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(yet another) Multiverse Reading Order Guide 2021

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  • Crusader_of_Melnibone
    Wanderer of the Mittel March
    • Jan 2004
    • 18

    (yet another) Multiverse Reading Order Guide 2021

    Greetings Eternal Champions! I'm excited to find you here after so many years.

    First things first; I read the main Elric stories around 20 years ago - the ones that have been translated to Greek that is, since I'm not a native English speaker (so excuse any mistakes, please). And that's about it. I've been waiting for the rest of the series to get translated, to no avail. So the time has come for me to revisit my beloved multiverse and fill the gaps in English. As I came to understand, many stories and characters are interconnected and to no clear chronological order.

    A few weeks ago, I undertook a huge task of putting all speculative fiction of Michael and his Multiverse in some sort of recommended/chronological reading order that narratively makes sense and throws you from one event to the next. Having just done something similar for much smalles universes, regardless of medium - like Dark Souls, Silent Hill, Megami Tensei, Tex Murphy etc. - I thought I'd tackle the Multiverse. Let me make a few very important points:
    1. I am a huge MM fan - I mean, I basically came of age with the Elric stories - and aspiring writer, but I do not claim to be an expert. I am well aware that most of you have vastly superior knowledge in anything Moorcock-related, so please understand my humble intentions.
    2. I am also well aware the vast majority of you do not consider a reading order is important, or can actually be done in a streamlined way, since time is not linear, and order cannot be put into chaos (excuse the pun). Apparently this thread is not for you. I did this first and foremost for myself, but I thought I'd share it here, in case it helps others as well. At the same time I welcome any productive input from those that are interested in having something like this handy, and I am sure there are many little things here and there that can be corrected, even though potentially not objectively. Especially in regard to any characters beyond Elric that I am not familiar with - I tried to order them purely on research.
    3. It just felt super weird to me, knowing the fate of Elric on the main storyline, to be reading stories of him after having read Stormbringer. Fate of characters is pretty crucial to me not to be spoiled, so my main goal was to have an order in which nothing is spoiled - I know this is pretty much impossible, since "foreshadowing" could be Michael's middle name :P So I had to put Stormbringer last (yes, even trying to insert the dreamquest novels before that), leaving after it only those stories that are unplaced and/or just tribute by other authors. I tried to apply the same logic to all of the characters, with much more difficulty since I haven't read them.
    4. As my basis skeleton, I used Mosley's Suggested Moorcock Reading Order from which point I started adding (to include any stories from the past decade), removing (mostly non-Multiverse stuff), and reordering based on various sources, even splitting Anthologies if I could get any information on specific stories and when could they take place in the timeline.
    5. Sources are too many to list - but mainly the Multiverse's wiki (thank gods for this) and its various timelines, wikipedia, isfdb, comicvine, etc.
    6. I know many (short) stories take place in between chapters of novels, and others are still debated where exactly they belong - namely, The Return to Melnibone (before or after the Sailor on the Seas of Fate?), The Last Enchantment (before or after Kings in Darkness?), The Metatemporal Detective/War Amongst the Angels stories etc. So hopefully I will make corrections as I go, or with your input.
    7. I tried to include for the first time every single novel, novella, short story, comic book, adaptation I could find that is even remotely connected to either the concept of the Multiverse or the Eternal Champion. Aside from Michael's works, this includes any other author's work that has either been given the nod by Michael, or is using Michael's characters; I only limited it to characters, cause if I went by "concept", it is so subjective that the list would be practically endless. And finally at the bottom of the list I included a few works that are independent of the Multiverse, but are universally known as heavily inspired or even plagiarizing (Sterling, Talbot, Morrison, Fraction). I excluded any parodies. Also no essays.
    8. Of course all this work, and Mosley's order, left me with questions such as how come is it better to be meeting Cornelius first in the Doctor Who novel, and Distant Suns, before getting into his Cornelius Quartet novels, and other questions, but I guess those will be answered in due time.
    9. Splitting the Von Bek family for someone that hasn't read the stories was a headache, so I decided to include them all (even the Begg's) under one name - on hindsight this might have been wrong.
    10. The file has been sorted by reading order. The pub # (column) is the publication order, either for the universe as a whole, or for the series respectively.
    11. Where Series (column) is actually the name of the main character. I know some stories do have prevalent themes (like Second Ether, End of Time, London etc.) but I did try to include the character's name first to make it easier for categorization purposes - and when I could not find a recurring character, I left the theme there instead. I know this is arbitrary, and borderline sacrilege to some of you, so I'm sure this is something that will too be updated over time.
    12. A very useful addition for me, as well as anyone that is looking for easier access to all of these stories, is the inclusion of the Compilation and Property columns - which are basically the title of the anthology a story is included in, and the publisher respectively. I haven't listed the best edition quality-wise, just the most accessible/recent. At the same time, I tried to be as economical as possible, so I tried to find the most complete anthologies available right now, in other words, buying the less amount of books as possible. For example, I have included The New Nature of the Catastrophe by Millennium (as opposed to later editions), cause it's the only one that includes the Adventures of Jerry Cornelius comics. Thankfully, the 2013-2015 Gollancz series is to this day the most complete anthology, combining most of the stuff in both White Wolf and Orion series of the 90's. Not all though. And then, even though I did my best to avoid such a scenario, there are a few cases, that you still have to get one whole book just for one short story (James Sallis I'm looking at you).
    13. In regard to the comic adaptations, I do recognize that the Titan comics reprints have a lousy washed out quality as opposed to the vibrant pages of the First Publishing editions of the 80's. Again, the Titan ones are the most accessible, so I included those. I honestly cannot fathom why their quality is so underwhelming after 3 decades :(
    14. So basically whatever is included in the Compilation column - you have to get. I hope I make it a little bit easier for anyone interested in collecting, but is unsure which versions to get.
    15. When a story is only available in digital format, I'm noting it in the Digital column. Hopefully they will make their way in paperback format soon.
    16. I tried to keep the most recent titles when stories or novels are being renamed over the years, with a few exceptions (like the Dreamquests).
    This has taken too much of my time to complete in this form, but I still ask for your mercy in advance! This is my way of saying thank you, and giving back something to the community, that can also serve as a purchase guide, even if it helps just one reader.

    Moorcock's Multiverse Guide - OneDrive

    I'm not sure which is the best way to paste the table to actually be readable, so I'm linking the file from my onedrive, since I'm not allowed to upload an excel file here.
    (the forums do not parse the link correctly in the "add link" function, so ignore the link below. I re-added it right above)
    Last edited by Crusader_of_Melnibone; 11-16-2021, 11:13 PM.
    I, while the gods laugh, the world's vortex am;
    Maelstrom of passions in that hidden sea,
    whose waves of all-time lap the coasts of me,
    and in small compass the dark waters cram...