Saturday, January 15, 2011

Question for Writers: Illusionist or Shapeshifter?

Say you've got a character who has some stealth work to do. Maybe they've gotta break in to Big Brother, or you need them to overhear that they're adopted. Would you rather have concealment via illusion, or via shapeshifting? Illusions can sometimes be seen through, while shapeshifting will have the limitations of the chosen form. Both would have energy limitations and depend on the stupidity or obliviousness of those being spied on or snuck past.

So, would you rather go all Animorphs with a fly on the wall, or all Dr. Who with the psychic ID card? How would your character pull it off, and would you let them get away with it?

Feel free to answer/ramble in the comments. If the question inspires a Flash Friday or something similar, feel free to link to your story in the comments and please link back to here on the applicable webpage.

Ready. Set. GO.


  1. From a personal perspective, I'd rather have the shapeshifting ability than the psychic ID card. People can recognize your face after the fact and they're more likely to mistrust an ID card than suspect a fly isn't a fly.

  2. Hmmmmmmn. Dr. Who does have that problem often, doesn't he? I can't help thinking that a fly might get itself squashed and that most animals would either be suspicious or squishable. Unless, perhaps, they are some sort of crazy scifi animals that are invisible, or if -- oh! what if you could shapeshift into inanimate objects? People might be like "I don't remember that lamp being here" but they're not going to start smacking it around. Worse case, you get put in another room. Worse worse case, you get broken in a random fit of anger.

  3. Point of interest: several people commented on this blog in facebook, and the general consensus is that shapeshifting rocks. Interesting! That alone migt be an argument for choosing shapeshifting, if that's what people want to read right now.