Tag Archives: literature

The Furry Canon: Watership Down (Roundtable)

This article in our series debating the Furry Canon is a roundtable discussion of Watership Down by Richard Adams, first published in 1972. Your panelists are JM, Jakebe and Huskyteer.

JM

Jakebe, Huskyteer

Thanks for letting me lead off this roundtable exploration of Watership Down for the [adjective][species] Furry Canon project. Jakebe, I know that this is a book close to your heart, as it is close to the heart of many lapine furries, and by asking me to read and comment you’re risking have me piss all over something personally important.

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The Furry Canon: The Chronicles of Narnia

Guest post by HuskyteerHuskyteer writes stories and poems about talking animals. Most of these are published within the furry fandom, but sometimes one escapes into the wild. She enjoys motorcycle adventures, aviation museums, karate and cider.

It’s one of the most iconic moments in literature. Even if you haven’t read the books, or seen a TV or cinema adaptation, you’re probably familiar with the image of a little girl walking through the back of a wardrobe into a snowy forest lit by an old-fashioned streetlamp. Both the scene and the title of the book – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – are sufficiently recognisable to be used as shorthand and appear in parody.

If that scene is all you know, it’s worth delving deeper. As well as the wise and noble, but also slightly terrifying, Aslan – ‘not a tame lion’ – there are creatures ranging from sublime unicorns to ridiculous but heroic mice. Badgers, bears, moles, mice, not to mention non-humans like centaurs, fauns and dryads (the Narnian mythos tends towards the classical).

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Looking at post-con depression through a lens of literary theory

When I first heard about the concept of post-con depression, the idea made a lot of sense. We have a massive community of people who meet each other over sites like Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, and various furry art hubs. These groups of people travel across or fly over states, countries or in some cases continents and oceans to see these online friends possibly once a year for a weekend, if that.

That’s already bittersweet.

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The Furry Canon: Black Beauty

Would I recommend Anna Sewell’s 1877 classic Black Beauty for inclusion in the furry canon? Yes, but with one qualification: the book’s central conceit is innovatively furry; the rest of the book is not.

I will begin with the furry element of Black Beauty: it is, as its subtitle proclaims, the auto-biography of a horse. More than just the story of a particular, modern horse’s life—not merely as a symbolic or allegorical gesture—it is a horse’s life told in the first person. In his own voice, Beauty guides us through the daily adventures and boredoms of a horse’s life, commenting on his masters’ behavior, his material condition, and his emotive reaction to it all. Though Beauty never vocalizes an English word, he is a talking horse by virtue of the fact that he addresses us.

And I am sorry to say it, but this is the extent of the book’s anthropomorphism. Despite his internal rational faculties, Beauty is definitely a horse. Throughout the entire book, I waited for him to act in some way that would reflect the thoughtfulness of his narration, but no: this is not a fantasy, and Sewell makes sure that Black Beauty’s behavior fits solidly within equine parameters.

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The Furry Canon: Animal Farm

This article is an updated version of a piece published on [adjective][species] in March 2012.

Animal Farm is George Orwell’s 1945 classic novel.

Orwell is considered to be one of the great authors and Animal Farm, along with Nineteen Eighty-Four, is considered to be one of his masterpieces. Animal Farm follows the story of anthropomorphic animals that overthrow their human farmer master and run the farm on their own terms.

I re-read Animal Farm with the idea that I would review it for [adjective][species]. I was planning to conclude that it’s a great book, and a great furry book, that all furries should read it, and it’s an easy book to recommend to the [adjective][species] Furry Canon.

I have re-read Animal Farm, but I’m not recommending to the Furry Canon. Read something else.

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The Furry Canon: Redwall

Article by Toledo (@toledothehorse). To the furry community, Toledo has mainly been an amateur artist. But since he can’t stop his brain from analyzing furry things, he has decided to put his hoof to the keyboard more often.

I’ve been around the fandom in some fashion for fifteen years. Even longer have I had fleshspace friends who sang Brian Jacques’s praises. But before this week, I had never read anything Redwall. Somehow I’d avoided reading about all those medieval mice and rabbits and otters. Of course, part of that is explicable: before I encountered the furry fandom, the only animals in which I’d had any interest were dinosaurs and dragons. Little woodland creatures put me right off. I also had little interest in anything medieval until around the same time1. Between these two apathies, I’d missed the prime years for Redwall fandom.

Essentially, I am evaluating whether Redwall deserves to be a part of the [adjective][species] Furry Canon without a hint of nostalgia. I do not present this as a claim of objectivity, of course, but only that of an outsider looking in—and to make clear my relationship with the text.

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Between Erotic Fantasy and Realist Horror

This is a roundtable review of Bonds of Silver, Bonds of Gold by Kristina Tracer, which is available as a paperback from Furplanet or as an ebook from Amazon. Your reviewers are Miriam “Camio” Curzon, and [adjective][species] regular JM.

Camio is an academic writer first and writer of fiction second, with a graduate degree in gender studies. They specialize in queer theory and popular media studies, and recently became a member of the Furry Writers’ Guild.


JM

Camio, thanks for participating in this roundtable review of Kristina Tracer’s Bonds of Silver, Bond of Gold. I’m sure we’ll have plenty to talk about.

Bonds is a furry fantasy novel, following the travails of a young slave who ends up being instrumental in the resolution of a conflict between two neighbouring lands. The basic plot is breezy and fast-moving, but the real meat of Bonds is the exploration of sexual slavery. It’s challenging stuff.

Before we go any further, I’ll warn readers that our discussion will include spoilers. Bonds also has many explicit rape scenes, and we’ll be talking about those too.

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The Role of Criticism Within Furry, or: Buy This Article

The majority of furries create and contribute to our community in one way or another. Few furries are just consumers.

Our art encompasses a wide range of media, with a focus on creations that help bring our imaginary furry world to life. We have a lot of visual artists and a lot of writers, and it’s no surprise that two of our biggest online gathering places—Fur Affinity and SoFurry—were originally settled by each of these two groups.

With so many contributors and contributions, it’s inevitable that the quality of art is often pretty poor. That’s a good thing, because we are an inclusive community, where the emphasis is on contributing and sharing, rather some race for a prize. Furries draw and furries write because they enjoy the process, and because they are contributing to the collective community. In many cases, people hope to improve and aspire to take their art further. It’s the sort of collaborative environment that creates artists, and we within furry can be proud to have bred and encouraged so many talented people.

Some artists—the focus of this piece is on furry writing, but it equally applies to visual art—look to sell their works, in either hard-copy format or as ebooks. Those works that are for sale, ideally, should represent the best of furry writing and be worth their cost to the buyer. Sadly that is not always the case.

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Wolf Totem

Wolf Totem is a 2004 novel about a young Han Chinese student who travels to Inner Mongolia, and finds himself making a personal and spiritual connection with the indigenous wolves.

It is not a specifically furry book, but it explores themes that will resonate with many furries who have an introspective and personal connection to their species of choice. This flavour of furry can be seen as animism, where we imagine that we have a spiritual* connection with a non-human animal.

* Spiritual, roughly, means “not real” or “not tangible”. I include this definition to avoid looking overly fruity.

Our student’s connection with the wolves is, more or less, a furry one. He doesn’t imagine himself a lupine animal-person but he does feel a close connection with wolves in general. He explores his bespoke spirituality via the more structured totemism of the Mongols, which gives the book its title.

Wolf Totem is a book worth exploring if you identify with an animistic version of furry, especially if you are a wolf. It’s also worth reading for its visceral, bloodthirsty, violent set pieces, which rival anything I have ever seen or read.

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King Crow, and Other Stories

King Crow is a well-regarded novel, written by Michael Stewart and published in 2011. It’s a tale of a young man who is exploring identity—his own and that of other people—as if everyone were anthropomorphic birds. The young man is introverted, hyper-focussed on specifics, and unable to grasp complex social dynamics.

It opens: When I look at people, I wonder what sort of birds they are.

There’s a pretty good argument that King Crow, with its anthropomorphics and its exploration of the challenges of being an introverted young man, is the sort of thing that furries would be interested in.

And yet few furries will have heard of King Crow, and even fewer will have read it. It’s very likely that you, reader, are hearing about it for the first time in this article, and that you’ll never hear of it ever again. King Crow isn’t on the furry radar.

But this article isn’t really about King Crow. This is about what furries are choosing to read instead, and it’s not found in the literary fiction section.

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