Tor.com content by

S M Wheeler

Fiction and Excerpts [1]
All

Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Sea Change (Excerpt)

|| The unhappy child of two powerful parents who despise each other, young Lilly turns to the ocean to find solace, which she finds in the form of the eloquent and intelligent sea monster Octavius, a kraken. In Octavius's many arms, Lilly learns of friendship, loyalty, and family. When Octavius, forbidden by Lilly to harm humans, is captured by seafaring traders and sold to a circus, Lilly becomes his only hope for salvation. Desperate to find him, she strikes a bargain with a witch that carries a shocking price. Her journey to win Octavius's freedom is difficult. The circus master wants a Coat of Illusions; the Coat tailor wants her undead husband back from a witch; the witch wants her skin back from two bandits; the bandits just want some company, but they might kill her first. Lilly's quest tests her resolve, tries her patience, and leaves her transformed in every way.

Loki and Gender Ambiguity

Female fans of Thor and The Avengers produce a great deal of creative work centered on Marvel’s movie incarnation of Loki, and it seems to me that something notable lies behind this interest. I dare say it is easier for women to identify with the character of Loki than with the average male action movie character, though “identification” is a difficult word to work with, as a person’s engagement with a character can’t be read reflexively as based in a feeling of affinity—after all, it can be the opposite, in particular where villains are concerned. At least, then, it is easier to empathize.

It’s with some bitterness that I note complex female characters are thin on the ground*, that my readers will not be surprised to hear as much, and that this pushes women towards identification with males. As per the norm, Thor and The Avengers are movies dominated by their male characters (granted that the latter introduces a woman with an emotional arc—more revelation than development, but we take what we can get—in Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow). Whoever can bridge the gap is appreciated, whatever the means needed to shore up their ability to do so.

[Read More]

Sea Change (Excerpt)

Enjoy this extended excerpt from Sea Change by S. M. Wheeler, out on June 18:

The unhappy child of two powerful parents who despise each other, young Lilly turns to the ocean to find solace, which she finds in the form of the eloquent and intelligent sea monster Octavius, a kraken. In Octavius’s many arms, Lilly learns of friendship, loyalty, and family. When Octavius, forbidden by Lilly to harm humans, is captured by seafaring traders and sold to a circus, Lilly becomes his only hope for salvation. Desperate to find him, she strikes a bargain with a witch that carries a shocking price.

Her journey to win Octavius’s freedom is difficult. The circus master wants a Coat of Illusions; the Coat tailor wants her undead husband back from a witch; the witch wants her skin back from two bandits; the bandits just want some company, but they might kill her first. Lilly’s quest tests her resolve, tries her patience, and leaves her transformed in every way.

A powerfully written debut from a young fantasy author, Sea Change is an exhilarating tale of adventure, resilience, and selflessness in the name of friendship.

[Read more]