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Furry Fantastic by by Jean Rabe and Brian M. Thomsen (Editors)
Review by Carolyn Frank
DAW Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 0756403812
Date: 03 October, 2006 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

The stories mostly take place somewhere in the here and now, mostly somewhere in America, and mostly somewhere in the human condition. Yes, the protagonists are usually animals, but often quite anthropomorphic, with human wants and feelings. And some of these animals are even far more rational or more ethical than many humans.

Furriness is not a quality that lends itself to much more than being a descriptive element, and something that seems to engender an endless need for grooming. But the softness and attractiveness of fur often provides a means for promoting the attractiveness of the animal in question, even though the creature is itself often a predator, with the unattractive attributes of killing and general bloodiness a major portion of their being.

Furry Fantastic is a compendium of short tales by a variety of fantasy writers, with some of the best known ranging from Michael Stackpole to Jody Lynn Nye. The first nine stories focus on cats and dogs, while the second nine feature other furry animals including meerkats, gerbils, wolves and more. The quality of the stories varies but if one story doesn't quite resolve, the next one usually does, and some are well worth re-reading.

The tales that work the best are ones where the challenge to the leading character is quickly made clear, but the path to the resolution must overcome some particularly pertinent barrier: the gerbil who is searching for freedom not only from his metal cage but from the human space, the meerkat who is leading his extended family to a better home in the face of mongeese and deadly snakes, the cat who loves her human but is required to make a human sacrifice to her gods.

If furry plus fantasy equals fun in your estimation, then Furry Fantastic is recommended reading. No morality tales, no in-depth reflection on the human condition, no deep social meaning required, this book is just an enjoyable, and occasionally extremely well written, furry romp.

Our Readers Respond

From: Linda Davis
    I'm a huge anthology fan, and I have to say that this was one of my favorites thus far. It was interesting to see all of the different takes on anthropomorphism.

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