Thursday, September 30, 2010

There is an entire community of people devoted to pretending that animals can talk. Somehow, in all my years of mourning the end of Watership Down and quietly writing Otters In Space all alone, I never noticed this.

Last weekend, I attended Rainfurrest, up in Seattle. My limited research in preparation suggested that Rainfurrest would be a great deal like any science-fiction convention. Except a lot of people would be wearing animal costumes. In short, that expectation was about right. But... Knowing it and experiencing it were completely different.

The halls were filled with animals. Foxes, wolves, cats, otters, raccoons... Walking around, talking, exactly like people do. Because, of course, they were people. Wearing costumes. But... I can't explain it. I've sat at my computer dreaming about a world where the otters have spaceships for years... And, so, if I found the experience of a furry convention a little magical, I suppose it shouldn't be too much of a surprise.

The best part, though, was hearing Phil Geusz -- one of the writing panelists -- talk about the history and future of furry writing. I attended a reading he gave of two of his stories -- one about a rabbit on a spaceship, the other about a boy who convinced a magician to turn him into a horse. I didn't know anyone else was writing stories like that! And, to hear him tell it, we writers of fiction about anthropomorphic animals are at the beginning of an entire movement. He compared furry writing today to the first appearance of Golden Age science-fiction in the late 1930s. I don't know if he's right... But, god, I hope he is. It was incredibly inspiring.

So, now, until the next convention, I will return to quietly writing away. But, this time, instead of being a strange oddity, my work is part of an entire genre. Furry science-fiction. Sci-furry.

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