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From the Comfort of their Favorite Armchair
  April 27, 2001

Today's Featured Author - Mardee Louise Prynne

by: kimmie oh

If you ever wondered what a fully realized TG person might be like, Mardee Louise Prynne has provided at least one answer. All of her stories portray at least one character that embodies the dazzling possibilities of true androgyny. She has written six thoughtful, deservedly X-rated tales that are unique in plot, character, and theme and, aside from occasional stylistic awkwardness, generally well written. But her most important contribution to TG-fiction and the main reason she should be read is her provocative view of the transgender ideal.

The best place to start in exploring Ms. Prynne’s world is the story "Self Empowerment," which, she writes, is "dedicated to all of us who were teased and tormented for our femme ways in school." The story follows Neely, an effeminate boy, as he discovers the power of his feminine self. Interestingly, this power does not take the expected form of sexual allure. Yes, our new boy-girl is suitably pretty and sexy. Later on, s/he will meet another pretty boy-girl for some hot 69, etc. But what surprises is that first he physically beats up the bully who has been brutalizing him and then taunts his fallen tormentor by showing him his panties. Ms. Prynne writes that Neely’s "newly realized femininity allowed her to express her rage."

Seldom in TG-fiction do you see a kick-ass sissy. You see it over and over in Ms. Prynne’s stories. Many of her TG-characters are adept in judo and often use it at least once on their male lovers. In "Evolution," a story at once tender, thoughtful, and raunchy, there is enough fighting to fill a WWF main event, or, at least, a Jackie Chan movie. In "Odd Encounter/Odd Affair," where the sissy character Chrissie kicks her boyfriend in the groin before having sex with him, the physical violence is confined to a single brief but symbolically powerful episode. What Ms. Prynne seems to be saying is that physical violence, or at least the potential for physical violence, can be empowering and protective for sissies. Indeed, we are told that Chrissie was raised by her mother to become the ideal human being, part male and part female.  

Actually, it isn’t exactly accurate to call Ms. Prynne’s unique hero(ine’s) sissies. At least you can’t call them that in the expected sense of the term. In "Odd Encounter/Odd Affair" Chrissie, after exhibiting femininity more alluring than that of any girl, anally penetrates her masculine boyfriend. The same variation occurs in "Audition" where the lithe, stylish, Audrey Hepburn-look-a-like, Randi eventually deflowers and transforms her love struck boyfriend. This kind of polymorphous eroticism permeates all these tales to one extent or another. Ms. Prynne seems determined to blur the lines of gender wherever they might be drawn.

Another unique aspect of Ms. Prynne’s stories is the use of masculine narrators who recount in romantic—and sexually explicit—detail their attraction to the beautiful tg-boys who are the objects of their desire. In "Island Summer" the narrator tells of his affair with Bobbie, who could have been either boy or girl. Randi in "Audition" and Chrissie in "Odd Encounter/Odd Affair" possess this same quality.

None of the TG-boys in Ms. Prynne’s stories try very hard to conceal the fact that they have penises. By happy coincidence, none of their masculine boyfriends are at all disturbed or particularly surprised to discover that they are not genuine girls. In fact, it is just the opposite. As the narrator in "Audition" says of Randi, more or less paraphrasing the cult erotic writer Marco Vassi: "Her cock made her all the more beautiful and all the more desirable."

In the stories "Loners" and "Evolution," Ms. Prynne goes against the trend of most TG stories by having the action revolve around strong, complex female characters. These characters are not just devices for the TG-action of the story. In fact, it might be argued that the TG-boys in these stories are actually just supporting characters. Certainly they are no more important than the women in these stories and that in itself makes both "Loners" and "Evolution" interesting departures from the usual.

Reading these stories, one realizes just how one-dimensional the depictions of women are in most TG-fiction. In a way, "Loners" and "Evolution" might almost be considered feminist TG-stories. They depict a world in which women equalize the relationship between the sexes by remaining both feminine and strong and showing boys how they can do the same. In Ms. Prynne’s stories there are no bimbos. Feminization does not mean loss of power, self-respect, or self-determination. On the contrary, feminization is the ultimate form of self-empowerment.

It is the idea of feminization as self-empowerment that distinguishes the stories of Mardee Louise Prynne. In many ways, she has contributed a rough sketch of just what shape the 21st century fox might take. It is an ideal—both of the individual and the eventual one-gender society he/she might create—that is well worth considering, debating, and developing.

Mardee Louise Prynne posted the six stories here on Crystal’s site in an eight month period from January to August 2000. Amazingly, these six stories generated only one reader review. Ms. Prynne’s work definitely deserves more attention. Paradoxically, it may be the very uniqueness of her efforts that has kept her stories from attracting a wide popularity. But if you are looking for strong TG-characters, unique situations, and a somewhat controversial TG-outlook on life, you might just want to give Ms. Prynne a try.

  by: Sydney

Mardee has now submitted ten stories and novellas. The author has reused themes and settings to an advantage, sharpening writing techniques, emotional range, and plot integration. The writing completed through Kimmie's review was technically correct, but a bit stiff, almost challenging the reader to push through the story. Even over those six efforts, there was noticeable improvement in technique that reduces the reader's struggle.

Mardee has always shown a flair for description, an observant eye, an appreciation for sensuality. The stories convey an appreciation for setting, for the arts, for food, and for violence and domination as a precursor to sex. The stories have generally covered around the world, every tab in every slot, providing a scenario for every flavor. That ability to describe, so overwhelmingly predominant in the first six works, was what kept pulling readers along.

Beginning writers please note: Read Mardee closely for handling descriptive detail.

Mardee usually writes in the first person male voice, maintaining a consistent viewpoint very well. Only in "Gigi," the first novella effort, did the action shift outside what that voice would know. There is the occasional typo and plot logic problem, but only to an extent that bothers purists and critics. When the writing is as good as Mardee's has become, I am quite content to bobble past them, much as over the names in a Russian novel.

The four works submitted since Kimmie's review have shown remarkable progress. Not only have they been more ambitious, with greater plotting, more characters, and pulling the loose ends together, but most of the technical flaws have fallen away. No longer is dialogue blended in one paragraph. No longer is the writing one declarative sentence after another. Sentence fragments seem natural, as pieces of thought streams rather than force fed. Rarely are there author comments on the ongoing milieu to disturb the reader.

The last two works, "The Firebird" and "Odd Beginning - Happy Ending" are essentially reworks of earlier pieces. But what reworks! The prose flows, the handling of emotions is a world apart. The integration of plot is first rate. These works are Mardee's masterpieces, an introduction of a truly fine writer, up from journeyman. Compare these works to "Creating Gigi" and "Odd Encounter/Odd Affair" to see just how much Mardee has grown as an author. The upscale settings, the use of combat, the ready acceptance and passing as beautiful girls are all still there, but handled as settings for and evolving pieces of plot and character rather than as be all and end all.

Every author is not for every reader. If violence upsets you, Mardee is not for you. If you like your violence in the "let's pretend" realm, you know, dungeons, and bondage, and accouterments but not really for real, then Mardee is not for you. If you prefer your "girls" with enormous physical attribute, ditto. If you must have your main characters very young or fully mature, if you dream of secretaries and hair salons, school stories or nurseries, Mardee does not have those elements. If you are high on emotional exploration, stick with the latter works. But if you dug the "West Side Story" fight scenes, understood Anita's hopes for Bernardo in "Tonight," you will likely find Mardee your cup of tea. (Or is that aperitif?) If you detect that the Fifties, with wasp waist wide belts, shirtwaist dresses, pixyish dancers and ingénues, and "A Touch of Class," was a cauldron of bubbling sensuality (after all the Baby Boom didn't just "Happen!") rather than totally repressed and depressed, then Mardee has your number. If you find a glimpse of lace more intriguing than full frontal, then Mardee's sense of the sensual is right up your alley. If you dream of a twenty-something flitting gracefully, graciously between appearances, having multiple lovers guiding the way, then Mardee will enthrall.

If you sampled the early wares but haven't been since, dip in for a taste of honey now that the recipe has been refined. If you haven't tried before, start with "Odd Beginning." You could be nicely surprised by a bite of spice.

Editor - Heather Sinclair


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