June’s Book of the Month is The Digital Coyote, a science fiction novel by Kris Schnee.
Pete signed up to have his brain diced, so he could become a better person. Now he lives in the virtual world of Talespace, where he beta-tests everything from new game rules to mental upgrades to robots that will let his AI boss help people in the real world. As brain-uploading technology starts to become more than a toy for the rich, the now-divided America isn’t the only place where Talespace’s new society, buggy as it is, is badly needed. Will Pete’s new home become an irrelevant gamer heaven, or a force for liberty?
In Talespace you can change your body, fly, build starships, befriend native AIs eager to learn about the dangerous world outside, and try to find a home and happiness. Even if there’s an unexplained asterisk on your account information.
Some days Pete pilots robots on diplomatic missions back “Earthside.” Sometimes he learns magic and battles monsters. Oh, and sometimes he tries to outwit a rival AI god. It’s a pretty good job to have.
The Digital Coyote won the 2016 Cóyotl Award for best novel. It’s the third book in the Thousand Tales setting, but is a standalone work. Buy it in Kindle or paperback from Amazon.
May’s Book of the Month is Kismet, a science fiction novel by Watts Martin.
The River: a hodgepodge of arcologies and platforms in a band around Ceres, full of dreamers, utopians, corporatists—and transformed humans, from those with simple biomods to the exotic alien xenos and the totemics, remade with animal aspects. Gail Simmons, an itinerant salvor living aboard her ship Kismet, has docked everywhere totemics like her are welcome…and a few places they’re not.
But when she’s accused of stealing a databox from a mysterious wreck, Gail lands in the crosshairs of corporations, governments, and anti-totemic terrorists. Finding the real thieves is the easy part. To get her life back, Gail will have to confront a past she’s desperate not to face—and what’s at stake may be more than just her future.
Kismet is available in paperback from FurPlanet and DRM-free ebook from Bad Dog Books, as well as paperback and ebook (in an alternate cover edition) from Amazon.
April 2017 brings us a second Book of the Month. (This is totally not because we skipped the BotM post in March.)
Our second Book of the Month for April is GENMOS: Gathering Storms, a young adult science fiction novel by Stephen Coghlan.
I’m writing this letter to you because I want to tell you how my family, the Genmos, became recognized as living beings.
It all started years ago, when my dad used a government contract to create super-soldiers for his own needs. After almost a decade of providing limited success, the project was canceled and we were ordered destroyed. Unwilling to kill his children, dad hid us throughout the country, splitting us up from each other.
Just after my eighth birthday, my oldest sister’s guardian died, and she was forced to live on the streets. After several witnesses reported seeing her, it sparked a race to recover her, and my other siblings, between my father and the agency that had ordered us destroyed. That night began my people’s fight for our rights, our freedom and our very lives.
I’ve collected writings from my siblings and have tried to put them into an order that I hope makes sense for you. This is our story.
Gathering Storms is published by Thurston Howl Publications and is available in paperback from Amazon.
April 2017’s Book of the Month is Rechan’s short story collection, Intimate Little Secrets.
From just a fleeting spark to the last burning coals, relationships burn our fingers and set our passions aflame. Even when extinguished, the embers can still smolder and scorch.
When Luis’s ex comes back into his life, the cost of what he wants might mean the loss of something more. Jacob needs peace with his family, an order perhaps too tall for Desiree to provide. Marjani must make amends for an indiscretion. A confession falls apart, leaving Janine caught in the gears of a messy arrangement. Strait-laced Conner has to navigate a new world both confusing and rife with hurt feelings.
In these nine stories, imperfect people brave the fire for moments of perfection.
Intimate Little Secrets is available now in print from FurPlanet and DRM-free ebook from Bad Dog Books, and may be available on Amazon and other ebook retailers.
February 2017’s Book of the Month is Dogs of War, edited by Fred Patten.
Men have made war for gold, for land, and to put others in chains for millennia. No invention or philosophy has changed that, not gunpowder, not airplanes, not democracy, or even splitting the atom. Whatever the era, whatever the weapon, man has made war on his neighbors. The nature of conflict never changes, because human nature has not changed.
But how might that change if it were no longer just humanity going to war—if animal instincts, strengths and skill were to join the battlefield?
Dogs of War is an anthology exploring what warfare looks like when the combatants are no longer fully human. It contains twenty-three stories about how war changes when those who do the fighting have changed, and how much it stays just the same.
Dogs of War contains the following short stories:
“Nosy and Wolf,” Ken MacGregor
“After Their Kind,” Taylor Harbin
“Succession,” Devin Hallsworth
“Two If By Sea,” Field T. Mouse
“The Queens’ Confederate Space Marines,” Elizabeth McCoy
“The Loving Children,” Bill McCormick
“Strike, But Hear Me,” Jefferson P. Swycaffer
“End of Ages,” BanWynn Oakshadow
“Shells On the Beach,” Tom Mullins
“Cross of Valor Reception for the Raccoon, Tanner Williams, Declassified Transcript,” John Kulp
“Last Man Standing,” Frances Pauli
“Hunter’s Fall,” Angela Oliver
“Old Regimes,” Gullwulf
“The Shrine War,” Alan Loewen
“The Monster in the Mist,” Madison Keller
“Wolves in Winter,” Searska GreyRaven
“The Third Variety,” Rob Baird
“The Best and Worst of Worlds,” Mary E. Lowd
“Tooth, Claw and Fang,” Stephen Coghlan
“Sacrifice,” J.N. Wolfe
“War of Attrition,” Lisa Timpf
“Fathers to Sons,” MikasiWolf
“Hoodies and Horses,” Michael D. Winkle
Dogs of War is available now in print from FurPlanet.
December 2016’s Book of the Month is The Time He Desires by Kyell Gold, a short novel in FurPlanet’s “Cupcakes” line, with illustrations by Kamui.
After thirty years, Aziz’s marriage now consists mostly of arguing about whether to sell their store to a developer. His wife has a social life, interests and plans for the future, but the pawnshop is Aziz’s connection to his community. And then one day a desperate fox rushes into the shop looking for the honeymoon tape his husband sold. Seizing on this chance to make a difference, the cheetah steps up to help save their crumbling marriage. A gay couple might not show him the way to a new life, but he’s running out of ways to save his old one.
The Time He Desires is available now in print from FurPlanet, and should shortly be available in ebook from Bad Dog Books and available on Amazon and other ebook retailers.
November 2016’s Book of the Month is Fragments of Life’s Heart, an anthology edited by Laura “Munchkin” Lewis and Stefano “Mando” Zocchi.
They say Love is the oldest story on Earth, but we don’t have to tell it the same way every time. How many ways are there to explore our feelings that we may have never even considered? Countless fragments of different worlds, all held together by the greatest force of all.
Join us as we explore the many different forms of love—family love, forbidden love, love that embraces what society always taught was wrong. Love can bloom, thrive, and end. Love can heal, mesh, and blend. We’re all Fragments trying to stick together.
Fragments of Life’s Heart includes 17 stories, many of which are from FWG members:
“Tending the Fires,” Jess E. Owen
“Transitions,” Mog Moogle
“The Mistress of Tidwell Manor,” Renee Carter Hall
October 2016’s book of the month is Dog Country, by Malcolm F. Cross.
A crowdfunded civil war is Azerbaijan’s only hope against its murderous dictatorship. The war is Edane Estian’s only chance to find out if he’s more than what he was designed to be.
He’s a clone soldier, gengineered from a dog’s DNA and hardened by a brutal training regime. He’d be perfect for the job if an outraged society hadn’t intervened, freed him at age seven, and placed him in an adopted family.
Is he Edane? Cathy and Beth’s son, Janine’s boyfriend, valued member of his MilSim sports team? Or is he still White-Six, serial number CNR5-4853-W6, the untroubled killing machine?
By joining a war to protect the powerless, he hopes to become more than the sum of his parts.
Without White-Six, he’ll never survive this war. If that’s all he can be, he’ll never leave it.
Dog Country is available exclusively as a Kindle ebook from Amazon ($4.99 to buy, or available through Kindle Unlimited).
September 2016’s Book of the Month is ROAR 7, edited by Mary E. Lowd.
Welcome to a LEGENDARY volume of ROAR! That’s right, the theme for the seventh volume is legend, and it will take you on a journey from a fortune teller’s bamboo hut to the end of the world in the coils of a dead snake god, back in time to the Cretaceous and then up to the stars. You’ll meet tigers and cranes practicing Kung Fu, a singing frog, a gambling pigeon, a rap-star bearded dragon, a rhinoceros who’s friends with a goat, and several creatures you’ve probably never seen before.
The seventh volume of FurPlanet’s annual general audience anthology has 17 stories:
“Crouching Tiger, Standing Crane,” Kyla Chapek
“The Frog Who Swallowed the Moon,” Renee Carter Hall
“The Torch,” Chris “Sparf” Williams
“A Rock Among Millions,” Skunkbomb
“The Pigeon Who Wished For Golden Feathers,” Corgi W.
August 2016’s Book of the Month is Sixes Wild: Echoes, by Tempe O’Kun.
Life’s not all whiskey and revelry for this bunny gunslinger. In a recent tangle, Six had cause to dynamite a lion crime lord in his silver mine. The kitty had the nerve to survive and vanish with one of the guns tied to her dead father’s spirit. A sensible hare would go to ground, lying low while she tracked down the varmint. And that’s just what she’d do, had she not stumbled into love with the local fruit bat sheriff. Love’s all well and good, but courting a gentleman when you’re no proper lady is a challenge Six never thought she would have to tackle.
All told, Frontier life is enough to trounce anybody. But then, Six Shooter has never been just any bunny.
Echoes is the sequel to Sixes Wild: Manifest Destiny, which won a Cóyotl Award for best novel in 2011. It’s available in print from FurPlanet and Kindle ebook from Amazon. (It should be available as a DRM-free ebook from Bad Dog Books soon.)