shapechange n.

an act or instance of shapechanging

  • 1959 ‘C. D. Hammer’ Monsters Came at Night in Super-Science Fiction Oct. 41/2 page image Robert Silverberg bibliography

    There were two of them this night. One at each side of his bed, their bodies changing form with protean rapidity, undulating through metamorphosis after revolting metamorphosis. [...] Through shape-change after shape-change the eerie visitors went.

  • 1965 F. Leiber Monsters & Monster-Lovers in Fantastic Mar. 121/1 page image Fritz Leiber bibliography

    They are shape-changers too: man turned to wolf or bat, dead come alive, carrion shocked into pulsifing [sic] flesh, Helen Vaughan become slime, Charles Dexter Ward dust. At the alien extreme there are the amorphous shoggoths, their protoplasm molded by hypnotic suggestion, and the man-counterfeiting being from a bluer sun in John W. Campbell’s ‘Who Goes There?’ Closest to home perhaps we have Jekyll-Hyde, a byword for the basic shape-change. Practically all monsters are fundamentally schizoid, symbolizing on the subjective frontier evil, aggression, original sin, the unconscious, the id, the death wish, animus or anima, the shadow.

  • 1979 R. Zelazny Roadmarks 140 page image Roger Zelazny bibliography

    The engine started as Red leaped into the vehicle. The doors slammed. A window began closing. Another shape-change commenced.

  • 1985 T. Brooks Wishsong of Shannara xxi. 226 page image Terry Brooks

    A shape-change. He used it to fit himself into a small ventillation shaft that circulates air to those lower levels. It happened sometime during the night. No one knows where he might be now.

  • 1990 A. McCaffrey & E. Moon Sassinak (1990) 208 Anne McCaffrey Elizabeth Moon bibliography

    She nodded to Gelory, who instantly attacked, a move so fast she was sure it must have been half shapechange. Something that felt almost boneless at first stiffened into a leg over which she was flipped—but she coiled in midair, managed to hang onto a wrist, and flipped Gelory in her turn. But this was the only change that Gelory pulled on her for the rest of the session.

  • 2003 T. Pierce Trickster’s Choice ix. 229 Tamora Pierce bibliography

    The gods nodded to Eleni, who curtsied deeply to them. The other humans in the clearing bowed or curtsied as well. Daine and Numair could do nothing but nod. Their child’s latest shape change had sent quills shooting through the fabric of its blanket.

  • 2004 L. K. Hamilton Seduced By Moonlight vi. 72

    They were scars, but not the kind of scars that a human would understand, or even most fey. Another duel gone bad, where a fellow Unseelie had tried to force a shape change on me in the middle of the fight. It wouldn’t have killed me. He had been playing with me. Showing off his superior magic, and my lack. I'd driven a blade into his heart, and he'd died.


Research requirements

antedating 1959

Earliest cite

Robert Silverberg

Research History
Imran Ghory submitted a cite from a 1993 reprint of Terry Brooks' "The Wishsong of Shannara", which Jeff Wolfe confirmed in an earlier reprint from 1988, and Ben Ostrowsky subsequently confirmed in the first edition of 1985.
Douglas Winston submitted a 1990 cite from Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Moon's "Sassinak".
Douglas Winston submitted a 2003 cite from Jim Butcher's "Death Masks"
Douglas Winston submitted a 2004 cite from Laurell K. Hamilton's "Seduced by Moonlight"
Douglas Winston submitted a 2003 cite from Tamora Pierce's "Trickster's Choice".
Douglas Winston submitted a cite for "shape-change" from a 1990 reprint of Roger Zelazny's "Roadmarks", which Malcolm Farmer verified in a 1980 reprint. Jesse Sheidlower verified this in the 1979 first printing.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1965 cite from a guest editorial in Fantastic magazine "Monster Lovers" by Fritz Leiber.
Ben Ostrowsky submitted a 1959 cite from Robert Silverberg (writing as "Charles D. Hammer").

Last modified 2023-11-11 13:29:16
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.