There are a lot of shapeshifters out there. Although Unstable Environment is about werecheetahs, werewolves will always be my favorite. I love reading and learning about wolves in the wild, so it makes sense that I’d write about them. I also like goats, rabbits, and giraffes, but that doesn’t mean I want to “were-ify” them, too.
This topic came about when I was talking to my coworkers about my book. “Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!” Anyway, they wanted to know if there were any other weird, shapeshifting animals I had written about because cheetahs sounded strange to them. Then again, the words “paranormal romance” left them looking a bit confused, too. When one of them brought up something about werehamsters, I laughed and rolled my eyes.
Are there some boundries I wouldn’t cross when it comes to shapeshifters? You bet your fangs there are.
There was a time I thought any animal could be made into a shapeshifter as long as the story was believable. Then, my practical thinking got in the way because it starting calculating body mass and things like that. IMHO, certain animals are not meant to be shapeshifters. Case in point: imagine a 200 pound weresquirrel roaming through your backyard looking for nuts. If you’re rolling your eyes, frowning, or laughing, then your probably understand where I’m coming from.
Wereaardvarks, donkeys, and elephants are too out there for me. If a writer is putting it in the context of Wallace and Gromit and the Curse of the Wererabbit, then okay. I don’t mind a good laugh. But if someone wrote about a shapeshifting cow, I’d probably roll my eyes at the book and put it back on the shelf. Why would I choose a novel with reservations when I could have a pry-it-from-my-cold-dead-hands read by Lori Handeland, Kelly Armstrong, or any one of my fabulous co-bloggers?
Am I being too judgemental? If so, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been accused of that. So, help me free my mind here.
Maybe if the story is good enough, I might be able to set aside my laughter and put on my “serious” cap. But the minute the writer talks about squeezing the tits on that shapeshifting cow for a glass of milk to go with the hero’s oatmeal cookies, I’m through. There won’t be enough romance in it for me to keep a straight face after that. Were-goats? Not buying it either. In fact, that borders on perversion in my mind. Not sure why, but it does. *shrug*
Now with all of that being said, there are some werecreatures I can believe. The standard ones (werecats, werewolves, gargoyles, mermaids, dragons, etc.) are definite winners. Shapeshifters based on myths and legends are fine with me, too. If the writers does such a fantastic job that I find myself saying, “Wow. I can totally see that happening”, then I’ll buy it. I don’t mind stretching my imagination as long as it doesn’t trip me out of the story. But if I end up with a book about a shapeshifting meerkat, I’m abandoning ship without a life preserver. Stuff like that, should be left for Disney movies.
What kinds of shapeshifters do you draw the line at, if any? Also, I’ll be choosing a winner for an autographed copy of Unstable Environment, so tell everyone you see to stop by and post a comment.