She Was the First Woman He Had Ever Been!
An SF transgender classic! Chosen as one of the Thirty Most Important Science Fiction Novels of the 1960s by Science Fiction Review, Season of the Witch tells the story of Andre, a man who rapes and murders a woman in a post-apocalyptic future. Since a dangerously low population has resulted in an end to capital punishment, Andre cannot be executed. He is given a much more diabolical - but arguably just - punishment instead: his brain is transplanted into his victim's body, while his own body is given to an aging, brilliant scientist. Andre's search for his original male body takes him through a series of physically and spiritually disorienting sexual encounters to an unexpected denouement during an Agape ceremony in the temple of a strange, hedonistic cult.
It's no wonder Foundation called the book "A powerful tale of biological transformation and sexual identity." Or that 20th Century Science Fiction Writers hailed it as "A special combination of science fiction and pornographic detail and rhetoric. The quality of the novel artistically justifies this radical strategy."
In 1995 the book was filmed as Synapse (U.K. as Memory Run), introducing its unique mix of transgender and science fiction to a whole new audience. This paperback edition contains a new Afterword and a Filmograpy listing cast, crew, production credits.
Here is what other critics say about this classic work:
"Razorblade fiction!" -The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction
"Where science fiction is often male chauvinist this might raise male consciousness." -Worlds Beyond: A Critical History of Science Fiction
"A good SF book and a rather better novel qua novel. Stine never offers an explicit sexual scene in standard cliché pornographical terms - each description brings a personal and original observation into play. Many of these observations are not erotic - they may even strike some readers as anti-erotic - but they ring with truth. A genuine work of erotic realism, written far above the standards of pornography. The body of the novel lies in the male protagonist's response to biological and physical constraints and the transformation of his personality forced upon him by his female body. Effective...rich...rewarding...engrossing and unusual... littered with genuine insights." -Ted White, editor, Heavy Metal
"What happens to a man's mind in a woman's body? Stine makes you inhabit that mind and slowly, imperceptibly, absorbs you into the existence of a woman until you as a man no longer exist. You become a woman, different from the one you raped and killed, and a better woman, at the end. Stine is a remarkable writer both for style, which is turgid with evocative detail and intense psychological insight, and for use of the second-person technique, which in fiction is used very infrequently, but which is required for the Punishment and Retribution parts in this book. There is eroticism in the book. The sex act is the most important sphere of life for this book, for Stine, for you, in the working out of the changes of psyche involved. ...and it is there that Stine takes you to show the subtle altering of man to woman in the body of Josette Kovacs, deceased." -Science Fiction Review
"Passion, pain, real pluck ... a good eye for physical detail and a strong feeling for the human predicament." -Fritz Leiber, Fantastic
Jean Marie Stine is the author of a number of pioneering works of erotica published in the late 1960 and early 1970s, beginning with Season of the Witch in 1968, which was filmed as the motion picture Synapse.
Her erotic novels and story collections, Season of the Witch, Thrill City, and Trans-Sexual are all available through Sizzler Editions.
Her work has appeared in Amazing Stories, Eros, Transformation, Galaxy, Transgender and Cavalier, along with quality electronic journals such as Suspect Thoughts, LesbiNation, NestfullOVipers, Blood Moon, and Mind Caviar.
She has been editor of Galaxy SF and Starblaze Books, and is currently editor of Futures-Past Editions, Sizzler Editions and several other imprints. During the late 1960s she served as personal assistant to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, working on special projects; and in the 1970s she wrote the now-classic The Prisoner: A Day in the Life, based on the cult television series starring Patrick McGoohan.
Jean Marie Stine has served on the Board of Directors of the Robert and Jessica Ryan Dyslexia Clinic, the International Foundation for Gender Education and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Political Alliance of Western Massachusetts.
While, again, often categorized as part of the New Wave, Jean Marie Stine’s (b. 1945) Season of the Witch transcends all labels, which is exactly the point of this staggering novel.
While many works before, such as Venus Plus X and The Female Man examined gender and sexuality in forms of quasi-abstracts, Jean Marie Stine’s novel took a much more direct approach.
Psychedelic and stylish, but always remaining accessible as well as remarkably heartfelt, Season of the Witch deals with Andre, who is found guilty of rape and murder. In this dystopian future Earth, he receives an appropriate punishment: his consciousness is transferred into the body of a woman.
It is remarkable that this novel, first published in 1968, was one of the very first to take such a deceptively simple concept—to truly travel where no man has gone before. Luckily, Jean Marie Stine was the person to do it and Season of the Witch is a perfect meld of science fiction literature and gender/sexuality investigation—with a particularly beautiful sensitivity.
—M.Christian for 5 Science Fiction Novels that Pushed the Limits of Sexuality