Review by Weasel
“One person’s trash, is another’s treasure.” I didn’t quite know what to expect going into FURRY TRASH, and I was curious to see how the anthology would define trash with the selection of stories that it features. From mob bosses, to underground societies, and even creatively “cringy” characters, FURRY TRASH is an anthology that seems to allow the author to define “trash” in their own way. And while the collection as a whole is enjoyable and interesting to read, I would have liked a bit more cohesion to the project, or even just a preface to the anthology from the editor that gave the reader their vision for this book. That being said, there’s not a story here that I absolutely hated.
"A Leap Forward" by MikasiWolf starts this anthology off. A story about an underground society called “The Movement,” it is an action-filled story with lots of description on parkour, running from the cops, and finding your own way in life as a young teen. I would have liked the start of this story to be a bit quicker, but overall it was a fun read.
"Flying Rat" by Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen follows. Bureaucracy is one of the most frustrating things to deal with, and I feel the author tackles this really well in this story. We’re immediately given this bleak image of life barreling into dull cubicles and losing a sense of yourself as you settle for it. It’s a frustrating tale, but overall not a bad one. The author forces the reader to feel the main character’s mundane life, while feeling the dread of loopholes that are being crossed to help someone’s living situation.
"Foxbatwolfponydragontigerplant with Angel Wings" by Thurston Howl. There have been very few moments in my life where I have had to put down a book and sigh. Sigh hard. Sigh really, really hard. The author knew what they were doing when they wrote this, and it’s honestly one of the funniest stories of the book. You can just feel the amount of edgy they wanted to have steaming off the pages. It’s short. It’s funny. And it doesn’t need much of an introduction given the title.
"Gambit" by Kittara Foxworthy. A group of kids take on extra work to help pay off Illandra’s debt, thus freeing her. It reminds me of the old science fiction novels of like the 70s. Something like Gordon R. Dickson or Arthur C. Clarke. The author knows how to use suspense to keep the readers engaged. Kittara Foxworthy is an author I’ve not ever heard of, but I’m definitely curious to read other work they have put out.
"Ibis Hotel" by Tom Mullins is a story where the main character desires a better life, one outside of the corporate hellhole he and his family currently live in. The story is dark and deals a devastating blow to the reader as we progress through it.
"Learning the Curve" by TJ Minde focuses on a gay possum trying to fit in with his bowling class. A typical story of a shy guy not yet comfortable with himself to be outgoing, make friends, or even date. He befriends a tiger and has to learn to handle his own trust issues as the class progresses.
"One Night Last Summer" by Cedric G! Bacon has characters I would want to murder. But that’s just me. Piper is roped into a date with someone she barely knows. Having a double date with her friend Dallas and her partner, Piper isn’t the most welcomed person at the table. Cedric has a way of writing characters and making me hate them. And with the bar atmosphere, he’s done it perfectly. Easily one of my favorites of the book.
"One Sentient’s Trash" by the late Fred Patten is a story where anthropomorphic animals are discriminated against. They take on a member of a “human supremacy” group in order to be able to do their jobs. From a race perspective, I found the story a bit problematic. When it comes to race, using animals to portray BIPOC characters is racist as it dehumanizes BIPOC folx. We’ve seen this fairly recently with Disney’s The Princess and the Frog and Soul, where the characters don’t even get to stay human in their own film. By toning down discussions of race to human-animal interaction, you further the stereotype that BIPOC aren’t human. Fred writes well enough, but I don’t think this is the story I would have picked to publish in the anthology.
"Salvage" by Harwich Wolcott is a rather dark story. The anthology moves between dark- and light-hearted, but this story plunges right down while tackling sexual abuse, sexual violence, and searching for safety in a world that is ready to use you and leave you in the garbage.
"The Janitor" by Ivan Snow, though a bit cheesy in spots, wasn’t an overall terrible story. A character lost in life and unsure of where he really wants to go is asked to clean up a mess made by one of the employees at work. It’s funny in spots, gritty in others, and the ending lines were cheesy. Good. But cheesy.
"The Otter’s Mermaid" by Mary E. Lowd. I really liked this story, but I’m also a sucker for a bit of romance in fiction. An Otter falls in love with a mermaid and brings her new inventions to help her in work. Though the mermaid doesn’t always like the gifts, the relationship between the two grows strong. "The Otter’s Mermaid" is one of the cutest reads of the book, and a good, light-hearted break from the prior grit and darkness.
"The River in the Mist" by Dwale. Out of all the stories in this collection, I’m glad to see it end on this one. Dwale’s story is a strong, action-filled piece of fiction that gets the blood rushing up until the very end. It’s dark, it’s bleak, and it’s adventurous. I’m surprised Dwale hasn’t come out with a collection of their own work. I’ve always found Dwale’s fiction fun and hard-hitting, and "The River in the Mist" is no exception. It’s a story that will not disappoint.
Overall, FURRY TRASH was fun and sometimes dark read. If you’re looking for a bit of sci-fi, or something on the darker side of fiction, or even a good laugh, you’ll find it here.