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Old 10-14-2019, 07:05 AM   #46
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I remember liking Stormbringer a lot (spoiler alert: the one where the sword kills ########), when I was young. I tried reading the other Elric books and found them a bit meh. I felt Moorcock was just knocking stuff out of no great quality.
Yes, he was a bit up and down with quality .... maybe due to radicalism and substances etc .... maybe even boredom and obligations.

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But Moorcock is an interesting character. ...... He was truly at the heart of what for us now seem like a mythic time in science fiction.
Certainly he is an interesting product of that earlier era, like so many others back them ... though I guess he stood out more than most of them, certainly in Britain. There wasn't much Science in his work, mostly just Fantasy, but I guess everything fantastical back then, was placed under the mantle of Science Fiction or Fairy Tales .... still the case in some sectors.

Maybe it's just me (and a bunch of others ha ha ha), but the music and fiction back in the 60s/70s in particular, was wildly inventive. Much of it ended up being dross, but some of it was brilliant and unique ... out-of-this-world perhaps. The freedom or sense of freedom of the times I guess ... and drugs maybe.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:10 AM   #47
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I don't think I've seen Glorianna.

My introduction to Moorcock were his Michael Kane stories - a sort of tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs - and they were great fun. After that I found him very hit and miss. I agree that the Corum mostly worked. I liked some of the Elric saga, but too much of it reflected (how I've seen him describe) his writing method - same goes for Jerry Cornelius, Eternal Champion etc.. I did like The City in the Autumn Stars, and I thought the Dancers at the End of Time collection worked really well, quirky and different.

I get the impression he is not a patient man, and I believe this shows up in his writing.

Last edited by gmw; 10-14-2019 at 07:41 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:22 AM   #48
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He is definitely an odd one, but maybe a product of the times, as in 60s and 70s, where he indulged a little too heavily in many of the trends back then. If I was to make a guess, it was his Jerry Cornelius stories that set the tone, and in some ways has given him his radical air and somewhat overblown sense of brilliance. That's not to say he hasn't had brilliant moments, and written many grand things, but in the overall scheme of things, he is probably just an anti-establishment rebel type person who has a good way with words. And one cannot deny he is somewhat an icon in the fields of fiction he has engaged in.

As a reader and collector of his works, I have mixed feelings about him, and especially when he criticizes other writers. I've not read anything yet, story wise, that he has written in the last 2 or 3 decades, so I am mostly going by what I have read (majority) of his earlier works, and a bunch of interviews and essays he has been involved in since.

My favorite novel of his is probably Glorianna. Which of course has ties to Mervyn Peak's Gormenghast, which was absolutely brilliant.

I am also a big fan of some of the music of Hawkwind from various eras, so we do have a few things in common, including being rebel like.
Different strokes for different folks. I never could get into the Jerry Cornelius and Glorianna was the book that turned me off Moorcock. Just not my cup of tea. Really liked the Corum and Hawkmoon books most of all, and liked the Elric books.
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:36 AM   #49
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I don't think I've seen Glorianna.

My introduction to Moorcock were his Michael Kane stories - a sort of tribute to Edgar Rice Burroughs - and they were great fun. After that I found him very hit and miss. I agree that the Corum mostly worked. I liked some of the Elric saga, but too much of it reflected (how I've seen him describe) his writing method - same goes for Jerry Cornelius, Eternal Champion etc.. I did like The City in the Autumn Stars, and I thought the Dancers at the End of Time collection worked really well, quirky and different.

I get the impression he is not a patient man, and I believe this shows up in his writing.
I quite liked his Golden Barge novel too, which had a tie to Glorianna.

I also quite liked his novels, that I guess you would call Steam Punk these days ... the Bastable ones I think and some of the Von Bek stuff.

Being a big Edgar Rice Burroughs fan, I liked the Michael Kane stories a lot too, and I recall Moorcock had some (editing or publishing ??) ties with Burroughs books early in his career.

Likewise, I thought his Dancers at the End of Time series was quite good. I am guessing you read the tie-in book featuring Elric at the end of time.

Yes, he does not suffer fools gladly or those perceived as such .... that's my impression anyway ... quite a judgmental man.
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:53 AM   #50
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Different strokes for different folks.
Indeed. It would be quite a boring world if we all felt the same way.

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I never could get into the Jerry Cornelius ....
I perfectly understand that, and it was a close call for me ... not least because I have always been very anti-drugs ... though not anti sexual freedom ... ha ha.

I was well into his writing before I started any Jerry Cornelius, else I don't doubt I would have skipped his books. He was up and down and a bit of all over the place ... understandable if under the influence.

I always thought he was a funny mix of anti-establishment and establishment, which I mostly got from his writing. Almost like a form of corruption. It did make for very interesting reading at times, and some appeal to the rebel inside many of us.

P.S. I actually read Glorianna many years before I read Gormenghast, which is superior in every sense, but which Moorcock modeled his book after.

In a way he was often a kind of experimental writer ... certainly earlier in his career.

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Old 10-15-2019, 06:33 PM   #51
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I didn't know Moorcock was critical or judgmental of other authors.

I think the 60/70's was overall more accepting of experimental attitudes. Coppola said that Apocalypse Now would never be made today. He would never get funding. Sad. Hollywood seems to focus on reboots that are always inferior.

New stuff does get through still, and I guess it always will, but I do believe it's gotten harder. Saying that, I never thought much of Moorcock, even as a young person who was really much more tolerant of writing than I am nowadays. The exception was that Stormbringer book, but it no longer appeals to me. I remember liking An Alien Heat. I tried reading it again, and I found it to be very good, but I found the plotting too languorous and gave up.

Personally I think there are much better works of fantasy that are less recognized (The Sunset Warrior trilogy).

Moorcock was certainly imaginative. I wouldn't be surprised if he experimented liberally with LSD.

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Old 10-15-2019, 10:18 PM   #52
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I didn't know Moorcock was critical or judgmental of other authors.
He was famously dismissive of Tolkien, particularly in his essay likening LOTR to Winnie the Pooh, "Epic Pooh".
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Old 10-15-2019, 11:56 PM   #53
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He was famously dismissive of Tolkien, particularly in his essay likening LOTR to Winnie the Pooh, "Epic Pooh".
Some of his comments in there (eg: "Like Chesterton, and other orthodox Christian writers who substituted faith for artistic rigour") seem a bit rich coming from a man who proudly reports avoiding second drafts. I can't find the original article where I read this, but here he is reported saying of The Dancers at the End of Time: "I had to rewrite the last volume (first book I had ever done a second draft of!) to put the science fiction in" (bold mine). And when I first read that it was suddenly so obvious: of course, that's what I've been reading: first drafts. And sometimes they worked and sometimes they really (really!) needed work.
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Old 10-16-2019, 06:40 AM   #54
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I didn't know Moorcock was critical or judgmental of other authors.
Quite a few authors, when they are celebrated by their peers or the masses, decide to become critics and write essays etc. Sometimes they are responding to criticisms of themself, but then elaborate more broadly, taking in others habits or quirks to defend their style or method(s).

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I think the 60/70's was overall more accepting of experimental attitudes.
Definitely.
And my view, is that you need that to get the truly inspirational stuff to occur, even though it may not work most of the time.

And even though I have always been against drug taking, I fully recognize that it allowed some to go places with their mind and inventiveness, that they probably wouldn't have done otherwise ... certainly in music and writing. That said, I believe there are other less riskful way to achieve the same thing, so in no way do I think drugs are necessary.

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Coppola said that Apocalypse Now would never be made today. He would never get funding. Sad. Hollywood seems to focus on reboots that are always inferior.
Unfortunately we now have that reboot play safe mentality, invading many walks of life ... even grocery etc shopping. Variety and inventiveness is on the wane.

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New stuff does get through still, and I guess it always will, but I do believe it's gotten harder.
Yep, and they are gems ... like lights in the darkness.

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Personally I think there are much better works of fantasy that are less recognized (The Sunset Warrior trilogy).
Just so much available now and so many crossovers and blendings, that I find it can be quite overwhelming, and while I recognize there has been many improvements, it can sometimes be like a 7 course meal, where some bits are absolutely amazing while others quite inferior, and you don't really end up with a fully satisfying meal.

I did enjoy that trilogy by Eric Van Lustbader, and must read the later sequels some time ... I have them, have had them for ages. Alas I like too many authors and not enough hours in a life for reading.

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Old 10-16-2019, 07:19 AM   #55
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He was famously dismissive of Tolkien, particularly in his essay likening LOTR to Winnie the Pooh.
He did indeed, and Tolkien was one of those I was thinking of.

I'm not sure whether Tolkien perhaps criticized him first or maybe other writing in the same genre ... or I should say, similarly perceived genre .... Sword & Fantasy, which Lord Of The Rings usually got lumped with back then.

I love Robert E. Howard's writings and Edgar Rice Burroughs', but unlike some I never felt you could or should compare them, and certainly not compare them to Tolkien. Tolkien of course, was often very dismissive of such comparisons, but alas often displayed a sense of superiority which no doubt rubbed others the wrong way. That was even evident with his good friend C.S. Lewis, another author I love the Sci Fantasy writings of.

Tolkien and Moorcock really come from very different backgrounds, and I always thought it a mistake for one to criticize perceived failures or things lacking in the other. In many ways they are the product of their times and social class and life experience. Moorcock especially was a rising star in a very revolutionary period, and was all about expanding horizons, whereas I feel Tolkien was more about consolidating, even looking backward, and making something amazing from that. In a sense, Moorcock was more about shocking you, whereas Tolkien was more reserved and sticking to the more familiar, and showing the wonder without pushing you out of your comfort zone. I have always thought there was an equal place for both, for those with a progressive take on life.

In some ways it is like comparing a father with a grandfather, in a later age of enlightenment, without realizing that progress is not always completely positive, and that sometimes good is lost with the bad, as in two steps forward and one back. This is especially so, when you look at human skills being lost due to machines.
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Old 10-16-2019, 07:43 AM   #56
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Some of his comments in there (eg: "Like Chesterton, and other orthodox Christian writers who substituted faith for artistic rigour") seem a bit rich coming from a man who proudly reports avoiding second drafts..
I always thought that Winnie The Pooh, Wind In The Willows, tales of Narnia etc were brilliance in simplicity. Lord Of The Rings is another level of complexity, if a similar simple tale overall.

I don't think brilliance can be measured by complexity.

Just like you can't compare a great Pizza with a great Chinese banquet. Each can be equally rewarding and satisfying, depending how you feel and what you really want at the time.

Many things are subjective.
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Old 10-16-2019, 08:06 AM   #57
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He did indeed, and Tolkien was one of those I was thinking of.

I'm not sure whether Tolkien perhaps criticized him first or maybe other writing in the same genre ... or I should say, similarly perceived genre .... Sword & Fantasy, which Lord Of The Rings usually got lumped with back then.

I love Robert E. Howard's writings and Edgar Rice Burroughs', but unlike some I never felt you could or should compare them, and certainly not compare them to Tolkien. Tolkien of course, was often very dismissive of such comparisons, but alas often displayed a sense of superiority which no doubt rubbed others the wrong way. That was even evident with his good friend C.S. Lewis, another author I love the Sci Fantasy writings of.

Tolkien and Moorcock really come from very different backgrounds, and I always thought it a mistake for one to criticize perceived failures or things lacking in the other. In many ways they are the product of their times and social class and life experience. Moorcock especially was a rising star in a very revolutionary period, and was all about expanding horizons, whereas I feel Tolkien was more about consolidating, even looking backward, and making something amazing from that. In a sense, Moorcock was more about shocking you, whereas Tolkien was more reserved and sticking to the more familiar, and showing the wonder without pushing you out of your comfort zone. I have always thought there was an equal place for both, for those with a progressive take on life.

In some ways it is like comparing a father with a grandfather, in a later age of enlightenment, without realizing that progress is not always completely positive, and that sometimes good is lost with the bad, as in two steps forward and one back. This is especially so, when you look at human skills being lost due to machines.
I would tend to say comparing a teenager/young adult with a grandfather. The two authors couldn't have been more different.

To an extent, Tolkien was one of the last great Victoria age writers and was of the old fantasy genre with William Morris (The Well at World's End - 1896), E.R.R. Eddison (The Worm Ouroboros - 1922) and H. Rider Haggard (Eric Brighteyes - 1891, but most famous for She and King's Soloman's Mine). The Hobbit was published in 1937 and the LOTR was released in 1954-55). He famously labored long and hard over LOTR, taking almost 20 years to write it (if you only include the time period when he was actually working on it)

Moorcock was of the experimental 60's and was one of the first of the anti-hero authors. I would tend to compare Moorcock and his Eternal Champion series much more to Karl Edward Wagner's Kane series in the early 70's. (which are favorites of mine and I think have aged better than the Elric books).
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Old 10-17-2019, 11:07 AM   #58
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I would tend to say comparing a teenager/young adult with a grandfather. The two authors couldn't have been more different.
I was actually referring to Moorcock later in his career, but essentially we are in agreement.

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To an extent, Tolkien was one of the last great Victoria age writers and was of the old fantasy genre with William Morris (The Well at World's End - 1896), E.R.R. Eddison (The Worm Ouroboros - 1922) and H. Rider Haggard (Eric Brighteyes - 1891, but most famous for She and King's Soloman's Mine). The Hobbit was published in 1937 and the LOTR was released in 1954-55). He famously labored long and hard over LOTR, taking almost 20 years to write it (if you only include the time period when he was actually working on it)
Yep, I agree ... from a different age really ... and Tolkien's formative years and social circle were vastly different to Moorcock's.

Tolkien and many of that era, were quite perfectionist too with their writing, and their focus being very different to the newcomers of the 60s ... dare I say more literary (words & language), marked by Tolkien's participation in the Oxford Dictionary.

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Moorcock was of the experimental 60's and was one of the first of the anti-hero authors. I would tend to compare Moorcock and his Eternal Champion series much more to Karl Edward Wagner's Kane series in the early 70's. (which are favorites of mine and I think have aged better than the Elric books).
You are possibly right there, though the Eternal Champion saga basically covers all or most of Moorcock's stories from what I recall, and the Corum segment for one was damn good, quite magical in my memory.

I have only read one or two (maybe 3) of Wagner's novels, long ago, one of those being a Conan one, which I enjoyed. He is one of the many many authors I have checked out over the years, and who I fully intended to read more of one day. Alas I have been unable to keep up with the huge number of authors I am already a big fan of, so it is looking less likely now.

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Old 10-17-2019, 12:53 PM   #59
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I was actually referring to Moorcock later in his career, but essentially we are in agreement.


Yep, I agree ... from a different age really ... and Tolkien's formative years and social circle were vastly different to Moorcock's.

Tolkien and many of that era, were quite perfectionist too with their writing, and their focus being very different to the newcomers of the 60s ... dare I say more literary (words & language), marked by Tolkien's participation in the Oxford Dictionary.


You are possibly right there, though the Eternal Champion saga basically covers all or most of Moorcock's stories from what I recall, and the Corum segment for one was damn good, quite magical in my memory.

I have only read one or two (maybe 3) of Wagner's novels, long ago, one of those being a Conan one, which I enjoyed. He is one of the many many authors I have checked out over the years, and who I fully intended to read more of one day. Alas I have been unable to keep up with the huge number of authors I am already a big fan of, so it is looking less likely now.
Actually, I was saying that even as he grew older physically, Moorcock still tended to act like a teenager. I'm not sure he ever really matured much as a writer. Just my opinion, of course.

While Moorcock tended to stretch the Eternal Champion motif to most of his stories, I tend to think of it as the Elric, Corum, Hawkmoon, von Beck and Erikose stories. I have all except the von Beck works, though I have read The War Hound and the World's Pain.

You really should check out some of Wagner's Kane books. It's 3 novels and 3 collections of short stories. I prefer the original book covers, the ones that are now with the male model don't even remotely look like the book's description, which is a man who is around 6 foot tall, 300 lbs of muscle, red hair and brutish features. There were two omnibus collections, one with all the short stories, the other with all the novels, but they aren't available as ebooks.

Last edited by pwalker8; 10-17-2019 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 10-19-2019, 02:33 PM   #60
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Originally Posted by pwalker8 View Post
You really should check out some of Wagner's Kane books. It's 3 novels and 3 collections of short stories. I prefer the original book covers, the ones that are now with the male model don't even remotely look like the book's description, which is a man who is around 6 foot tall, 300 lbs of muscle, red hair and brutish features. There were two omnibus collections, one with all the short stories, the other with all the novels, but they aren't available as ebooks.
Thanks for that.

Checking my records, I have 3 paperback Wagner novels.
Echoes Of Valor
Nightwinds
Road Of Kings, Conan The

With that last one having been read back in December 93.
I also thought I had read 'Echoes Of Valor', but that would predate my current records. I never did do an extensive 'have I read it or not', when I first started my paper records. Sometimes in passing when I felt sure I had, I gave a book a tick for read, but other than that it was too much of a hard endeavor, going by the number I had even back then.

I don't really have any records for 60s, 70s, 80s and start of the 90s. My current listing only goes back to September 92 ... that I backdated to by a few months from memory.

My paper records went through a few phases, pretty basic handwritten in the beginning, in scrapbooks, then typed up, then onto computer print outs. For a good while now I have kept a bit more detail, and just purely files backed up to PCs and devices etc.

I feel certain I have read at least one Kane story ... aside from Solomon Kane by REH ... possibly in some various authors collection.

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