Praise for Mockymen:
"Like a blend of Robert Silverberg, Umberto Eco and Philip K. Dick, Watson offers both allegorical pilgrimages through inner space and convoluted unfoldings of chance and circumstance.
— Paul Di Filippo, The Washington Post, December 14, 2003
In the present, a young British couple who make specialty jigsaw puzzles are hired by an elderly Norwegian to take nude photos of themselves in a sculpture park in Oslo and to make jigsaws of these. It turns out, horrifically, that toward the end of the Second World War, a blood sacrifice was carried out in the park by Nazis trying to create an occult cordon around Norway to become the last redoubt of the Third Reich. The aging Norwegian hopes to access the power residing in the park to achieve reincarnation for himself. In time, the British woman gives birth to a son, who may be the Norwegian reborn. Her mental breakdown means that the boy is taken for adoption. . . .
Then the Hardship Years occur, when climate change, eco-collapse, and global economic crisis seemed set to shipwreck human civilization. But in 2010 salvation arrives in the shape of an alien expedition promising new technologies. In order to supply these gifts, transit stations must be built for instantaneous links between Earth and the aliens' worlds. In exchange, the aliens want enzymes and biochemicals from terrestrial plants and creatures.
Only living beings can transit, along with what they can carry, and the experience is agonizing, intolerable to the aliens. Human volunteers who tolerate or welcome pain become highly paid couriers for the minds of visiting aliens, who thus avoid the agony of transit, and who, arriving on Earth, are transferred into the bodies of "dummies." The drug Bliss, which the aliens introduced to Earth, gives its human users a year of rapture, but a tiny percentage of users become mindless dummies which the "Mockymen" can use as puppet bodies.
A young Blisshead named Jamie, who had become a dummy, is the only dummy to reawaken, resulting in his being monitored and followed by the Earth authorities. These same authorities are also questioning the motives of the Mockymen, and are concerned at the dearth of information that is available about the home planets of the Mockymen, and the fate of the races that had inhabited these planets. A Mockymen artifact accidentally results in the young Blisshead Jamie regaining his memories of his prior life, that of the Norwegian. Jamie and some of his friends begin to undercover the secrets of the Mockymen, who, upon discovering the news of the reincarnation, are more willing to cooperate and reveal some of their secrets.
Cover art by Steve Montiglio.
Praise for the author's first Golden Gryphon Press book:
". . . The Great Escape is a treasury of sly concepts, a Pandora’s Box of often apocalyptic mischief. Watson can be eminently serious . . . but even then, there is a joy in experimentation, an exuberant refusal to be dry or orthodox, that is the mark of an intellectual trickster, restlessly eager to play the cunning fool with our minds.
— Nick Gevers, Locus Online, May 10, 2002
Cloth, ISBN: 1-930846-21-5
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Read the Locus Magazine review
Read the Alien Online review
Read the Booklist review
Read the (Science Fiction) Chronicle review
Read Cheryl Morgan's review on Emerald City online
Read the SF Crowsnest review
Read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch review
Read Pamela Sargent's review on SciFi Weekly
Read the SciFi Dimensions review
Read the SF Site review
Read Paul Di Filippo's review in The Washington Post
Read Tom Easton's review in Analog
Read the Ticonderoga Online review
Read an Ian Watson interview on infinity plus
Read the review in Ireland's Albedo One magazine
Read an excerpt from Mockymen
View the full wraparound dust jacket art by Steve Montiglio