• A transitioning Saga

    09 February 2023

    A Norwegian fan of my books asked the following question over on Twitter: "if you had written the Saga of Darren Shan today, do you think you would have included more trans characters or lgbtq+ themes in the story?"

     

    I actually wanted to include lgbtq+ characters back when I wrote the books a quarter of a century ago. While I've loved seeing the world change so much over the last 25 years when it comes to the representation of the gay community in books, movies, etc., it was a subject close to my heart even back then -- I've always been a firm believer in equality, and have consistently tried to make my books inclusive. I figured, from a sociological point of view, that many of the vampires in my books would be gay, since there are so few female vampires, and the creatures of the night try to have little to do with humans. I was going to have this mentioned to Darren when he first visited Vampire Mountain, where he would have spotted a number of small rooms where the consenting vamps retired to when they wanted to have some fun time with each other. I also, later in the series, had Debbie hooking up with Alice -- it wasn't something I'd planned from the start, but it just seemed a natural place for them to get to once I started writing about their characters.

     

    Sadly, publishers 25 years ago were VERY reluctant for me to include any kind of sexual references in my books, no matter how mildly I phrased them -- and, in fairness to them, they were as set against heterosexual references as they were against homosexual. They were of the opinion that my books were escapist books for boys, and that we'd face objections from parents and teachers if I mentioned anything sexual in such books. Violence was fine, but the world of sex was taboo!!!

     

    I like to think that attitudes have changed since then, and that my publishers wouldn't have blinked if I'd included such scenes if writing the books today, but back then my hands were tied -- as a struggling young writer, there were certain lines I had to toe, and rules I had to obey, if I wanted my books to see print. So, yes, if I'd written the series more recently, we would most probably have seen more variety among the cast's sexual orientation -- not because my views on that front have changed over the years, but simply because the world has changed to a point where I'd probably be allowed to express those views in my books without it being any kind of a big deal.

     

    As for trans characters... Well, there's a strong trans slant to Lady Of The Shades, one of the books I released for adult readers. And... MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THE END OF MY ZOM-B SERIES!!!

     

    SERIOUSLY -- IF YOU HAVEN'T READ ZOM-B ALL THE WAY TO THE END, THIS IS GOING TO BE A BIG, BIG SPOILER!!!!

     

    Still with me? Ok!! There was a group of sexless babies in my Zom-B books. At first they appeared monstrous, but we learnt more about them over the course of the series, and they ended up being incredibly sweet -- albeit in a weird, they're-cold-blooded-killers-but-we-love-them! kind of Darren Shan way!!! At the end of the books, they supplanted homo sapiens and took over the planet. In short, the ultimate takeaway message of Zom-B was...

     

    The future's TRANS, baby, TRANS!!!

     

    But ssshhhh!! Don't tell J K Rowling!!!! :-) :-) :-)

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