Furry Writers' Guild Forum

The Furry Canon

Hi everyone

As you may have seen, yesterday Jakebe kicked off a new project on [adjective][species] called The Furry Canon.


We will be reviewing furry and furry-adjacent literature and making a judgement whether each book should be considered part of a furry canon. Jakebe has listed three subjective criteria that each reviewer (or group of reviewers) will use as a basis for that judgement.

We have a handful of reviews already completed and partly-completed (to be published in the coming weeks), with plenty more to come. We’ll be publishing them irregularly: this is intended to be an ongoing project by multiple writers, with no specific time limit or endpoint.

In that collaborative spirit, I’d like to invite FWG members to share their own ideas for books that might be reviewed, and even a review or two themselves. We are interested in both furry-adjacent (written by non-furries) and by-furry for-furry books.

The project was inspired by a list of “top ten furry classics” named by Fred over on Dogpatch Press (http://dogpatch.press/2015/09/25/the-well-read-furry/). Fred’s list generated a lot of conversation among the [a][s] writers and is a natural starting point for the Furry Canon project. It’s our hope to create a live list of books that we can wholeheartedly recommend to furry readers.

Of course, our judgements are going to subject to the whims of each reviewer, and we recognise that our list of furry classics is never going to be perfect. That’s why I’m reaching out to the FWG - more ideas and more voices will make for a more diverse selection. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.


It might be easier to get potential reviews/suggestions if we know what books are already in the pipeline, so we don’t duplicate things.

I’d also like to suggest opening it up to individual pieces of short fiction as well, especially if they’re still available in anthologies or online. While most of the mainstream classics are books, the furry fandom came up in a fanzine culture, so when talking about fandom-published literature, there might well be short stories that are just as influential or groundbreaking as some novels. (“Wings” comes immediately to mind.)

I’m hoping this will be a robust discussion, so I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how things develop there. Kudos for starting the conversation. :slight_smile:

Good point. Here is a mostly-complete list of what is done, in progress, or has been talked about (so far):

Watership Down - Jakebe, Huskyteer & myself collaboratively (this will be one of our first published pieces)
Animal Farm - by me, repurposing a previously-written [adjective][species] piece
Gulliver’s Travels - by me, as above
Jonathan Livingston Seagull - by me, this one is complete but probably won’t be published until we’re into the swing of things (for Reasons)
Steppenwolf - just talked about at this stage, but probably me, Jakebe & Televassi collaboratively - this book was the main focus of our discussions that led to this project (as in, how the hell is this terrific book not furry canon)
Chronicles of Narnia - Huskyteer has claimed this one

I also have copies of Sirius & Norstrilia sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read. Both of those are sci-fi books on Fred’s top ten list, so I’ll likely get to them at some point. There has also been chat (by others) about The Island of Dr Moreau, and Redwall.

Which is a pretty good start, I think. But there is obviously a dearth of by-furry for-furry writing, although I guess that’s understandable given then challenges of critically reviewing works written by our friends and peers. And I see no reason why The Furry Canon shouldn’t include short stories.

First installment, Redwall:


Animal Farm:


Incidentally, I’d like to suggest the mainstream novel Forests of the Night; the furry novel A Whisper of Wings, which I think has been credited as being the “first furry novel” (as in, published as a novel within the fandom) – although Fred can please correct me if I’m wrong on that; and the short story “Wings” by Todd G. Sutherland, all of which were very visible and talked about when I first found the fandom around the very late '90s and early 2000s and started investigating what it held for writers.

I think you’re right. “A Whisper of Wings” by Paul Kidd was published by Darrel Benvenuto’s Vision Books or Vision Press in October 1999. Kidd’s “Fangs of K’aath” was published a few months later, in April 2000, by Martin Dudman’s United Publications just outside London. Both were novels that Kidd had written about ten years earlier and failed to sell to any mainstream publishers – Kidd was a member of Rowrbrazzle since 1989 or 1990, and he serialized them there since he couldn’t sell them anywhere; so he had proof of how much earlier he’d written them. Kidd did get one of his novels, “Mus of Kerbridge”, published as a TSR fantasy paperback about 1995. Both Benvenuto and Dudman publicized in furry fandom in 1999 & 2000 how they were starting the first furry-specialty book publishers, which would go on to Great Things. Furry fandom assumed at the time that Kidd gave them the manuscripts for free just to get them published. Benvenuto published one more novel, “The Rats of Acomar”, also by Kidd but brand-new instead of an existing manuscript, both illustrated by Terrie Smith, then disappeared. Dudman’s United Publications has lasted, and “Fangs of K’aath” is still in print – I recommend it; it’s a great furry Arabian Nights adventure, and is a beautiful hardcover, with a jacket by Monika Livingston – but Dudman decided that publishing Real Books was too much work, so United Publications is mostly a British importer of American fantasy role-playing games and licensed manga & anime.

What’s frustrating is that Benvenuto advertised in 2000 that he had commissioned four original furry novels from well-known Dungeons and Dragons fantasy-adventure authors, and had waited until he had them all in hand before publishing any of them. Kidd’s “The Rats of Acomar” was the first, and would be followed quickly by the others. Kidd agreed that he had gotten top page rates from Benvenuto. So presumably when Benvenuto disappeared, it was with three more furry novel manuscripts he’d paid for, that have still never been published. Kidd has recently republished “A Whisper of Wings” through his own Kitsune Press (also the out-of-print “Mus of Kerbridge”), but he says that he doesn’t have the rights to republish “The Rats of Acomar” because Benvenuto had commissioned it, so he still owns the rights, wherever he is – and those three other unpublished furry novels that he has…

Dudman’s United Publications is at https://www.up1.co.uk/Catalogue?OpenNavigator&RestrictToCategory=United+Publications. Kidd’s “Fangs of K’aath 2” is also available from it. It’s good, although I wouldn’t recommend it for a Furry Canon.

“Wings” by Todd G. Sutherland is in my anthology “Furry!”, along with “Graduation Day” by Phil Geusz, “Foxy Lady” by Lawrence Watt-Evans, “How George Miles Almost Saved the World” by Watts Martin, and many other excellent stories. “Furry!” is still available from Amazon.com. If I may recommend it myself, it’s a natural for any Furry Canon.

Thanks for the suggestions Fred, although I can tell you that we don’t have anyone yet who is looking at books written by furries. I know authors have to be their own PR, but it might be a step too far to ask Phil to review his own book :slight_smile:

And if anyone can think of a clever way to make it easier for furries to honestly and critically review furry books, I’m all ears. But right now, among the many keen furry readers we have at [adj][sp], nobody wants to be put in the situation where they are rejecting the work of a friend or acquaintance.

If you can solve that problem, you’ll have substantially improved the landscape of furry writing and publishing as a whole all in one stroke. I believe this is one of the biggest things that still holds us back, and I have no clue how to resolve it – other than, we need more furry readers and reviewers who aren’t also writers. (And how to build those numbers becomes yet another question.)

All of which is probably outside the scope of this thread, but… yeah. It’s a frustrating problem.

Reviving this to post the two most recent…

Black Beauty


These articles have all been very interesting so far, but I admit, I’m coming to the realization that “furry” is definitely being defined differently in this context from the sort of definition I would use. :slight_smile:

Jonathan Livingston Seagull:


Which I kind of liked when I read it years ago, or at least I didn’t think it was so insufferably awful. Then again, I might be biased by the fact that it was one of my husband’s favorite books back in high school. shrug To be honest, it would be kind of refreshing at this point to have a Furry Canon post where the person’s actually enthusiastic about the book. (But I note Watership Down hasn’t been up yet, so…) :slight_smile:

I must admit, I encouraged JM to post that one because I loathed JLS with a passion. The deputy headmistress at my boarding-school was a huge fan and often read bits of it out in assembly.

raises a hesitant hand Back when I was really lost in my religious beliefs and heavily questioning my faith, my brother got JLS for me. I read it within a week, then read it a couple more times. It was incredible for me at that point in my life. Not just because it went into ideologies I had little exposure to at the time, but I was thrilled with the observation of flight- something I used to yearn for at that time in my life (one of my major sonas early on was a winged feline- best of both worlds as far as I was concerned XD There are still folks who refer to me under that sona’s name).

Anon perhaps? I mean, it kind of sucks because then in the wrong hands folks could hold personal vendettas in bad mouthing a book without being held accountable >.< But, to be honest, there have been a couple of furry books I wanted to go to town on but decided to simply not review out of respect of the person who wrote it- their friendship was worth more to me than critiquing their work.

My review of The Chronicles of Narnia is up!


Spoiler: it’s positive :slight_smile:

Up soon should be Watership Down, which is a roundtable discussion between JM, Jakebe and me.

Wind In the Willows by K. Grahame gave life to The Water Rat: “. . . believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing . . .” illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard must be read by any Fur-Head or more conventional human.

Written in 1933, never out of print and with at least two movies and a play by A. A. Milne, The Adventures of Toad, the book is a morality play and a masterpiece.

Give it a read if you haven’t already.

Hi Tholepin - consider dropping [a][s] a line and offering to write about The Wind in the Willows for the Furry Canon series! I agree it’s an important work, and I don’t think anyone has covered it yet.

Can I suggest The Deptford Mice trilogy by Robin Jarvis? Unfortunately it’ll be a while before I have my copies again, but I’d be happy to cover them as a group when I do.