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As someone who thinks about erotica for a large portion of his waking day, my biggest complaint on the subject is that in a lot of short stories the characters rarely earn the fuck the author describes in blow-by-blow detail. I’m all for anal fisting in the dirtiest bathroom in Scotland, I just want to feel some connection with the characters if the writer wants me to go along with the ride. That’s why I enjoy historical fiction, it tends to anchor the wish-fulfillment fantasies (“Dear Penthouse Forum: I never thought this would happen to me”) that plague a large portion of modern erotica. Plus,this allows me to write about powerful women warriors, a topic I hold near and dear. History is full of examples.

When Genghis Khan died in 1227 A.D., he left his hard-won empire in the hands of his trusted daughters. They were his generals and female khans, what are referred to as Khatuns in Mongolian, for he had found that his wastrel sons, like Kublai and Ogedei, were incompetent drunks, unfit as leaders on every level. What followed next was a bloody civil war as various male heirs attempted to usurp power from their mothers, aunts and sisters, to such an extent that by 1399 the entire empire stood on the brink of collapse. During these savage power struggles heroes arose, women trained in the art of war, who led colorful, if short and violent, lives.

The characters of Fatima and Lady Turakina (also spelled Toregene) are based on real women, though of course I’ve taken liberties with what I am having them do. Similarly, the legends of Lady Linshui began being told sometime in the 8th or 9th century, in the northern plateaus of what is now Inner Mongolia. She survives to this day mainly as a stock character in Chinese and Taiwanese shadow puppet plays that recount her various deeds. Depending on how the tale was told she could either be seen as a wise warrior-goddess by her followers, or a lustful ethereal-demon by her enemies. In either case, I use her because she would be the sort of archetype 13th century Mongols would be familiar with; a legend told and retold by traveling entertainers way back when the Great Khan, himself, was a child. Call it Saturday morning cartoons for the wild horsemen of the North. Cheers!

Suggested Reading:

Chen, FP. Chinese Shadow Theater: history, popular religion and women warriors. McGill-Queen’s University Press. (2007)

Weatherford, J. The Secret History of the Mongol Queens: how the daughters of Genghis Khan rescued his empire. Crown Publishers. (2010)

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