Or read a rant by the author.
I always liked gender bender. The question proposed by the genre is one we, XXI century humans are yet unable to answer. How does it feel to suddenly be in the body of the other gender? As I heard someone say in a video, "It pains me to know I'll live and die without understanding half of my fellow humans." Or something to that effect My memory is fauty, otherwise I'd remember who said that.
I hope someday technology can bridge that gap. Without all the grim cyberpunk complications and the ethical issues that comes from plugging one person's mind in another's body. That day is far away, maybe a lifetime away. Maybe I'll live and die without the answer to this question in real life too.
But we are able to use our minds and delve into a mental exercise to solve this problem. We don't know how we'll travel the stars, but it didn't stop Mr. Roddenberry or Mr. Lucas. We don't know time travel, but it didn't stop Irwin Allen. We don't know magic or elves or dragon tamers, but it didn't stop JRRT or GRRM. (Funny how both have RR in their middle names. I just noticed it now)
I won't get my answer in real life, but it won't stop me. I am nowhere as good as these giants I just mentioned. Far from it. But it won't stop me.
The gender bender works I've read have too many blanks. Some of them the character just conforms and becomes the norm of the other gender, living on. Others reject the change and don't explore their new reality, driven on a quest to recover their former gender. Most of them are just an excuse for alleged reproachless sexual harassment (after all, it is not a real girl, it is a guy turned into a girl).
I know mine will have too many blanks too. It is only human to lack foresight and not cover all facets of a subject. But I want to explore the psychological effects, the sexuality, the ethics, the conflict of being thrown into a new reality will have on my fictional guinea pig (therefore known as the Protagonist).
I will also try to do a respectful depiction of the female condition. Maybe sometimes the female will be objectified, but it will be as a criticism of the objectification or to highlight a difference between genders. Sometimes there will be prejudice, but it will be also to criticize that prejudice or to spark discussion about it.
I'll draw a line on kidnapping princesses though. Any female of the royal bloodline can and will be subject to kidnapping. Repeatedly if I feel like.
We are in the XXI century. There are several ongoing discussions regarding our values in these subjects that are very important to our future as a global society. I won't address or disrespect these discussions in this work. Some choices in worldbuilding and character development were also made to avoid offending our XXI century readers or to fit our purpose of exploring the theme. As the author is an amateur noob with less than a year of experience, it will reflect on the work. Mistakes will be made. Please point them out.
A web novel, this work is a living organism. Commenters are encouraged to engage and discuss and challenge my assumptions. Point my flaws, especially where ethics are concerned. Inclusive in this preface. I might make changes in already published chapters. I'll leave a note on what I've changed if it goes beyond a textual correction.
And without further ado, let's begin. Or not. Because of the format of the publishing platform, I've placed the appendices with worldbuilding and spell notes right after this preface (It was too bothersome to reorganize chapters after each publish command). There are links to the first chapter above and below this text.
Thanks for reading.