Black Mirror (spoilers)

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Pom Klementieff, who plays Karl’s female avatar.

Does role-playing change us, or simply reveal us?

In the recently released episode Striking Vipers, Black Mirror finally plunges into the murky world of online gender cross playing– and I do mean finally! In this episode, two college buddies enjoy playing a video fighting game much like Mortal Combat. They each have a favorite character. Danny always plays Lance, while his friend, Karl, prefers to play a female character named Roxette. Neither finds this problematic.

Until a fully immersive version of the game becomes available. In this new version, the players find themselves inhabiting the bodies of the characters they play– and even experience the physical sensations. Jumping into the game, Danny once more plays Lance, and Karl, Roxette. Karl jokes about what its like to have boobs, and the two start fighting. Soon, the sexual tension simmering beneath their play- fighting turns to making out, and eventually hot, steamy sex.

The show explores how this impacts them and their relationships, both with each other and their wives/lovers. They question whether they are really cheating, wonder if they are gay. Danny, in particular, struggles, as he is a married man with kids. His suburban life bores him. Is he living a lie?

Each man discovers he is more fluid than he imagined, but that their sexual attraction exists only online– at least the physical side. Karl rhapsodizes about how much he enjoys the female orgasm, but he can’t get that in real life. Meanwhile, it is interesting to me that Danny’s wife is named Theo, drawing the gender fluidity out further. I don’t want to give away the specific ending, but once the men have opened up Pandora’s Box, let’s just say there in no going back. I feel what the show suggests it is not so much that the online gender bending changes them, but simply allows them to express a part of themselves that was always repressed.

Most people, in my opinion, are many genders, but society works very hard to make us comform to a specific notion of biological gender. This episode there is a little girl and guy in everyone just waiting for a chance to get out.

Check it out on Netflix!

AFK Series (spoilers!)

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Short Review

Love it! Go watch it right now! https://www.afkwebseries.com/home

Longer Review

AFK starts with the premise that a bunch of people who play an online role-playing game find themselves trapped in the game as their avatars. This, happily, leads to a lot of fun gender exploration that goes a little beyond the things we’ve seen before (TWSB).

In the world of the familiar, we do have a womanizing bro who finds himself trapped as a petite Asian “warrior princess” initially wearing a chain mail bikini. The actress who plays “him” does a great job depicting a guy in a naturalistic way, and the character is well-written– hiding his former gender out of shame, struggling to deal with male attention and sexual assault.

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In addition, we have the less common female trapped as a male– and though she is not explored as fully, there are some very fun scenes dealing with her discomfort over having male anatomy.

Most interesting of all, though, is a character who refuses to reveal their real world biological gender, telling anyone who asks “none of your business.” This character does the most to challenge gender steretypes because it is very hard to guess what her identity is– in the game she is biologically female, but her attitude and mannerisms could belong to either a man of a woman– which is true in real life of many people. So, I find her the most fascinating.

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The show is on a budget, but the love and care of the whole crew is evident in the work. In addition, if you have ever played a MORPG, the show is full of really fun little jokes about the gamer life and the culture inside these games. The identity explorations even getting into people discovering there are multiple versions of themselves inside the game (in the form of their other accounts.)

You can watch all episodes online! https://www.afkwebseries.com/home

Now Available: Your Memory Mine 2

It’s here! Your Memory Mine 2 is now available. I am so excited. I think this is one of the best things I have ever written and a case where the sequel is even better than the original.

When the story opens, our hero, Dylan, having found himself trapped in the body of a teen-age girl, has settled into a new life working as a waitress in New Hope, Pennsylvania. He’s found peace, and expects to live out a calm, normal life.

Then the girl who stole his body, shows up and once more throws his life into turmoil as rival agencies bent on world domination compete to capture Dylan and turn him into an agent of mass destruction.

Why do they want him so badly? What makes him such a special girl? Read Your Memory Mine2, and find out! This story features multiple body swaps, age-regression, action and romance!

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Sneak Preview!

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As promised, you will find a sneak preview of Your Memory Mine 2 posted below.  What can you expect from this book?  Well, in a word, MORE. You will find more body swaps, more action, more romance!  In addition, we find out the secret of why Dylan is so important, as he continues to grow and face new challenges as a young woman.

It’s a blast, and I expect to have it out by mid-February!

Sample:

Dylan, shorter, ran as hard as he could, but he found himself trailing behind Kisa, being pulled along behind her, glancing back in panic as they ran around a corner and down a cobblestone street lined by old houses with lead windows. Kisa looked around for someplace to hide, slowing her pace so Dylan could keep up.  They sprinted down the narrow road, Chris and Nicki appearing from around the corner, shouting, “Stop! Hey!”

Kisa pulled Dylan down another, even more narrow side street, surrounded on either side by tall buildings of brick.  “We’re going to be trapped!”  Dylan cried out.

“Just keep up!”  Kisa said.

Dylan was gasping for breath, struggling as his chest heaved.  He hadn’t been training at all since coming to New Hope, and his body was telling him so.  “I can’t,” he said, seeing stars.  “I’m going to pass out.”

They came to an open warehouse, the steel door raised, and Kisa pulled him into the darkness, weaving through machinery and cargo containers, finally pulling Dylan behind one of the big, corrugated steel containers, letting him sink to the ground, gasping for breath, breasts heaving.  Kisa remained on her feet, creeping to the edge of the container, squinting out into the darkness, trying to calm her own breath, glancing back to see Dylan there, hugging his knees to his chest, his cheeks and nose flush.  He looked so pretty, so vulnerable, and she felt a powerful surge of testosterone.  She had to protect him.  Their eyes met, his wide, afraid.  “You’ll be safe,” she said.  “I’ll protect you.”

Dylan felt something in him twinge, felt himself flood with warmth.  God, she was so strong!  So brave.  “I know,” he whispered in a soft voice full of tangled feelings.

“They came down this way,” Sasha said, his voice carrying in from the street.  “I saw.”

“I did, too, but not whether they ran in here.”

“They must have.   They couldn’t reach end of street so fast.”

“Maybe we should split up?  I’ll run down there.  See if I spot them?”

“Okay, then.”

Syria ran off down the alley.  Sasha moved into the warehouse, each of her booted footsteps echoing.  “I know you in here,” she sang.  “I can smell Dylan’s perfume.”

“Shit,” Dylan whispered.

Kisa held her finger to her lips, crept back to where Dylan huddled on the ground, put her arm around him.  “Don’t move.  Don’t talk,” she whispered.  Dylan nodded.

They heard Sasha moving about, then pause,  There was a clicking noise, and then Sasha whistled.  “Come out come out,” she said.   Then they heard another sound, steel on steel. A metallic click.  “Do you know that sound?  I put a bullet in chamber.  When I find you, I’ll kill Kisa. We don’t need her.  But, if Dylan surrenders, I let her live.  Don’t you want to save your friend, little girl?”

Dylan looked at Kisa, eyes filled with concern, fear.

Kisa pulled him to her, kissed him on the head. Nodded, asking him with her eyes, Trust me.

If you haven’t ready Book 1, read it now by clicking HERE!

New Body Theft Movie: The Lifechanger

Lifechanger

Lifechanger on Amazon

Drew survives by stealing other people’s bodies.  He absorbs their essence, leaving them as lifeless husks, while he comes to not only look like them, but to absorb their memories and experiences.

The writer/director Justin McConnell does not lack ambition, producing a script and a movie that explores what such a life would do to a person, and how they would need to function to survive.  I applaud the effort, especially the shots the creator takes to use the premise to examine the human condition, culminating in a poetic monologue by the main character at the end of the film, about which I will say nothing so as to avoid spoilers.

Now, as for the gender bender elements, which I will confess largely fuels my interest in these types of films, there isn’t much to savor.  Mostly this results from the fact that the we enter this character’s story after he has been jumping from body to body for decades; he’s been women many times, so when he jumps into female bodies it’s just old hat for him.  Had this been a first, some scenes might have popped more for me as a viewer who loves seeing gender roles reversed; for example, he gets hit on by a guy at a bar, but it isn’t the first time for him, so the usual fun of seeing a guy have to deal with being treated like a girl is blunted.  The scenes reads like any girl getting hit on by any random guy.

As per my comments above, just as a movie looking to say somethings about life, it’s watchable with excellent performances from the cast and professional if workmanlike camera work and production.  It’s getting some buzz on the sci/fi circuit, and has found an audience, so worth checking out, but if you are seeking a deeper look at the gender issues you will probably leave feeling unsatisfied. If you just want to experience an interesting and thought provoking film, it’s an absolute yes.

Lifechanger on Amazon

Link to Interview with Director

Thanks for reading, and look for a preview of Your Memory Mine 2 as well as a giveaway later this week! Rock on, people!

Now in progress: Your Memory Mine 2!

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If you liked Your Memory Mine, I predict you will love YMM2.  It picks up where the first book left off, with Dylan having accepted his new body and identity as a young woman, working as  waitress in New Hope, Pennsylvania.  He just wants to live his life in peace now and find some happiness with the one he loves.

But powerful forces come crashing down on his peaceful new life as competing agencies seek to capture him and unleash his untapped powers.  The second book reveals many of the secrets from the first book, including what makes Dylan so special and why people are willing to kill for him.

I have hacked out roughly 10,000 words of what I expect to be a 50- 60,000 word story, where the bullets fly, the bodies swap and no gets out unchanged! Look for more updates, teasers and giveaways in the coming weeks!

If you haven’t read Your Memory Mine, check it out!  It’s John Green meets Jack Chalker!

New Body Swap on Netflix!

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Transfers

French creators continue to produce some great TG media, with the new 6 episode science fiction series Transfers joining the instant classic, The Wild Boys as excellent examples of what can happen in this medium.

In Transfers, we find ourselves in a familiar but futuristic France where the ability to transfer people’s essence from one body to another has been invented and promptly banned.  However, as is usually the case, the banning on transfers does not end the practice but merely drives it into the black market.

The series centers around a fairly ordinary wood worker who finds himself illegally transferred (without his permission) into the body of a cop who specializes in hunting down illegal transfers.  He feels compelled to pretend to be the cop in order to avoid being caught as an illegal transfer, and so that he can be together with his wife and children once more.

So as for body swaps, the whole series centers around a swapped person and gets into all kinds of interesting questions about identity, morality and politics.  How much of behavior is genetic?  How much personality?  Is it possible to be “you” in a new body, or do you become that person?

Now, as you all know, I am all about the gender swaps, and this show has a major gender swap in the form of a ruthless middle-aged crime lord who ends up swapped into the body of an elementary school girl.  In his case, while he remains a ruthless crime lord with a taste for cigars and whisky even as a little girl, he also seems to begin to be adapted by his body.  It’s just little moments, but we see him fussing with his hair, putting it into a pony tail, or having one of his henchman braid it for him.  He also gets girly at times, sometimes mockingly, and sometimes seemingly because his new body demands it.  So, while it isn’t a big part of the show, we do get to see some TG moments that also seem to explore the notion of how much of a person is their “mind” and how much their body.  The young actress does an impressive job embodying the “man inside” and I would say should have gotten an award for her efforts!

Aside even from the body swapping elements, the show is very watchable.  It’s a thriller, a cop show, with a plot that moves and is full of twists and turns, surprises and revelations.  The cast is first rate, working from excellent scripts, and the show looks great, with first rate cinematography and lighting.

My only complaint?  Only 6 episodes!  However, the creators have stated they want to do more seasons, and if the show does well, the season ends with several interesting little cliffhangers for a future season to build on!

Check it out!

Link for NetFlix users in the USA.

I am sorry, my international friends, but I do not know where to find it in your locales.  I do know, given it was a European production, that it should be available in the EU.  The French title is Transferts, so try searching for that term!  If you find links, please share them in comments so other fans can find this amazing show!