SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 1471 Furry Fantastic, edited by Jean Rabe Book Review |

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Furry Fantastic, edited by Jean Rabe
Genre: Fantasy Anthology
Publisher: DAW
Published: 2006
Review Posted: 6/13/2013
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

Furry Fantastic, edited by Jean Rabe

Book Review by Joshua Palmatier

Have you read this book?

First and foremost, I felt there was a distinct lack of guinea pig protagonists in this anthology. *grin*

In any case, this was a good anthology, one definitely worth checking out. It?s divided into two parts: a section for dogs and cats, and then another section for stories involving other furry creatures. The stories range from fun and frivolous, to dark and serious. My two highlighted favorites are also two of the darker stories in the anthology, which says more about me than it does about all of the other stories here. Thoughts on each individual story follow.

Dogs and Cats:

Intelligent Design by Michael A. Stackpole: A cute little story written from the dog?s perspective. You get a little history of how dogs (and cats) view the world and how they are at odds with each other, all within the scope of a simple story about the dog and his Man. I can?t say much more without revealing and spoiling the little twist at the end, but I will admit that I did smile in satisfaction at this story.

Sunday in the Park with Spot by Keith R.A. DeCandido: A fun story written as a tale told by a mother cat to her kitten where, of course, cats and other furry and feathered creatures save the world from an evil black squirrel with the help of a lovable but ditzy dog. As I said, fun.

Running Free by Donald J. Bingle: This story starts out like the others"fun and light"and then twists at the end into something a little darker and poignant. Not in a bad way, just unexpected. Here a young girl spots a dog waiting on the pier when her family?s cruise ship pulls into dock in Juneau. It turns out to be a very special dog, of course.

The Luck of the Dauntless by James M. Ward: This story isn't set on Earth, but on another world, where sea serpents have been turned into living ships and cats called Mau are carried on board for luck. The cat thinks of the humans as its own pets, of course, and it can actually perform magic, helping warn of storms, cure disease, etc. I loved the hints of the world we see in this story, but felt the story was rushed. I wanted it to be developed more and expanded into something larger than a short story.

In Between the Dark and the Light by Diana Francis: Here, the dog in question dies in the first few pages . . . but that only starts the adventure. This was the first story in the anthology that had a really dark bent to it; the evil here was definitely creepy. A good story.

Superstition by Jody Lynn Nye: A cat story where the cat, black of course, is tending to his adopted town"and all the various people in it"trying to help out where he can. The cat certainly has personality, but the plot was light with a slightly unbelievable danger (and solution) in the end.

All the Virtues of Man by C.J. Henderson: The author crafted a story around different real-life quotes about dogs in this story as three humans play a quote game while a dog (who?s saved the existence of everything for all time) listening in. A cute story, but I didn't feel like it had a plot.

The Sacrifice by Jeff Grubb: I thought the author did a spectacular job of keeping us within the perspective of the cat Emily in this one, and the plot kept me intrigued and on the edge of my seat as I read. I predicted the outcome of the story, but the manner of the outcome was handled so deftly that I was still involved in the story all the way to the end. One of my favorite stories in the anthology so far.

Heart and Soul by Janet Deaver-Pack: A dog story that somehow combines reincarnation, eternal (yet frustrated) love, and karmic completion all while talking about a man and his dog . . . and a fox. Some of the plot was a little forced, and I kept expecting the two "accidents" to have some type of explanation. The ending also felt somehow rushed. I left the story with the feeling that there was something deeper going on that either wasn't, or needed, more space to be explored.

And Other Furry Friends

The Mob by Paul Genesse: The furry creature of choice here are meerkats, an entire family of them in their natural habitat . . . and whose society is based around that of the mob. *grin* An interesting tale with some unexpected twists.

Wan Sui Ye by Elizabeth A. Vaughan: A tale about a disgruntled freelance writer of non-fiction whose dreams of writing fantasy have been trounced . . . until she meets a talking mouse and a few other, nastier talking creatures. A fun story, and one that continues in other anthologies. I read the "second" story in this sequence first, by accident, since it?s in the Zombie Raccoons and Killer Bunnies anthology. I commented then, on that story, that it didn't feel finished . . . and now I know why! It?s good to have the start of the story now, and I?ll certainly keep watch for further installments in the future.

Flesh to Bone by Judi Rohrig: A wolf story this time, with a little bit of kharmic revenge thrown in. I thought the first part of the story was a little rough, but once I settled in I really enjoyed the story and in particular how it ended. I can?t say much more without spoiling something, so I?ll just shut up now.

Freedom?s Toll by Marc Tassin: Gerbils! This is the closest this anthology gets to having guinea pigs as the furry creature of choice. Here, one of the gerbils is intent on escape, and after you meet the family you understand why. A darker tale than I was expecting when it started, but probably one of the best in the anthology.

One Dog Night by Spencer Luster: A strange story with a main character who appears to be a key on the key board"Caps Lock"who happens to meet a talking dog at the Space Bar. Truly the most bizarre story in the anthology, and apparently the second story featuring Caps Lock, the private eye.

The Further Adventures of Lightning Merriemouse-Jones by Nancy & Belle Holder: Obviously a mouse story, although this one has a slight twist. It follows the adventures of Lightning as she becomes part of a well-known literary story . . . told on a much smaller scale of course. Humorous and with the right tone for the setting as well. I enjoyed it. I?m wondering if there?s another tale of Lightning that I've missed, since it does say "further" in the title.

Doorways by Kerrie Hughes: A story set in a fantasy world where the creature in question"a jinko"is essentially a familiar. Here, the jinko?s magic-user must make a life-changing choice. It felt like the world could be very interesting and the story expanded, although it was certainly satisfying in and of itself here.

With Small Sharp Claws by Loren L. Coleman: I was instantly drawn into this story, where the creature in question is a weasel that sits on the protagonist?s shoulder. Another darker story, about a father dealing with the death of his wife and raising his young son afterwards. Unfortunately, this one ended rather abruptly, to the point where I turned the page expecting to read more and found it had ended. I think the end needs some further development. Otherwise, definitely an interesting premise.

Further by David Bischoff: A mix of animals (forest creatures mostly), the 1960s, psychedelic drugs, Greatful Dead music, and Eugene, Oregon. Probably the most original and complete story in the anthology with some interesting characters. Definitely enjoyable.
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