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Old 01-10-2020, 08:30 PM   #1
ZodWallop
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Best way to read Elric?

This isn't even really an ebook related question, so don't get too hung up on the morass of Elric ebooks.

So the Elric story was published two different ways:

Originally, five short stories were published as Stealer of Souls and four Novellas were published as Stormbringer.

Later, the series was expanded and reworked into six (slim) volumes again ending with Stormbringer.

(I know there are additional novels and stories later, but for this discussion, I'm comparing the sixties originals and the seventies expansion.)

The question is: Which of these two versions is a better read?

I would figure the six books were reworked and maybe flow together more cohesively. On the other hand, the originals are the originals.

I've already read Elric of Melnibone and Sailor on the Seas of Fate, but I thought this year I'd try and read Elric which would include rereading those two if that's the way I go.

Lastly, are the stories contained in the Elric: Stealer of Souls collection Del Rey put out a few years ago the same as the stories as they appeared in the two original sixties collections? I believe they are.
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Old 01-11-2020, 07:42 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZodWallop View Post
This isn't even really an ebook related question, so don't get too hung up on the morass of Elric ebooks.

So the Elric story was published two different ways:

Originally, five short stories were published as Stealer of Souls and four Novellas were published as Stormbringer.

Later, the series was expanded and reworked into six (slim) volumes again ending with Stormbringer.

(I know there are additional novels and stories later, but for this discussion, I'm comparing the sixties originals and the seventies expansion.)

The question is: Which of these two versions is a better read?

I would figure the six books were reworked and maybe flow together more cohesively. On the other hand, the originals are the originals.

I've already read Elric of Melnibone and Sailor on the Seas of Fate, but I thought this year I'd try and read Elric which would include rereading those two if that's the way I go.

Lastly, are the stories contained in the Elric: Stealer of Souls collection Del Rey put out a few years ago the same as the stories as they appeared in the two original sixties collections? I believe they are.
I think you would have to put some work into reading it the original DAW way. The thing to remember is that it's really a series of short stories and novellas with a couple of novels added later. As far as I can tell, as long as you read the original story that introduces the character and world first, and the final book last, it doesn't matter all that much what order you read it in, it's a bit like the Conan stories in that respect.

The eBook version that was put out a few years ago has all of the original stories plus the stuff that has been written since then. I've got the original DAW books in paper and the eBooks. The eBooks seem to have the original stories with some edits, some intros and the novels that were written later.
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Old 01-11-2020, 01:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by pwalker8 View Post
I think you would have to put some work into reading it the original DAW way. The thing to remember is that it's really a series of short stories and novellas with a couple of novels added later. As far as I can tell, as long as you read the original story that introduces the character and world first, and the final book last, it doesn't matter all that much what order you read it in, it's a bit like the Conan stories in that respect.

The eBook version that was put out a few years ago has all of the original stories plus the stuff that has been written since then. I've got the original DAW books in paper and the eBooks. The eBooks seem to have the original stories with some edits, some intros and the novels that were written later.
One second. That didn't quite help. Maybe my introduction of the ebook question at the end mixed things up some.

Elric was first published (in the US) by Lancer in the '60's. This was a two book set. The Daw books you mention came later.

The two Lancer books, collecting the original stories and novellas were:

Stealer of Souls, which collected:
  • "The Dreaming City"
  • "While the Gods Laugh"
  • "The Stealer of Souls"
  • "Kings in Darkness"
  • "The Flame Bringers" or "The Caravan of Forgotten Dreams"

and Stormbringer collected:
  • "Dead God's Homecoming"
  • "Black Sword's Brothers"
  • "Sad Giant's Shield"
  • "Doomed Lord's Passing"

Later, in the seventies, DAW republished the work as six books. Moorcock reworked and expanded The Dreaming City into the first book, Elric of Melibone and the final book Stormbringer is also somewhat reworked (I've been studying it a bit). There's also lots of additional material in the middle books.

Honestly, I'm not worried about sequential order or reading every last word written. Both versions of the story seem to have some merit: The earlier Lancer collections are Moorcock's raw, original writing. The later DAW reissues are redone by a more mature writer.

I'm mainly hoping that someone out there that has read both versions could say which they prefer.
---
The ebook titled Elric: The Stealer of Souls (Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melniboné, Vol. 1) actually collects all the stories from the two Lancer books mentioned above.

Last edited by ZodWallop; 01-11-2020 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 01-11-2020, 03:35 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ZodWallop View Post
One second. That didn't quite help. Maybe my introduction of the ebook question at the end mixed things up some.

Elric was first published (in the US) by Lancer in the '60's. This was a two book set. The Daw books you mention came later.

The two Lancer books, collecting the original stories and novellas were:

Stealer of Souls, which collected:
  • "The Dreaming City"
  • "While the Gods Laugh"
  • "The Stealer of Souls"
  • "Kings in Darkness"
  • "The Flame Bringers" or "The Caravan of Forgotten Dreams"

and Stormbringer collected:
  • "Dead God's Homecoming"
  • "Black Sword's Brothers"
  • "Sad Giant's Shield"
  • "Doomed Lord's Passing"

Later, in the seventies, DAW republished the work as six books. Moorcock reworked and expanded The Dreaming City into the first book, Elric of Melibone and the final book Stormbringer is also somewhat reworked (I've been studying it a bit). There's also lots of additional material in the middle books.

Honestly, I'm not worried about sequential order or reading every last word written. Both versions of the story seem to have some merit: The earlier Lancer collections are Moorcock's raw, original writing. The later DAW reissues are redone by a more mature writer.

I'm mainly hoping that someone out there that has read both versions could say which they prefer.
---
The ebook titled Elric: The Stealer of Souls (Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melniboné, Vol. 1) actually collects all the stories from the two Lancer books mentioned above.
The original Lancer books actually were not the original versions, which were a series of novellas published in Science Fantasy magazine from 1961 to 1964. The Lancer version was edited down to fit those 10 novellas into two books (remember in the 60's and 70's, books tended to be much shorter), so a lot of material was removed, then some bridge material was added so it would make sense. The DAW versions restored much of the original text so that the original text filled 3 books (Weird of the White Wolf, Bane of the Black Sword and Stormbringer) plus three books were added (Elric of Melnibone, The Sailor on the Seas of Fate and The Vanishing Tower). Elric of Melnibone was a novel detailing the origins of Elric and the Black Sword. The other two were made up of I think 3 novella's each. I don't think that material had been published earlier, but it's hard to say.

The author's note in Stormbringer says
"A version of this novel was originally published in the United States by Lancer Books in 1967. This new edition publishes for the first time in any country the full text of the original novel serialized in the English Science Fantasy magazine published 1963-1964. All previous editions have appeared with a quarter of the original text cut from them. This version has also been revised by the author from the original magazine text."

Hopefully this is what you were looking for.
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Old 01-11-2020, 03:37 PM   #5
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Go with all the current versions of the stories. That way you can any of the author's preferred text.
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Old 01-11-2020, 10:12 PM   #6
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The original Lancer books actually were not the original versions, which were a series of novellas published in Science Fantasy magazine from 1961 to 1964. The Lancer version was edited down to fit those 10 novellas into two books (remember in the 60's and 70's, books tended to be much shorter), so a lot of material was removed, then some bridge material was added so it would make sense.

Hopefully this is what you were looking for.
Thanks man. Sounds like the DAW books are the way to go.
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Old 01-11-2020, 10:14 PM   #7
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Go with all the current versions of the stories. That way you can any of the author's preferred text.
The problem is with Michael Moorcock's Elric it can be tough to pin down just what exactly the author's preferred text is.

Right now, there are two different versions of the Elric stories published, one in the US and one in the UK. Both are the author's preferred text
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Old 01-12-2020, 05:38 AM   #8
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Moorcock seems to be one of those authors who likes to continue to revise his works every so often trying to make everything fit into some sort of philosophical framework. It's a bit like which version of Apocalypse Now do you prefer, I think there were four different versions of the film in various releases. With Moorcock, I tend to prefer the version that I originally read, i.e. the DAW release.
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Old 01-12-2020, 03:03 PM   #9
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Moorcock seems to be one of those authors who likes to continue to revise his works every so often trying to make everything fit into some sort of philosophical framework. It's a bit like which version of Apocalypse Now do you prefer, I think there were four different versions of the film in various releases. With Moorcock, I tend to prefer the version that I originally read, i.e. the DAW release.
It's weird that the series he just can't seem to leave be is the Elric books. He doesn't seem to have continuously updated the Hawkmoon books, for instance.

I guess it's a combination of the Elric books having been written when he was very young, so had less control over the editing and their popularity, eclipsing the rest of his work.
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Old 01-12-2020, 07:29 PM   #10
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It's weird that the series he just can't seem to leave be is the Elric books. He doesn't seem to have continuously updated the Hawkmoon books, for instance.

I guess it's a combination of the Elric books having been written when he was very young, so had less control over the editing and their popularity, eclipsing the rest of his work.
It's hard to say. Like a lot of the new wave SF&F authors of the time, Moorcock is definitely a bit of an odd bird.
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Old 01-12-2020, 10:34 PM   #11
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From wiki

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Elric first appeared in print in a series of six novelettes published in Science Fantasy magazine:

"The Dreaming City" (Science Fantasy No. 47, June 1961)
"While the Gods Laugh" (Science Fantasy No. 49, October 1961)
"The Stealer of Souls" (Science Fantasy No. 51, February 1962)
"Kings in Darkness" (Science Fantasy No. 54, August 1962)
"The Flame Bringers" (Science Fantasy No. 55, October 1962); retitled "The Caravan of Forgotten Dreams" in some later collections.
"To Rescue Tanelorn ..." (Science Fantasy No. 56, December 1962)

After this came four novellas:

"Dead God's Homecoming" (Science Fantasy No. 59, June 1963)
"Black Sword's Brothers" (Science Fantasy No. 61, October 1963)
"Sad Giant's Shield" (Science Fantasy No. 63, February 1964)
"Doomed Lord's Passing" (Science Fantasy No. 64, April 1964)

After these initial Elric tales, Moorcock periodically published short tales throughout the 1960s and early 1970s, such as 1967's "The Singing Citadel" and 1973's "The Jade Man's Eyes".

Meant to be placed in between the initial stories but before the conclusion of "Doomed Lord's Passing", these later stories would frequently be edited, retitled, and combined together with other material to form fix-ups as part of later republication campaigns.
That's pretty much how I'd read them. Read them in order of publishing, and any other decent short stories or novellas before "Doomed Lord's Passing".

I never thought much of the novels. I thought them poor. It was the early stories that were inspired.

Incidentally, if you like Eric, try the Witcher. It's in a similar vein, and very good. The netflix series is dreadful.
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