Out of Position is an anthropomorphic novel by Kyell Gold. It takes place in the Forester Universe, in a country that is analogous to the United States. The novel focuses on a romance between Wiley "Lee" Farrel, a red fox and gay rights activist, and Devlin Miski, a tiger who plays football. The first half of the novel is set at Forrester University. Devlin Miski is a cornerback on the University football team. One night, he has a one-night stand with a vixen. As they are about to have sex, he finds out that the vixen is actually male.
Two sequels have been released, Isolation Play and Divisions, with another, titled Uncovered, released July 4, 2014. The fifth (and final) book, titled Over Time, released in January 2016. In July 2017, a side-story compilation, Tales of the Firebirds, was released, and in November 2018, Ty Game was released, focusing on Dev's friend and teammate Ty.
The novels contain examples of:
- All Gays Are Promiscuous: Averted. Even after Dev falls in love with Lee, he doesn't seem to find other guys sexually attractive.
- Anti-Climax: Invoked in Out of Position with the last game the Firebirds play. After thoroughly explaining that the Firebirds are losing, all the homosexual slander he goes through during the game, and the lack of support from a few teammates, Dev abruptly summarizes that they won the game very briefly in only two paragraphs.
- Asexual: Lightning Strike in Divisions claims to have no preference for either men or women and practices "tantric meditation" in lieu of sex.
- Attention Whore: Lightning Strike and Brian to different degrees. Difference is Lightning Strike is basically well meaning; that's just the kind of guy he is and he isn't malicious about it. Brian on the other hand wants attention only on his own terms and doesn't care who he has to hurt to get it and becomes even more bitter when things don't go his way.
- Attractive Bent-Gender: Lee can effortlessly turn heads, orientations be damned.
- "Awesome McCool" Name: Lightning Strike. He legally changed his name to that.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Brian in Divisions, whereas in Out of Position, he was a full-on Jerkass.
- The Bus Came Back: Brian shows up again halfway into Divisions. And then disappears for good in Over Time
- Cerebus Syndrome: While the series didn't exactly start out tame, it becomes far more depressing and tense the further along it goes on, and both main characters are constantly forced to deal with various personal problems that are much more serious compared to the problems they faced in the first book.
- Closet Key: Dev never saw it coming.
- Deadpan Snarker: Lee's really good at this.
- Determinator: You can throw the media, jealous, smug ex-best friends, unsupportive teammates, angry fathers, and homophobic rival football players and fans at Dev all at once and it still won't matter to him. He's still gonna play football. He's still gonna be in love with Lee.
- Deuteragonist: Lee at first. But as the series progresses, he becomes more vital to the story. By Divisions, he's swapped roles with Dev and becomes the main protagonist.
- Dirty Coward: Somewhat justified with Brian. After he was released from the hospital following the gay bashing, his parents had him transferred to a different college, and he didn't even try to persuade them against it. Lee calls him out on it, at which point Brian admits that he didn't want to stay knowing he'd be reliving the moment and would be branded as "that fag who got beat up."
- Disguised in Drag: Lee frequently employs this for various reasons.
- Dramatically Missing the Point: When Dev's father objects to Dev and Lee's relationship Lee assumes it's because he's homophobic. While Mikhail isn't crazy about the idea that Dev is gay, his actual objection was that he felt Dev had changed, and that Lee was pulling him away from his family.
- Driven to Suicide: How Lee's subplot in Divisions kicked off. A young gay football player that e-mailed Dev and was traded to the Dragons by Lee Ate His Gun. Needless to say, Lee took his death hard. Happens again with Fisher in Over Time, where, after being forced into retirement, tried to shoot himself in the head, but rethought it at the last minute, only ending up with a broken jaw.
- Dude Looks Like a Lady: There is a reason people tend to refer to Wiley as a "vixen".
- Dumb Jock: Lee's initial opinion of Dev and other football players.
- Fanservice: Downplayed as the series progresses, but the first book had quite a few NSFW scenes...
- Freudian Excuse: Brian's whole reason for getting involved with gay rights activism and for hating Dev—and football players in general. He was a victim of a gay bashing that was led by typical Jerk Jocks, which ended with him having a few broken bones.
- Furry Confusion: Anthropomorphism only seems to apply to land-based mammals, as there have yet to be any reptilian, amphibian, fish, avian, or aquatic-based mammalian characters. Also, Lee and his father both mention how Lee used to have a pet lizard as a pup. Later on in Over Time this is sorta explained by anthropomorphic furs having feral ancestors and there still being ferals around the wild.
- Furry Fandom: The writer is a distinguished member of the fandom. Not to mention the book and its sequel both having won Ursa Majors for Best Anthropomorphic Novel.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Brian is either this or a Crazy Jealous Guy.
- Immediate Sequel: Isolation Play picks up about five minutes where Out Of Position left off.
- Innocently Insensitive: Lighting Strike gets Dev bondage gear for Christmas, having somehow come to the conclusion that it was something that Dev would want.
- It Gets Easier: Inverted, and invoked. Part of the reason why Dev came out of the closet on live television was because he thought things would be easier in his life. But it doesn't alleviate the situation; if anything, it just made things harder.
- Jerkass: Brian to varying degrees.
- Jerk Jock: There are some, including Dev to some extent at the beginning. In a book that tackles homophobia on a college campus, how could there not be a few of these?
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dev's father is kind of an asshole, but he's (mostly) not prejudiced and actually does care about Dev, he just has a hard time showing it. By the later three novels, the jerk aspect is, for the most part, gone.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: Dev publicly comes out of the closet at the end of Out of Position. Anyone who hasn't read the first book probably shouldn't look at the blurb on Isolation Play or Divisions...
- Manipulative Bastard: Brian in Out of Position. After all, he did convince Lee to give him a handjob out of pity after he threatened to get Dev kicked out of the league.
- Mood Whiplash: All over the place. Chapter 7 of Uncovered, for example, starts with the Firebirds winning a game, and then immediately switches over to Lee nearly being beaten up by two drunken homophobes.
- The Nose Knows:
- Like most Kyell Gold novels, it's easy for Dev and Lee to tell what species a person is, what a person recently ate or drank, when they recently showered, or what mood they're in just by noticing their scent.
- This actually becomes a plot device in Uncovered, as Dev manages to deduce that Colin was having sex with Argonne after he smelled Colin's semen on Argonne's breath.
- Only Known By His Nickname: A lot of the Firebirds players have nicknames that are used more than their real names. Charm's name, in particular, has never been revealed. Until Over Time, where it's revealed to be Winston Porter.
- Potty Emergency: A drunken Lee suffers one in Out of Position after Dev shoves him in a closet to hide from two Hellentown coaches.
- Put on a Bus: Brian in Isolation Play.
- Smug Snake: Brian.
- Snark-to-Snark Combat: Usually between Brian and Lee. Lee actually tries his best not to act snarky or angry around him, because Brian's basically a Troll who wants Lee to get mad just so he can throw more snarky insults at him.
- Straight Gay / Manly Gay: Dev.
- Tears of Joy: Lee, after Dev finally admits he's in love with him to the public.
- Took a Level in Jerkass:
- Deconstructed with Dev. In Divisions (and especially Uncovered), Dev becomes increasingly bitter and prickly towards Lee because he's constantly bothering him about Vince King's suicide and all his other personal problems, which distract Dev from his football career. Nevertheless, Dev is, at least, self-aware of his hostile attitude, and he always regrets and beats himself up over the things he says and/or does to Lee, and he (or Lee) try to get past their various arguments.
- Fisher in Uncovered, although that may have to do with the steroids he started taking.
- Took a Level in Kindness:
- Dev's father Mikhail. In Isolation Play, he's an ordinary Jerkass, but by the end of the book, he's finally accepted Lee into the family and becomes a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. By Divisions, the "Jerk" part of him is pretty much gone.
- In a similar view, Lee's mother, Eileen, after she cut her ties with Family's United. She's still not ready to move on, but it's FAR better than burning her son's belongings. By the end of the series, they're even on speaking terms again.
- Some of Dev's teammates didn't approve of the tiger's relationship with Lee and his sexual orientation either. Most of them got over it by Divisions, or at least tolerate it and don't outwardly disapprove it.
- Toxic Friend Influence: Wiley's relationship with his mother was already strained at best, but then Eileen joined some kind of support group for parents whose children were "corrupted" by the gays, and started spending time with Mrs. Hedley, who ended up driving an even bigger wedge between Eileen and Wiley.
- Two Lines, No Waiting: Dev and Lee's subplots usually take place at the same time, but are told from different perspectives. In addition to that, most of what Lee does ends up impacting Dev later on in the series, and vice versa.
- Unsettling Gender Reveal: Causing panic, anger, frustration, denial, and ultimately, introspection.
- We Used to Be Friends: Brian and Lee.
- Wham Episode: Uncovered could very well qualify for being a Wham Book, for several reasons.
- Chapter 5 reveals that there is another gay player on the Firebirds team. It's Kodi.
- Chapter 6 ends with Fisher getting a concussion after being normally tackled to the ground.
- Chapter 7 starts with the Firebirds winning the game, but then immediately switches over to Lee being assaulted by two drunk homophobes and filing charges against one of them, while the other escapes. Later, Gena confesses that Fisher has been taking drugs to help him cope with his leg injury, and it's heavily implied he's also taking steroids.
- Chapter 10, one of the biggest WHAMS in the series. Dev finds out about Lee's court case and confesses about it to him. They get into another argument that makes Lee realize he can't be around him without "screwing up his career." So Lee, temporarily, leaves. Dev doesn't even try to convince him to come back.
- Chapter 11 reveals that Dev's brother, Gregory, is one of the lawyers defending Families United. Dev angrily tells Lee to stay away right when Lee is about to apologize for leaving. Lee calls his father and Dev's mother and tells them about what happened between him and Dev and about Gregory. Lee decides to stay with Hal until the championship is over, and he seriously wonders how long his relationship with Dev will last.
- Chapter 28: After several nail-biting Hope Spots, the Firebirds lose the championship. By one point.
- Chapter 29: Immediately after the game ends, Polecki, one of the Sabretooths, comes out of the closet on live TV, confirming to the world that Dev was not the first (or last) gay football player in Forester.
- Chapter 30 reveals that there's a third gay player in the Firebirds. This time it's Colin, who's been cheating on his wife with Argonne.
- Wham Line: Same as above. Uncovered features several revelations, some of which are exposed with just one or two lines.
Dev: "I know about the court case."
- This line from Uncovered, which had "foreboding" written all over it:
Lee: He didn't find out from his brother, who is one of the attorneys defending Families United.
- The beginning of Chapter 11 has Lee dropping one hell of a revelation to the readers regarding Dev finding out about Lee's court case against Families United:
Dev: Fine. Stay there.
- And again, from the same chapter, a mere three-worded text message practically changes Dev's character throughout the series:
Polecki: "I wish I had had the courage to do this before the game, so that this would be recorded as the first game in which two openly gay players faced each other."
- Chapter 29 has this line from the press conference after the game, which changes the series entirely.
Dev: "You do know that his name is 'Argonne,' right? The fox who's been blowing you before road games?"
- There's also this line from Chapter 30, after Dev confronts Colin:
- What the Hell, Hero?: Both Dev and Lee have called each other out on some of the morally wrong things they've done during their relationship.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Lee is sort of one. He doesn't always wear women's clothes, just every so often. It gets mostly dropped in the later books.
- You Are What You Hate: Colin can't stand Dev for being gay, yet he refuses to admit that he's also gay and is constantly receiving blowjobs from Argonne.