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Merlino at Califur 3, 2006
|Other names||Sylys Sable|
|Profession or hobby||Fandom organizer, writer|
|Character species||American marten|
Mark Merlino aka Sylys Sable (born 1952) is a co-founder and director of ConFurence (to ConFurence 10), helped Califur find its first and second hotels, and is often identified as one of the founding members of furry fandom, along with his long time mate Rod O'Riley. He owns a well-known furry household, The Prancing Skiltaire in Garden Grove, California, and was a founder of the Cartoon/Fantasy Organization. He created the first furry BBS, Tiger's Den, which was hosted at his house, and (with Rod) organized the first furry parties in 1985-86, most notably at Westercon.
Mark has accumulated an enormous repertoire of furry persona characters and has a tradition of naming his characters with the prefix "Sy-". Some of them include the recom Sylys Sable, Sy the skiltaire, Sydney Fisher, and the silkies Sylvester Thomas and Syndy Skye. Sega the ratel is an exception. His own representative species is American marten.
Mark has been involved with several periodicals, including Touch, In-Fur-Nation and Western Weyr (a Pern fanzine). He was a co-writer on the furry role-playing game Other Suns (which included his Skiltaire species), and has written non-fiction articles for FurVersion and New Horizons. Mark's stories of the First Light Pride appeared in comic form in New Horizons, and were reprinted in Four Footed Furries, also published by Shanda Fantasy Arts.
The 2009 BBC News article Who are the furries? describes Mark Merlino as "a founding member of the furry culture in the US and known as Sylys Sable on the scene." When he came to Oklacon 2004, he described himself as the 'Father of the Furry Fandom' in his panel "History of Fur".
- Mark Merlino's Fan Call page at the Internet Archive
- Orange County Science Fiction Club: Past Meetings
- An Illustrated Chronology of Furry Fandom, 1966–1996 by Fred Patten
- Journey To The Center Of Mark Merlino by Computolio (Note: Most assertions appear to be factually inaccurate, and certainly there's a strong bias - it is CYD, after all)
- Publication credits and merchandise of Shawntae Howard
- Retrieved Who are the furries? by Denise Winterman. BBC News Magazine. Retrieved November 13, 2009.
- Oklacon 2004 Event Schedule. Retrieved November 24, 2010
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