Shapeshifter Questions and a Writing Question Answered

Courtesy of a guest sporker from amazon.com, somewhat edited.

In case you’re wondering, LKH has a biology degree (or rather, “major,” since she doesn’t seem to know the difference). She tells us this whenever she can shoehorn it in, in case we don’t know that unlike all those OTHER writers, she went to college.

I imagine conversations with her go like this:

“So what if someone came up with the idea of vampires as having some sort of disease?”
“Yes! I would know all about that! Because I am a biology major!”

Except, you know, she totally fails at it. One of her Sues got pregnant with babies who have like 200% of the necessary genetic material, and she sees no problem with this. A person who has taken even a BASIC college biology course knows why this doesn’t work. I know, because I did, and I do.

So… here’s more bio-fail!

 
1. How does Mowgli Syndrome work?

It’s where a child manages to survive/be raised by animals (such as wolves) and misses out on some crucial neurological development. It is also called feral child syndrome. Oh wait, we’re talking about LKHworld, wherein a cool-sounding medical term has nothing to do with its real affliction.

Then again, thank God she hasn’t addressed the REAL Mowgli Syndrome. She can’t even grasp the basic psychology of wolves, leopards and rats, so she would probably think that a kid being raised by wolves would end up having superpowers.

 
This was first mentioned in DANSE MACABRE, but for those who are not that far in the books or just to refresh the memory, Mowgli Syndrome is a genetic birth defect in Anita’s world.

… and for some reason, when they named it, they didn’t bother to notice that THERE’S ALREADY A SYNDROME WITH THAT NAME.

You know, the name doesn’t even make sense. Mowgli wasn’t part animal. He was merely RAISED by animals.

 
It happens when a human woman that does not shapeshift (because technically shapeshifters are still human) has sex with a shapeshifter while he’s in half man, half beast form.

So basically what, women who like animals, huh? I’m shocked that LKH is willing to admit that any other woman in the world has tastes as “edgy” (read: gross) as Anita.

There is a chance that any baby conceived during that kind of sex could have a mixture of human and animal DNA.

Except that a human egg wouldn’t allow animal sperm to enter. Ova only let sperm of the SAME SPECIES (or one EXTREMELY similar, like tigers and lions) enter, For that matter, humans and animals don’t always have the same number of chromosomes anyway. This is total biology fail from Ms. I Know Everything Cuz I Have A Biology Degree.

 
This does not make them into a born shifter. This makes them a hybrid and some pretty terrible things can ocurr.

See? This is why authors shouldn’t bring biological reasons for supernatural creatures into their stories. Especially if they don’t seem to realize how all this shit works.

First, the baby can develop at the speed of the animal in question which with leopards is a matter of weeks, not months.

Actually, it IS months – from 90 to 100ish days. That’s three months. Google it, LKH; your calender has failed you. Not sure if the gestation is affected by the presence of one baby or several.

 
So a human woman can go from barely knowing she’s pregnant to being so pregnant you can’t get a legal abortion.

Because of course that would be the only thing she’d do, especially if she didn’t have a harem of subservient boytoys who are happy to give up their jobs and lives just to look after someone else’s kid.

 
There are no recorded cases of a baby born with Mowgli’s syndrome living for very long.

“There are”? Is she aware that her imaginary universe is just that – imaginary? And thus there are no recorded cases because she MADE it that way? And that Mowgli’s syndrome is not a genetic disorder?

 
Her body just can’t take the rapid changes of a pregnancy shortened by half, or more.

So pray tell, why would a woman have sex with a man-beast if this was the result? I mean, except for Teh Edginess. And, you know, some risk-taking furries.

Yeah, see. Is it REALLY necessary to have sex with men who look like animals? Is bestiality really so huge in the Anitaverse?

 
Also the woman’s body can begin to see the baby’s DNA as an intruder

Okay, like I said, wouldn’t happen because the baby would never have been conceived. Yes, in a laboratory it is possible for cells to be fused together from different species, but it doesn’t happen naturally between anything more unrelated than a horse and a donkey, and a human-animal gamete will not be able to just saunter over and fertilize a human egg. I may not have her majesty’s biology “major,” but I do know that an animal/human sperm wouldn’t make a dent.

 
just like a rejected transplant organ, or a mother who has a reaction to the RH factor in her baby’s blood.

Dear Lord, she’s shoveling out the pseudo-sciencespeak again. RUN. Run like the wind, in hopes that the scientific inaccuracies and blatant idiocy don’t hit you and make your brain explode.

 
I’m told they have more treatments for this problem than they did when I was pregnant,

Hooooooold on. She just said that it’s a second pregnancy that triggers the problems for the fetus. Is she Just So Special that she developed antibodies earlier than most women, or is this just more hypochondriacal BS? Probably the latter.

And I’m shocked she didn’t take the chance to lob another complaint at her ex husband. That meanie, they were like totally incompatible! How dare he be Rh+!

 
because I was sick enough my doctor was trying to find out what was wrong so I got to find out some rather exotic potential problems.

I’m pretty sure Rh factor problems do not make the WOMAN sick, just the baby. I’ve never been pregnant but according to my mom (for whom this was an issue) it’s basically like having antibodies for chicken pox; you don’t get sick just from being exposed to chicken pox once you have those antibodies.

Yes, LKH: women who are Rh- and have a Rh+ baby DO NOT GET SICK. It is NOT all about you in a pregnancy – it is about the baby, who is the one who DIES if something is not done. My great-grandmother had this problem, and between two sets of children she had SEVEN miscarriages, and a few after that.

It sounds to me like she probably felt a bit ill during her pregnancy and made a huge deal of it to the doctor. RH factor problems sound SO much more scientific and cool than, the mundane “I felt bloated/nauseous/achy.” After all, she can’t just have felt icky! There had to be a SERIOUS LIFE-THREATENING PROBLEM!

I figured that if a real pregnancy could begin attacking the fetus just because of RH incompatibility, or a variety of other things, then what would happen if you put DNA that was truly different from the mother’s in her body.

It wouldn’t even get to the fetal stage, you moron. And please, stop figuring. You’re bad at it.

 
If you could manage to get a baby and mother alive and whole

Correct me if I’m wrong, since I am a clod with no biology “major,” but wouldn’t the mother’s body just destroy the child early on, assuming it could even be conceived? And it probably wouldn’t have any major effects on the mom because she might not even realize she was pregnant by the time she lost it.

And if I were a shrink, I could come up with all sorts of psychological reasons for LKH’s “slavering beast-child that kills the mother!” fixation, and what it means about her own issues with motherhood. Because obviously she’s majorly overthought this, since she randomly came up with two fake diseases that do just that and nothing else, and these two diseases have NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING. She just likes to think up gruesome syndromes that result in killer fetii. Yeah, there’s a whole psych convention there.

What does that remind me of? Oh, I’m sure I’ve seen it elsewhere…

through a pregnancy with this genetic problem then you’d end up not with a baby shapeshifter, but with something that was neither human nor animal, but a mixture, and not that more elegant mixture of the leopardman, or wolfman, form.

In other words, you don’t end up with something “sexy.”

 
My biology degree always helps me make my world more real, and make it more terrorfying.

Oh, I find her work terrorfying. I am terrorfied that someone might read all this pseudo-scientific-ripped-from-a-bad-sci-fi-B-movie drivel and actually think that it is legit.

And she needs to stop touting her biology degree as if it turns her into an expert on everything vaguely scientific, and allows her to lord it over the ignorant masses. I can only assume that she barely scraped through and has since forgotten most of it, because I took exactly one biology class and can pick her “cool superscience” supernatural ideas apart. (Such as Merry and the three babydaddies per baby, which would have 200% of the necessary genetic material)

As a woman, the thought that something can go wrong with the baby you’re carrying is one of the top fears.

It’s rather telling that she talks about “you” rather than “I” after “as a woman,” no?

 
I saw enough in college classes that scared me when I got pregnant.

They don’t show you the gruesome pregnancy stuff in college classes, lady. They reserve that for medical school or grad school, which you clearly did not attend. College classes are mostly about studying stuff under microscopes and memorizing from books.

Seriously, the only nightmares I got from college biology classes were the usual “Oh shit I forgot the final was today I’m so late!” kind.

 
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Obviously. I mean, look at LKH. She took a few college classes and now thinks she’s the Grand Poobah of medicine, zoology, genetics, microbiology, etc.

 
But during this book with Anita I did more research into potential problems and let me say not research to be done while you are pregnant. Way too scary.

And again, why did she even do it? There was NO reason to come up with those imaginary birth defects, except to show that LKH is hugely uncomfortable with pregnancy (she claims she alone of all women actually REMEMBERS what childbirth is like!) and motherhood.

Oh, and before someone asks, having sex with a wereanimal in full human form does not run the risk of Mowgli Syndrome.

So it begs the question why Anita is bouncing on the enormous penii of beast-men weres rather than in human form, huh? Aside from LKH’s desire to be edgy.

 
Apparently in human form they are, well, human for DNA purposes.

Excuse me.

ARRRRRGGG THE STUPID IT BUURRRRRRNNNSS UUUUUSSSS…

WHAAAAAAAAAATTTTT? Did this woman’s biology degree come from a college that still teaches about the four humors? Is she actually implying that weres have their ENTIRE GENETIC STRUCTURE change spontaneously from ONE species to ANOTHER at least once a month and usually much more frequently?

I might be able to buy the idea that dormant genetic material was being suddenly used for the werewhatever transformation, but NOT that the DNA magically changes from human to human/animal hybrid, INCLUDING gametes that have already been produced and are just being stored (like sperm). That isn’t how it WORKS!

I might be able to buy all this beastbaby syndrome stuff if she A) stopped talking about her damn degree, B) took the Ilona Andrews/Guillermo del Toro approach of pseudo-science (mutating viruses) that is left vague enough to not grievously offend, and/or C) tried the mystical approach (the babies are affected by a werewolf curse!) rather than torturously trying to find a way to explain away her creepy beastbaby syndrome (I refuse to dignify it with the inaccurate name LKH is using) to express our her incredibly weird issues with motherhood.

 
We talk about their inability to pass a blood test, but no one ever talks about genetic testing for lycanthropy.

For the love of tap-dancing fuck, NOBODY talks about their inability to pass a blood test except YOU. Because YOU made it up.

And yes, if lycanthropes DID exist, then LOTS of people would talk about it! Because if certain people turn into ANIMALS, then scientists would want to FUCKING KNOW WHY. Those scientists would dissect every last membrane in a werewolf’s cells to figure out how much of it is genetic and just what happens when it’s triggered. They’d do that until, as Chekov put it, the subject would run out of samples!

And, yes, I know that lycanthropy technically is wolf based,

Well DUH. It does have the Latin word for “wolf” incorporated in it! Not, you notice, leopards/rats/lions/tigers/bears/ohmys…

 
but it’s actually a word in medical circles, so I made the choice that it would be used to cover the larger group.

That makes no sense at all. Clinical lycanthropy is a psychiatric delusion; it has nothing to do with fictional/mythical lycanthropy. And because it’s a real word in medical circles, that means it’s actually WORSE to misuse it.

This is a big fat butt-cover to cover the fact that she’s never used the word “therianthropy.” And there is a word for delusions of non-wolf-animalhood – zoanthropy.

 
Yes, there are other words for it, and I’m sure in Anita’s world

Stop pretending that you are merely the channel for Anita’s little cardboard cutout world, okay? Such things exist if YOU decide so.

there are words for individual animal strains for it, but they wouldn’t be commonly used.

Neither would “lupa” (an ancient Roman slang term for a low-class hooker – oh the delicious irony), “lukoi,” “nimir-raj/ra,” or most of the were terms she uses. But that doesn’t stop her from using them either.

 
2. What then about the weretigers? We learned in SKIN TRADE they are the exception to a lot of shapeshifter rules.

Such as the rules about no Lady Gaga songs, custard tarts, and the use of soccer balls in kinky sex scenes.

 
The weretigers are shapeshifters from birth, which is also unique,

NO, IT IS FRIGGING NOT. Did she lose the sticky note about the wereswans? Or does she not know what “unique” means?!?!?!

 
but most only shift for the first time at puberty.

Just in time for Anita to start sniffing around.

There are weretigers that are survivors of attacks just like most shapeshifters, but the weretiger clans look down on them as lesser beings. They consider any of their people that would attack a human and contaminate them to have committed one of their greatest crimes.

… which would be awesome if she could take the camera off Anita’s netherbits and manly penis-measuring-contests long enough to explore that.

 
They are the only known group in Anita’s world where the female shapeshifters can actually carry to term rather than lose the baby during the sometimes violent changes of shape changing.

Why? No explanation. I guess LKH is just THAT enamored of tigers.

Actually, in the last few books she’s been ALL about the big cats. I mean, she comes up with a lion pride that’s ALL MALE. There’s a ridiculous idea for ya!

Also, the baby inside a regular shapeshifter is human when the mother shifts to animal form the baby doesn’t shift with her and you lose the baby that way.

… nope, sorry, don’t have the faintest idea how that works. Except, you know, another expression of LKH’s dislike for pregnancy and having kids, since the women of her two Sue species are totally unable to have children and nobody seems to be upset about this.

And why the hell would the baby stay human at the full moon?! So, the baby gets a bunch of animal DNA if the daddy ejaculates in beastman form, even though the sperm would have been already produced and would be TOTALLY human. But the OVA are unaffected and don’t cause the baby to be a shapeshifter? BULLCRAP.

 
Would the baby born of a shapeshifter mother and a human father have Mowgli syndrome? Don’t know, it’s never been successful done in Anita’s world. See earlier probelms.

SHE IS SO FULL OF IT. I find it hard to believe that in a modern world where weres have been revealed to the masses that nobody would have tried all the medical options. Surrogacy, for instance. If the baby is going to stay human ALL THE TIME, why not hire a woman to carry it to term?!

And what does she mean, “don’t know”? SHE MAKES IT ALL UP.

 
The weretigeress’s husband, or mate, calms her during the pregnancy and actually keeps her from changing form until after the baby is born.

Basically like all the boitois taking Anita’s beasts because heaven forbid she ever shift into just one form, and lose her thousands of little queenships.

And it’s “tigress.”

This is only possible if your mate is powerful enough to do the metaphysics, but most males are trained from an early age to do this trick, so most can.

Which raises the question – if some other kind of were were pregnant, why couldn’t a metaphysically strong were of the same kind keep her from shifting in the same way?

 
I believe it’s something that other wereanimals could learn how to do, but we haven’t seen anyone practice long enough to try.

Excuse me again.

I find it TOTALLY UNBELIEVABLE that in the entire history of the world, no other were would have come up with the idea of controlling a pregnant were’s shifts. ESPECIALLY since apparently everybody DOES know how to do it, since they rush in to “swallow” Anita’s beast every time she has an emergency. Apparently the universe sprang into existence when Anita did, because I somehow doubt that in millennia, no wolf/leopard/whatever decided, “I wanna be a daddy, so I’ll use my magic powers to keep her from shifting!”

 
I’m planning on the weretigers that came home from Vegas with Anita to try and teach other animal groups how to do that.

And we’ll see results around the time Asher has that surgery he’s been waiting what, a decade for?

 
3. No, I have never written a book by hand then typed it into a computer.

Given what a proud technophobe she is, I’m shocked. Also shocked because I’d think it would be easier to “make pages” if you can write larger.

 
I love writing on computers it is so much easier to make copies, to change mistakes, you name it, it is easier on a computer.

… and she rhapsodizes this in a rambling run-in sentence with too many commas. I guess computers can’t compensate for bad writing.

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