fine writing by lesbians and gay men since 1999
The Seaman's Mission
a collection of stories
Paul Mann worked as a purser in cargo ships, passenger ships, tankers and Landing Ships Logistic. His time with the P & O Group led to this collection of short stories with a flavour of the sea only. Humour and variety are the collection's hallmark.
The Entertainments Officer 'stars' a camp and outrageous Passengers' Entertainments Officer who doesn't like passengers one little bit.
In contrast is a meatier tale, The Man-eater, set in East Africa. A killer lion is at large but more deadly than the lion is Cordelia who is soured by intellectual isolation and has contempt for her homosexual son and those Europeans she has to live, or rather exist, with.
The tedium of a sea voyage in Breakfast Cabaret is relieved by the ship's surgeon who goads the conventional ship's captain until something gives.
In The Survivor a disciplinarian captain goes out on a limb for a junior engineer officer who is responsible for wrecking his ship in the back of beyond.
Bobby is a moving story of two school friends meeting by chance in Cochin.
In The Marine's Tale, Pete Carter, from Mann's first book The Queer Commando, is accepted because he is a nice guy. Dishy tough humourless Marine Pebbles is not accepted. Pebbles befriends Pete who fails to see beyond the dark good looks and is scared of the sometimes bullying Pebbles. A tale with an ending worthy of Heller.
"The short stories crackle with bitchy, salty wit. ... It's by turns funny, sexy, moving and unexpected."
"a riot of acerbic wit and authentic characterisation"
"I love [Breakfast Cabaret] ... lively ... really quite something. ...
[The Entertainments Officer] made me laugh a lot - you have the wonderful literary virtue of being able to express disgust amusingly."
More reviews bottom right
ISBN: 978 0 9553543 2 8
published by Paradise North, distributed by Paradise Press
202 pages paperback; £8.99
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The Last Cargo Ship
The Queer Businessman
The Queer Commando
The Open Season for Mongooses
"The Seaman's Mission is written by a self-proclaimed, anti-establishment, anti-royalist, queer vegetarian pacifist who loathes blind discipline, pomp and compulsory sport, but served by mistake in the Third Commando Brigade and also spent years at sea with the P & O Line.
"Mann's time at sea didn't go to waste. The short stories crackle with bitchy, salty wit. "The Entertainments Officer" features a camp passengers' entertainments officer who can't stand passengers, and in "Breakfast Cabaret", the tedium of a sea voyage is overcome by the outrageous goading of the Captain by the ship's doctor. It's by turns funny, sexy, moving and unexpected."
"If you're looking for something completely different to read, Big Boy, this may be it. But you've been warned, Sailor."