User:Trismegistus Shandy

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My stories

Some of my stories aren't on Shifti yet. Most of my recent stories are at BigCloset; some, mostly those involving nonhuman transformations, will eventually end up here as well. I serialized Wine Can't be Pressed into Grapes, a fantasy of manners, at Bigcloset; besides transgender transformations, it has a lot of animal transformations as well, mostly but not exclusively in the early chapters. It and three other novels are available as ebooks, in Kindle format from Amazon or epub format from Smashwords; Smashwords pays its authors higher royalties.

The Bailiff and the Mermaid Smashwords Amazon
Wine Can't be Pressed into Grapes Smashwords Amazon
When Wasps Make Honey</a> Smashwords Amazon
A Notional Treason Smashwords Amazon
The Weight of Silence and Other Stories Smashwords Amazon



Here at Shifti, I would particularly recommend JonBuck's Actaeon Reborn and, with the caveat that it's unfinished, Cammy. His Eve's Apple is nominally unfinished, but it seems to me to have pretty good closure in its present state. Refamiliarization by Xodiac is also pretty good. All of Bad Guru's stories are good, but The Realm of Flesh is probably my favorite of them.

There have been a number of stories of interest to us posted at Strange Horizons over the years, of which my favorite is probably Ray Vukcevich's "Magic Makeup".

"The Freedom" by K M Lawrence is set in a future where unpredictable body-swaps occur every day.

Maeryn Lamonte's "You Meant it for Evil" is a good fantasy novel of warfare between Heaven and Hell disarranging the lives of people on Earth; she does interestingly varied things with the way similar transformations differently affect the lives of different characters.

Maiden by Decree by Maggie Finson is one of her best stories, a secondary world fantasy. Its characterization and plot are very good, though the world-building is a little clichéd.

In print

I'll recommend the entire œvre of Nina Kiriki Hoffman, but especially her first novel, The Thread that Binds the Bones, and the loosely related The Silent Strength of Stones, with respect to the interests of Shifti readers. Her later duology A Red Heart of Memories and Past the Size of Dreaming, and to a lesser extent their prequel A Stir of Bones, are also wonderful and involve several transformations, including one transgendered character in Past the Size of Dreaming.

Barry Pain's An Exchange of Souls is one of the earliest body-swap stories, and perhaps the first to involve a technological mcguffin instead of an unexplained mystical swap; it's also the earliest I know of that involves a transgender swap, and is known to have been an influence on H.P. Lovecraft's similarly-themed "The Thing on the Doorstep". All that said, as important and inflluential as it was, it's not my favorite of Barry Pain's books; that would be The One Before, available from Google Books among other places, which features magical personality changes but no physical transformations. The Octave of Claudius sounds interesting, but I've never seen a copy.

The Beetle: A Mystery, by Richard Marsh (1897) (review by F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre) definitely has some human/animal transformation going on, and there may be one or more transgender transformations -- maybe even onstage! -- but maybe I'm reading too much into it; it could be that the eponymous character is just androgynous-looking when in human form and can look like a man or a woman depending on the way they present themselves.

It has a tolerably kick-ass female viewpoint character for something published in 1897, even if she does get into trouble later and has to be rescued by the male viewpoint characters. There are some bits that could be considered racist, so fair warning; and I found the ending a little bit disappointing, wishing there were fewer loose ends and unresolved mysteries. But overall it's quite a good adventure story and I recommend it.

"Flowers from Alice" by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross is a fun near-future science fiction story with transgender and other transformational elements. It's available on Cory Doctorow's website, linked above, and in Science Fiction: the best of 2003 ed. Strahan & Haber.

Year’s Best SF 15 edited by David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer (Eos, 2010) has at least three stories in it with transgendered and/or intersexed characters.

  • "Collision" by Gwyneth Jones involves people being transformed, sometimes in intended and sometimes in unpredictable ways, in the process of teleporting across interstellar distances. I found it interesting but confusing; I think it's set in the same world as her novel White Queen and its sequels, and would probably make more sense and be more enjoyable if one has read them.
  • In "Blocked" by Geoff Ryman, one of the main characters turns out to be a post-op transsexual -- this is backstory, not an on-stage transformation.
  • "Another Life" by Charles Oberndorf is set in a future where people can be resurrected in new bodies with memories up to date as of their last backup; mostly this is available only to the wealthy, but soldiers also have this recourse if they're killed in battle. People often change their sex when having new bodies made. There's one major intersexed character and several minor characters who change sex or want to do so but are stymied by constraints. I'd strongly recommend the latter two, and the former, though confusing in itself, makes me want to read Jones' Aleutian Trilogy.


In "The Children of Main Street" by A.C. Wise, the children of a colony planet start changing sex, much to the consternation of their parents. As with most stories at Clarkesworld, it's available in both text and audio form.

Clarkesworld also published "Whose Face this is I Do Not Know" by Cat Rambo, with an involuntary shapeshifter as the viewpoint character. Text, audio.

"Chemical Magic" by Katherine Sparrow features a magician who undergoes strange transformations after an encounter with an alchemist.

"Jury Service" by Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow, a medium-future sf novella with at least one transgendered character, first appeared on SCI FICTION in 2002. I think you can find the HTML version of it via the Internet Archive, but I've heard that it's going to be (maybe in an altered form) the first part of a new novel Stross & Doctorow are working on, provisionally titled The Rapture of the Nerds. To promote said upcoming novel, Doctorow has done a podcast of the novella and its sequel (also to be incorporated into the novel), "Appeals Court" (which has more transformations). You'll have to dig through the older archives of the Cory Doctorow podcast to find the six episodes of "Jury Service" and the four episodes of "Appeals Court". "Appeals Court" can also be found in text form online at The Infinite Matrix

The Metamor City podcast is a shared-world audio drama series, mostly by Chris Lester with some stories by other people, in a high-tech fantasy setting; it's loosely connected with the Metamor Keep shared world, and its various stories have all the transformational elements that are common in the Metamor Keep stories. It starts out slowly, with a bad first story and a couple more weak stories out of the first six, but gets much better. The fifth story, "The Muse", has significant but minor transgender elements; the first (so far only) novel, "Making the Cut", has two major transgendered characters (and at least one explicit sex scene, but clearly marked so you can skip it if you like); a later novella, "Dreams of Change", has an involuntary shapeshifter as the main character, and involves another transgendered character as well. I'd strongly recommend "Making the Cut" and also, though less strongly, most of the other stories; the first and third stories are all exposition and no plot, and can probably be skipped.


The latest of Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's Leage of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novels features Virginia Woolf's transgendered character Orlando. They are a minor character in some of the stories and the major character of one story, which tells their life story.

Most of you have probably already heard of "Narbonic" by Shaenon K. Garrity, but if not, go read it now. It's one of the best webcomics ever -- actually, one of the best newspaper-strip style comics ever, right after "Pogo" and "Calvin and Hobbes" in my judgment. It involves a mad scientist and her henchmen and mad-science creations; there's one primarily transgender storyline early on, and a number of other human and nonhuman transformations, including minor (mostly offstage) transgender changes later on. I recently bought the new two-volume print edition and re-read it, and was amazed yet again at how good and how re-readable it is.

"Skin Horse" by Shaenon K. Garrity and Jeffrey C. Wells, in the same setting as "Narbonic", has a few nonhuman transformations here and there, including a werewolf storyline. The two comics are very loosely connected, but if you're going to read both, read "Narbonic" first as one of the later storylines in "Skin Horse" has minor spoilers for "Narbonic".

"Eerie Cuties" by Giselle Lagace, is a webcomic about a school for monsters; the main characters are a couple of vampire sisters, a young succubus, and a werewolf boy. One storyline involves lots of transgender transformations, all but one of which are reversed at the end of the story; one character is out of range of the reversal spell and remains of the wrong sex for some time afterward.


"Changing Images of Trans People in Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature" by Cheryl Morgan