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.