The Golden Compass; Dream-Carver; All I Hold Deer; Waterways; Fell; Firestar’s Quest; Life’s Dream and Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara

reviewed by Fred Patten
©2008 Fred Patten

Home -=- #17 -=- Reviews
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The Golden Compass Dream-Carver All I Hold Deer Waterways
Fell Firestar’s Quest Life’s Dream Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara

Northern Lights (original UK title) / The Golden Compass (US title)
Book One of the His Dark Materials trilogy
by Philip Pullman
Scholastic Childrens’ Books UK edition
Title: Northern Lights
Publisher: Scholastic Childrens’ Books (London), Jul 1995
ISBN: 0-590-54178-1
Hardcover, 399 pages, UK £12.99


Title: The Golden Compass
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf (NYC), Mar 1996
ISBN: 0-679-87924-2
Hardcover, 399 pages, US $20.00

   The Golden Compass (the better-known U.S. title of Northern Lights) is the first volume of a trilogy (His Dark Materials: Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass), but it is the only one of the three in which anthropomorphized animals appear prominently. They are downplayed in the other two. Readers will want to read them nevertheless to find out what happens to Lyra and her dæmon Pan, but be aware that they barely qualify as ’morphic novels because of Pan’s reduced presence.
   Pullman’s imagination has fashioned a unique world of anthropomorphism. Lyra Belacqua is an eleven-year-old girl in a pseudo-Victorian Oxford, England. In her world, all humans have their souls manifest as talking animal companions, or dæmons. Humans and their dæmons are gender-reversed; men have female dæmons and women have male dæmons. Childrens’ dæmons are able to shift into different animals; a sign of adulthood is that one’s dæmon becomes fixed as a particular animal for the rest of its life. No human is supposed to touch another person’s dæmon, although dæmons may touch (and fight) each other.
   The book and Lyra’s adventure begin when her usually-absent explorer uncle Lord Asriel returns briefly to Jordan College in Oxford. Lyra sneaks into the college’s private Retiring Room to secretly watch a meeting between Lord Asriel and the college’s Master. She is shocked to witness him try to poison Lord Asriel. As a reward for her warning, Asriel allows her to secretly watch his presentation on his research into mysterious elementary particles he calls Dust. He soon leaves to continue his research on Dust in the far North.
   There are several introductions of dæmons in this opening:

    Lyra stopped beside the Master’s chair and flicked the biggest glass gently with a fingernail. The sound rang clearly through the hall.
    “You’re not taking this seriously,” whispered her dæmon. “Behave yourself.”
    Her dæmon’s name was Pantalaimon, and he was currently in the form of a moth, a dark brown one so as to not to show up in the darkness of the hall.
(pg. 3)

    As Lyra held her breath, she saw the servant’s dæmon (a dog, like all servants’ dæmons) trot in and sit quietly at his feet, and then the Master’s feet became visible too, in the shabby black shoes he always wore.
    The Master’s dæmon had the form of a raven, and as soon as his robe was on, she jumped down from the wardrobe and settled in her accustomed place on his right shoulder. (pg. 5)

    Lord Asriel’s dæmon, a snow leopard, stood behind him.
    “Are you going to show the projections in here?” she said quietly.
    “Yes. It’ll create less fuss than moving to the lecture theater. They’ll want to see the specimens too; I’ll send for the Porter in a minute. This is a bad time, Stelmaria.”
(pg. 11)

    Back and forth the arguments ranged, and Lyra felt her eyes closing. Soon she was fast asleep, with Pantalaimon curled around her neck in his favorite sleeping form as an ermine. (pg. 27)

   Lyra is ignorant of the politics of this world, which seem to revolve around a powerful Church dominated by Calvinism that has abolished the Papacy and grown into a larger worldwide faith known as the Magisterium. A powerful secretive agency of this Magisterium is known by the vague title of the General Oblation Board, which opposes Lard Asriel’s Dust research as heresy. A compasslike device that can predict the future, an alethiometer, has predicted tragedy for Oxford if Lord Asriel’s research continues and the Oblation Board connects the colleges with his heresy. The alethiometer also predicts that Lyra must be allowed to play a crucial role in what is to happen.
   Lyra is a tomboyish orphan, the ward of her uncle. She is alone much of the time while Lord Asriel is away exploring. Lyra likes to clamber over the roofs of Oxford’s buildings with other adventurous youths. Her best friend is the kitchen boy Roger. When Roger disappears, supposedly kidnapped by mysterious ‘Gobblers’ who are responsible for the vanishing of lower-class children, Lyra vows to find him. She thinks her chance has come when an important woman, Mrs. Marisa Coulter, visits Jordan College and offers to take Lyra on as her apprentice. In fact, Mrs. Coulter is the head of the Oblation Board, which are the Gobblers. Jordan’s Master, realizing that Mrs. Coulter’s motive is to get Lyra in the Board’s hands, secretly gives Lyra the alethiometer to protect her.
   Much happens. The important anthropomorphic developments are that Lyra becomes suspicious of Mrs. Coulter when her dæmon Ozymandias, a golden monkey, tries to steal the alethiometer. Lyra escapes and, after various adventures, reaches the far North where she helps the missing children escape from the Gobblers with the help of Iorek Byrnison, one of the talking armored polar bears of the bear Kingdom of Svalbard; and a Texan cowboy in a hot air balloon, Lee Scoresby, and his dæmon hare Hester:

    [Iorek] dropped the reindeer leg in the dirt and slumped on all fours to the gate. Then he reared up massively, ten feet or more high, as if to show how mighty he was, to remind them how useless the gate would be as a barrier, and he spoke to them from that height.
    “Well? Who are you?”
    His voice was so deep it seemed to shake the earth. The rank smell that came from his body was almost overpowering.
    “I’m Farder Coram, from the gyptian people of Eastern Anglia. And this little girl is Lyra Belacqua.”
    “What do you want?”
    “We want to offer you employment, Iorek Byrnison.”
    “I am employed.”
    The bear dropped on all fours again. It was very hard to detect any expressive tones in his voice, whether of irony or anger, because it was so deep and so flat.
(pg. 180)

    She looked up at the newcomer with surprise. He was a tall, lean man with a thin black moustache and narrow blue eyes, and a perpetual expression of distant and sardonic amusement. She felt strongly about him at once, but she wasn’t sure whether it was liking she felt, or dislike. His dæmon was a shabby hare as thin and tough-looking as he was.
    He held out his hand and she shook it warily.
    “Lee Scoresby,” he said.
    “The æronaut!” she exclaimed. “Where’s your balloon? Can I go up in it?”
    While they were agreeing with Lee Scoresby what to play and for what stakes, his dæmon flicked her ears at Pantalaimon, who understood and leaped to her side lightly as a squirrel. (pgs. 193-194)

    And suddenly all the strength went out of her.
    It was as if an alien hand had reached right inside where no hand had a right to be, and wrenched at something deep and precious.
    She felt faint, dizzy, sick, disgusted, limp with shock.
    One of the men was
holding Pantalaimon.
    He had seized Lyra’s dæmon in his human hands, and poor Pan was shaking, nearly out of his mind with horror and disgust. His wildcat shape, his fur now dull with weakness, now sparking glints of anbaric alarm…He curved toward his Lyra as she reached with both hands for him….
    They fell still. They were captured.
felt those hands… It wasn’t allowed… Not supposed to touch… Wrong… (pg. 275)

   There is an extended scene where Lyra and her human friends help Iorek Byrnison to recapture the kingship among the panserbjørne from the usurper Iofur Raknison. And there are many other dæmons seen in passing. But the principal talking animal in The Golden Compass is Pantalaimon, as a wolverine, a goldfinch, a sparrow, a monkey, a seagull, and numerous other forms.
   At the end of The Golden Compass, Lyra and Pan are transported to a parallel world where people’s souls are within their bodies, so The Subtle Knife is not anthropomorphic at all except for Pan. The Amber Spyglass is little better, although readers do find out what form Pan is fixed into when Lyra reaches adulthood. Read The Golden Compass and see if you can pass up the other two. Bet ya can’t!

The Golden Compass Dream-Carver All I Hold Deer Waterways
Fell Firestar’s Quest Life’s Dream Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara

Title: Dream-Carver: An Ironclaw Novel
Author: Erin van Hiel
Publisher: Sanguine Productions (Cincinnati, OH)/ (Raleigh, NC), Jul 2007
ISBN: 1-932592-01-6
Hardcover, 208 pages, USD $24.95

   This is the third Ironclaw novel, following Scars (2002) and Black Iron (2005, reviewed in Anthro #6), both by Ted MacKinnon. MacKinnon did a better job of working full background information about the Ironclaw fantasy role-playing world, created by Sanguine Productions, Ltd. in 1999 by Jason Holmgren and others, into his novels, but Dream-Carver stands nicely on its own. Where the game and the first two books are set on the continent of Calabria, similar to an anthropomorphized Renaissance Europe rife with the intricate political maneuverings of four Great Houses (the Rinaldi, Italianate gray foxes; the Bisclavret, Highland wolves; the Avoirdupois, French horses; and the Doloreaux, scholarly boar mages), Dream-Carver is more like a late 17th-century sea tale of naval battles, a hunt for pirate treasure, and the powerful but mysterious wizardry of unknown South Seas animal-peoples. Furry fans who have enjoyed Stevenson’s Treasure Island should love this.
   Sister Lady Annarisse Deschamps is a young Avoirdupois noblewoman who has been semi-banished into taking holy orders in the Cathédrale du Temoin in Calabria’s capital, Triskellian. As a lowly acolyte, she expects to spend many years ministering to the young children in the Cathédral’s orphanage. She is surprised and somewhat indignant when Bishop Renisi assigns her to become the confessor (responsible for the spiritual well-being) of young Baron Treeden MacDuncan, a Bisclavret wolf, as he journeys on his first voyage away from home and his mother’s direct influence. Social custom dictates that upper-class children traveling for their ‘education’ have a spiritual guide among their entourage, but it is an insult to both the Baron to saddle a youth as old as he with a confessor, and to her to appoint her as a nursemaid to a nobleman in his late teens (or older) who is more likely to spend his time in riotous living than listening to a nagging conscience.
   In fact, Baron Treeden plans to win himself entirely free of Lady MacDuncan’s control rather than wasting his time in frivolities. His first act is to look up Salvatore (a red fox), the captain of one of the smaller (and overlooked) ships his family owns, and engage him for a mysterious voyage to their mutual benefit. If they succeed, Salvatore is to become wealthy enough to buy his own ship. When Annarisse objects that such a secretive project sounds suspiciously morally improper, Treeden tries to shock her into abandoning him by revealing that his mother runs the largest slavers’ ring in Calabria; and that despite the Church of S’Allumer’s official opposition to slavery, her Bishop has been secretly selling orphans as slaves to Lady MacDuncan for money to finance the Cathédral’s political activities. Annarisse is disgusted but not really surprised—the Church has been too openly flaunting its wealth and power—but she determines to remain with the Baron if only to annoy him by obeying the letter of her charge.
   A long-lost log book of a notorious pirate, Gustafus the Green (rat), has recently been found. Baron Treeden has obtained part of it, and the Rinaldi authorities have the rest. Both parts indicate where Gustafus’ treasure is hidden. The Rinaldi assign Admiral Ferrante in the warship Corrado to recover the treasure, while Baron Treeden hopes to beat them to it in Salvatore’s armed merchant ship (and fairly obviously also a pirate when he can get away with it) Spirit of Midchain.
   The book’s covers and blurbs contain some semi-spoilers, so I can say that Gustafus’ treasure contains supernaturally glowing statuettes of unknown animal-peoples and hints of a much vaster treasure in the South Seas that the pirate never had the chance to go after. As the Spirit of Midchain and the Corrado battle their way toward it, Sister Annarisse is surprised to find her perfunctory attempts to reform the Baron having a greater effect on Captain Salvatore. Her healing spells as a priestess of the Church of the Light are highly appreciated by the crew, and she learns to distinguish between her faith in her religion and her feelings for the corrupt Church. New characters join the crew including the tiger mage Kharaba and the rat thief Rianna, and they discover and are opposed by the magic of strange South Sea islanders.
   Van Hiel writes lengthy descriptions that are rich in colorful detail:

    “My lady horse,” the [wolf] concierge fawned.What may I do to serve you today?”
    She sized him up. Though his words and tone were polite, there was something about his scent that gave him away. He was not pleased to have her there, and would do whatever he could short of outright rudeness to see that she left empty-handed. Armed with that knowledge, she chose her words with care and injected both noble and clerical authority into her voice. “I have come at the behest of Lady MacDuncan as a companion and confessor to her son the Baron. He is expecting me.” Though her tone remained mild, she managed to imply that if the Baron was expecting her, the concierge should have been, too. His ears drooped slightly, showing that she’d scored.
(pg. 5)

    A few minutes later, they approached a battered ship with more guns alongside than Annarisse would have thought necessary. It was a small ship, much smaller than the brigantine sailing out of port at that moment. It had been painted red at some point many years before, but the paint was peeling and the fresh caulking of the seams was gleaming bare and paintless in the sun. The deck, however, sparkled with cleanliness and every item on it was carefully tied down or stowed. She was moored at the end of a long pier, her prow pointing in towards the wharf, so that she would need to be towed into the harbour when the time came to set sail. She had two masts, one amidships and one fore, sporting the sails that would help her turn. The sails were furled, but appeared to her untrained eye to be square-rigged. Annarisse could see two small cannon on the fore deck and could make out six gun ports on the side nearest the pier. They were open, and each sported a medium-sized brass cannon that was clearly in better repair than the ship that housed it. The nearest had two mice rubbing at it energetically with clean rags, though it gleamed so brightly already that Annarisse had to shield her eyes from its glare. Men were loading supplies up the gangplank, while a large boar and a red fox supervised and discussed a bill of some sort. The fox hardly glanced at the document before affixing his signature. The boar handed the bill to a chipmunk cabin boy, who ran down the gangplank and off to a warehouse with the enthusiasm of the very young. (pgs. 7-8)

    Annarisse had heard of the bat people of the Bisclavret holdings, but had never seen one until now. The lady was dressed in an elaborate court gown styled loosely after Bisclavret fashions. Her fur was black, her ears large and shaped like a lilac leaf, deeply cupped. Her arms had folds of skin connecting them to her body, strong enough to give her flight. Her tail was accommodated under her elegant bustle and was therefore invisible. She was carrying an armful of scrolls and charts, and Annarisse recalled that her people were often astrologers. (pg. 42)

   Certain aspects of the story remind the reader that the Ironclaw animals have to all be about the same size and able to eat the same foods. A strange anomaly in the book is that the names of ships are italicized except for Salvatore’s second ship, the Riddock’s Dawn, which is conspicuously not italicized. Aside from quibbles like these, Dream-Carver should be enjoyed by all ‘morph readers whether or not they are familiar with Ironclaw.
   The novel has a satisfactory conclusion, although there is a blatant lead-in to further adventures with the main cast.

The Golden Compass Dream-Carver All I Hold Deer Waterways
Fell Firestar’s Quest Life’s Dream Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara

Title: All I Hold Deer: A Deer Me Collection
Creator: Sheryl Schopfer
Publisher: Jarlidium Press (Federal Way, WA), Jan 2008
Trade paperback, 104 pages, USD $7.00

   And yet another popular Internet comic strip has made the transition to a ‘dead tree’ collection! This first compendium of Seattle cartoonist Schopfer’s Deer Me Internet Friday weekly comic strip ( is in the familiar two strips per page, 7" x 5" ‘pocket book’ format. It contains all of the online strips (by Schopfer; most of the few guest strips are missing) from #1, November 21, 2003 to #200, September 7, 2007; almost four years worth.
   It shows the usual artistic evolution of a beginning comic strip. As Schopfer says in her Introduction:

   As you peruse the book, I think that you will agree that my art has progressed over the first four years. Though I have ‘always’ drawn, cramming lively characters and their world into a few small panels once a week is a completely different experience… one that I still try to perfect.
    Likewise, my understanding of Viana Doesulen, Velvet Hairyson, Thomas Millwood, and others has also developed over time. I used to know their general personalities and a few quirks. Now, I also know what they eat, their music preferences, how they push each other, and many other details that one would know of friends. I listen to certain music and know that Velvet would play it to excess. I get stuck into certain situations and know just how Viana would handle them. I recognize what clothes Thomas would wear and what he would reject.
(pgs. 3-4)

    The three main characters are roommates Viana Doesulen and Thomas Millwood, two whitetail deer, and Velvet Hairyson, a mare. Viana wears her hair in a Mohawk and affects a headband that soon slipped down over her eyes to become a mask. She is high-strung and tends to yell at people, in the classic pop-psych profile of a neurotic crying for attention. The other two are about as normal as an anthropomorphic deer (artist) and horse (magazine romance columnist) can be. Deer Me began in 2003 with the ‘Con of Doom’ sequence, in which Thomas talks Viana into volunteering to serve on the committee running a local comics convention, by claiming that this will enable her to meet her favorite comic book artist, the con’s guest of honor—Jared Raul (timber wolf), artist of Wombat Wonder—in an intimate ‘behind the scenes’ setting. Of course, Viana is run ragged by overly-demanding dealers and pushy fanboys, and barely has a chance even to glimpse Raul, who is always surrounded by his fans.
   Deer Me features three kinds of strips. There are the strips that tell the escapades and exploits of the main characters and their friends, either straightforward or in long flashback sequences. There are the ‘breaking the fourth wall’ strips in which one of the characters, usually Viana, tries to convince the reader that some action of hers, such as constantly wearing a mask, is cool or an exercise in individualism instead of just weird. And there are the strips that feature Schopfer herself, anthropomorphized as the lynx Zeal Sharpclaw (and her significant other, Shandower, as a cat), either being nagged by Viana to draw the strip her way or to make an independent, artist-related joke. The reader seldom knows what is coming next.
   Almost every successful strip relies on a large supporting cast. Deer Me has built one up since its beginning, starting with Blaire Evans-Keene, the lop-eared rabbit organizer of the local ConnectComics comics convention, and her crazy artist husband, James (a skunk). Viana’s best friend is the married sheep, Woola Ramson, with her husband Thondy and their son Devan, a first-grader. Thomas’ best friend is Aaron Vaschel, a pronghorn antelope. Viana is a salesperson at a mall beauty shop, Bubbling Beauty and Bath, which is good for numerous customer-service jokes; another salesperson there is Rasha Zwi, a Thompson’s gazelle who is too close to Thomas for Viana’s liking. One of Devan’s schoolmates is the wheelchair-bound Alicia Muis, who lures him into participating in wheelies and downhill racing with her. And Zeal Sharpclaw and Shandower make their appearances. All I Hold Deer starts out with the three main characters, and quickly spreads in many directions.

Aaron to Thomas: Man, Thomas, your two roommates are real babes. You must love living with them!
Thomas: Well…
Velvet (coming home): Hi Thomas I just went shopping and my closet is already crammed so I’m taking over yours is that okay great love ya hi Aaron!
Viana (coming home): I hate all men they are stupid hello Thomas and Aaron I loathe your whole gender men are all creeps see you later.
Thomas: Yes, but it does have a few drawbacks.

    The last strip in the collection is the one in which Zeal, the cartoonist, celebrates having reached 200 strips, but immediately becomes depressed because 200 strips would not be a year’s worth for a daily strip. That’s true; the pacing is notably on fast-forward for a collection of a weekly strip. Especially at the year’s end, topical references to Hallowe’en, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s follow each other almost without a break. Zeal regrets never having done a Sunday-color style comic. Maybe in the next collection?

DEER ME strip for 24 Sep 2004
Deer Me strip for 24 Sep 2004 (re-lettered by Cubist for this review)

The Golden Compass Dream-Carver All I Hold Deer Waterways
Fell Firestar’s Quest Life’s Dream Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara

Title: Waterways
Author: Kyell Gold
Illustrator: John Nunnemacher
Publisher: Sofawolf Press (St. Paul, MN), Jan 2008
ISBN: 0-9791496-5-7
Trade paperback, x + 305 [+ 2] pages, USD $19.95

    Kyell Gold has been posting gay erotic furry fiction on for four years now. Aquifers, one of his earliest stories (August 28, 2005), has been one of his most popular. Gold added a sequel, Streams, to on March 16, 2007. Now Gold has revised those and added an original third story, Oceans, turning the trilogy into a novel, Waterways, released at Further Confusion 2008.

    My idea for the series [Gold states in his Foreword] was to show the different stages of a young man coming to grips with his sexuality in a potentially hostile world. An aquifer is an underground stream, and in Aquifers, Kory wrestles mostly with himself. In the second part, Streams, his hidden, underground secret has been exposed, leading to repercussions from family and friends. And as all streams flow to the ocean, so do all of us live in part of a larger society, and as we explore and shape our own identity, we push out against those who share the world we live in. Oceans, the last part, chronicles the effect Kory’s decisions have on his world. (pg. ix)

    Kory Hedley, a seventeen-year-old otter senior in Hilltown’s Carter High School, is going through adolescence. In his case, the changes are more confusing than usual. Kory has noticed that all of his gaming pals of the last few years are developing obsessions around girls and sports, which he has no interest in. A poem he writes in English class wins praise from his teacher but ridicule as ‘girly stuff’ from the budding jocks. He cannot work up any real feeling for his girl friend Jenny, who drifts away from him. When Kory feels the emotional thrill that has been described as ‘love’ upon meeting another boy, Samaki Roden, a black fox at the municipal swimming pool who is semi-openly homosexual, he begins to wonder if he, too, could be gay?
    Kory’s emotional conflicts are both the usual ones that result when all his teen peers including his best friend, Sal (otter), start going out with girls and invite him to double-date with them, and having a rigidly intolerant Catholic parent, his mother, who insists on micromanaging his social life. Kory has already learned to lie to her to have any personal freedom such as going to movies he wants to see instead of those she selects for him. Now he has a much more important secret to hide. Kory, conflicted, goes to his parish priest for advice, but to his surprise Father Joe (a Dall sheep) encourages him to not suppress himself:

    “Kory,” Father Joe said gently. “This is a confusing time of life for you, and a confusing issue to be dealing with.”
    “I don’t want to deal with it,” he snapped. “I want to fight it. I know what the Church says.”
    The sheep’s horns bobbed again. “I know what the Church’s official position is. I also know how I want to minister to my flock.” He reached into his desk and pushed a small card across the desk. “I happen to hold out hope that the Church will moderate its views. In the meantime, these people can help you out. It’s a Catholic group. I know David.” He tapped the card. “He used to be a priest. He felt he could better serve by leaving the Church. He’s a good wolf.”
    Kory stared at the card. He could read the words Dignity/USA on it, but nothing else from his position on the chair. He made no move to pick it up. “You’re supposed to tell me I’m going to hell if I give in.”
    “Yes, I suppose, but if you knew that, you wouldn’t have needed to come see me.”
(pg. 50)

    As Gold says, in Aquifers Kory comes to accept his own homosexuality and his feelings for Samaki. In Streams their relationship is strained when Kory wants to continue to keep it secret while Samaki doesn’t mind being open about it; and when its revelation forces Kory to choose between his homosexuality and remaining at home. In Oceans, Kory’s lifestyle is shown affecting the relationships among his mother and brother, his school pals, his religion, and his chances of going to college.
   Waterways is a sensitive, excellently-written novel about adolescent homosexuality. But it is also a better-thought-out depiction of a multi-species anthropomorphic community than most writers devise. Kory’s home is designed for an otter family:

    He walked across the living room, skirting the edge of the central pool that joined all the rooms of the ranch-style house, and walked across the bridge and down the short hall that led to his and his brother’s rooms, opening the door on the left wall and closing it behind him.
    Through the window to his right, he saw his brother walking up from the back yard. He dropped his stuff on the bed under the window and flopped down on it. Just lying in his own bed in his cozy room made his head feel a little better.
    Outside, he heard the splash as his brother dove into the pool from the back yard, and a moment later the younger otter’s head bobbed up in the small corner in his room that was open to the pool.
(pg. 11)

    Samaki lives in a neighborhood settled by nocturnal animals:

    They walked down the street together at a more leisurely pace, through a few blocks of the main shopping district, passing only a few people. Samaki turned down a dark street and strode confidently ahead, his light shirt and white tailtip bobbing ghostlike in the darkness. Kory took a couple steps in and hesitated, letting his eyes adjust. He heard the fox's steps stop, and saw eyeshine as Samaki turned.
    “Oh, you don't have good night vision, do you? I'm sorry. Here.” He reached out a paw. “It's just this one stretch. It's a shortcut.”
    Kory placed his paw in the fox's and felt the warm pads close around his fingers. The warmth was nice in the night air.
    “It's not dangerous,” Samaki said as he padded slowly down the street. Kory felt more confident with the fox's paw around his, and matched his pace. “The people who live on this street are all nocturnals—foxes, raccoons, mice, possums, one skunk family down that way—so they petitioned the city to get the street lights turned off on the street. It's not dangerous, either. They do a neighborhood watch. A couple years ago there were some drug dealers that tried to set up shop here, but they ran ‘em off.”
(pg. 27)

    Kory’s mother, even before she discovers that Samaki (who is African-American) is gay and blames him for corrupting Kory into mortal sin, shows her prejudice against him:

    His mother was talking about how nice Samaki seemed, even though she hoped he wouldn’t visit often because the smell [fox musk] lingered. (pg. 46)

    A center for gay adolescent homeless youths is made as multi-species as possible:

    In places like the school or public library, the interiors were deliberately minimalist so as not to favor any one species over another. Even though the Rainbow Center received some public funding, the equal-access laws known as the Orwell Act only applied to the common areas of the building, and then only to specify that the area be equally welcoming to all. Margo interpreted that to mean ‘as welcoming as possible to all,’ a passion which showed in the ceiling rungs, for squirrels and other climbers, the hard salt licks in the walls, the shallow trough of water running along one side of each of the ground-floor rooms, the sheltered corner with the thick triangular shade stretched over it to block out the light, and dozens of other small touches. Kory, used to the simple one- or two-species houses of his friends and the bare public school and library, had been first overwhelmed and then delighted by the feeling that he was entering a space that was not just communal, but an intersection of several different private spaces. (pg. 101)

    There are small touches throughout of such multi-species design, such as laminated college brochures for aquatic applicants, or the foxes’ Pounce Pounce Revolution video game. Whether you read Waterways for its plot of adolescent acceptance of homosexuality or for its richly-detailed anthropomorphic setting, it is a novel that should not be missed.

The Golden Compass Dream-Carver All I Hold Deer Waterways
Fell Firestar’s Quest Life’s Dream Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara

Cover of FELL
Title: Fell
Author: David Clement-Davies
Publisher: Amulet Books/Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (NYC), Sep 2007
ISBN: 0-8109-1185-X
Hardcover, 523 [+ 2] pages, USD $19.95

   The legend of The Sight continues… (blurb)

   Fell is a sequel to The Sight (2001, reviewed in Yarf! #68, reprinted in Anthro’s The Yarf! Reviews). The first chapter sets up this sequel, taking place five years later. Fell, the wolf, has become a legend of terror to the Carpathian wolves:

    “Do you think it could be him, Father?” she said. “Fell. They say he haunts these parts.”
    The Sikla whimpered at the name. These wolves were not of the region, for they were fleeing the Vengerid, a band of renegade wolves lead
[sic.] by the murderous Jalgan. But if Jalgan was to be feared, the name of Fell was like a curse to all the Varg of Transylvania.
    Some said the lone black wolf was a ghost himself, whose spirit had returned from the Balkar Wars of more than five years before, to haunt the mountains and bring fear and hatred to the Free Wolves of Transylvania. To impressionable young cubs like these, although growing fast and less gullible by the day, Fell was associated with extraordinary powers too: from the ability to make himself invisible, and to send bolts of pain through his victims and blind them, to the power to fly and swoop through the night like a horrible winged grasht—a vampire.
(pgs. 4-5)

    Fell has the Sight, the power to look inside other animals’ minds and communicate with them:

    After the animals had learned the Great Secret, that humans were animals too, it was man whom Fell had watched for five long years, disobeying the oldest Varg law—to have nothing to do with their kind—and using the power of the Sight to look into their minds, and trying to read their thoughts. (pg. 13)

    But Fell, in a major way, is very different from The Sight. That features talking wolves exclusively. In Fell, Fell the wolf becomes the guardian of a human girl, fifteen-year-old Alina ‘Sculcuvant’ (WovenWord, a storyteller). There are more chapters about Alina and the other humans than about Fell and the other talking animals.
    Fell is charged to help Alina by the spirit of his dead sister Larka, seen in a vision:

    “Destiny,” the voice seemed to whisper. “The child has a great destiny, Fell. It is marked.” […]
    “Aid it, Fell, to fulfill its destiny. For all of us. Fo nature itself.”
    “Nature and the child’s survival are one. Hurry.”
(pg. 15)

   Fell, like The Sight, is full of portentiously mysterious prophetic pronouncements:

    “Can’t you feel it?” said the male squirrel loudly. “Something strange is happening. Something in nature.”
    Fell blinked in astonishment. The Sight bestowed on the wolf the gift to talk to some animals—birds—but only Larka had ever reached all the Lera, with her mind and her understanding. Fell had never understood animals such as these before. Was he haunted?
    “What is happening, Cosmo?” whispered the second squirrel.
    “I don’t know,” answered her mate, “but I feel it everywhere. On the air and in the undergrowth. I feel it in the very elements themselves. Some great change comes.”
(pg. 10)

    It is set in the time of Lord Draculea; Count Dracula. Alina is a foundling raised in disguise as a boy by two peasants, Malduk and Ranna, who are as cruel to her as Cinderella’s stepmother. Alina learns by eavesdropping that she was found by Malduk seven years earlier as a child with amnesia, alongside a dead knight. (Like The Sight, it seems that all anyone needs to do to find something out is to hide; then two or more people will stop right in front of them and have a conversation that just happens to reveal the needed information.) With her was a letter from Lord Vladeran, the local nobleman, implying that he is her father but ordering the soldier to take her far away and kill her. Malduk and Ranna have been using Alina as their farm slave, but now that she has grown too old to be disguised as a boy any longer, they decide to kill her. Alina must flee—with the unexpected help of the telepathic fierce black wolf—and learn her true destiny, in a wartorn countryside where it seems the soldiers of Lord Vladeran, Lord Draculea, King Stefan Cel Mare of Moldavia, King Mattyas of Hungary, and the Ottoman Turks are all pillaging the land and looting peasant villages as much as fighting each other.
    After the first chapter featuring Fell, the story focuses upon Alina and the humans around her for the next three chapters. Fell does not reappear until page 76. The girl and the wolf are together for a couple of hundred pages—Fell is confused by his compulsion to help her instead of killing her as the spirit of the evil wolf witch Morgra urges him to do—then their paths are forced to separate again. Alina goes on to lead a revolt of the wolf-worshipping Helgra tribesmen against Lord Vladeran, while Fell returns to his former pack to aid his elderly parents, Huttser and Palla, and his brothers and sisters against Jalgan and his brutal Vengerid wolf pack. Can Fell return to Alina in time?
    Among the many annoyances in the story are trying to determine just when and where it takes place. At one point Clement-Davies says it is twenty-five years after the Turks conquered Constantinople, which was in 1453; at another he shows that the letter found with Alina seven years earlier was dated 1479. Granted the borders between Moldavia, Wallachia, and Transylvania were fluid during the 15th century, the novel seems overly vague as to where about the Carpathian mountains and valleys Alina and Fell go wandering. There are other errors that are not as important for the story’s sake, but are annoying nevertheless. Fell meets Ottol, a beaver with a thick accent:

    “Aren’t you frightened of me?” he growled.
    At that the beaver tilted its head, and Fell could see the surprise in its eyes.
of you,” it answered in a strange accent, “but zat I can understand you, yah.”
    “It is the Sight,” whispered Fell. “Something is happening; something in nature, I think.”
    The beaver nodded.
    “And vat doo you vant?” he asked.
    “What do you think I want?” growled Fell.
    “To kill and eat me,” answered the beaver coldly. “Zen vat are you vaiting for?”
(pgs. 84-85)

    Ottol talks funny because he comes “from zee great black forests to zee vest […] the region that one day men would call Bavaria.” But the name Bavaria goes back to the 8th century and earlier; Charlemagne conquered Duke Tassilo III of Bavaria in 788 A.D. The King of Hungary is said to reign from the “High Court of Budapest”. In the 15th century the capital of Hungary was Buda alone; it did not merge with Pest on the opposite bank of the Danube until the great river was bridged in the 19th century. Glitches like these keep interrupting the mood of the story, even more than the ‘facts’ about wolves that are as made-up (for the convenience of the story) as their language and religion:

    Inside he heard the whispering plash of water and a voice in his head saying: “Fear it, wolf. Fear death by water.” It made him brace instinctively for wolves fear nothing so much as a watery death […] (pg. 11)

   Fell is very dramatic, but it never attains the level of suspension of disbelief that a fantasy novel needs to feel convincing. Save your money.

The Golden Compass Dream-Carver All I Hold Deer Waterways
Fell Firestar’s Quest Life’s Dream Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara

Title: Firestar’s Quest
Author: Erin Hunter
Illustrator: Wayne McLoughlin. Maps.
Publisher: HarperCollinsPublishers (NYC), Aug 2007
ISBN: 0-06-113164-4
Hardcover, [10] + 510 + 2 pages, USD $17.99

    Life would go on like this forever; Firestar found the thought comforting. The daily routine of patrols, the toil of finding prey and training apprentices—even disturbing events like Longtail’s injury and his own unexplained dreams—seemed small and insignificant when placed beside the unending pattern of Clan life. Firestar was part of a long, long line of cats all driven by loyalty to their Clanmates and the warrior code. Even when he had lost his last life, the Great Oaks would still be here, one for each Clan, until his name had been long forgotten. (pg. 42)

   No. Readers of Firestar’s Quest, a 510-page Super Novel set three seasons after the end of the first six-volume series (reviewed in Anthro #4) but before the beginning of the Warriors: The New Prophecy hexology (reviewed in Anthro #11), already know from the Prologue that Firestar’s belief in ‘the unending pattern of Clan life’ is based on a lie. Once there were five forest Clans of feral cats, but after a shrinking of their territory around the Great Oaks, the ancestors of the four modern Clans drove the fifth, SkyClan, from their brotherhood. And as readers of Warriors: The New Prophecy (published 2005–2007) already know, the Great Oaks at Fourtrees will not last even as long as Firestar’s lifetime. That is getting ahead of the story, but Warriors fans who have read The New Prophecy cannot wipe their minds of this foreknowledge.
   The embittered SkyClan leader renounces his faith in the cats’ version of heaven, StarClan (the Milky Way), accusing the spirits of the Clans’ deceased warriors of having lied in their promise to keep all the Clans safe forever. Generations later, Firestar, the modern leader of ThunderClan, begins to have ominous nightmares and daytime visions of a whole Clan of terrified cats driven away. When he goes to StarClan to learn what these mean, he is horrified to discover that once there was a fifth Clan which StarClan made no move to help in its moment of need. Firestar vows to somehow right the ancient wrong.
   Firestar learns from the SkyClan leader’s ghost that its descendents have become separated:

    Firestar was puzzled. “Then there’s no SkyClan anymore?”
    The SkyClan warrior’s neck fur bristled and he drew back his lips in the beginning of a snarl. “I did not say that. I said that our home has gone and my Clanmates have scattered. Some became rogues, and some went to live with Twolegs as kittypets. But SkyClan still lives, although the cats have forgotten their heritage and the warrior code.”
    Bewildered, Firestar wondered how the other cat could insist SkyClan survived without any territory, if it had broken up and no cat knew the warrior code. What made a Clan if their home and heritage were gone?
    “So why have you come to me?” he asked.
    “Because you’re the only cat who can help us,” the warrior replied. He padded forward until he stood within a tail-length of Firestar, and his faint, fugitive scent wreathed around the ThunderClan leader. “You must rebuild SkyClan before it is lost forever.”
(pg. 85)

   Firestar goes on a long quest with his mate Sandstorm, with deep misgivings as to whether it is truly his destiny to succor the long-forgotten Clan, or whether his duty is to stay home and lead ThunderClan. The journey means leaving the safety of the forest and entering the domain of the Twolegs’ artificial nests. Firestar and Sandstorm have many adventures including separation, facing a flood, finding what had been SkyClan’s new settlement, and persuading the modern cats in the neighborhood to recreate the forgotten Clan before they return home again.
   By the nature of the Warriors books, readers can feel sure that Firestar’s quest will be successful. At the same time, Warriors fans know that there are only the four traditional Clans in the New Prophecy novels and later adventures. So what does happen in the quest to rebuild SkyClan? Read Firestar’s Quest to find out.
   There are several minor annoyances. Readers are left with a suspicion that Firestar is the hero just because he was the hero of the first series, although a superficial reason is provided for him to be chosen:

    Firestar’s mind whirled. “But … but why me?”
    The gray cat fixed his gaze on Firestar, his eyes glowing with sorrow. “I have waited long for you to come, a strong cat, a leader, and one who bears no taint of our betrayal in his blood. You are not descended from the cats that drove us out, and yet you are a true Clan warrior. It is your destiny to restore SkyClan.”
(pg. 86)

   Another annoyance is that some enigmas are drawn out much too melodramatically, such as the reason why SkyClan’s new home was so mysteriously abandoned:

    Scratch stalked away into the bushes, and Firestar padded off in another direction. While he tried to find prey, his senses stayed alert for whatever hostile creature was watching him.
Is it something to do with why SkyClan left the gorge? he wondered. Sky had been reluctant to answer any questions, but Firestar was certain that the old cat knew more than he was telling. I’ll have to question him again, he decided. The future of the new Clan might be at risk if Sky insisted on keeping secrets about possible danger. (pgs. 302-303)

   There is no real reason why this question could not have been answered when it was first asked, except to stretch out the mystery of why the SkyClan refugees left what was apparently an ideal den to split up so long ago. And, in retrospect, there is no reason for SkyClan to never be mentioned by the other four Clans in their later adventures, except that those adventures happen to have been written first.
   When the first six novels were originally published, Erin Hunter was identified as two British authors writing the books alternatively. Now Erin Hunter is identified as three creators; Cherith Baldry and Kate Cary, who write the books, and Victoria Holmes, who “comes up with the story ideas and makes sure the books stay consistent.” The books are not completely consistent; there have been a few changes of characters’ genders or names from book to book. Apparently even the creators have been confused by the large number of almost identical cats with almost identical names.
   In general Firestar’s Quest is a good standalone novel, but it will be enjoyed most by readers who are already familiar with at least the original series. At least four more Super Edition novels, all independent of each other, are planned.

The Golden Compass Dream-Carver All I Hold Deer Waterways
Fell Firestar’s Quest Life’s Dream Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara

Cover of LIFE\'S DREAM
Title: Life’s Dream: The Journal of Pandora and Karl
Author: Bernard Doove
Illustrators: Kacey Miyagami & others
Publisher: The Chakat’s Den (Melbourne)/CreateSpace (Scotts Valley, CA), Dec 2007
ISBN: 1-434-82260-5
Trade paperback, 250 pages, USD $17.95

   Bernard Doove began writing his Chakona Space stories in 1995. Most of the over one hundred stories by Doove and several other writers, posted on his Chakat’s Den website, feature bioengineered centauroid species created two hundred years earlier in a 23rd and 24th century interstellar society, such as the felinoid hermaphroditic chakats for space exploration, the foxtaurs for planetary ecological management, the skunktaurs for specialized psionic powers, and so on. The most popular are about the chakats on their world of Chakona and in space. However, the Tales of the Foxtaur Clans subseries concentrates upon the foxtaurs, bred to be the hereditary caretakers and rangers of the National Parks and Wilderness Preserves [of Earth] with minimum technology and maximum environmental preservation. (Chakat’s Den website). Life’s Dream was originally published as Tales of the Foxtaur Clans, Parts 6—14, on Doove’s website during 2005 to 2007.
   One of the more notable aspects of the ’taurs, which has made them popular with some readers but controversial with others, is their lack of human modesty taboos. ’Taurs tend to go nude and engage in public lovemaking, which, depending upon the author, can get pretty graphic.
   Pandora Whitepaw, a foxtaur vixen on a spirit quest in the deep forest, is rescued from a fatal fall into a gorge by Karl Jürgens, a human hiker who is passing by. Karl is deeply impressed by the busty vixen:

    Now that she was upright, Karl was able to get a good look at the person he’d rescued. She was [a] foxtaur vixen with strongly orange fur. Like many foxtaurs, she had white fur running down from her throat, between her breasts and over the stomach, then between her forelegs and covering her lower belly. She also had a white tip on the longest and fluffiest tail that he’d ever seen on a fox, taur or otherwise. There the resemblance to a red fox ended because not only was her entire face covered in white fur, but the ‘gloves’ and ‘boots’ were white furred instead of black or brown. In fact the only black fur was on her ears, setting off the most strikingly red hair that he’d ever seen. There was one other feature that drew his eyes though, and that was her heaving bust. As was common with foxtaur vixens, she wore no top, and the breasts that rose and fell as she panted were plainly visible, and obviously very ample, at least an E-cup or more if he was any judge. Tearing his gaze from the hypnotic sight, he met her green eyes and realised that she knew that he had been staring. Still he wasn’t sure why she looked away ashamedly. He hastened to get her mind off it anyway. (pg. 9)

   After thanking Karl by sharing sex with him—“I mean it. We’re not as body shy as you humans, so we are more physically expressive. If you like them [her breasts], would you like to touch them? As a reward for rescuing me?” she asked earnestly. (pg. 14)—Pandora invites Karl to return to her village, Crystal Creek. Karl, who has just escaped a very unpleasant human marital situation and had planned on settling in the forest as a hermit, accepts her offer.
Portrait of Jakkar and Karl    The novel follows their life over the next seven decades. During the next weeks Karl finds a new life with the mostly friendly foxtaurs as a village carpenter, and becomes Pandora’s official Denmate and lover. Two years after they become lifemates, Karl’s divorced human wife Isabel tracks him down and tries to legally confiscate all the money he has earned since he ‘abandoned’ her. They are able to order Isabel off the Crystal Creek tribal lands, but Karl finds himself unable to leave the foxtaur reservation without running into Isabel and her process servers. This is no problem since Karl has been adopted into the tribe and legally become Karl Whitepaw—until he wants to get his testes altered through nanotechnology so he can become fully fertile with Pandora and father foxtaur kits with her. This requires leaving Crystal Creek to visit chakat Doctor Springstep’s clinic at the Institute for New Generation Genetics -- where Isabel is waiting for him. Thanks to sympathetic accomplices, including the coyote morph (not a ’taur) Jake, Isabel is thwarted each time she attempts to waylay Karl over the succeeding years—Leaving clan territory was still very unsafe. His ex-wife still waited for him to make a slip. Only a couple of years back, the village Elders had informed them that Isabel had petitioned the inter-clan council to extradite Karl from Crystal Creek. The council members had investigated and, after learning the true situation, had told Isabel that she take her petition and shove it up her tail hole. Those were the council’s exact words, Elder Yuni had informed them with a grin. Foxtaurs frequently had an earthy sense of humour. (pg. 144)—as his and Pandora’s cubs Jakkar and Sylvia (and others later, and eventually grandchildren) grow into healthy, well-adjusted youngsters.
   Life’s Dream is a caring, touching family journal in a large nonhuman clan with open sex and incest. Karl is constantly getting shocked, then learning to deal with new situations:

   If you’re an exhibitionist, you’d probably deal okay with having a foxtaur mate. In previous journals, I have mentioned how everyone in the family sleeps together, and everything that might go on in a bedroom, goes on in front of everyone. Foxtaurs are matter-of-fact about these things to a fault. Pandora and I never stopped making love almost every night as the kits grew up, but it was still disconcerting to notice Sylvia watching us as we finished one evening. I brought up the subject with Pandora in private the next morning, whereupon she surprised me by informing me that it was at least the third time that she had watched us, not to mention Jakkar. When I asked her what we should do about it, she asked me, “Why do you think that anything needs doing? How do you think that kits learn about sex anyway?” Considering the dry facts that were taught at sex education classes, and the misinformation spread by school peers, I had to admit that she had a point. I asked her, “Do kits learn everything just by watching their parents?” She informed me, “Sooner or later they will start asking questions. Then they will be ready to learn all the facts about sex, and we’ll teach them properly.” (pg. 166)

   To some readers, Life’s Dream will be pornographic and voyeuristic. To others, it will be an intriguing look into a society similar to those that existed among primitive cultures that have developed without Judeo-Christian influences, such as 19th century African and South American tribes, projected into a technological future. Read according to your tastes for sexual openness. The novel is profusely illustrated with eighteen sketches by Kacey Miyagami, a couple of which are graphically explicit, plus individual pictures by six other artists.

The Golden Compass Dream-Carver All I Hold Deer Waterways
Fell Firestar’s Quest Life’s Dream Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara

Title: Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara
Creator: James Gurney
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (Kansas City, MO), Sep 2007
ISBN: 0-7407-6431-4
Hardcover, 160 pages, USD $29.95

   James Gurney has been writing and painting (in oils) the fantastically realistic Dinotopia all-ages art books since 1992 when Dinotopia: A Land Apart from Time introduced the lost continent where humans and intelligent dinosaurs live in harmony. Gurney followed that up with Dinotopia: The World Beneath in 1995, and the more juvenile Dinotopia: First Flight in 1999. Since The World Beneath he has seemed to pass Dinotopia on to others to be ‘written down’, with two Young Adult novels by Alan Dean Foster, a series of sixteen juvenile paperback novels by numerous authors, and a TV mini-series and series, a direct-to-video children’s animated movie, and some video games, between 1995 and 2005. Dinotopia appeared to have run dry in recent years.
   Now Gurney has reinvigorated the series. Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara is a collection of his oil paintings, one or more on each double-page spread, meant for adults more than as a “children’s picture book”. It covers some favorite locales from the earlier books—Waterfall City and Sauropolis—and takes the reader into exotic new lands.
   The first book was written as the journal of Professor Arthur Denison, who was cast away on Dinotopia with his son Will in 1862. Journey to Chandara begins with a new travel journal in April 1869. Denison has become a respected member of the human and saurian savants in Waterfall City, and Will has grown up to be a skybax courier delivering mail throughout Dinotopia on the back of his skybax (quetzalcoatlus) partner, Cirrus.
   Well, not everywhere in Dinotopia. It seems that there is a large eastern empire that Denison had not previously mentioned, which is off limits to the rest of the large island:

    In 1841, leaders in Sauropolis broke off relations with Chandara, deploring the lack of a democratic roundtable and the autocratic rule by Emperor Hugo Khan. By 1845 the Belt Road was officially closed to the trade caravans, and three years later landslides blocked the road entirely.
    Legends grew, since few in the west had seen Chandara with their own eyes, and some even whispered of superstition and wizardry. All agreed that Allosaurus and Tyrannosaurus had crossed into Blackwood Flats from the Rainy Basin and that brigands infested many of the border areas.
(pg. 17)

   Naturally Denison wants to tour Chandara and see for himself what it is really like:

    I was hoping for a letter since I had resolved to enter Chandara, Dinotopia’s eastern empire, which had long been closed to visitors. I had written many times to the emperor requesting permission and safe passage. Will brought them to officials along the border, but always a polite reply would remind me that no one would be permitted to travel beyond the Great Desert. (pg. 12)

   Denison is delighted to finally get permission from Emperor Khan to visit Chandara, but only for himself and his close friend Bix, the small protoceratops who has a reputation throughout Dinotopia for diplomacy between humans and saurian communities alike. The two set out from Waterfall city in a large caravan that is to take them to the borders of the empire, where they will be escorted by Chandarans to the capital city. Denison’s journal records new communities that he had not passed through before, such as Bilgewater, in the form of 18th century sailing ships stuck prow-down in the ground with their bows pointing to the stars.
   However, when their caravan stops in Sauropolis, Dinotopia’s political center, the disreputable Lee Crabb crashes the party. Denison and Bix refuse to take him with them to Chandara—indeed, they point out that they cannot since their invitation is for them alone—so Crabb steals the invitation and races on ahead. The authorities insist there is nothing they can do and the caravan is broken up, so Denison and Bix determine to go on alone.
   They see many new communities such as the ruins of the musical city of Ruhmsburg, then venture across the dangerous swamps of the Rainy Basin and up into the snowy Forbidden Mountains, where they find Cenozoic mammals such as wooly mammoths and megaloceros (Irish elks) instead of dinosaurs. There are dinosaurs again on the other side of the mountains in Chandara, whose cities such as Ebulon and Khasra have a Middle Eastern look. The city of Chandara itself, which they enter as two poor vagabonds, is reminiscent of the Baghdad of Haroun al-Raschid. They are surprised to find that Emperor Hugo Khan is not at all like they had expected, and that Lee Crabb, impersonating Denison, has been appointed ‘Minister of Peace’. But Crabb soon reveals his true nature, and Denison is rewarded with the luxury to finish painting the scenes of his journey in peace.
   Journey to Chandara corrects one of the flaws of the first volume. Gurney originally described Dinotopia as such a happy, peaceful world that it did not even need fire departments, despite one of its cities being built alongside a volcano, or mediators for civil disputes. Journey to Chandara at least mentions political dissention, and one of the new scenes shown in Sauropolis is its fire department consisting of humans working with brachiosaurs with specialized fire-fighting howdahs on their backs.
   As usual, Gurney’s artwork is lovely and rich in detail. Although this book was only published last September, you may have seen some of the art before because Gurney has had several special exhibitions of it, notably at the 2006 World Science Fiction Convention in Los Angeles. Let’s hope that Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara is not Gurney’s last word—and picture—in this series.


The Golden Compass Dream-Carver All I Hold Deer Waterways
Fell Firestar’s Quest Life’s Dream Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara

Anthropomorphic books for review should be sent to Fred Patten, at:
Golden State Colonial Convalescent Hospital, 10830 Oxnard Street, North Hollywood, CA, 91606

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