The TranzCon Series

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JON OR JANA?

Something I established early on in the story was that there is no technical reason why the life-force of a male should not occupy the body of a female, or vice-versa. Jon responded to the suggestion by making it abundantly clear there was no way he was going to accept a female host and he was quite indignant about the matter. But circumstances gang up on him and eventually he has to go along with the idea of transferring into Jana’s body “just until the weekend”.


In fact I agonised over this aspect of the story and there were many times I was on the verge of chickening out and settling instead for the host on Phoenix being another male. The books would still have worked, to some extent, but it would have lost too much both in terms of the story and the way that the TranzCon books function as a study into sexuality.


The underlying theme of the series was to take a wealthy and self-confident man, someone just a little too successful and sure of himself, and upset his applecart to the very maximum. So instead of him being mega-rich, I made him as poor as a church mouse, instead of him being powerful and respected I made him insignificant, instead of being big, strong and male, I made him small and female. And of course he’s on a far-off world with no access to any of the people back at home who would have been able to help him.


And that was the whole idea for the story: set up an unlikely chain of events, chuck in a hero, and see if he sank or swam.


In his first days on Phoenix Jon lives a cossetted life because, despite his physical appearance, his true identity is understood by everyone he comes into contact with. He lives in a five star hotel and enjoys the benefits of a generous expense account. That all changes when he awakes from the transfer to find himself still on Phoenix - still in Jana’s body. And now his life changes completely. Now it’s an uphill struggle to try and convince people he is still a senior member of the government and not a delusional young woman who once hosted his life-force.


A little further on Jon discovers that to the outside voyeur, who doesn’t appreciate the fact that a male mind resides in the body he occupies, he’s become the object of desire. And since he’s unaware of the means by which women manage this situation (including managing it to their advantage) he’s really scared. And of course he’s not at all pleased to have to find out first-hand about the processes that go on in the bits that men don’t have.


If that wasn’t enough for the poor guy to deal with I gave him a substantial dose of mental problems to contend with. It’s never an easy ride because he’s constantly bombarded by confusing messages that come from his host body in physical form, and the more sinister problem of thoughts and attitudes which infiltrate through from the remnants of Jana’s mind.


As one book evolved into a trilogy, and the trilogy into a series of four books, so the theme of the story developed into one of creating Jon/Jana as a being who was very much gender-mobile, and by the end of the fourth book he/she has very much disposed of any fixed gender identity in favour of just getting on with whatever life sends his way. The exchange I had in mind when I wrote the final chapter of the last book was Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind when Clark Gable utters the famous line “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”. And that’s how it’s become for Jon, he no longer gives a damn.