Author: Watts Martin

Slow popcorn: The Rise of the Red Shadow

The Rise of the Red Shadow By Joseph R. Lallo Cover Art by Nick Deligaris 439 pp., $2.99 (ebook), $16.00 (trade paperback) Amazon Publishing Services/CreateSpace From the 1950s up through the 1980s, the paperback original dominated genre fiction. Some became undeniable classics—the Ace Science Fiction Specials included the first publications of Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, William Gibson’s Neuromancer and Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Wild Shore—but most aimed less at dazzling critics than at presenting rousing adventure tales. They might rarely be your Favorite Book Ever, yet if you got hooked on an author—or a series—you’d grab title after title. Unless you’ve got the next Dresden Files, though, major publishers aren’t interested in those kinds of titles anymore. This has opened a gap for self-published and small press ebooks to fill. Series like Annie Bellet’s The Twenty-Sided Sorceress and, closer to home, Phil Geusz’s David Birkenhead septology would fit beside 1980s stalwarts like Diane Duane and Alan Dean Foster. Amazon and Goodreads are full of well-loved series—far more than there were in the …

Exploring Abandoned Places

Abandoned Places Edited by Tarl “Voice” Hoch Cover Art by Kappy Rayne Interior Art by Silent Ravyn 346 pp., $19.95 (ebook, $9.95) FurPlanet Productions, November 2014 Tarl Hoch’s Abandoned Places isn’t the first furry horror-themed anthology,1 but the genre includes relatively unmined territory for anthropomorphic fiction. More intriguingly, many of the voices presented here are relatively new to the scene, or at least to the anthology circuit. Hoch himself may be best known in the fandom as one of the co-hosts of the Fangs and Fonts podcast. Authors include novelists Ryan Campbell, James L. Steele and Ben Goodridge, as well as a few authors known more for explicit work, like Rechan and Kandrel.

Is What Happens Next the right question?

What Happens Next: An anthology of sequels Edited by Fred Patten Cover Art by Sara Miles 424 pp., $19.95 FurPlanet Productions, July 2013 Other than annual awards collections, mainstream fantasy and science fiction anthologies have all but vanished. Furrydom, though, has an infatuation with them. We pump out several a year, nearly always of original fiction and nearly always themed: cyberpunk, Halloween, science fiction, gay erotica featuring farmboy foxes. Whether readers share this enthusiasm for anthologies with writers, though, seems murkier. In What Happens Next, an anthology from 2013, each story connects to a published story from furry’s past. At first blush there’s a logic to this. What sells most consistently in genre fiction has long been the serial, from E.E. Doc Smith’s Lensman series through Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. Kyell Gold‘s popularity is in no small part due to the Argaea and Dev & Lee series. Yet the chances are slim that a reader who isn’t deeply invested in stories produced by furrydom over the last quarter-century will know all or even most of …

Regrouping

In the original “Welcome to Claw & Quill” article from a year ago I said, with unintentional foresight, Part of what’s made Claw & Quill tough to get off the ground is that it’s hard to describe just what it is. It’s a magazine for furries—but not a fiction magazine or a news magazine, not art or comics. It’s not about furry-as-a-noun, in the sense of lifestyle and identity. It’s not necessarily even a “magazine for furries” the way most people might take that phrase. You may not be shocked to learn that this kind of nebulousness makes it tough to write for. So, after a lot of behind-the-scenes shuffling, C&Q is relaunching using WordPress rather than its own custom back end. The rationale for this is two-fold, both relating to making it easier to generate new content. As much as I like the notion of issues, it’s going to be easier to get new articles up if I don’t have to wait to collect four or five in batches. It’s also going to be …