Thursday, 27 October 2011

Weird and Wonderful Shapeshifters

Sorry I'm a bit late with my first post of the day! Normally I post it before I get up in the morning, but this morning I suddenly discovered it was half an hour later than I thought it was and I had to leap out of bed and begin  my mad hour and a half shouting at the kids and shovelling everyone out the door in time for work, school etc. Plus the added complications of one sick son, and two extra kids for breakfast as a favour for a friend.

Anyway the house is calm once more, and I can concentrate again on the main business of the day - shifters!

So... What's the most unusual shapeshifter you've ever encountered? (I mean in books, of course, but if you've met any in real life, I'm even more interested :))

We've been talking this week mainly about animal shifters, whether wolves, dragons, big cats, bears, birds etc. And legends and folk tales with this kind of change go back a long way, often involving sorcerers, chases, punishments etc. But one we haven't talked about is gender shifting, where a man changes into a woman or vice versa. For example in Greek mythology, a man comes across two copulating snakes, pokes them with a stick and is turned into a woman. In this form, he actually marries and has children and a few years later comes across the same snakes again and is turned back. Zeus asks him who enjoys sex more, men or women and when he answers that it's women, Hera blinds him for revealing women's greatest secret :).

I can't recall ever reading a romance with the gender-shifting premise, but let me know if you have!

I'm a bit of a sucker for unusual shifters, and let's face it, this is a genre where your imagination is the limit! And who says the shifting always has to be to animal shapes? Tree shifting isn't unheard of in folk tales, and I was privileged to write such a story - Willow the Wisp - as part of a tree-shifting series at Changeling Press called Big, Blooming and Wild! I've also written about a water shifter- Cool Pool.

Stone shifters are not uncommon either - gargoyles etc - another legend with an ancient pedigree.

What others can you come up with, and are there any you've never seen in a story but would love to?



  1. Do you think there would be any value in someone who could shift into an inanimate object?
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  2. Maybe for hiding purposes, Debby :). Or observation. Think an ancient gargoyle watching the world go by...

    But I see your point, even if you;re thinking, your movement would be somewhat limited :). Might be fun to be something like like a pencil, or a computer, see what people are writing about? :)


  3. I think I mentioned this before but I'm reading a book about a bunny shifter that's pretty good!

    I really can't think of any unusual shifters, although I just thought of a book that I've read at least twice that includes some interesting shifter forms.

    The books called A Mermaid's Kiss the heroine is a young mermaid with the usual mermaid to human shift, along the way you find out that she's been gifted with other shifting forms one of those being the form of a fairy.

    I'm not going to say anymore I don't want to give away the rest of the story line.

    Oh if you're into it the book's by Joey W. Hill!

  4. I read a short in a collection a few months ago that had a were-coral (hero was a werewolf & the short was off-beat). That's the craziest I've come across.

  5. Yes, the bunny sounds great fun, Gabby! And the multiple-shifting mermaid...

    Hi Carol! Were-coral? Yes I think has to take the prize!

    Changeling Press did a tongue-in-cheek shifter series too - DAWG TOWN, I think, all about prairie dogs - Selena Illyria, our final guest, wrote one of these, I think.