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Old 12-03-2007, 01:15 PM
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Default Use of Oswald Bastable?

Mike, just finished reading The Land Leviathan, which I greatly enjoyed. I particularly liked how you managed to turn Hood from the mythical butcher of (white) humanity in the early stages of Bastable's narrative to a more sympathetic righter of racial wrongs once Bastable meets him, without the reader needing to agree with his methods (as Bastable himself doesn't). In some ways, Hood is not entirely dissimilar to Erekosë (although to be truly synonymous I guess he would be waging war against his own race) and it did occur to me whether Hood might be a Champion of the Balance himself; Bastable is, after all, a rather passive observer rather than a proactive protagonist like Elric, Corum, Hawkmoon etc. (Ghandi, of course, offers an alternative to Hood's 'Total War' doctrine.)

However, my question is when you decided to use Edith Nesbit's character as the hero of your 'Alternative Earths' series were there any rights issues which you had to circumnavigate with Nesbit's estate either in the US or the UK?
_"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
_For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
_And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
_He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

Last edited by David Mosley; 12-03-2007 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 12-03-2007, 10:24 PM
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Nope. I wasn't trying to pass off my character as by Nesbit (i.e. fake a new Nesbit Bastable book) but using the name as narrative in time-honoured NW tradition.
Oswald Bastable is a narrative, referencing Fabian 'liberal' imperialism, still fundamentally paternalistic but well-meaning exemplified in the Cornelius books as Major Nye. I'd recently had an Edwardian craze, reading all the late Victorians and Edwardians I could, to see what it was all about (at least in my eyes) and had become fascinated by liberal imperialist optimism (or at least superficial optimism). Yeah. See how boring it's beginning to sound already ? Good thing for a bit of fast paced narrative, too, eh ?

Last edited by Michael Moorcock; 12-04-2007 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 12-04-2007, 07:14 AM
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> lol <

I love these glimpses into your mind, Mike; they make me feel much more settled in my own.

An Ex- of mine was utterly perplexed by Bastable's passive nature within the tales, and as I hadn't/haven't read them, all I could do was offer suggestions as to why you had written them as you did.

I think I came to the same basic conclusion: that Oswald was a lens through which the events were observed, and that one needn't agree with any of the views to enjoy your writing.

Some folks have a harder time understanding this than others.
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Old 01-07-2008, 03:11 PM
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Bastable's passivity honestly represents I think (at least in part) the depressive nature that the Champion seems to suffer from. Elric, for example, is pretty lethargic, but Stormbringer gives him the energy to pull him out of it. Urlik, Erekose, all these aspects of the Champion are pretty sedate people driven to getting involved by their circumstances.

But what if circumstances didn't drive the Champion to be that active? You would likely end up where Bastable is.

(here's my take)
The tragedy that is Oswald Bastable (by far my favorite of Mike's books) is that he sees who he is and knows he can't do a thing about it. In the first book, he is active, and tries to right the wrongs, and he ends up destroying the world. Thus when our narrator meets him, we see the reaction to his decisions. In the second book, we see the continution of the reaction, that his actions don't produce the desired results. Since his actions caused armageddon in the first book, he tries inaction in the second book, but has the same results. Thus in the third book, we see the truly tragic and tortured Oswald Bastable, bringer of armageddon. The phrase "damned if you do, damned if you don't" has never applied more to a character. The beauty of the series is at the end, when he reconciles the tragedy of his life and embraces it. Still a tragic character, but one who accpets the tragedy and stops fighting against it, thus giving us both a dark and a pleasant ending at the same time.

In the Eternal Champion anthology there was a Bastable story. Don't have the book in front of me, and can't remotely remember the author or the name of the story, but I felt it did a pretty good job of capturing the character. It felt like a post "Steel-Tsar" story.

The presence of Una Perrson in both this series and the Jerry Cornelius series is, I think, important. In the Cornelius books you get the impression that Una is a part of something bigger, the Guild of Temporal Adventureres. I get the idea from the books that once Bastable accepts his fate, he sort of unofficially joins the guild. I say unoffiocially, since he can't really control where he goes.

Anyway... a lot of this is a mix of conjecture and fitting transient pieces together, and it has been over a decade since I read any of these books... but Nomad of Time was some of the most brilliant fiction I ever read. Michael Moorcock's best, I felt.
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