of novels, since readers have told me they enjoy seeing them.

I love writing, but I ‘think out loud’ with a pencil in my hand.

SLAUGHTER:  Any new novels/series in the work?

HOGARTH:  There are always new novels in the works. My production schedule is ‘3-4 novels a year, plus ancillary books’ where ancillary equals coloring books, or nonfiction, or kids’ books. I actually do make publishing schedules at the beginning of every year, and follow guidelines I set in place a while back; for example, ‘at least two installments in a current series or major setting’ is one of those guidelines.

Honestly, I like working. I feel a little weird in the head if I’m not writing, so 3-4 novels isn’t that hard for me. If it takes too much longer, my head starts feeling congested and I find myself walking into walls because I don’t have any cycles left to pay attention to my environment.

SLAUGHTER:  What does being SFWA VP involve?

HOGARTH:  Most volunteer work… you make of it what you put into it, I think. For me, the job involves supporting the president (because Cat Rambo is an awesome SFWA President) and finding ways to help our members make more money. Money gives you freedom: the freedom to write that story that might not make as much as your bestselling series; the freedom to walk away from bad contracts and bad business partners; the freedom to experiment; the freedom to work without fearing where your next meal is coming from.

We writers are at a point where so many bets are just off. We’re drowning in opportunities because the waves of change are so strong. It’s hard to know which way to paddle to get to shore. It’s terrifying and exhilarating and frankly exhausting, and I know this because I’ve been determinedly swimming in these waters for years now. I was serializing fiction for money in the early 2000s before ‘crowdfunding’ was a word, following in the footsteps of other internet pioneers who’d made it seem like there was a way to turn my presence online into an asset that would buy my family bread. Sometimes I was one of the first people to do something. Sometimes someone else’s footsteps showed there’d been someone there before me, and that trailblazer had left warnings about the dangers ahead. My gratitude for those trailblazers is immense, and whenever I can, I try to pay it forward.

More than anything, I want to help my peers find the shore, find the trail, find that point where their bliss and their paychecks coincide. For a lot of us, that’s not going to be a perfect fit, and there will be compromises. But they’ll be better compromises for having had the help.

This, then, is my focus as VP. Communicate the knowledge. Bring more of our peers into our space so they can share what they’ve learned. Find ways to make our authors more accessible to readers. Find ways to help them grow their businesses and their careers.

SLAUGHTER:  Any advice to aspiring speculative fiction writers?

HOGARTH:  Go out into some sunny park, alone, and give yourself some time to really understand what you want out of writing. What constitutes success to you? Is it being able to complete a story and have it out of your head? Is it being really good at crafting stories, and improving every time you write one? Is it money? How much money would be enough? Enough to buy coffee? A meal once a month? Pay one bill? Pay all your bills? Or is it awards? How many? Which ones? Do you want to be read widely, or would it be enough to be read by a small number of super-enthusiastic people? Do you want to be a name, or do you just want to quietly do your thing and not be bothered?

Many, many people will challenge your choices; sadly, even more will deride them. Your only armor against this is to be satisfied with those choices. Understanding your own motivations and goals will help you make the right decisions for your career.

Just think of yourself as one of your characters. That way, you’ll know how to write your happy ending.

SOCIAL MEDIA

MCAH@DeviantArt: A good place to go for highlights;

Art Archive@Stardancer.Org: Hogarth has over 3000 sketches and finished pieces here, with descriptions, searchable and browse-able.

MCAH@FurAffinity: I also have a FurAffinity account, for those who prefer it to DA, and use it in much the same way (almost entirely finished pieces).

Pixel Scroll 9/30/16 How Much For Just the Pixels?

(1) WRITERS WITH POWER? Having lived through the days when few sf authors had any kind of industry prestige, I’m impressed how many genre writers are included in “Hollywood’s 25 Most Powerful Authors 2016”, compiled by The Hollywood Reporter. The list begins with Patrick Ness, and Lauren Oliver, drops Margaret Atwood in the middle, and spots Rowling at #1, Stephen King at #2, and George R.R. Martin at #4. Neil Gaiman and Diana Gabaldon are in there, too.

(2) QUESTION TIME. Shana DuBois has unveiled a new installment of a popular feature at B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog, “Mind Meld: The Imagined Possibilities of Science Fiction”.

In Istvan Csicsery-Ronay’s The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction, he states works of science fiction “may be credible projections of present trends or fantastic images of imagined impossibilities. Or an amalgam of both.”

Q: Do you enjoy science fiction that is more a reflection of where today’s society could be headed in the near future, or science fiction that reflects a far, far future, and why? What are some recent works you’ve enjoyed?

The participants are S. C. Flynn, Michael R. Underwood, Laura Anne Gilman, Andrea Phillips, K. C. Alexander, and Malka Older.

(3) CAT RAMBO AUTHOR NEWSLETTER. Cat Rambo sent a link to her newsletter:

Usually I don’t make my newsletter public, but I did so today so people can see a sampling what it’s like: http://us6.campaign-archive1.com/?u=5c1e6d30440f85da8e0ac39d3&id=5befcbc8ca

One of the news items is about — The Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers.

On October 1, Rachel Swirsky and Juliette Wade will launch their classes in the Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers. The following week I’ll be announcing four single session workshops for October-December: the long-promised space opera class with Ann Leckie, live classes with Swirsky and Wade, and one solo workshop.

(4) WHO REVIEWS MOST BOOKS BY POC? James Davis Nicoll is not one to hold a grudge. He’ll tell you so – read “A challenge for Rising Shadows, Foundation, SFS, Analog, Asimov’s, Vector, F&SF, SFX, and Locus”

Nobody who made Strange Horizons’ annual count—still not holding a grudge—has reviewed as many books by POC as I have.

Nicoll is speaking of Strange Horizons’ “The 2015 SF Count”. The editors there explain:

Welcome to the sixth Strange Horizons “SF count” of representation in SF reviewing. The goal of the count is straightforward: for the last calendar year, for a range of SF review venues, to calculate the gender and race balance of books reviewed, and of reviewers.

Despite being just about the most prolific reviewer in the field, a review-writing dynamo, Nicoll is not included in the Strange Horizons survey. Maybe if he pretended  to be a magazine?

(5) FUNDRAISER. Family members of the Yosts have started a GoFundMe page to benefit the two girls, ages 6 and 8, who survived the murders reported here the other day.

I am a family member of the Yost Family and even typing these words out now still doesnt make it real.  The unimaginable as happened to two little innocent girls who are now left with out parents to raise them.  Our hearts are completely broken and will miss them every single day that passes.  We will remember the good times we had and remind these two beautiful girls of how much they were loved by their parents.  The girls are 6 and 8 and will need all the help they can get in this extremely tragic event.

Every donation received will be to help for future care of these children.

Our family sends our deepest gratitude for any help.  Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.  We truly appreciate all of your help and kind words while our family mourns the loss of two beloved family members.

(6) GOLDEN DUCK. Still catching up with awards announced in August.

2016 Golden Duck Awards

The 2016 Golden Duck Awards were announced by Doug Drummond and Helen Gbala at MidAmeriCon II on August 18.

  • Picture Book Interstellar Cinderella, by Deborah Underwoon (author) and Meg Hunt (illustrator) (Chronicle)
  • Eleanor Cameron Award for Middle Grade Fuzzy Mud, by Louis Sacher (Delacorte)
  • Hal Clement Award for Young Adult Armada, by Ernest Cline (Crown)

(7) KANSAS CITY BBQ. Scott Edelman and David Levine sat down for barbecue while attending the Worldcon, and that culinary inspiration led to Episode 19 of the Eating the Fantastic podcast.

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We talked about the things being a science fiction fan for so long taught him about being a professional science fiction writer, what it was like contributing to George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards universe after having read the series since Day One, how pretending to live on Mars for two weeks helped him write his newly published novel Arabella of Mars, and much more.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY

  • September 30, 1988 Elvira, Mistress of the Dark premieres in theaters.

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • Born September 30, 1924 — Truman Capote.

And what, you may ask, is his connection to sf/f?

After a rejection notice from the pulp magazine Weird Tales, Ray Bradbury sent his short story “Homecoming” to Mademoiselle Magazine. There it was spotted by a young editorial assistant named Truman Capote, who rescued the manuscript from the slush pile and helped get it published in the magazine. “Homecoming” won a place in The O. Henry Prize Stories of 1947.  This was the first publication of a Ray Bradbury story in the mainstream.

(10) FAN FUND OF NEW ZEALAND. The FFANZ administrators have announced that Lynelle Howell is running to be the fund’s delegate to Continuum 13, in Melbourne, 2017:

The Fan Fund for Australia and New Zealand was created to strengthen the ties between Australian and New Zealand fandom.  FFANZ assists fans with travel to the Natcon of the other nation, and assists with as many of the attendant costs of travel as practical, as well as facilitating connections between fans.

This year’s FFANZ race is a westward bound one, facilitating travel by a New Zealand fan to the 56th Australian Speculative Fiction National Convention, Continuum XIII – Triskaidekaphilia, to be held in Melbourne, Victoria, over Queen’s Birthday Weekend, 9th-12th June, 2017. It is expected that after the trip the winner takes over as administrator of the fund, engages in fundraising for the fund, and that they promote links between the two fandoms via a trip report or other means.

Click the link above for the candidate’s platform, and her nominators’ statements.

(11) FREAKY FRIDAY MUSICAL. The Washington Post’s Jane Horwitz writes about the Disney-backed Freaky Friday musical, opening at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia this weekend, including how the show is simultaneously based on the Mary Rodgers novel, the first Disney movie, the second Disney movie and the 1995 TV movie and how stars Emma Bunton and Heidi Blickenstaff really like working together.

(12) WHAT DIDN’T MAKE IT TO THE PAGE. Some things are better left untold.

(13) HIDEOUS TO BEHOLD. The Good Show Sir blog promises to post “Only the worst Sci-Fi/Fantasy book covers. The amazing thing is, they never run out!

There are many pieces of cover art that are beautiful to behold. Yet, there are others which exhibit a rarer, odd form of beauty. We think that such conflicts of focal points, lettering choices, false perspectives, anatomical befuddlement, ridiculous transport vehicles, oversized and frankly unusable monster-hunting weaponry, clothing choices that would get you killed walking down the street let alone hiking a through a frozen wasteland, clichéd cat-people, and downright bad art deserve their own special form of tribute.

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch

The Hammer and the Horn

I think they’re living up to their promise….!

[Thanks to JJ, Scott Edelman, Michael J. Walsh, Hampus Eckerman, Cat Rambo, James Davis Nicoll, DMS, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day ULTRAGOTHA.]

2015 Cóyotl Awards

coyotl-banner

The winners of the 2015 Cóyotl Awards, presented by the Furry Writers’ Guild for the Best Anthropomorphic Literature of the 2015 calendar year, were announced August 13 at the Rocky Mountain Fur Con in Denver.

BEST NOVEL

Winner

  • Barsk: The Elephant’s Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen (Tor Books, December 2015)

Runners-Up

  • Forest Gods by Ryan Campbell (Sofawolf Press, September 2015)
  • The Long Road Home by Rukis (FurPlanet Productions, July 2015)
  • Rat’s Reputation by Michael H. Payne (Sofawolf Press,
  • Windfall by Tempe O’Kun (FurPlanet Productions, July 2015)

BEST NOVELLA

Winner

  • Koa of the Drowned Kingdom by Ryan Campbell (FurPlanet Productions, September 2015)

Runner-Up

  • Losing My Religion by Kyell Gold (FurPlanet Productions, September 2015)

BEST SHORT STORY

Winner

  • The Analogue Catby Alice “Huskyteer” Dryden (in The Furry Future, ed. by Fred Patten; FurPlanet Productions, January 2015)

Runners-Up

  • Bullet Tooth Clawby Marshall L. Moseley (in Inhuman Acts, ed. by Ocean Tigrox; FurPlanet Productions, September 2015)
  • Muskrat Bluesby Ianus J. Wolf (in Inhuman Acts, ed. by Ocean Tigrox; FurPlanet Productions, September 2015)

BEST ANTHOLOGY

Winner

  • Inhuman Acts edited by Ocean Tigrox (FurPlanet Productions, September 2015)

Runners-Up

  • The Furry Future edited by Fred Patten (FurPlanet Productions, January 2015)
  • ROAR Volume 6 edited by Mary E. Lowd (Bad Dog Books, July 2015)

[Thanks to Fred Patten for the story.]

Furry Murder

Frank Felix, 25, Sun Valley and Josh Acosta, 21, Fort Irwin, have been arrested in connection with the three murders that occurred September 25 in Fullerton.

Frank Felix, 25, Sun Valley and Josh Acosta, 21, Fort Irwin, have been arrested in connection with the three murders that occurred September 24 in Fullerton.

Four people associated with a triple homicide in Fullerton (CA) on September 24 were involved in the Southern California furry community reports the Orange County Register — one of the victims, two men charged with the murder, and an unnamed teenager who may also be charged.

Christopher Yost, 34; his wife, Jennifer Yost, 39; and their friend Arthur Boucher, 28, were found dead in the Yost home in Fullerton on Saturday morning. Two of the couple’s daughters, ages 6 and 9, were home when police arrived. The younger girl alerted police by calling 911, saying their parents had died.

On Sunday morning, police arrested Frank Felix, 25, of Sun Valley; Joshua Acosta, a 21-year-old U.S. Army mechanic based at Fort Irwin; and a 17-year-old female on suspicion of murder.

The trio were arrested after police had asked for the public’s help in finding Jennifer Yost’s missing daughter, Katlynn, who is 17.

Katlynn Yost was located, but police said state law prevents them from saying whether she was the arrested teenager.

According to reports from KTLA, the teenager is expected to face murder charges as well.

Katlynn, known on the OC Furry Facebook Fan Page as Daydreamer, was reported to the group as missing on Sunday.

The Register interviewed the SoCal Furs videographer Christopher Parque-Johnson.

“A lot of people in our community were devastated,” said Christopher Parque-Johnson, 23, of Garden Grove, an artist, performer and videographer for the SoCal Furs, which has members from San Luis Obispo to San Diego. “I’ve been hearing from a lot of people. It bothered everybody.

“It makes no sense.”

Parque-Johnson led a group of furries, as they call themselves, to the site of the homicides Sunday night. They laid roses, left cards and lit candles to honor victim Jennifer Yost, Parque-Johnson said, because she was a mother figure to the SoCal Furs. The two men accused in the killings are also furries, as is Yost’s daughter Katlynn Goodwin Yost, Parque-Johnson said.

“All of them were always nice to everybody,” said Parque-Johnson, known in the furry community as Bandit, a raccoon inspired by the film “Over the Hedge.”

The Los Angeles Times carried details of the charges against the two men arrested in the murders.

A soldier in the U.S. Army and another man were charged with murder Tuesday in connection with the slaying of a Fullerton couple and their friend over the weekend, according to authorities.

Pfc. Joshua Acosta, 21, of Ft. Irwin in San Bernardino County, and Frank Sato Felix, 25, of Sun Valley, each face three felony counts of murder, with special circumstance allegations of multiple murder, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.

Prosecutors also charged Acosta with a sentencing enhancement because he used a firearm, according to the district attorney’s office. Both men have been ordered held without bail. If convicted, the men face a sentence of at least life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Parque-Johnson also told the Orange County Register quite a bit of background about furries which was published in the article.

Parque-Johnson said he knew the two men and Katlynn Yost, who identifies herself as a furry on her Facebook and Twitter accounts, but did not associate them with one another.

“We’ve never seen them huddled together,” Parque-Johnson said. “We didn’t know them as friends of each other.”

Parque-Johnson said he was closest with Jennifer Yost.

“People looked up to her,” he said. “A lot of people cared about her.”

Joshua Acosta and Frank Felix were helpful in setting up and breaking down weekend events, Parque-Johnson said.

“They were trying to be outstanding citizens,” Parque-Johnson said.

Furries have been around since the 1980s. They admire anthropomorphic animals – characters that walk on two feet and speak like humans. Most of them are “non-suiters,” meaning they don’t spend $1,000 to $5,000 or more on full-body animal costumes. Instead, they create characters and wear badges with their characters displayed.

Parque-Johnson said furries have been unfairly characterized in the media as a group of sexual deviants. Sexual activity involving some people in furry costumes has happened in the three-decade history of the furries, according to media accounts.

“If we see it, we don’t allow those people back,” Parque-Johnson said. “We feel that behavior would be very inappropriate in our group. We think that is very weird.”

The furry community comprises mostly adults under 30, although there are some older furries who were fans of Disney movies involving animals with human characteristics such as in “Robin Hood.”

Furries watch movies, play video games, draw pictures and trade cards, Parque-Johnson said.

“People come to us to get away from the negative stuff in life,” he said.

Malcolm Cross, MilSF, and Piracy

By Carl Slaughter: Malcolm Cross does military science fiction. He also gets pirated.

His novel Extinction Biome: Invasion, co-authored with Anne Tibbets and published under the house name Addison Gunn), was released in five eBook novellas earlier in 2016, culminating in a collected print edition in June. His novel Dog Country came out in the spring. “Dangerous Jade” won the Ursa Major Award for best anthropomorphic short fiction.

“Pavlov’s House”, published by Strange Horizons, was pirated by the now notorious Hungarian sf magazine Galaktika. File 770 has been providing ongoing coverage of the Galaktika investigation.

Extinction Biome Invasion

Extinction Biome

The Earth was never ours…

Alex Miller trained for years in the Army, waiting for a war that never came. Now a corporate bodyguard and driver, he’s about to bear witness to the end of the human race.

An ancient ecology has reawakened, and like a Biblical plague it threatens to consume all life on Earth. Hordes of parasite-infected humans riot in the streets, as vast fungal blooms destroy our crops and fast-evolving horrors stalk our cities.

The last time this happened, T-Rex found itself on the menu. But mankind’s got more than teeth – it’s got guns. Miller and the men and women of COBALT, the Schaeffer-Yeager Corporation’s elite security team, are pressed into service to fight the onslaught, but they have no idea how cut-throat their company masters can be…

Praise for Extinction Biome:

“Ruthless and fast-paced, Extinction Biome is a planetary gut-punch.”

— Weston Ochse, award-winning author of Grunt Life and Seal Team 666

Dog Country cover

Dog Country

A crowdfunded civil war is Azerbaijan’s only hope against its murderous dictatorship. The war is Edane Estian’s only chance to find out if he’s more than what he was designed to be.

He’s a clone soldier, gengineered from a dog’s DNA and hardened by a brutal training regime. He’d be perfect for the job if an outraged society hadn’t intervened, freed him at age seven, and placed him in an adopted family.

Is he Edane? Cathy and Beth’s son, Janine’s boyfriend, valued member of his MilSim sports team? Or is he still White-Six, serial number CNR5-4853-W6, the untroubled killing machine?

By joining a war to protect the powerless, he hopes to become more than the sum of his parts.

Without White-Six, he’ll never survive this war. If that’s all he can be, he’ll never leave it.

Praise for Dog Country:

“Very much informed by 1980s cyberpunk fiction. The richly staccato narration and dialogue-heavy scenes carry the distinctive generic DNA of sexualised, late-modern (and postmodern) cityscapes fed through Raymond Chandler, Ian Fleming and Jack Kerouac.”

— Dr. Robin Stoate (co-author, BFI Film Classics: Back to the Future)

“Cross shows an extremely distinctive voice, staying so much in the viewpoint character’s head that it borders on stream of consciousness. … there are few genuine stylists among furry authors and even fewer this good.”

“Opening with a powerful, visceral chapter, Dog Country is a novel that grips your imagination from the start and doesn’t let go. … Both in terms of the larger, fractured political situation as well as the immediate, intense military action, Cross has created a remarkable novel.”

SOCIAL MEDIA

Website: http://www.sinisbeautiful.com/
Twitter: @foozzzball
Amazon Author Page: Malcolm-F.-Cross

Gods With Fur Anthology

Gods with Fur

Fred Patten’s newest anthology, Gods with Fur, will go on sale at Anthrocon 2016 at the end of this month.  Published by FurPlanet Productions, the trade paperback book contains 23 original stories by Kyell Gold, Mary E. Lowd, Michael H. Payne, and more, featuring the gods of anthropomorphic worlds and the anthropomorphic gods of our world.

You may know about Egyptian mythology’s jackal-headed Anubis, but do you know about wolf-headed Wepwawet?  You may know about China’s Monkey King or the native North Americans’ Coyote (well, they say they’re gods), but do you know about the Aztecs’ 400 drunken rabbits?

Here are historic gods, the gods of their authors’ series (Kyell Gold’s Forrester University; Heidi Vlach’s Aligare, Kris Schnee’s TaleSpace), and totally original gods:

  • “400 Rabbits” by Alice “Huskyteer” Dryden
  • “Contract Negotiations” by Field T. Mouse
  • “On the Run from Isofell” by M. R. Anglin
  • “To the Reader …” by Alan Loewen
  • “First Chosen” by BanWynn Oakshadow
  • “All Of You Are In Me” by Kyell Gold
  • “Yesterday’s Trickster” by NightEyes DaySpring
  • “The Gods of Necessity” by Jefferson Swycaffer
  • “The Precession of the Equinoxes” by Michael H. Payne
  • “Deity Theory” by James L. Steele
  • “Questor’s Gambit” by Mary E. Lowd
  • “Fenrir’s Saga” by Televassi
  • “The Three Days of the Jackal” by Samuel C. Conway
  • “A Melody in Seduction’s Arsenal” by Slip-Wolf
  • “Adversary’s Fall” by MikasiWolf
  • “As Below, So Above” by Mut
  • “Wings of Faith” by Kris Schnee
  • “The Going Forth of Uadjet” by Frances Pauli
  • “That Exclusive Zodiac Club” byichael  Fred Patten
  • “Three Minutes to Midnight” by Killick (Tom Mullins)
  • “A Day With No Tide” by Watts Martin
  • “Repast (A Story of Aligare)” by Heidi C. Vlach
  • “Origins” by Michael D. Winkle

Gods with Fur ($19.95, 453 pp., cover by Teagan Gavet) will be on sale at Anthrocon 2016 on June 30 – July 3, at the FurPlanet table in the Dealers’ Den, and on the FurPlanet online catalogue later in July.