Gender bent Achilles Now Available!

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Achilles, the fearsome warrior, living as a girl?  The story dates back to ancient times and has been told and retold in operas, epic poems and novels. (See my previous post on this subject for additional details!) Now, I have written my own 21st Century version of this tale in which Achilles’ mother lures him into drinking a magic potion that turns him into a maiden!  Soon, he finds himself living among the daughters of the King of Skyros, struggling to deal with his first crush as a girl!

It’s full of romance and gender bending fun as Achilles finds himself in love a girl who wants him to take on the role of the submissive girlfriend!

Links– and there are free samples to be read:

United States      England      Germany      France      Italy     Spain   Netherlands

Japan     Australia      Canada     India    Brazil    Mexico    India

Forsooth, a TG Opera from the 1700s!

 

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(Photo: Discovery of Achilles on Skyros)

Achilles, the mighty warrior, pretending to be a girl and fighting off the manly advances of a king?  Finding himself pestered on all sides by people determined he should become a bride?  This and more all happens in John Gay’s 1700s opera, Achilles in Petticoats.

The story of Achilles and how his mother, the nymph Thetis, convinced him to live as a girl dates back to ancient times and has been the subject of paintings, sculptures, epic poems and operas in French, Spanish and, happily for me, English!  For a listing of the many depictions of this event, check out the Achilles on Skyros Wikipedia page.

The Opera itself, Achilles in Petticoats, can also be read online and features some scenes that, unfortunately, could have come right out of 21st century TG fiction.  I say unfortunately because it shows how little has changed in terms of women being sexually harassed.  Here, we see a man subjected to these kinds of sexist treatments, and that is what this opera explores, with songs such as this, a duet between Achilles and Lycomedes as the king is trying to pressure Achilles into sex, leading to a threatened rape.  This is the lead in and then the duet.  Notice how Lycomedes assumes Achilles is only pretending (s)he’s not interested:

 

Lycomedes:  Since your obstinate behavior then makes violence necessary–

Achilles: You make self-preservation, sir, a necessity–

Lycomedes:  I won’t be refused!

Air IX

 

Lycomedes:  Why this affectation?

Achilles: Why this provocation?

Lycomedes: Must I bear resistance still?

Achilles: Check your inclination.

Lycomedes: Dare you then deny me?

Achilles: You too far may try me

Lycomedes: Must I then against your will?

Achilles: Force will never ply me!

(Achilles pushes Lycomedes from him with great force and throws him down).

One of the more interesting twists in most versions of the story is that Achilles agrees to learn to walk and talk and live as a girl because he is in love with Deidamia, one of the king’s daughters, and the only way he can get close to her is if he pretends to be a girl.  So, it is full of gender role bending fun as it is his desire for a woman that makes Achilles willing to live as one.  There is also an interesting aspect in most version in that is is  his mother, Thetis, trains him to “graceful gait and modest tongue.”  It’s an interesting dynamic, a mother being the one who takes her manly and macho son and feminizes him– all to protect him from the early death it has been foretold awaits him at Troy.  But could there be more to it?  Could there be some other factors driving Thetis to this unusual plan?

I feel like a modern re-telling exploring all these relationships and issues is past due, and so I am starting to write one now, and I am having great fun in exploring these decisions by Thetis for her son, and Achilles for himself.  Of course, in my version, there will be a physical change!

 

 

Metanoia

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Writing for me is learning, and I have been digging deep into Greek mythology lately as I dive into work on my next novel.  I feel like I have been in a rut, and I have decided to challenge myself now to create a bigger, deeper and more complex TG story than any I have ever made.  I know this much– the story will feature Zeus, King of the Gods and the embodiment of male virility, being stripped of his manhood and turned into a goddess, now the goddess of marriage and females while Hera becomes King of the Gods in his place.

I have always done research for my stories, whether it was researching the cities and locations, looking up recipes and police procedures, the impact of different drugs or even the history of the bra.  But this time I have delved deep into Greek mythology and done more research than ever, reading primary source myths, looking back over texts I had read before, like Metamorphosis, and reading up on the views on mythology by thinkers such as Otto Rank, Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud.

I am looking at these stories and characters as archetypes who ruled over aspects of the masculine and feminine, and I am going to explore slowly, carefully, and very deliberately what will happen when the God Zeus, most powerful of all male figures, finds himself gradually turning into a goddess, and now the goddess of marriage and females.

Hera, meanwhile, will become more and more the essence of the virile man, and I will explore the changes in her as well as she gains and loses in her own transformation.

The Greek myths have also been of interest to me.  Early on, when i was very young, I was attracted mostly by the shape changing.   As someone who was never comfortable in my own skin I always loved the idea of being able to transform into an animal of some sort, of being freed of the burden of myself.

But the universe portrayed by the Greeks also offers a lot to me as a writer now.  The Greek Gods are epic fuck ups and prone to surrender to their passions far more than to any kind of logic.  Justice is capricious and even non-existent.  People who really did nothing wrong get turned into flowers or statues, deer or warthogs.  Gods who do everything wrong suffer no consequences.

And the relationships are fraught with dysfunction.  Zeus raped Hera, his sister, and she married him out of shame.  She once drugged him and helped the other Gods tie him down as part of a plot to overthrow his rule and he changed in her the sky and made her suffer.   How fun it will be to explore their relationship as Zeus finds firm young breasts blossoming on his chest, as he grows smaller and weaker, while Hera gets bigger and stronger.  How will Zeus react as he finds himself losing his power as God of the sky and Lord of Lightning, and instead finds himself the goddess of marriage, and the object of his husband’s lust?

My process for these stories involves many things including the creation of images and art that I am inspired to make as I write and which in turn inspires the writing.   The image at the top of this article came about because as I was researching the story I kept seeing this image of a statue of Zeus in transition, now with his own breasts, and I just had to make it.   I will be making more.

I also look to other sources, music, videos, films, and right now I have entered kind of a fevered state where I am just writing, writing, writing, making art, looking at movies.  It’s kind of a creative obsession, which is when I am at my happiest.

The idea of writing something with the Greek Gods first occurred to me sometime ago, when I thought I might a story in which the Greek Gods are reincarnated in modern times as gender reversed versions of themselves.  Gods reborn in modern times has been done before in comic books and TV shows like The All-Mighty Johnsons, but even though I made some artwork I didn’t feel as excited by it as a do now.   Here’s one image I made back then:

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But the idea didn’t ignite, and it just kind of floated around in my mind until I decided instead to set the story back in ancient times and to create what, to me, would be a new series of Greek legends, ones which featured those traditional Greek Gods facing a genderfluid moment together.  I would even go so far as to say my ambition is to create a religious text for genderfluid people using these iconic figures of masculinity and femininity from the ancient world.

I want to do something epic, something I have never done.  I am excited by the challenge and the possibility that I will fail, but I know also that I won’t be bored.

I hope to have some readers who can say the same thing.