Out of Position

By Kyell Gold
(Cover and interior art by Blotch)
ISBN not available

Publication Year: 2009

Tags: Furry, Gay, Love Story

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

From the Amazon page for this eBook: Dev is a football player at Forester University, a small liberal arts college where he and his teammates get to strut around and have their pick of the girls on Friday nights. That’s as good as it gets — until he meets Lee, a fox with a quick wit and an attractive body. Problem is, Lee’s not a girl. He’s a gay fox, an activist who never dreamed he’d fall for a football player. As their attraction deepens into romance, it’s hard enough for them to handle each other, let alone their inquisitive friends, family, and co-workers. And if school is bad, the hyper-masculine world of professional sports that awaits Dev after graduation will be a hundred times worse. Going it alone would make everything easier. If only they could stop fighting long enough to break up.

Beyond knowing that Dev is a tiger (which isn’t mentioned in the above description) and Lee is a fox, I have no recollection at all of any particulars of either of them as individuals. There are plenty of descriptions of their sexual paraphernalia, but little to nothing about their coloration, condition of their fur, or anything else regarding their physical natures. Regarding their personalities, backgrounds, and other information that would make them three-dimensional characters, they are flat, stereotypical, and eminently forgettable. The primary point that drives the alleged plot has been overdone to the point of being monomythic; this in itself is not necessarily a fault, but without engaging characters to make us care about what actually happens, the story is (to quote Lord Peter Wimsey) “dead as last year’s mutton.”

Kyell Gold is the self-proclaimed “Ambassador of the Furry Fandom” to other venues such as sci-fi/fantasy conventions. He has a very large following in the furry community, and he is what is referred to as a “pop-fur.” One can be reasonably certain that, if one of his works is up for some form of furry award, he’ll probably win it. I have sought long and hard to find literary reasons for this success, and I have found none. This book, as an example of his work, is comprised of uninspired, pedestrian prose, with largely irrelevant scenes linking together graceless, pointless, explicitly-pornographic descriptions of sexual acts between characters that no one can begin to care about. This book is a perfect example of why fiction work of the furry fandom is not taken seriously by any other group in the world. Since there is nothing else noteworthy about this particular book, the remainder of this review will attempt to explain the sad reasons behind its perverse popularity.

Furry fiction is not “only porn,” as seems to be the popular opinion. There are works of grace and wit, of tragedy and triumph, of deep drama and uproarious humor. It is a genre that is wide open to explorations of every form of literary exposition, particularly in the mirrors of so-called “humanity” and morality. At its best, furry fiction has the opportunity to discover and expose the truth that the human hubris of considering itself superior to animals is not merely unfounded but has led to humans being a particularly virulent plague upon this pretty planet. It is a place where the human animal may reflect upon the beauty, power, and responsibility of being an animal that is part of, not “superior” to, other animals.

Unfortunately, in “The Fandom” (and elsewhere in this human-benighted world), sex — perhaps especially mindless, pointless sex that exists solely for personal titillation — is what sells. Equally unfortunately, even books that have one or more sex scenes — well-told intimacies between characters that have become important to us — don’t sell nearly as well (Sisco Polaris’ Dyeing To Be With You is a good example). High-quality furry fiction simply isn’t popular, whence comes the phrase that a work is “Too literate for furry; too furry for literature.” Works by Reneé Carter Hall, Seth Drake, Amethyst Mare, and many others simply don’t make the cut, nor do fine anthologies such as Alasso and Children of the Moon, both of which succumbed to financial difficulties. Modern anthologies of furry fiction do exist, but few (if any) are worthy of being called “literate”; most exist in the modern publishing glory where the publisher risks no financial obligation whatsoever while making money off of the often dubious talent of those who submit to such collections.

I cannot recall which Black comedian made the observation (I think it may have been Chris Rock) that rap music was a travesty, an insult to all people and especially to Black people, and that the genre would cease to exist if people simply stopped buying it. This, of course, didn’t happen, and I’m reliably informed by an expert on music in general and Eurovision in particular that “rap” as its own category of music has been subverted into the generalized category of hip-hop, which itself has become part of the mainstream of modern songwriting and style of presentation. The same holds true for furry fiction: Until “The Fandom” quits spending money on turgid, uninspiring, unconvincing prose like this and opts for real stories that bring about real emotions, “furry” will continue to be equated with the foulest of pornography. Members of the community will be shunned and labeled as “perverts”; websites, meetings, and conventions will continue to be targeted by hate groups, perhaps to violent and tragic ends; and people may lose jobs by being “outed” as being furry. I can’t say that this will change simply by having genuinely artistic prose and artwork to point to, but nothing will change until the perception changes. Go find some quality furry work. We can do better than this dreck.

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