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From the Comfort of their Favorite Armchair
  June 22, 2001

Today's Featured Author - Prudence Walker

by: Cathy_t              

Prudence Walker has 10 stories, here at Crystal’s. Beginning with "Hacked Off", a short, short story, she has progressed to three multi-part epics and has become the creator of a whole new universe for other writers to play in.

"Hacked Off" was partially a warning to all hackers that "you’d better be careful just who’s site you try to hack into". It gave us a brief look inside the mind of our, at that time, resident muse. Little did we know that a Kiwi steamroller had been unleashed upon the poor, unsuspecting TG world!

"Hard or Software" was Prue’s next piece. It was a bit longer and foretold yet a bit more of the talent lurking behind that innocent little "Prue" of the chatrooms. From there, she branched out into her own universe, HUGGLEBUGS, writing several stories in it.

Her multi-part stories, "John‘s Gift", "Inheritor", and "Ultimate Infiltrator" have enabled Prue to stretch her abilities as a writer, and have really placed her in the forefront of what I call, "The New Breed" of TG Fiction writers. These new writers have taken a kinder, gentler approach to the genre and I think it is a welcome change of direction. Instead of trying for a shock value in a story, these new girls have embraced a sweet and sentimental approach to TG Fiction, making their readers feel just a little bit better after each story is read.

Prue’s first story was a bit short and, while it was rough, as spelling and usage go, it provided the impetus to Prue, who grew better and better with each succeeding tale. "John’s Gift" was a true epic and was very well written. "Inheritor", in which I played a very small part as historian/geography consultant, was a wonderful tale of suspense, deceit, justice, love, and retribution, all lovingly crafted and skillfully directed. "Ultimate Infiltrator", Prue’s newest tale is yet another example of her ability to weave a captivating tale and impart it to us in an entertaining and informative way.

Prue has gotten better and better with each succeeding story she has written and I see no signs that she will stop, or even slow down, anytime soon.

Her compassion and understanding have been instrumental in helping several T-girls find their way through the darkness and she has inspired others to "be themselves" despite what the world tried to tell them they had to be.

I’ve enjoyed every one of Prue’s stories and I don’t think she has written her best yet. She will, though. Be there when it happens, folks. If you like the sweet, sentimental approach to a story, by all means, read Prue‘s offerings if you haven’t already done so. She is, if it matters at all, a genetic girl who is fully supportive of all of us "not quite certain what we are" folks as well as those who have decided what they are and have taken steps to insure that the world sees them that way.

Prue is a great writer, a great person, and the bestest friend anyone could ever have. Am I biased?

You betcher sweet bippy I’m biased! That doesn’t mean that I’m not also correct! LOL

Cathy_t_ said that!

by: Lady in Disguise     

"Oh Spray Can, You See?"

"We are going to have to do more screening of our customers now, we can’t let this technology get into the wrong hands."

This quote from "The Ultimate Infiltrator," the latest Hugglebug story from Prudence Walker is the key to the best and worst things about stories set in her ‘Hugglebug Universe.’ The fact of the matter is that most of the stories revolve around the hugglebugs getting into the wrong hands. That makes for great story lines such as "The Ultimate Infiltrator," "The Inheritor," "Clotheshorse," and other of Prudence’s well-written stories set in this universe. On the other hand it leaves the nagging question, how do you keep a technology that people can literally mail-order from doing just that? In spite of this, most every reader will overlook and actually welcome this hole in the Hugglebug universe because the resulting stories are just too much darn good reading.

Prudence has a knack for taking a good story line and running with it, all the while her readers are gasping for breath, either in laughter or suspense, trying to keep up with her. "Clotheshorse" and "Clotheshorse, The Sequel" gives us first one then the other, as Bill walks in his wife’s shoes (and the rest of her clothes too) as she "hugglebugs" him in return for him bugging her about wearing sexy clothes. Funny, yet poignant, as Bill and Michelle discover more about each other. Then Prudence takes an abrupt turn and gives us a suspense story in the sequel, using her same characters but placing them in hazard due to an inadvertent use of the hugglebug technology. This story is much tighter and pays close attention to the ‘technology’ to get Bill and Michelle into AND out of trouble. The suspension of disbelief is easy here as Prudence keeps the reader following the goings on to their logical conclusion.

While changing sexes is the major premise of all these stories they don’t revolve solely about that axis. "The Inheritor" and "The Ultimate Infiltrator" both give us strong major male characters (at least they begin that way) who find themselves in women’s bodies for a reason central to the plot and the experiences they undergo are carefully melded into the plot-line. This fulfills the desire of those readers whose interest is more in gender change without sacrificing the plot when the protagonists play in the closet or with their new bodies. Despite the attractiveness of the "Hugglebug" as a plot device as a reader I personally think the best story here from Prudence is "John’s Gift." It offers a deeper and more inward look at changing sexes. It provides all the necessary frills and thrills while developing the main characters to a much greater degree than in any of the other stories. It’s greater length gives us time to identify with John/Jan as he experiences the ups and downs of the female identity without him moaning and groaning, "Y me?" With strong support from his sister, Cathy, John/Jan is able to deal with the change in a more secure fashion, allowing him time to adjust while sharing with the reader his intimate thoughts about the changes going on.

Perhaps this is really "Prudence’s Gift," the ability to share with us this life-changing experience in a way that entertains, titillates, and yet satisfies a more deeper longing in us as readers. In spite of all the advances in technology, writing like this doesn’t just come in a can!


Editor - Heather Sinclair


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