Where’s All the Spooky? [Brief Barks #1]
While THP does dabble in both furry and non-furry books, let’s direct attention today strictly at furry literature as a whole.
Furry literature spans across several different publishers, with a variety of both singular and collaborative pieces with a vast selection of authors to choose from, which leads to a variety of genres being explored. Or is there!?
Now I’ll put up the disclaimer that this is going to come from an extremely biased perspective. I myself am heavily invested in the horror genre and the many ways it can be portrayed through various art forms.
And in all fairness, several furry publishers have released horror themed works before, us included (winkwink, plz buy). Apart from having a bit of spookiness to celebrate Halloween like Ianus J. Wolf’s Trick or Treat anthologies (2013/14) (which naturally come highly recommended from yours truly), there are very few horror pieces aside from the odd anthology.
With the diversity behind the physical ability and behavioural nuance of the multiple species that surrounds the furry fandom, it collectively lends several opportunities to explore various genre pieces, designing characters with traits based inherently on their species to differentiate them from their human counterparts, and can potentially subvert genre expectations because of these more animalistic (or reptilian, avian, insectoid, we’re not picky) advantages.
Many stories encountered within the fandom base themselves in cultural mythologies that focus around particular animals (and reptiles, and—you get it). Which can lend itself to a horror context quite nicely, given how many of these creature-based legends are cautionary tales (Wendigo anyone?). Not to mention the idea of transformation used as both punishment and curse, serving as another subversion to a popular fandom concept, which was already in itself a more positive subversion of that original trope to begin with.
But it’s not just the mythos that serves as a good source of horror. We need look no further then what’s in our own, very real wilderness. The entire dynamic of predator/prey plays out just like a classic horror trope, the constant fear and lust of the hunt, the natural order and cycle of life. A system that perpetuates its own existence, that when put in a more human context suddenly becomes rather terrifying. How one must give their life to sustain those that come after, is a heavy statement given the right perspective. The brutality of nature can be a stark contrast of the beauty commonly discussed in furry lit, especially when painted up all spooky like.
And to the fandom’s credit there have been far more non-holiday themed horror anthologies coming into the limelight, outside of just THP (the most shameless of plugs). Tarl Hoch’s Abandoned Places (2014) and Bleak Horizons (2017) being among some of the recent and standout examples dedicated to testing the chilling waters, inserting anthropomorphic characters into classic and original horror scenarios, paying homage and bringing something new to the table.
Ultimately the point of my ramblings is to serve as an encouragement to continue extending out into new and uncommon genres through a furry lens. Explore the unexplored and see what various subcategories of fiction can benefit from being graced with a little extra bit of fuzz. And to give me more horror content.
I have a craving.