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  1. #1
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Michael Moorcock

    Quick Moorcock question - I know he's done a lot of books and had a couple famous series. I'm sure he has a website and will go visit when I get the chance, but I'm sure someone around here could give me a general rundown: what of his would you suggest I read? If it's a series, what's the first book in the series? Thank you for playing library for me.

  2. #2
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
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    KatG, I am incapable of giving you the "correct" answer here. Hobbit, I think, may be the only one around here qualified for thhis one. This is a complicated question. This thread cropped up a few days ago. It's got some of Hobbit's answers in it.

    Elric Saga

    I have started reading the Elric books recenlty, which may or may not be the right thing to do, so I'll see where that takes me. Whether or not I'm doing it in the right order, I am enjoying Elric. Good stuff, and not a billion pages like most people today seem to think things have to be.

  3. #3
    Master Obfuscator Dawnstorm's Avatar
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    Depends on what you like to read:

    The Elric Saga:

    If you've posted this in the fantasy forum for a reason, than this is definitely the book I'd suggest. Not-quite-but-still-straightforward-enough story-telling, some interesting twists on genre cliché's. One of my favourites; and probably his most famous contribution within Fantasy and Science Fiction genre.

    I suggest you get an omnibus edition of the original 6 books, and read them all. There are 3 more books I'm aware of (The Fortress of the Pearl, The Revenge of the Rose, The Dreamthief's Daughter), but those are later additions, and you can safely skip them.

    Non of them should be skipped, but not all are vital (for Elric's story; if you're going to explore the Multiverse concept - don't skip any) to read:

    Elric of Melniboné (starting point; vital)
    The Sailor on the Seas of Fate
    The Weird of the White Wolf (vital)
    The Vanishing Tower
    The Bane of the Black Sword (semi-vital)
    Stormbringer (conclusion; vital)

    The Jerry Cornelius Chronicals:

    When published as genre, it's science fiction; when published in a mainstream line-up, it's satire. Read "The Final Program", as that's still a coherent story; skip the rest until you've read more Moorcock. A lot of it is cross references, either to contemporary world events (70ies), or to other Moorcock novels.

    Behold the Man:

    Karl Glogauer goes back in time to prove that Jesus is just a Jungian Archetype and didn't exist. May offend devout Christians, and is, perhaps for that reason, his best known book in academia. Won a price, forget which one. Pretty thin book; I've got an edition with a few short stories thrown in.

    Mother London:

    Brilliant non-genre book about London during the Blitz.

    ===

    I've been trying to name those I think are important based on their "importance" (whatever that may mean). There are other good series:

    The Warlord of the Air (trilogy?) (alternate history)
    Dancers at the End of time trilogy (sf-comedy)
    Breakfast in the Ruins (another Karl Glogauer novel; totally independent from Behold the Man, though)...

  4. #4
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link, Erf.

    Kat - though a short question, it's not an easy one to answer. Moorcock's writing has changed through his 50 years of writing, there has been constant revisions, rewrites and links made.

    Depending on where you live, the Millennium (UK) paperbacks or the White Wolf (USA) PB's are probably the best to go for.

    Here's some earlier links from the forums:

    Eternal Champion link
    Mike Moorcock newb thread
    The Elric Series thread

    There are others but that should get you started!

    Hobbit
    Mark

  5. #5
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Elric is fantastic, but some people take time to really get into them.

    IMHO, I'd say give Hawkmoon or Corum a crack, both great sagas, a bit more accessable than Elric in some ways.

  6. #6
    Uh, Moderator
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    Can anyone comment on these UK releases:

    Elric: hero of song, story, rock show, disc graphic novel, PC and role-playing games, not fighting sorcery, but using it to spectacular effect. Yet, tormented always by his human failings, his longing for peace, his is a world of dragons, spectral armies, nature in upheaval on every side.

    Is this some form of omnibus? I'm thinking of picking one up.


    Then there's this one, but it doesn't seem to have some of the stories Dawnstormhas listed as vital:
    Elric of Melnibone

    Containing "Elric of Melnibone", "The Fortress of the Pearl", "The Sailor on the Seas of Fate", "The Dreaming City", "While the Gods Laugh" and "The Singing Citadel" this is one of the Millennium Uniform Editions of Moorcock's work, omnibus volumes with revised texts and new introductions.

    If they're both crap, any suggestions for a US edition omnibus?

  7. #7
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    Complicated publishing!

    OK Elric (and Hawkmoon) have both been recently republished as part of the Fantasy Masterworks series:

    Fantasy masterworks cover which is an omnibus of sorts.

    The fuller (and according to Moorcock definitive, at least for now ) is the Orion/Milllennium edition with this cover . This is IMO the better edition, and yes, it is an omnibus edition, as are all of this series. The original books were short - 100 to 150 pages or so. This one's nearly 700 pages.

    If you like it, then get Stormbringer from the same series.

    Fitz's advice (as ever) is good, though - Corum and Hawkmoon are easier starts, perhaps.

    Hobbit
    Mark

  8. #8
    Uh, Moderator
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    Thanks Hobbit, I'll keep that in mind.
    The fantasy masterworks edition seems easier to get your hands on, but I have seen at least one online store claiming it's stocking the Orion/Millenium edition. I might do a big online christmas shop and get some of the "old" fantasy I've been thinking about purchasing for a while now - Moorcock, Peake, Dunsany, etc - not too much of it seems to make it into the bricks and mortar stores around here.

  9. #9
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    I might do a big online christmas shop and get some of the "old" fantasy I've been thinking about purchasing for a while now
    Well the usual advice there is perhaps to try a second hand or library copy first (if possible...realise this might not be! ) and then if you like...

    .... in which case the Millennium editions IMO would be recommended, as well as any of the (other) Fantasy Masterworks you can get your hands on. I've just got a load of those and there's been some really good surprises there....old ones revisited and ones I've been meaning to get for a while.

    Hobbit
    Mark

  10. #10
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    See, I knew I could instantly get information this way. But I apologize if I asked people to repeat. I missed the Elric Saga thread.

    Thanks!

  11. #11
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    Fluffy - The shorter answer is that there are 14 in the series (all omnibus editions):

    Von Bek; The Eternal Champion; Hawkmoon; Corum; Sailing to Utopia; A Nomad of the Time Streams; The Dancers at the End of Time; Elric of Melnibone; The New Nature of the Catastrophe; The Prince with the Silver Hand; Legends from the end of Time; Stormbringer (Elric: The Stealer of Souls); Earl Aubec; Count Brass.

    If you have a look at the Moorcock's Books link in the Moorcock newb thread link above, Fluffy, you'll see all the details you want - which books are in which omnibus, etc.

    So yes, the Eternal Champion is part of this series. In fact, (trying not to give too much away) ALL of the books in the series are somewhat connected in this Multiverse. It includes Jerry Cornelius (but not all of his work) Elric, Corum, Hawkmoon, John Daker, Count Brass, Oswald Bastable, Von Bek....and a few others.

    To say more might spoil it for some readers.

    Hobbit
    Mark

  12. #12
    Uh, Moderator
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    Hobbit/Anyone,
    Another question: Are the fantasy masterworks editions of Hawkmoon (History of the Runestaff) and Corum as good as the Orion/Gollancz editions (the ones with the triangle at the bottom)?
    According to his site it would appear that they've the same content, but after seeing the difference between the Elric fantasy masterworks/Orion editions I thought I'd check.

  13. #13
    Administrator Administrator Hobbit's Avatar
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    Hello Eventine!

    Yes you're right - the Elric books are different. For those who haven't realised, I'll try and explain.

    For example: The Elric book in the Masterworks edition is made up of The Stealer of Souls (made up of 5 stories) and Stormbringer whereas the Gollancz series has two omnibus books. The first book, Elric of Melnibone is made up of Elric of Melnibone, The Fortress of the Pearl, The Sailor on the Seas of Fate, The Dreaming City, While the Gods Laugh and The Singing Citadel. The second book (Stormbringer) is made up of The Sleeping Sorceress, The Revenge of the Rose, The Stealer of Souls, Kings in Darkness, The Caravan of Forgotten Dreams and Stormbringer.

    There is a new Introduction in the Gollancz edition that as far as I know is not in the Masterworks edition. It is only a page and doesn't add to the story, but it is Mike telling us of his thinking behind the books.

    So to summarise, the Elric books in the Masterworks edition are what I would call 'Elric-lite' and are worth it if you want a quick fix, whilst the Gollancz editions are better value for money, yet also at times a little more obtuse as they deal with other aspects of the multiverse; short stories are added, many of the stories there were written later, but they fill in some gaps.

    Anyway, back to Eventine's question, The Corum Masterworks book and the Runestaff book are as far as I know pretty much the same as the Gollancz but without the Moorcock introductions. There may be subtle revisions in the Gollancz books (as I think the Masterworks editions are typed from older editions) but certainly nothing major. I haven't bought the Masterworks editions for that reason.

    Gloriana I have bought as a Masterworks edition, as it is not part of the Eternal Champion series.

    Hope this helps!

    Hobbit
    Mark

  14. #14
    Uh, Moderator
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    Thanks Hobbit - exactly what I needed to hear. I think I'll try and track down the Gollancz editions (Corum, Hawkmoon, Elric of Melnibone), although they're a bit harder to get here. At least I know I can back up with the Masterworks edition of Corum and Hawkmoon.

  15. #15
    Uh, Moderator
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    Well, I finished up History of the Runestaff last night. For some reason, these stories remind me of some of the old Conan stories I used to read. It's probably a style thing, combined with the whole rollicking boys adventure feel.
    I'm going to discuss some events in the book, so beware of slight spoilers.
    I like most areas of Moorcock's "slim" writing style. I can see how some people used to fat fantasy might not like it, especially when he tells rather than shows. For example, he spends a few pages describing Hawkmoon and Yisselda meeting and their early days together, and all of a sudden he tells us they're in love. It's a different type of character development to what we might see in BFF, but works - the characters are surprisingly well fleshed out despite the brief, plot driven approach. I have to admit my favourite character wasn't the protagonist, but the amusing D'Averc (once again, a character who turns from a "bad guy" to a "good guy" within a matter of pages).
    My only other quibble is that he uses the Warrior in Jet and Gold as a deus ex machina too often.

    I'll probably try and pick up Corum now, and try and order the XXX edition of Elric.

    A question then:
    Somewhere around the second book we start seeing the term "Eternal Champion" thrown in. I'm familiar with it from seeing conversations around here, but I was wondering in which of his books did he first explain the term "Eternal Champion" and the concept behind it?

    As an added note:
    I wish I'd had a better knowledge of European geography or an Atlas handy when reading this. I would have liked to have had a better idea of where the different places he referenced where when I couldn't pick up on the changed names.
    Last edited by Eventine; June 30th, 2004 at 12:23 AM.

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