It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

… it just has to sound plausible

Books from my collection: Phillip Mann


Phillip Mann was born in the UK but has been resident in New Zealand since 1969. Between 1982 and 1996, he wrote nine well-regarded science fiction novels. He’s had nothing published since, although Wikipedia claims he is working on a new novel. I hope so.

His first, fourth and fifth novels. The Clute and Nicholls Encyclopedia of Science Fiction calls The Eye of the Queen, Mann’s debut novel, “an accomplished novel of First Contact”. I remember picking up a paperback copy of it in Birmingham in the mid-1980s. First edition hardback copies of it are hard to find, and correspondingly expensive. Fortunately, I recently found one being sold on eBay for a reasonable price. Pioneers, “his best novel to date” according to the Encyclopedia, is about a team of two genetically-engineered humans exploring the galaxy who return to a much-changed Earth. Wulfsyarn tells the story of the captain of the Nightgale, a starship in the Mercy fleet which vanished on its maiden voyage, and returned a year later with only its captain aboard.

Mann’s second and third novels were the diptych, The Story of the Gardener: Master of Paxwax and The Fall of the Families. It’s a space opera, of sorts. There are no giant spaceships, or huge space battles, but it’s set in a galaxy populated by a multitude of alien races, all of which are dominated by humanity. And just waiting to rebel…

His last four books were the alternate history quartet, A Land Fit for Heroes: Escape to the Wild Wood, Stand Alone Stan, The Dragon Wakes and The Burning Forest. In these, the Roman Empire remained in Britain, there were no Saxon invaders, and the British Isles now consists of Roman garrison towns scattered across a countryside of primordial forests containing communities of Celts. I reviewed the first two books for Vector, the critical journal of the British Science Fiction Association, and thought they were excellent.

Damn. Now I want to reread all his books…

4 thoughts on “Books from my collection: Phillip Mann

  1. I’ve read Pioneers and very much enjoyed it and would thoroughly recommend it.

    I also have Stand Alone Stan at home, but have never gotten around to reading it as it was the middle of a series. I never got round to picking up any of the others.

  2. Pingback: Mann online « It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

  3. Pingback: Books to look forward to « It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

  4. Pingback: Thoughts on the 2014 Clarke Award shortlist | It Doesn't Have To Be Right...

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