As volume 3 design moves towards wrapping up and the writing starts, I felt like posting something similar to what game studios do these days. Sue me =P
(also a perspective on genderbenders)
You can probably guess from the end of volume 2 where events are heading. Volume 3-4 is what I call the 'Burning Throne' arc, which was originally planned to tail volume 1 until I realized that things just weren't set up for it. Although vol.3 will begin with several pleasant days of rest & recuperation in Nordkreuz where the cast shall interact and digest, the story will soon shift towards the western conflict between continental powerhouses:
- The Empire of Rhin-Lotharingie and its autonomous vassal kingdoms: Garona, Gleann Mòr, Ceredigion, and Avorica. Some of you might be able to guess which Earth regions each one represents ^^ In addition there is a 'new' subspecies with deep roots among the nobility: the Faekissed.
- The Cataliyan Caliphate and its (relatively) enlightened theocracy with multi-species ethnicity: humans campaigning alongside descendants of the vanquished Elemental Lords.
- The Holy Imperium continues to lay on pressure through the Holy See and Papal Inquisition, putting them at odds against Rhin-Lotharingie's religious practices and especially the Kingdom of Garona, where the Albigese Heresy steadily spreads its wings.
Things are also looking up in the character art side. However I'm not going to say much more until I have something finished to show (and not just discussion sketches).
Furthermore, while I've edited many parts of the first and second volumes since finishing vol.2, here are few pieces of particular significance to point out:
"Throughout her entire life, Kaede almost never lost control of her emotions. Yet this was already her second time since coming to Hyperion.
A small corner of her mind couldn't help but wonder if being a teenage girl had something to do with it. Although not a psychological expert, Kaede once read that the hormone imbalance of undergoing puberty had a critical impact in how teen minds perceived and responded to situations.
There was also the fact that female brains were wired very differently from male brains, or how neurotransmitter roles varied between genders, or...
Perhaps shedding a few more tears were the least of her self-adapting changes since arriving in this new world." -- volume 1 chapter 14
So I finally got 'fed up' with explaining endlessly that people are taking mainstream genderbend tropes as 'what should happen' when it's complete BS. No, you do not keep your exact personality and preferences when you genderbend, because human judgement/personality is tied to emotional feedback, which is a biological function determined by neurotransmitters, which functions differently between male and female genders not to mention produced in different quantities. That sense of 'individuality' you're so proud of could easily be manipulated by injecting chemicals into your brain, or even magnetically shutting down parts of your brain to turn you into a psychopath (science is scary!).
There is in fact an entire scientific field that studies the effects of gender biology on cognitive and emotional functions, for those interested in facts instead of tropey wish-fulfillment hogwash.
While I do not presume to be a professional on this or tell you that Daybreak is 'definitively right', I can proudly claim that: unlike most genderbenders out there, at least I'm trying!
It is true that Kaede isn't particularly resistant towards many of the changes. But then (1) it's written what Kaede wasn't the macho type even before the summoning and (2) accepting natural adaptation to circumstances is a sign of emotional intelligence (a buzzword that management loves more and more; if you haven't heard of it yet, I suggest you read more on the topic, because the success of your careers and relationships will depend on it).
Lastly, to those of you thinking sexuality should definitely remain the same after genderbend? That's no different from the Church claiming that being a homosexual is a choice (and therefore a sin), rather than a deterministic effect of genetics. If sexual orientation is purely or even mostly circumstantial, homo/bisexuality would not exist in the world's conservative cultures where there is so much backlash -- yet it does exist! Even in nations like South Africa with its infamous, horrifying high rate of 'corrective rape'!
When getting a new body, a person's sexuality essentially resets. Their retained values and memories might deny the new sexuality, sure, but one's sexuality doesn't change just by denying it. Otherwise Gay Christians wouldn't struggle all their lives and Priests would no longer molest little boys!
(phew! feels much better to let this out!~)
"Either way, Kaede suspected that as a subspecies, Samarans had far less of a sex drive than average humans. It would certainly explain their low population growth over the centuries, despite their innate healthcare and a policy of staying out of foreign wars. Furthermore, as devotees of the reincarnation cycle, abandoning pleasures of the flesh was a necessary step on the path to enlightenment.
...Assuming their faith paralleled Earth equivalents anyway. Kaede had yet to confirm any details, since 'sacrilegious' evangelical writings were banned from Weichsel by the Heresy Laws." -- volume 2 chapter 11
If you ever wondered why Kaede seems to lack the interest to 'experiment' like most boys do in genderbender material. Note that attraction and sex drive are very different things. There is no major religion that does not believe in platonic love as the ultimate of virtues: compassion.
That's all for today!