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Old 10th June 2004, 10:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
Brian G. Turner
 
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Moorcock work: common threads?

My understanding is that Moorcock covers a variety of worlds and themes, but that there is a common thread between them? Or is Elric of Melnibone completely separate in terms of character universe to the other stories and characters?
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Old 11th June 2004, 01:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Moorcock work: common threads?

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Originally Posted by I, Brian
My understanding is that Moorcock covers a variety of worlds and themes, but that there is a common thread between them? Or is Elric of Melnibone completely separate in terms of character universe to the other stories and characters?
Apparently there is some connection between worlds in Moorcock's work. I've just picked up a novel of his at the library a couple of days ago, "The Dreamtheif's Daughter". I haven't started reading it yet, but I've gotten from the dust sleeve that it takes place partly in our world, more or less, in a story that has some connection with Rudolf Hess and the Nazis, and partly in Elric's world (or universe or whatever). I've only read a couple of the Elric novels, quite a long time ago, but this book sounds like it could be interesting. If it is, there is at least one sequel also on the shelves at the library. Oh, dear. Another series.
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Old 11th June 2004, 02:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Moorcock work: common threads?

I was never able to get into his works. I don't remember much other than I thought that the writing was very dry and colorless. It didn't make me curious to continue on. Of course, I attempted this probably as a 12 year old so I could have been bored by stuff I didn't really understand.

Was his writing very political?
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Old 11th June 2004, 05:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Moorcock work: common threads?

It is all connected. This world of ours is just one facet of the Multiverse, where immense powers wage an ongoing battle between order and chaos for ultimate control. There is one Eternal Champion who opposes all extremes and strives to preserve and balance. You may know him as Elric, as Prince Corum, as Hawkmoon, as Jerry Cornelius or any one of a multitude of reincarnations, but it is the same person.

At least, that's the central conception that links most of Moorcock's work.

I am a big Moorcock fan myself. I think Elric may well be the single most brilliantly concieved character in all fantasy, and the Elric tales posess a dark melancholy that is rivetting. The Corum tales are far more ordinary, but have moments of great beauty. The Jerry Cornelius novels are closer to what you'd call science fiction, and are most subversive and witty. His mainstream novels are big, breezy affairs full of believable characters, brilliantly depicted real-life settings and many hidden links to the Multiverse.

Are his works political? Yes, in that he has a distinct stand against tyranny and fascism, and has used Nazi Germany as a symbol of this at times.

I think The Dreamthief's Daughter is a pretty good read - and a good introduction to many of the details of the Multiverse mythos as well. It works well enough as a standalone, by the way.
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Old 11th June 2004, 08:24 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Moorcock work: common threads?

Thanks for that knivesout - I thought they might be, but that's cleared it all all immensely.
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Old 11th June 2004, 10:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Moorcock work: common threads?

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Originally Posted by knivesout

Are his works political? Yes, in that he has a distinct stand against tyranny and fascism, and has used Nazi Germany as a symbol of this at times.

I think The Dreamthief's Daughter is a pretty good read - and a good introduction to many of the details of the Multiverse mythos as well. It works well enough as a standalone, by the way.
Thanks for the info, I haven't read this one as of yet. Hope to have the free time in the not too distant future.
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Old 11th June 2004, 11:42 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Moorcock work: common threads?

Thank you, knivesout. "The Dreamtheif's Daughter" was one of those books I just happened to find on the shelf when I was browsing at the library the other day. I picked it up on the strength of the fact that Moorcock wrote it and I haven't read anything of his in a long time, and also because the blurb on the dust jacket made it sound intriguing. Your information makes me even more anxious to read it.
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Old 12th June 2004, 04:42 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Moorcock work: common threads?

Well I was just perusing the shelves of the library (virtually) and thought I might pick up one of his books and came back here to ask which of the three available I should get. Since one of them is The Dreamthief's Daughter, I think I'll start with that one. Thanks!
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Old 15th February 2005, 09:43 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Moorcock work: common threads?

Hi I picked Corum off the shelf at the library today. Wasnt refered to Moorcock by anyone, Corum just looked really cool on the cover pic and I couldnt resist.

After 98 pages im enjoying it immensly, I dont know if id say its my favorite style of writing, but its definitly different in that im used to writers like Gemmel, Feist, JV Jones and GRRM. I dont know if I'd call it dry, though certain parts do seem to lack personality. But the characters are very distinct and different. I remember thinking it was almost cliche'd at the start, but the further I get the more diverse the storyline becomes.
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Old 18th February 2005, 11:04 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Moorcock work: common threads?

I read my way through most of Moorcocks work when I was in my late teens, in fact the books are sat on a shelf behind me peering over my shoulder as I type

I found the complexity of his universe and characters very intriguing and I don't think I have ever been bored by his work. I haven't read 'The Dreamthiefs Daughter'...although it's sat there...mainly because I forgot about it.

Time to do a little reading methinks....
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Old 12th March 2005, 11:45 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Moorcock work: common threads?

Yes, I hear that. I've now finished the stories of Corum and Elric and am begining Hawkmoon. So far the favorite is of course Elric, though im looking forward to Jerry Cornelius as he seems to be the most popular. Elric seemed to be possessed of much more character depth than Corum, though I really liked the ending to Corum's books. Hawkmoon is quite different than the other two so far, the start is very captivating. I just hope he is as interesting a character as Elric.
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Old 10th April 2005, 04:46 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Moorcock work: common threads?

I read all the Elric books when I was about ten, as they were my dad's current reading material. When I read others, I could clearly see themes running through him, often very humanist themes that seemed to be repeated.


Btw, does anyone know if Michael Moorcock wrote 'The Warlord of their' an Oswald Bastable adventure. And if he did, was the name an intended parody of Edith Nesbit? I remember reading it before my 11 + and going into the exam and writing an almost exact replica complete with hallucigenic drugs.
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Old 24th December 2005, 01:36 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Moorcock work: common threads?

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Originally Posted by dwndrgn
Was his writing very political?
Reading King of the City, he doesn't seem to be overtly focused on politics, but whenever the matter comes into attention he has some sharp and apt observations. Especially about Margaret Thatcher, or Maggie Moneyeyes, as I recall he said
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Old 3rd March 2006, 05:33 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Moorcock work: common threads?

I suppose that the common thread, if there is one, is that the moral compass in Moorcock's world sways not between Good and Evil but between order (Law) and Chaos. Many of the characters in his fantasy novels (This includes Elric, Hawkmoon, Corum and Jerry Cornelius at the very least)are merely separate incarnations of 'the enternal champion' whose ultimate destiny it is to restore the balance between law and chaos should one side dominate. Arguably Jerry Cornelius doesn't qualify as 'fantasy' being set in the 20th centuty, but he was definitely supposed to be yet another incarnation of said champion

This mythos is much more explicit in his fantasy novels, but I once read a non-fantasy novel of his called Mother London which was quite interesting. very episodic with a multitude of characters, but set predominantly in the modern era there were no references to law, chaos balance etc, nevertheless it did seem to be infused with a similar philosophical perspective.

The idea that it is more fruitful to strive for a healthy balance between order and chaos than it is to constantly strive to be good is an interesting moral perspective, and definitely seems to be to be a more enlightened, sophistcated, human and practical one.

I read huge amounts of his fantasy books as a teenager but didn't stumble accross mother london untill I was into my thirties, so it was an interesting find given the changes in my tastes over the years.

Having said all that, Moorcock is certainly one of the more prolific writers in the SF milleu,so I wouldn't even being to try to suggest that i have a handle on the full variety of his works....
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Old 9th May 2006, 07:35 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Moorcock work: common threads?

Well summed, Knivesout! Yes, virtually all of Moorcock's work is interrelated (even his polemics such as "The Retreat from Liberty"). He's a writer very much out of the 1960s sf "New Wave" school, concerned about social issues and the human condition, but even with the "cautionary tale" nature of much of his work, I'd say from both his writing and various talks he's given, that he's generally optimistic about humanity, and finds the complexities fascinating, even when frustrating. (That last is my own take on some of his comments rather than a direct quote.)

I haven't yet had a chance to read "The Skrayling Tree" or "The White Wolf's Son" or "The Vengeance of Rome" (basically, what he's published in the last 2-3 years), but I think I've read just about everything else that's been published except for some very early things he did (such as "Caribbean Crisis", written -- I think -- with James Cawthorn). Yes, he's a very prolific writer, and much of his work repays going back through occasionally. Some don't hold up all that well (the Corum books, I find, are among that number, though I still have a fondness for them), but many (like "Mother London") improve with each reading.

Hope I'm not overdoing it -- I've had a good bit to say about H. P. Lovecraft as well, now I'm nattering on about Moorcock -- but, as I said elsewhere, it's just such a relief to find some intelligent discussion and open minds on these topics.
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