Lydia Wevers re-reads Phillip Mann’s early novels
I have managed to find my 1982 copy of Phillip Mann’s The Eye of the Queen, hardback and in its distinctive bright yellow Gollancz cover. Mann’s early novels are now available in a pretty new imprint called Sargasso Press (Whitireia students have produced them from “manuscript to bookshelf” which seems odd), but I enjoyed going back to the real thing, specked with mysterious brown stains and foxy edges. Since I’d just reread the two Paxwax novels, and Pioneers and Wulfsyarn, I was curious to see how The Eye of the Queen would stack up as the progenitor of Mann’s remarkable output, and what common threads would appear, perhaps things I hadn’t noticed first time round, and whether, at a page-turning level, I still liked them. Reader, I did. But I also found my appetite for science fiction had diminished a bit, or perhaps my appetite for dystopias and human frailty. Science fiction can get a bit depressing.