Category Archives: Regender

THE REGENDER PROJECT: Persuasion


The latest novel I’ve regendered is Jane Austen’s Persuasion, available to buy now from Amazon. Be sure to sign up to my newsletter and you’ll receive another regendered novel, absolutely free!

While Persuasion might not be one of Austen’s better known novels, it does have the distinction of being the last one she wrote, it being published posthumously. Like nearly all of her novels, it features her biting satire of the class divisions in her society and the strictly defined roles women and men had to live with.

What is interesting about Persuasion, and Jane Austen’s novels in general, is they don’t need really regendering at all. They’re already filled with women who are given as much importance and consideration within the narrative as the men . The reason I chose to regender Persuasion was because Austen’s novels are still filled with the rigid gender roles and stereotypes defining how women and men should behave. In regendering Persuasion, I wanted to explore what the narrative would be like if it was focused on the men vying for suitable matches to secure their futures, with the women holding the positions of power and influence.

I hope you enjoy this regendered novel and look forward to reading your reviews on it!

THE REGENDER PROJECT: THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES

My latest regendered novel, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, is now available for free from Amazon!* Yep, that’s right, Free! As an added bonus, when you sign up to my newsletter you’ll receive another regendered novel, completely free also! So grab a copy for yourself and tell all your friends about it!

The novel itself represents a departure from the other novels I’ve regendered so far because it’s the first time I’ve revisited an author I’d already tackled. It’s always been my intention to regender multiple works from the same author but initially I’ve wanted to focus on tackling different authors. This way I’d be able to experience a broader ranger of writing styles and discover which are more suitable or more effective when regendered.

While I still plan to explore new and different authors, I thought it was time to revisit one. Sherlock Holmes continues to be one of the more iconic characters in literature, and narratives in general, making him the perfect candidate for regendering. Also, being a collection of short stories, I think this is the perfect introduction to regendering, demonstrating how such a simple change can fundamentally alter the tone and style of the story.

I hope you enjoy this regendered book, and if so, please leave a review and tell all your friends about it!

* it seems not all the Amazon stores have updated to the free price. If your local one hasn’t yet, please drop me a line and I’ll see what I can do about hurrying them along.

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes represents a change in how I normally select a novel to regender. It’s the first time I’ve returned to an author whose work I’ve already regendered, not to mention a specific character. My reasons for doing so are not too different from the reasons I chose Sherlock Holmes in the first instance: Sherlock remains one of the most iconic figures in literature, and given how regularly his exploits are adapted, narratives in general.

I was also a little unsatisfied with the story of the first Sherlock Holmes novel I regendered, A Study in Scarlet. While it’s a fine story in its own right, it’s not really what I think of when I think of a Sherlock Holmes mystery, particular when it diverges into the prolonged backstory. I believe these shorter stories are more indicative of a Sherlock Holmes story.

Being a collection of short stories, there’s also quite a divergent number of topics and themes covered. The main one I wanted to explore was to see how a woman can perform the prominent role of a leading detective investigating crimes. To some degree this might not be necessary given how many women perform such roles in narratives already. Literature is filled with examples such as Nancy Drew and Miss Marple, while in television we have Veronica Mars, Kate Beckett and Olivia Benson. Yet, despite this, I continue to read news stories and articles about the struggles women have in pursuing careers in law enforcement, which suggests we still have a long way to go.

As usual, I encountered a number of specific issues while regendering these stories but the one that stands out is a scene from The Boscombe Valley Mystery. In the original, Sherlock is able to deduce some of the circumstances of his new client based on the way he shaved his face. Usually I can adjust any references to beards or shaving by editing a word or two. In this case, it comprised the better part of a paragraph and required significant rewriting in order for the deductive reasoning to apply to a woman.

Finally, I’d like to point out how much I like the new opening to this regendered novel. It now begins with, ‘To Sherlock Holmes he will always be THE man. I have seldom heard her mention him under any other name. In her eyes he eclipses and predominates the whole of his sex.’ I think this quickly establishes the regendering that has occurred and how different this world is compared to the original.
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THE REGENDER PROJECT: WAR OF THE WORLDS

War of the Worlds, my latest regendered novel, is now available for purchase from Amazon. This is probably one of the more well-known novels I’ve regendered, no doubt due to the many adaptations it’s received over the years. While the latest starred Tom Cruise in 2005, the most famous would still be Orson Welles’ radio play of 1938. While the stories of it creating mass panic from people believing it was a real invasion are probably exaggerated, that just adds to the mythology of the story.

As a long time science fiction geek, I’ve been eager to regender the works of one of the pillars of the genre, H.G. Wells. In terms of the genre, his work still stands the test of time, with many of predictions and creations remaining just as interesting today as when he first wrote them over a hundred years ago.
What I’ve also discovered about his work is how gender neutral it is. While his novels, including this one, are still made up of mostly male characters, there’s not as many indications of it. As I explain a little more in the author’s note, there’s not as many gendered nouns or pronouns used, so swapping the characters was a very smooth process.

The story itself remains as interesting as always, with great descriptions of fantastical machines, mixed in with the vivid pictures of London. While the regendering ends up being subtler than others I’ve done, I actually think it’s more effective. I hope you all enjoy the novel and I look forward to hearing what you think about it!

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I continue to be amazed at the work of H.G. Wells. Not just for his brilliant imagination and visions of the future but also for how gender neutral his writing is. This is the second novel of his I have regendered and in both cases, the result has been a novel with very few differences from the original.

One of the way’s he’s achieved this was through the use of first person perspective, along with generic, non-specific names for his characters. This means there isn’t the constant and regular references to characters using gender pronouns. Instead of having lots of HE’s and SHE’s, there is the gender neutral I.

Similarly, the protagonist’s name is abstracted to ‘The Narrator,’ rather than a specific name that might indicate gender, like John or Richard. This doesn’t quite work for the other characters since the generic names of The Artilleryman and Clergyman are obviously gendered, but it’s the protagonist, The Narrator, who’s featured most prominently.

These two relatively simple methods mean the novel has far fewer gender pronouns and nouns, or general terminology than most of the novels I’ve regendered. So much so, I’m actually curious to see if I can come up with a system to quantify it and compare different novels. But that’s a job for another day.

Even though the regendered version of the novel doesn’t differ too much from the original novel, I think it’s still worth a read. The effect is a subtle one, with just small gentle reminders that the novel is predominately filled with female characters rather than male ones.

This also made War of the Worlds one of the easier novels to regender. I don’t recall encountering any major obstacles in the process. The story is as good as ever, and worth a read for that reason along but the regendering effect isn’t as pronounced. This perhaps makes it a great choice for someone curious about regendered novel but doesn’t want something too jarring. Alternatively, it might be great for someone who’s read a few already and is looking for something a little more neutral. In either case, I’m curious to hear what other people think about this novel, so feel free to drop me a line on my website or through social media.
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THE REGENDER PROJECT: THE STRANGE CASE OF DR JEKYLL & MISS HYDE

This week’s regendered novel is The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Miss Hyde, available now for purchase on Amazon. The original novel concerned a distinguished doctor who created a concoction that unleashed his primal nature in the form of an alter ego. This is one of those stories I think everyone has some awareness of, even if they haven’t read the original novel themselves. No doubt it’s because, like The Prince and The Pauper, it’s a trope that’s been used time and again in various movies and television shows.

I was drawn to regendering this novel for two reasons; firstly, its premise has a timeless quality about it, with a board appeal, which explains why it’s been used so often. More importantly, for me, was the idea of exploring the different personalities everyone has inside them. Of course, the idea of someone having their identity and personality completely swapped is something I think is particularly relevant to The Regender Project.

Perhaps because of the innate duality within the novel, I didn’t find it as technically challenging as most of the others I’ve done so far. This was more than made up for by the challenge in designing a suitable cover for it. From the start I had a clear idea of what I wanted but I struggled to articulate it properly, much to the frustration of my cover designer. Thankfully a friend came to our aid, lending her artistic talents to the endeavour and providing a great illustration to work with. I owe her, and my designer, a debt of gratitude for pulling it off!

Author’s Note:

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Regendering Jekyll and Hyde was a fascinating experience. The novel already deals in duality, in the form of someone who has a controlled side of their personality at the same time as a wild side. While this has been reduced to a simple good vs evil debate, the original novel is more nuanced and deals more with the idea of people having to suppress their wilder impulses in order to conform to the morality of their societies and cultures.

I feel this theme makes the novel a great choice for regendering since it strikes at the very heart of one of the great gender imbalances in our society. While it applies to somewhat to men, it is predominantly women who have to suppress their desires and impulses in order to fit into the image society has of how they should look or act. In this sense, regendering this novel isn’t particularly enlightening but does help to illustrate the point and the dangers of trying to suppress parts of our nature.

I must also admit that one of things I enjoyed about regendering this novel was simply the conversion of Mr Hyde, another iconic name and character, into Miss Hyde. Just like Sherlock Holmes I liked how the regendering challenges the reader to imagine our world in a whole new light, without the male dominated preconceptions we usually have.
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THE REGENDER PROJECT: THE SCARLET LETTER

Welcome to this week’s official regendered novel release, The Scarlet Letter, available now for purchase from Amazon. The original novel, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, was one of the first great American works of literature. Set in Puritanical New England, the regendered version follows a man who commits adultery, resulting in a child born out of wedlock, a grave sin in the 16th century. Refusing to name the mother of the child, he is ostracized from his community, forced to raise his son alone, on the outskirts of the town.

I’ve looked forward to working on The Scarlet Letter for some time now. I was particularly drawn to the idea of creating a story that now shows a male suffering from the same social stigma women have had to for so many centuries. This is precisely the sort of situation the project hopes to examine and explore.

The novel had its usual quirks when regendering, which I discuss further in the author’s note, but there’s one particular issue I wanted to mention. Central the original novel is the main character’s affair and subsequent pregnancy, even though it isn’t actually depicted. The regendered version requires a significant leap of faith on the part of the reader, since they need to believe it’s possible for a mother to hide her pregnancy and childbirth, particularly in a small, tight knit community in the 16th century.

To be honest, I’m still a little unsure how I want to handle these situations when regendering, so I’m using this novel to test the waters. In this case, I’ve chosen to ignore it for the most part, relying on the reader to accept such an improbable premise in order experience the rest of the story fully. It’s not an ideal solution but I hope you still find it an enlightening read.

Author’s Note:

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The Scarlet Letter was one of the novels I’ve looked forward to regendering ever since I began The Regender Project. It’s also proven to be one of the hardest to regender, both technically and in the way its tone was changed by the process.

The technical side was mostly due to the language used in the novel. Almost all the novels I work with are set in the 19th century, which has its own quirks in the way language is used compared to modern times. Set in the 17th century, The Scarlet Letter is as far removed again, making the language feel even more archaic and difficult to work with. For instance, all too often, people and events were mentioned obliquely, not directly, making it hard to follow who was being talked about at times. This was particularly important when regendering since I needed to make sure the gender pronouns still matched the regendered characters, which took a bit of deciphering.

The section at the start of the novel, The Custom-house, was also tricky to handle. It serves as a sort of prelude to the story, though it’s set well after the events, and details the narrator’s discovery of Hester’s story, and his search for more information. While this section is also fictitious, it’s also reminiscent of Hawthorne’s actual life, sharing many similarities to his own time working in a custom house and the experiences he had there. I decided keeping the narrator unchanged helped to anchor the story with historical accuracy around its original author.

Clergy also feature a lot in the novel. While I haven’t come up with a rule for how to regender them, it’s become somewhat of a habit to leave them unchanged as well. In this case, it wasn’t an option since Dimmesdale’s affair with Prynne is crucial to the story. Therefore, if I was going to regender one clergyman, I’d need to regender them all, though for some reason is feels far more jarring to historical accuracy than any other profession.

This in turn led to probably the biggest flaw resulting from regendering this novel. The original novel hinges on the idea that the father of Hester’s child is unknown. After regendering, we’re left with a situation where it’s the mother of the child who is not known. While this isn’t outside the realms of possibility, it does stretch plausibility quite a bit. A woman’s pregnancy and the effects of giving birth are far harder to hide than just an affair. And that doesn’t even take into account a mother’s bond with her baby, and the decreased likelihood she’d give up any involvement in raising the child. By and large I chose to ignore this issue, glaring as it is. Partly this is because the pregnancy and birth occur before the start of the story, effectively making them ‘off-screen’. It still requires a suspension of disbelief but it’s limited to this particular point and not prolonged throughout the novel. But the main was reason was I felt it helped to illustrate one possible cause of the double standard that exists in how we treat boys and girls with regards to sex: namely, it’s far easier for men to hide their involvement in the act along with having the option of not having to deal with the unwanted consequences, such as pregnancy.

Of course, the biggest issue I encountered when regendering the novel was how much the tone and themes changed. The original story presented us with Hester Prynne, a woman who instead of succumbing to the effects of being ostracised, takes the opportunity to think for herself and break free from the indoctrination her society imposes. While she does still consider her act a sin, she no longer believes it should condemn her for all time. This is exactly the sort of strong female characters I felt were lacking when I started The Regender Project. So, by regendering her character into the male Heston Prynne, I couldn’t help but feel I was undermining many of the goals I was striving for with the project.

Still, I couldn’t shake the appeal of regendering the novel. In particular, I was attracted to the idea of portraying a man going through the same persecution, and suffering the same consequences, that so many women have had to. I hope that by shining another light on this double standard, I’ll help foster the main goal I have for the project, which is to promote gender equality.
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THE REGENDER PROJECT: THE PRINCESS AND THE PAUPER

Welcome to the official release of The Princess and the Pauper – Regendered. It’s available now for purchase on Amazon! The story follows two young girls in 16th century England, one a princess and heir to the kingdom and the other a pauper. Circumstances arise which allows them to trade places, and they each must adapt and learn how to live in the others shoes. If this plot sounds familiar, then you’ve probably encountered one of the countless adaptions of it that’s appeared in movies and television shows.

While the central plot has been used over and over again, with varying degrees of success, I think it continues to be interesting and relevant. The idea of looking at someone else’s life and imagining the grass is greener for them is something that people continue to do. By showing us what it’s actually like for someone to live in another person’s life, we gain some insight into their reality, and hopefully a little more appreciation for our own lives. It feels like this trope is even more relevant in today’s social media age where all too often we get a false sense of how other people live based on what they choose to share with the world.

As usual, the novel presented its own unique challenges when I was regendering it. I talk about these in more detail in the Author’s Note, which I’ve included below. There aren’t too many spoilers in this one, so feel free to take a peak, but I’ve hidden it just to be safe.

Author’s Note:

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Once again, this novel was selected for The Regender Project due to its author as much as for the novel itself. I’ve admired the work of Mark Twain for ages and wanted to ensure I included something he’d written in the project. His two more famous works, the Adventures of Tom Sayer, and Huckleberry Finn, would have made great choices but I was particularly drawn to The Prince And The Pauper. The theme of characters swapping positions and roles, and discovering insight into how the other lives just resonated so much with what I’m trying to achieve with The Regender Project.

The biggest challenge I faced when regendering the novel was how I wanted to handle historical figures. One of the original ‘rules’ I established when creating The Regender Project was historical characters would remain unchanged and retain their original genders. Given this novel is centred on the royal family of England, I had to reassess this rule. In the end, I decided to keep the king, Henry VIII, and his wife, unchanged but regendered all the other characters. I felt this create enough of an anchor to its historical setting while also allowing the story to be regendered. It does end up creating an alternate version of history where one of the most famous kings of England had many sons and just a younger daughter who became his heir. It’s a situation I wanted to avoid but couldn’t in this case.

The next challenge was all the titles in the story. Just keeping track of them was difficult but the main issue was how biased they are towards males. While certain titles have obvious female equivalents, such as King and Queen, Duke and Duchess, and Baron and Baroness, there some many without them. Lords, Earls, and Sirs all regender to simply Lady. Not only would this have proven to be confusing, it didn’t accurately convey the differences in rank between the titles. I decided to regender Earls into Countesses, even though it’s a European rank not used in England.

As always, names proved to be a thorny issue. In this case, it was mostly due to the volume of them. Not only were there more characters than any of the other novels I’ve regendered but there were quite a few using the same name. ‘John’ in particular seemed very common, which no doubt mirrors the time the story’s set in. Regendering them all to the same name, such as ‘Jane’ or ‘Joan’, didn’t really have the same feel, as well as making the story a tad overly complicated. Therefore, I chose to regender each character into new, different names when they happened to share a first name.

Apart from these challenges, I found regendering the novel to be a delight. The end result keeps all the main themes and social commentary from the original novel but centres them around female characters. There is some sense of gender stereotypes are play, particularly with how now it is women who are presumed to be heirs and holders of important positions and titles. Also, the regendered novel features men portrayed as being soft, caring and nurturing, which is jarring a first but I think reinforces the lack of depth that female characters generally have.

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THE REGENDER PROJECT: Billie Budd

First up, I want to apologise for the delay in officially releasing Billie Budd. I’d originally intended to post this blog last week, but in between gallivanting across New Zealand and unforeseen technical issues, I had to wait until today. The Book is now available for purchase from Amazon. I should also mention I’m experimenting with a new linking system, which should take you straight to the Amazon store appropriate for you region. Since I know a lot people maintain a US Amazon account, I’m not sure if this will end up being a benefit or a hindrance, so feel free to let me know which you prefer.

The original Billy Budd is a fascinating story even though it’s not as widely known as a classic these days. First published posthumously  in 1924 after its author, Herman Melville, died before completing it. It was a critical success upon its release, reaching the peak of its fame in the 1950’s and 60’s when it was adapted into a stage play, an opera, and a movie starring Peter Ustinov and Terence Stamp.

As a novel I’m particularly familiar with, Billy Budd was one of my first choices for regendering, becoming Billie Budd. Its original setting, a warship crewed exclusively by men, also made it particularly appealing for the project. But what really resonated with me, and what I think made it such a classic, was the moral dilemma central to the story. It’s not just a matter of right and wrong, but it also brings in the question of justice vs the letter of the law, particularly during times of war, along with trying best course of action in the context of a great conflict. I was pleased to see all these questions, which I feel are vital to the story, remained intact after regendering.

The Author’s Note, where I talk about the specific challenges I encountered when regendering this novel, doesn’t actually contain many spoilers. Still, I’ve hidden it just to be safe. I’m also experimenting with embedding the books, so you’ll be able to flick through a chapter or so to see if the story interests you enough to purchase.

Author’s Note:

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Billy Budd was a strange choice for inclusion since it’s not as well-known as Melville’s other work, Moby Dick. Technically it’s not even complete since it was published after his death from his notes. I hadn’t even heard of the novel before a few years ago when I encountered it during my studies. Then I came across it in two completely different subjects from two different universities.

While I enjoy the novel on its own merits due to its interesting plot and story, it is actually the setting that prompted me to select it for regendering. Even today, sailing tends to be a male dominated profession but back in the 19th century it was pretty much exclusively so. To me, regendering such a scenario represented the ultimate expression of the project.

Of course, it also led to quite a few complications beyond the ones I normally encountered during regendering. While the names weren’t any harder to regender, the fact the title of the novel is shared with the main character’s name gave me food for thought. I was tempted to change it slightly, to Billie, in order to reinforce the change in gender but given Billy can be used for a girl’s name, albeit uncommonly, I decided to stick to my guideline and leave it unchanged.

Where I encountered the biggest issues was in the terminology used throughout the book. Almost all the nautical terms used were male regendered, such as seaman or foretopman. These started to sound weird and awkward when referring to female characters, yet they are part of our history. In the end I decided to break the guidelines I had set and regender these terms. Partly it was to aid in readability but mostly to help create an image of what it might have been like on a ship with all female crew. It wasn’t a complete change, since I kept the tradition of referring to ships as females unchanged, as well as the big class of warships continuing to be called Men of War.

One of the interesting results of the regendering process was the change to one of the subtler elements of the novel. One reading of the novel suggests a homoeotic attraction on the part of Claggart towards Billy and it is his torment at the possibility that causes his antagonism. I’m not sure this carries over after the regendering.

Apart from that, the regendering of Billy Budd had a fascinating result. Perhaps what I found most interesting was how easy and natural it felt to have a ship of war with a completely female crew, led by a more than capable female captain whose qualifications for the job were never put into question due to her gender.

Addendum:
While I had originally published this novel under it’s original name, Billy Budd, I’ve decided changing the name slightly could be more effective. This was a result of my decision to change the protagonist’s name. At this point, it’s more of an experiment to see the effect of changing names more then necessary. I’d love to hear your feedback on what you think of the change.

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My Patreon Campaign

Today I’d like to announce the start of my Patreon campaign and I hope you’ll all check it out. What’s Patreon you ask? It’s a new crowd funding service, which is focused on artists and content creators, with the goal of providing them with ongoing financial support. Here’s a short video to explain how it works:

Unlike other forms of crowd funding, which are generally geared towards a central product or service, Patreon is dedicated to providing the financial support artists need in order to complete their projects. This means there’s less emphasis on the cost of materials and producing the project.

patreon_logoMy purpose in setting up a Patreon campaign was to generate a little bit of income so I can focus my time on working on the The Regender Project. While everything I produce for the project is available for sale on Amazon, I’m trying to cover a broad range of genres and styles which may not appeal to everyone. I’m sure there’s plenty of people who like what the project is trying to achieve, with its goal of fostering gender equality, and would like it continue but who might not necessary like every regendered novel I produce. For these people, becoming one of my Patreon is the perfect way to support The Regendered Project and ensure it continues.

Of course, there are still perks associated with becoming one of my Patreons, depending on the level of support you choose. These range from $5 USD a month, for which I will provide you with digital copies of the two regendered novels I plan to to produce each month, to the $20 USD a month which will also allow you to nominate novels to be considered for regendering,  along with many others. I’ve tried to make each of the levels beneficial in their own right but once again, the main purpose of the Patreon campaign is to provide the support needed so The Regender Project can continue.

I should also mention one big difference you need to be aware of; the support is ongoing rather than being a one off, set amount. This means each month you’ll contribute the amount you’ve agreed to support. Don’t worry though, you’re free to cancel at any time. If you have further questions regarding pledges, or anything about how Patreon works, be sure to check out their help centre.

So, have a look at my Patreon page and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll continue to tweak the campaign over the next few weeks as receive feedback and learn more about the process. In the meantime, I hope you find it interesting enough to become one of my Patreons!

THE REGENDER PROJECT: The Happy Princess and Other Tales

Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince(ss) and Other Tales is the third regendered novel I’m officially releasing , which is available for free for a short time. Unlike the others, it’s a collection of short stories rather than a full length novel. It’s also the first time I’ve adjusted the title, morphing the original Happy Prince into the regendered Happy Princess.I was originally against making such changes since it felt like it was disconnecting too much from the original text. In this case, I didn’t have much choice since keeping the original title would’ve negated the point of regendering. Having seen the change though, I think I quite like it, and will probably be more inclined to change the titles in the future if necessary.

Being a collection of short stories, The Happy Princess and Other Tales make a great introduction to what you can expect from a regendered novel. Each story is a bite size narrative, usually wrapped around a moral, you can read in a short period of time. My personal favourite is probably The Devoted Friend because it’s all too easy imagine the ‘friend’ in the story being real.

The reason I chose The Happy Princess and Other Tales for regendering was due more to the original author, Oscar Wilde, than the stories themselves. I explain this in a little more detail in the author’s note below. As always, it main contain spoilers, so read at your own risk!

Author’s Note:

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The Happy Princess and Other tales is slightly different from the other novels I’ve chosen to regender. Most obviously it’s a collection of short stories rather than a novel. While these also provide interesting results from the regendering, the main reason it was chosen was due to its author, Oscar Wilde.

While my focus for regendering novels has been the gender imbalances, I’m also conscious of how little representation minorities and other marginalised segments of the population receive. Which is why I think Wilde makes a good choice to have his work regendered.

Despite his skill with words, and his obvious wit, Wilde was persecuted and eventually imprisoned for his sexuality. This is something still occurring in many parts of the world today, and even in western cultures there remains plenty of discrimination against homosexuals.

The regendering itself revealed mostly challenges to gender roles. A few of the stories continued the stereotype of girls being superficial and being more concerned with pretty dresses or flowers. It was interesting to see this reversed after the regendering, a situation I think is far more common these days. Then there’s the case of the Devoted Friend, which suggests that such toxic friendships are not limited to either gender.

All in all, it was interesting to regender a collection of short stories and quite a different experience to a full novel. I’ll certainly keep it in mind as an option for future possible regenders. As for Oscar Wilde, expect to see a regender of his more famous work, The Importance of Being Earnest, sometime in the future!

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THE REGENDER PROJECT: Around the World in Eighty Days

Jules Verne’s “Around the World in Eighty Days” is the second regendered novel I’m officially releasing and it’ll be available for free for a short time. It wasn’t actually the second novel I worked on and has only been completed relatively recently. The reason I moved it up in the release order was because of how much I enjoyed reading the regendered version. It proved to be such an easy read, while at the same time demonstrating everything I wanted from regendering a novel.

While the feat itself is fairly easy to achieve these days, there’s still something about a race against time, particularly towards a destination or along a route, we can call relate to. Anyone who’s ever missed a train, bus, or connecting flight knows just how much of a difference it makes to their total journey. Throw in a few obstacles and mishaps and you have a classic adventure story.

Perhaps what I enjoyed most was how easy it was to read after regendering. It read just like every other adventure novel, and the fact the main protagonist, along with most of the other characters, were now female had almost no impact on the story. Perhaps there was some bending in how characters behaved in their new genders compared to what we might expect, but that’s exactly the story of impact I’m looking for by regendering novels. To explore gender stereotypes and our preconceived notions of how they should act.

As usual, Around the World in Eighty Days had its own unique challenges and quirks to address. You can read more about them in the author’s note below. Be warned, though, it may contain spoilers if you’re not familiar with the story.

Author’s Note:

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Around the World in Eighty Days has probably been the most enjoyable novel for me to regender so far. While still a classic piece of literature, like all the others, at its heart it is still an adventure tale.

While the main protagonist is English, there was a number of major foreign characters, with matching names and vocabularies. For the most part, these were fairly straight forward to regender but some, like Fogg’s companion, Jeanne Passepartout, caused me some consternation. One of the guidelines I’d set for regendering was to keep names the same whenever they were used for both genders. This didn’t quite work out in this case since, while Jean works as a female name in English, the original male character’s name is French. I decided I needed to bend the guideline a little and change the name to Jeanne, the French female version of Jean.

One of the more interesting effects of the regendered novel was the transformation of Aouda into a ‘bachelor in distress’. That phrase itself doesn’t quite regender from ‘damsel in distress’, but the effect is the same. Aouda remains the same passive, secondary character that women are generally relegated to in most forms of narrative. Seeing a male character put into that role, and subservient to the proactive female characters, felt quite jarring at times, which is exactly the effect I’m trying to achieve with the Regender Project.

Speaking of Aouda, he’s the subject of another section I had particular difficulty with. In the original text, Aodua is female and is described by comparing her to a famous passage that describes a queen. After regendering her, this no longer makes as much sense since the now male character is being compared to a beautiful, historical queen. Since the passage is a historical piece of work, it also didn’t fit my own guidelines to regender the queen into a king. After much back and forth, I decided that having the male Aouda compared to the female queen was the best option to use, though it doesn’t quite flow as well as I’d like.

Finally, I should also mention the cover. As most of you are probably aware by now, Philomena Fogg’s trip around the world doesn’t involve a balloon at all. It’s briefly considered as an option but she quickly dismisses the idea. Yet the balloon has become intricately associated as a symbol for the story ever since the 1956 movie. Even knowing how false it was, I had the image stuck in my mind from the moment I chose the novel for regendering and just couldn’t shake it when it came time to create the cover.
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