Furry Writers' Guild Forum

Recommended Reading

Hey guys! Feel free to post any form of written work that you’d recommend others read. The only two rules are 1) Don’t post your own material, and 2) post a short synopsis of the work so that potential readers can pick based on what interests them.

I’ll start off by posting wwwolf’s The Changing Times (http://www.furaffinity.net/view/11428103/)

Synopsis: "Johnathan Pennyfare is in the prime of his life. Young and well-to-do, he’s fighting to find his place in rural Sussex as England is caught in the throws of the Industrial Revolution. Good thing he has the love of beautiful Emma Talbot to ground him. Their names will be on everybody’s lips once he proposes to her at tonight’s social.

He has only a single task before leaving for the manor house. Some newfangled scientist is seeking his patronage. Unbeknownst to Johnathan, the frightful Doctor Robenson is more frantic for funds than he appears. In an effort to ensure Johnathan’s support Robenson infects him with his latest invention, an elixir made from the great British symbol, the lion. Johnathan must now support the foul man if he hopes to find a cure.

Now not only must Johnathan dance the intricate social ritual of marrying good Miss. Talbot, but also hide the physical changes as he slowly transforms into something that would be better seen in a freak show."

Overall it was a good read, not standard ‘furry’ material while still being furry, and my only complaint was the over-frequent use of paragraph breaks.

Asking for book recommendations on a writer’s forum? Prepare for your inbox to be inundated.

I’ll take the plunge and give one that isn’t furry, although it does feature talking “animals”. The His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman has got to be one of my favorite series to date. It’s somewhat popular, although I’m a bit disappointed it isn’t more-so. That’s more than likely a result of the heavy almost anti-religious influence in the series, though. There are three in the main His Dark Materials series: Northern Lights (renamed in the US to The Golden Compass), The Subtle Knife, and the Amber Spyglass. There are a few supplemental books that haven’t all been released yet that are not technically part of the main trilogy.

Synopsis for the first novel pulled from Amazon:

Lyra Belacqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jodan College, with her daemon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle—a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armored bears. And as she hurtles toward danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win, or to lose, this more-than-mortal battle.

I just got done listening to The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lax. Was a really interesting read! One of those non-fiction books that kind of reads like a fiction book.

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance.

I’ve actually written several blog posts for recommendations.

Furry Old School relates to all the old furry stories posted online that I read in the late 90s and early 2000s. In another I share my favorite Non-Furry books - books I’ve given 5 and 4 stars to that I think are worth recommending.

I’m bad at recommending furry lit, because I rate it on a significantly more lenient scale than I do regular lit.

I just finished Lookaway, Lookaway by Wilton Barnhardt (http://www.amazon.com/Lookaway-A-Novel-Wilton-Barnhardt-ebook/dp/B009LRWJX4). I’m going to get my paws warmed up for writing by typing out this review, which I’ll cross-post to my FA account.

If I had to describe this in one word, it would be: “Wow.” The novel tells the story of an old southern family tenuously clinging to their position in North Carolina society. Each chapter is told from the tight, opinionated third-person single vision perspective of a different member of the family. While some of these characters are similar in their internal monologue, most of them are very different and very engaging to read. It’s a character-driven story; the book would lose much from following only one character throughout the plot or from choosing any other POV. Barnhardt did a masterful job of not only handling this perspective, but also of choosing which character to tell which part of the story. It was an absolute delight exactly how well this element was handled, and is in my opinion one of the two crowning achievements of the book.

The second was the supreme, omniscient knowledge of Barnhardt regarding southern culture and history. As a North Carolinian, I can vouch for the perfect accuracy of more than 60% of this information, as well as for how it’s depicted. This gives me faith that the 40% I’ve never had first-hand experience with is also handled perfectly.

The main criticisms I had of the book was that while most of the plot threads were handled well, a few more interesting ones fell by the wayside. The family is a vast one, with over ten family members (and the chapters were often self-contained short-stories that also served to move the main plot along). As such, some people’s stories were not told as completely as I’d like. The narration also has occasional lapses, usual in the form of a character’s thoughts being repetitive or the opinionated third-person narrator being just slightly too opinionated. Overall though, the slight blemishes in the POV only stand out because of how polished it is.

Everything else, from the dialogue, to the plot, to the humor, to the description, to the pacing, to the themes, to the message of the story, were all masterfully done. The dialogue gets special mention for just how difficult it is to write that high-society southern backhanded compliment that knocks you out of your seat laughing; Barnhardt does it on a regular basis, and it’s an achievement.

Anyways, I highly recommend reading it if any of the above-mentioned elements appeal to you. I would not recommend it to people who are looking for something action-y, as the plot takes its time to unfold. Scandals aren’t revealed in seconds, but in months and years. I’d give it 4.5 out of 5 stars, though some might give it less as it doesn’t have universal appeal. It’s very much southern literature, steeped in the south like rabbit in brunswick stew. That may turn some readers off, but unless you have a specific aversion I highly recommend picking it up.

Hi folks,

This is my first post to the forum, so please pardon any gaffes. Sorry for the odd format, I’m cribbing from a piece I posted to FA last year on my top ten furry novels:

Forests of the Night
[tt]From: The Moreau Series
Author: S. Andrew Swann
Published: 1993
Title: Moreau Omnibus
Publisher: DAW
ISBN: 978-0756401511[/tt]

As odd as it may sound, this is the first book I ever purchased off a recommendation from the internet. And, simply put, I can only thank the now long gone site that endorsed it.

The simplest way to describe Forests of the Night is to think of Blade Runner (not Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep) but with the main character recast as a six-foot Bengal tiger with a chip on his shoulder the size of Oklahoma.

If you’re a lover of science-fiction I’ll just wait here for you to go out and buy it now.

Once you’ve powered through the confusing first chapter, Forests of the Night quickly becomes an intelligent, funny, well thought out sci-fi noir mystery.

The occasional disjointed prose, or two characters with similar names, makes it obvious that this is S. Andrew Swann’s first book. Thankfully though this is balanced out by the fully realized world, it’s obvious the book is a work of love.

The single feature of this series that most drew me in was how well thought out the interaction is between the humans and the non-human groups. It may seem like a small thing, but in every page you can see the cultural and, more to the point, practical differences between humans and genetically modified bipedal tigers with fangs the size of a person’s thumb.

The story was successful enough to not only spawn an ongoing series, but also translations into at least two other languages including Japanese and Russian.

Final Word:
This is the book that proved to me that you can make use of furries as more than just stock or supporting cast. The characters in this book are not just ‘funny animals’ but real people living in a world that feels as though it could come about not so far from now.

The world is dark, gritty, and dangerous. And these feel like the perfect people to inhabit it.

And, yes, I feel that as english speakers we may have gotten the least awesome cover.

Forests of the Night was pretty good; good enough that I wanted to read more about Nohar and ordered Fearful Symmetry. It had issues, but overall I enjoyed reading it.

I have a recommendation! Theta, by Sasya Fox! http://www.amazon.com/Theta-Sasya-Fox/dp/0989441407/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1389059349&sr=8-9&keywords=Theta&tag=vglnk-c2201-20

It’s a fast-paced furry scifi novel. It’s got some issues; dialogue can be a bit choppy/slow, adverbs appear more often than I’d like, and I’d actually have preferred to see a few more characters die. But the characters are loveable, the world well-detailed, the plot morally grey and gripping the whole time, and the dialogue portions that aren’t choppy or slow are strong. It’s clear Sasya has an ear for dialogue; he just occasionally makes it so realistic it gets a little hard to read (specifically in the beginning, when a character wakes up from a coma and has a speech impediment for several pages).

Overall, I loved reading it. I can’t wait for more. And I don’t even like scifi!

I’d like to recommend Zoo City by Lauren Beukes


[Quote]WHERE NO ONE ELSE DARE VENTURE… Zinzi has a Sloth on her back, a dirty online 419 scam habit – and a talent for finding lost things. But when her latest client, a little old lady, turns up dead and the cops confiscate her last paycheck, she’s forced to take on her least favourite kind of job: missing persons

The award-winning novel by the Author of The Shining Girls and the highly-acclaimed Moxyland.

FILE UNDER: Urban Fantasy [Gangster Shamen / Symbiotic Familiars / Teen Star Missing / Everything Breaks][/quote]

The concept here is that at some point in the early 21st century, some people were “animalled”. If you’ve done something you feel guilty about, an animal familiar appears and you are bound to it. The down side is you can’t stray too far from each other and if anything happens to your animal, you’re dead. On the plus side, all the animalled gain some kind of magical ability. Zinzi’s is finding lost things.

All the Zoos live in a ghetto called Zoo City. They’re basically treated as second class citizens. The novel is set in Cape Town, South Africa which is where the author is from.

I picked up this book in the first Humble eBook bundle and really enjoyed it. Beukes comes up with some really unique setups for her books. If you like cyberpunk at all, this may appeal. Her writing is influenced in part by William Gibson and Jeff Noon. I find her a lot more readable than Gibson though.

Here’s the Kindle link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B003ZSIT0M/ It’s only $5.79 on Kindle US at the time of writing this.

Am I not clear enough?

Oops! I’ve just noted the recommendations for “Forests of the Night” and the whole Moreau series by S. Andrew Swann. I have read them all, and I can endorse their recommendations 100%!



I’ve long felt that when they inevitably go out of print, these would be excellent novels for the furry specialty presses to reprint. Fortunately, they don’t show any signs of going out of print, after twenty years. Swann knows how to keep them in print in Kindle editions. Buy them, or see if your public library has them, but by all means read them!

I’ll back Fred on the Moreau series by S. Andrew Swann. It’s a really good series and the anthropormorphic aspect is handled really well.

I did not care as much for the first considering the ending, however, I did love the series. Fearful Symmetries was also amaaaazing.

I’ve just reserved “Zoo City” by Lauren Beukes at the Los Angeles Public Library, based on FuzzWolf’s recommendation of it. It sounds good.

I can’t believe that no one has yet recommended Kipling’s “The Jungle Books”. The author won the Nobel Prize for literature-- still the youngest ever-- and if there can be said to be one foundational work upon modern anthropomorphic literature is based, I think this would have to be it. I bet a surprising number here have never read them. Good stuff, overall! And cheap too.

Eventually I’d like to write a blog post on, say, 5 books all furry writers should read. This would certainly be one of them.

I’d like to recommend my favorite book.

It’s I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. It’s a novel told from first person perspective about a 17 year old girl and her weirdo family who live in a decrepit castle surrounded by a moat in the early 1930’s England. It’s a medium-paced coming of age story that’s thoughtful, funny, and heavily empathetic to eccentric and dramatic people. The setting is so well-described that it almost becomes a character in itself, distinct in its eccentricities much like the novel’s cast.

It’s an easy start for those who want to break into historical fiction because everyday objects, means of cleaning and cooking and means of communication are described naturally.

I requested a review copy of “Theta” by Sasya Fox, based on Friday/Dandin’s recommendation (since the Los Angeles Public Library doesn’t have it), and I just got Fox’s reply that he is sending it to me. Thanks, Dandin.

I echo the recommendations of “The Jungle Book” by Rudyard Kipling. He originally published two books in the 1890s, “The Jungle Book” and “The Second Jungle Book”, each about half filled with Mowgli stories and half filled with his other animal stories like “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi” and “The White Seal”. Today you can find them in all kinds of combinations. Any called “The Jungle Book” usually contains only the Mowgli stories, but all of them; and it may contain all of both books; the Mowgli stories plus the others from the two first editions. “The Complete Jungle Book” is also a common title. All are worth reading, and you should be able to find them in your local library.

Somebody wrote some new Mowgli stories about twenty years ago that I remember as being pretty good. I’ll try to find the reference to them.

That might have been The Third Jungle Book, by Pamela Jekel:

Very, very good, as you can tell from my review of it there (along with a rather sexist one, IMO, from someone else).