Since Worldcon is happening half an hour from my house, it seemed rude not to Not a furry con per se, but there’s going to be a panel about furry, and apparently I’m taking part in it…
So, this is happening:
Ever wanted to unleash your wild side or inhabit an anthropomorphic world? Furry Fandom can be a complicated topic, it seems that everybody has got their own opinion of it. Mikepaws, a photographer and member of the fandom for 8 years, gives a short introductory talk before opening up to an audience Q&A with the furries known as Kyell Gold, Foozzzball, and Huskyteer. Come along and learn more about our creative community.
Anyone have any suggestions for subjects they’d like touched on at a panel introducing non-furry sci-fi fans to our world?
Otters In Space…
Seriously, though, just the fact that there actually is a body of fiction associated with furry and that the writing community has grown to the point where it has its own writing guild, two sets of literary awards, several publishers, and a bunch of semi-annual anthologies. Though, I assume some of that will come up naturally given that the three panelists are all writers.
And that said body of fiction is not all erotica and/or graphic novels and comics, even though to a casual outside observer those might seem most prominent in the various publishers’ catalogs. That might go without saying, of course, but… figured somebody should say it anyway, given the title of the panel. Hopefully it will also be mentioned that the furry fandom actually began as something of an offshoot of the sf/f community.
And yes, that we do have this delightful little guild that continues to grow… ;D
Very good points - the visual art is so noticeable that the written word gets lost. Thanks!
I disagree on this point. The conversation opens, “Tell us about your community” they say and we are so quick to point out “IT’S NOT ALL PORN!”
This might not be exactly what you had in mind, but I’ve seen this play out before. I recommend talking about the positives and things you love about the fandom, not the ones you have an issue with. Bringing it up when it’s not asked about looks like we have something to hide and you’re terrified of people finding out.
Don’t ask, don’t tell is the strategy to use here. And if someone does ask if we have adult material, just answer honestly. We do, just like every other genre of fiction.
Normally I’d completely agree with you – that’s what I tried to do with the “What is furry” page on the FWG site – but again, in this case I’m going by the title of the panel. “Not what you think” implies that they’re assuming people already have unsavory assumptions, so it’s not exactly news to bring up “there’s a stereotype that it’s all about sex” and debunk that.
People could walk into a panel called “Furry Fandom: Not What You Think” without having any previous thoughts about furry other than, “I wonder what that is?” And even if the people who titled the panel were “assuming people already have unsavory assumptions,” that doesn’t mean those people were right. By and large, I’ve found that most people have never heard of furry and have no preconceptions.
Sci-fi fans are maybe savvier than the world at large, though?
I’m hoping to chat with Mikepaws beforehand to find out what he’s going to say in his intro. After that it’s a Q&A format, I think, which could go anywhere. Including forty minutes of embarrassed silence :-\
shrug Well, I might be reading too much into the title, but when I hear something’s “not what you think,” my first impression is, “okay, they must think I think it’s something bad or weird.” So even if I don’t know anything about it going in, I’m already at least aware of the fact that there are apparently misconceptions.
Honestly, I just wish they’d called it An Introduction to Furry or Furry 101 or something along those lines, that sounds like a different setup. This, to me, just sounds like “we know you think we’re perverts, and we’re going to tell you that we’re not.”
Besides, I didn’t mean necessarily lead off with “IT’S NOT ALL PORN!” : I’d just like the variety of material, particularly written material, brought out at some point, since the original post was asking for suggestions about what we’d like to see included.
Considering how two of the three panelists write a lot of erotica, I think it’s going to be at least a little hard to dodge that bullet.
Anyways, I figure that this is obvious but it doesn’t hurt to point out how Anthropomorphic animals have been pretty deeply tied into the SF/F literature for a long, long time, and not just kid stuff like Redwall.
That does sound plausible, but it hasn’t been true with my writing group. But, then, I suppose there could be an important distinction between sci-fi fans and sci-fi writers.
Regardless, I think that FuzzWolf’s strategy is the right one to take. It always works for me.
Bryan Talbot of Grandville fame is a GoH and does an excellent talk on anthropomorphic animals in literature, so it would be good to tie in with that, too.
I plan on giving “Furry 101” panels myself soon at non-furcons and I’m treating just like any other “Intro to X” panel. The way I see it, if we don’t make a big deal out of it, others won’t, either. Incidentally, the last part is titled 'BUT WHAT ABOUT…" where yes, some of the weird/icky bits will be discussed, or at least as best as can be in a non 18+ forum.
Sigh. I attended about 95% of the Worldcons from 1961 to 2004, and I was getting ready for the 2005 Worldcon in Glasgow when I had my stroke. Since then, I have been in a bed in a convalescent hospital in a suburb of Los Angeles. So no, I will not be attending Loncon 3.
I helped to ensure that the 1996 Worldcon in Los Angeles had a furry display (by David Bliss) and at least one furry panel. I really miss not being able to participate in furry Worldcon events today.
I’m sorry I won’t have the opportunity to meet you. I will report back on how it all went!
That went pretty well, I think!
As I was expecting, there were quite a few furs in the audience, but there were also people who knew little or nothing about it and were curious.
Everyone on the panel bar MikePaws, our moderator, was an author. Sadly we didn’t get to talk much about the writing side, more about what furry is and what it means to different furs, about the books and films that draw people into the fandom, about fursonas, and the visual and performing arts. We had a fursuiter and she went down really well.
There were questions about demographics, about bronies, and, near the end, a very lovely lady apologetically asked whether furry wasn’t a kink, which we fielded by comparison with other fandoms (there may be some Trekkies who can only get off if their partner has blue skin, but this is not the norm.)
As for the rest of WorldCon, I loved it. I saw furry friends, LiveJournal friends, and someone I knew at university and hadn’t seen for 8 or 9 years. I attended panels on the sense of wonder in children’s SFF, the gendered AI, and (my favourite) 1960s spy shows, amongst others. I definitely recommend the con if it comes to a city near you.
Panel was a hit with one blogger, at least:
Furry fandom is a place for highly creative and adorable people who are brave enough to not give a crap about what others think of them
I think I’ve found my new motto