[My list of Ursa Major-eligible stories is posted at http://kyellgold.com/wpblog/2012/01/31/ursa-eligible-stories-linked/]
Because I’ll be away this weekend at Furry Fiesta, here’s a three-fer to hold you over:
“Sim and Scope”
(in “In the Doghouse of Justice,” from Sofawolf Press. Not yet online.)
I’ve had a lot of fun exploring the superhero world of the League of Canids. “Don’t Blink” was published in “Heat” (and won an Ursa Major); “Third Date” also saw publication in “Heat.” “Stop the World” was published in Anthro, and “Modern History” was a hit on my FA page. So I thought a nice collection of stories would be good, to get them all in one place. Because they are comic heroes, I wanted to make the collection a little less explicit than it had been, which was a difficult task mostly for “Modern History,” in which fully half the story is taken up with an explicit sex act and the effect it has on the hero. I don’t think I succeeded, as both Sofawolf and Fred Patten in his review rated this “adult.” But I tried.
These three stories are all written without much (if any) explicit content, although “Vicious” contains a lesbian sex scene and “Splitting Time” technically does too. “Sim and Scope” is the only one that really doesn’t have any room for sex anywhere in it.
I wrote these three because they were characters I was interested in exploring further. “Vicious” is a strange little story that is more a character portrait than anything else, exploring the two lives of Vicious Vixen: demure supermodel and ruthless crimefighter. I wanted to show how she balanced the two, how she used her crimefighting life to get out the aggression she felt at constantly being pursued by all the men in her life. Instead, the story turned more into a “what does she really love?” story, because she puts up so many facades in all of her personas.
“Sim and Scope” are two characters with fairly passive powers; although Sim’s “body process modification” power is good in quiet situations, he needs to be touching the intended recipient, which doesn’t work so well in a fight. Scope’s enhanced hearing and smell are even less combat-useful. Still, the second-tier heroes rather resent having that label and like going out to prove themselves, and occasionally they do fall into trouble. But they can deal with it, when they do. Behind this story is the love the two of them have for each other. They are the only superhero-only couple in the League, and I think part of that is because they are lower-key heroes with passive powers.
“Splitting Time” was written last of all the stories, and it came to me in a day. I changed the ending from a more downbeat one to an upbeat, hopeful ending, realizing that it was truer to the characters. This one is the first one that focuses on the husband of one of the superheroes, and it’s one of the superheroes who was mentioned in the first story but not since then, so she’s no longer an active member of the league. I sort of wanted to explore what might have happened to cause that, and in the process ended up looking at what life was like for someone who loves a superhero. “Stop the World” had looked at domestic problems from the superhero’s perspective, but it was interesting to pick up the other side of it. You would think that someone who marries a superhero knows what he’s getting into, but like a 60’s sitcom husband who marries a magic woman (or finds her in a bottle), there are always unexpected surprises, not all of them pleasant.
As I’d mentioned at the beginning, the explicitness has been more or less removed from all of these. When I go back to prepare the e-books, I am planning to create an explicit version and a non-explicit version so that fans of the original stories will be able to get them, and fans of the edited versions will be able to get them as well. I may even add in a little explicit detail in “Vicious” and “Splitting Time” where it fits in with the story…
For the book, I was lucky enough to work with AmonOmega, a highly talented cartoonist whose drawings really capture the spirit of the stories. He’s a great guy as well as a terrific artist, and I love the work he did on the illustrations for these stories.