Marko, like me (but in no wise in an imitation of me), does a Monday-morning weird-search roundup, and he had this seriously choice (bordering on prime) item this week:

conservation of mass and werewolves
Werewolf fiction that respects the law of conservation of mass works around the rule that the mass in a closed system remains constant. For werewolves, that would mean that a 120-pound person would be a 120-pound wolf — no transforming into some hulking 600-pound monster. Werecritter stories that respect the law of conservation instead of just waving the “It’s Magic!” wand tend to center around critters that are roughly similar in mass to adult humans: wolves, jaguars, leopards, cougars/mountain lions, and so on. No werebears or weretigers, since a 600-pound weretiger or 1,200-pound weregrizzly would be incredibly obese in human form.

Closest I’ve ever come to this premise was back in the fall of ’06, as follows:

A few eons ago, Sheri S. Tepper wrote of Mavin Manyshaped, one of a clan of shapeshifters, who, once her powers develop, flees from the family compound, lest she be abused like the other women in the clan. Mavin takes her younger brother with her; to speed the process along, she assumes the shape of a horse.

So far, this is a fairly routine fantasy concept, but Tepper is never routine. If you think about it — obviously she did — the Mavin/horse is going to have to eat, and eat a lot, during a long journey like this, and once she returns to human form, well, what’s going to happen to all that bulk she was carrying as an equine?

Yep. Don’t go there if you can help it.


  1. Brett »

    4 August 2009 · 1:43 pm

    Mr. Marko’s premise is without foundation. It is impossible to center around anything.

  2. Lisa Paul »

    4 August 2009 · 2:45 pm

    Damn, you’ve just taken all the fun out of the Sookie Stackhouse novels (what the HBO series True Blood is based on.) They are positively crawling with weretigers, werepanthers, and various and sundry shape-shifters going big, small and all sizes in between.

  3. sya »

    4 August 2009 · 8:51 pm

    Or there could just be some transdimensional shuffling of matter.

  4. CGHill »

    4 August 2009 · 9:24 pm

    Wouldn’t that upset whatever equilibrium exists in said other dimension(s)?

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