Chronicle Review

Mockymen by Ian Watson, Golden Gryphon, 10/03, $26.95, ISBN 1930846215

Ian Watson's novels have always been difficult to characterize, and this new one is no exception. It blends reincarnation, ceremonial magic, and an invasion of Earth. The opening section follows the adventures of two photographers who are hired to take some mildly erotic photographs at a particular location, after which they are haunted by nightmares and discover that human reincarnation is possible. We then jump more than ten years into the future, when the mockymen arrive on Earth. They are disembodied aliens who are vague about their nature and motives, and who move around by occupying the bodies of physical creatures. They bring with them Bliss, a more acceptable alternative to human addictive drugs, and conveniently Bliss very occasionally leaves a user brain dead, a perfect host vehicle for another mockyman. Readers are going to realize what's going on sooner than the authorities, but that hardly matters. A renegade mockyman, a reincarnated human, and things quickly start to go awry. Very few writers could mix aliens and the occult and produce a satisfying story, and Ian Watson is definitely among that small number.

— Don D'Ammassa, Chronicle, December 2003


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