Monthly Archives: November 2017

‘Larry Otter’ Lands Blacktip Island Author In Legal Trouble

Larry Otter

An illustration from the first of local author Corrie Anders’ ‘Larry Otter’ series of young adult novels, now subject of a lawsuit claiming copyright infringement. (illustration by A. E. Brehm)

A Blacktip Island author Wednesday was ordered to pay $1 million and stop all sales of her popular ‘Larry Otter’ fantasy novels for young adults due to alleged copyright infringement.

“They’re bagging on it for being a Harry Potter rip off, but it’s totally different,” author Corrie Anders said. “Larry’s a young, orphaned sea otter trying to fit in with a school of fish on Snogmorts Reef, not some sorcerer-in-training.

“Sure, Larry has a zig-zag scar on his rear flipper, but it’s from a shark attack. That’s where the similarity ends,” Anders said. “And the only magic is in the hearts of my readers.”

The series, which includes ‘Larry Otter and the Sea Urchin Stone,’ ‘Larry Otter and the Chamber of Smelt,’ ‘Larry Otter and the Prisoner of Lorenzini,’ and ‘Larry Otter and the Goblet of Kelp,’ were popular sellers in Caribbean book stores until the lawsuit stopped all sales.

“We’re fighting this nonsense tooth and nail,” said Anders’ attorney Bob Skulkin. “There’s also a cease-and-desist order on any in-progress novels. We’ve filed a counter-suit to shut that crap down.

“And $1 million? Good luck with that,” Skulkin said. “Corrie’s day job’s bartending. They’re asking for blood from a stone.”

Local ‘Larry’ fans were shocked by the news.

“The kids love Larry’s adventures,” Sally Port said. “We read a chapter before bed every night. Our youngest got the reading bug with the series.

“I don’t see what some big publishing house has to gain, taking these stories away from little children,” Port added.

Others echoed that sentiment.

“These books are a much more positive influence than those horrible Harry Potter books,” Christa Goby said. “Larry’s adventures have the kiddos out learning to swim and hunting sea urchins. Harry had them waving sticks at each other and believing in witches and magic spells and I don’t know what all.”

The Blacktip Island Writer’s Guild is backing Anders.

“All proceeds from Guild members books are going to Corrie’s legal defense fund,” Guild chairperson Quinn Blenny said. “Less expenses, of course. So far we’ve raised $13.54.

Anders, meanwhile, has vowed to keep writing.

“Until someone physically takes away my laptop, I’ll keep telling Larry’s story,” she said. “My readers believe in me, and that’s all that matters. ‘Larry Otter and the Order of the Lionfish’ll be out by Christmas.”

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Doping Scandal Shocks Blacktip Island Iguana Racers

doping scandal

Dermott Bottoms’ Chee-Chuck is one of the iguanas to test positive for performance-enhancing substances Thursday at the Blacktip Island iguana racetrack. (photo courtesy of Kitty Terwolbeck)

Blacktip Island’s iguana racing community was rocked Thursday afternoon by allegations of iguanas testing positive for performance-enhancing substances.

“We got suspicious when slow iguanas that had never won anything suddenly started winning races with record times,” said Blacktip Iguana Racing Club president Clete Horn. “We did random blood draws after the latest race and discovered significant levels of white rum in several iguanas.

“Turns out, rum’s a stimulant for iguanas,” Horn said. “It’s not just for dive staff anymore. We’re hoping it’s a few isolated cases by a few over-competitive trainers, but we don’t know yet.”

The trainer at the heart of the controversy downplayed the allegations.

“I always give Chee-Chuck a taste rum before the race. No big deal,” iguana trainer Dermott Bottoms said. “Calms her down. I drink some, too, for my nerves. It’s a stressful sport.”

Others in the racing community were not so dismissive.

“Big money ruined the sport, made it way more cutthroat over the past year,” iguana hostler Molly Miller said. “All the sponsorships and TV contracts, they have people cutting corners wherever they can.

“Trackside violence is on the upswing, too,” Miller said. “First there was the drunkenness, then the fights among bettors, now this. It’s not the family-friendly racecourse it used to be.”

Authorities are focused on the influence of organized crime in the sport.

“Criminal organizations are active in iguana racing across the Caribbean,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “On-track betting’s legal, since government gets half the take, but all the off-track side betting isn’t, and that’s been a magnet for bookmaking and racketeering.

“The biggest player is Cal Amari’s outfit on Tiperon,” Marquette said. “He’s got his tentacles in every aspect of racing. With him and his Ink Stain gang so close, our concern is this race-fixing may be just the tip of the iceberg, crime-wise.”

Race fans were shaken by the news.

“If you can’t trust the outcome of the iguana races, what can you trust?” resident Ginger Bass said. “We used to bring the kiddos and make a day of it, but no more. We can’t expose them to that sort of blatant dishonesty.

“Racing fans island-wide feel like we’ve lost our innocence this week,” Bass said. “And not in a good way. It just hurts. I’m keeping the money I won on Chee-Chuck, though. To help ease the pain.”

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Fisherman Discovers Sunken Pyramids Off Blacktip Island

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Antonio Fletcher’s photo of what he claims are ancient pyramids atop a remote seamount off Blacktip Island’s northwest coast. (photo courtesy of Antonio Fletcher)

Local fisherman Antonio Fletcher says he discovered underwater pyramids on a seamount off Blacktip Island’s west coast Wednesday morning while searching for a new fishing spot.

“Went out to Robber’s Bank, where folks don’t usually go,” Fletcher said. “Had my camera on a weighted line to see where the fish were and BAM! There were these big bumps on top of the bank.

“Looked to be stair-stepped. Like Mayan and Aztec pyramids. Or maybe Egyptian,” Fletcher said. “Makes sense, you know – that was high ground before sea levels rose, and Central America’s right close by.”

Local archeologists are asking fishermen and scuba divers to avoid the seamount until they can investigate Fletcher’s claim.

“This could be the find of the century, but we can’t get to it because of ripping currents the last few days,” Tiperon University-Blacktip professor Catalina Luxfer said. “There’s no known man-made structures in this part of the Caribbean, though, so it may just be a big coral head. But if it is something, we don’t want it looted.

“That seamount’s remote, but it’s not unknown. If there’s structures like that on it, I’m not sure why someone hadn’t seen them, though,” Luxfer said. “As for Mayans and Aztecs, those are two completely different civilizations separated by thousands of years. And I’m not touching the Egyptian angle.”

The island’s non-scientists are eager to explore the site as well.

“I don’t care what Catalina wants, we’re gonna drop divemasters out there once the currents die down, see exactly what we’ve got,” said Eagle Ray Cove resort owner Rich Skerritt. “If ‘Tonio’s right, this is a major find.

“We can charge guests double for diving on Mayan pyramids, and folks’ll be lined up out the door begging to pay,” Skerritt said. “Pyramid diving could make Blacktip the premier scuba destination in the western hemisphere. Catalina can study the site all she wants while our divers are there.”

Many locals are dubious about the find.

“It’s probably just a couple of big rocks. Or sleeping turtles,” fisherman Rocky Shore said. “I mean, what kind of camera does ‘Tonio have that he can just lower it down and get reliable photos? And where’d he even get a camera? He can barely afford gas for his outboard.

“End of the day, this is ‘Tonio,” Shore said. “He thinks he’s Fletcher Christian reincarnated. It’s a wonder he didn’t claim he found Atlantis.”

Fletcher remained optimistic.

“Not saying it’s Atlantis,” he said. “But it could be part of it.”

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