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MM's Thoughts on Andre Norton's Alternate Earths

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  • MM's Thoughts on Andre Norton's Alternate Earths

    I've noticed that Adre Norton's Witch World series, and quite a few of her other unrelated books have a theory of alternate Earth's that's quite along the same lines as Michael's Multiverse, though she doesn't actually use the term. Despite the fact that she is a bit of a "young adult" writer, and often applies the same basic formula over the course of several unrelated books, I still find guilty pleasure in reading her from time to time, and wonder what Mr. Moorcock thinks of her take on Science Fantasy?
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  • #2
    Theyre supposed to be other worlds arnt they? Andre nortons great.Thought she was a man at first till i found out she was a woman. Shes like 80 90 now.

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    • #3
      Yolanda, I guess I don't understand your question. What are supposed to be other worlds? What I'm getting at is the phenomena of alternate simultaneous Earths where different versions of the same individual humans exist. Often she has a person from this world drawn over to the more magical universe (kind of the reverse of what goes on in the current Elric books.)

      I'm certainly curious what Michael has to say, but since he hasn't answered in all this time, perhaps he's opting for the "if you can't say anything nice" standpoint. Andre Norton's certainly not as introspective as J.G. Ballard or a lot of the writers I've seen Michael list as his favorite SF. I just see some interesting parallels in her use of alternate but dimensions and magic as science to his.

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      • #4
        Oops. That was me posting that (above.)
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        • #5
          Well, since when I posted this originally Michael wasn't on the board much for a while, and since now he's seemingly back, I'll try moving this up one more time... Just curious what the man might have to say.
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          • #6
            Andre Norton seems a very nice person and has spoken well of me so I feel a bit guilty in admitting I haven't read her. On the other hand, I don't read very much sf/fantasy. I tended to enjoy fantasy when it was quirky and pre-generic -- Clark Ashton Smith, Jack Vance, Lord Dunsany, Mervyn Peake, T.H.White, early Poul Anderson. Once it becomes a question of ringing changes on genre riffs, I'm not that interested. There's still some good individual stuff out there, however, and I'm a great fan of the more individualistic sort of writer like Carroll or VanderMeer. The notion of alternate earths is far from new, of course, and all I did was formalise and rationalise a particular set of ideas, as well as putting a few names on things (such as multiverse).

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            • #7
              Thanks for the answer! You actually do successfully answer my question by mentioning that she has spoken well of you. I would suspect from that she has read your work and incorporated some of the ideas. Certainly the idea of alternate Earths is nothing new, I just noticed some similarities in the way in which they were presented (in particular with individuals having different manifestations in each of these worlds.)

              The big difference is that she is certainly guilty of the "genre riffing" you allude to in that she combines SF and Fantasy to create a Science Fantasy crossover where magic and technology intersect. Your books, even those which can be placed more in one genre than others still manage to feel somewhat outside of it all.

              I wouldn't expect you at this stage to pick up any of Norton's books, any more than you would be likely write a new Sojan tale in the style of the originals. I am glad that Elric has managed to mature as a character and a phenomena at pace with your writing style enough to bring us the newer books though!
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              • #8
                I know the first time I remember hearing about Multiverese was in comics books... I know Gardner Fox used the concept of multiple dimensions to arrange meetings between the Silver and Golden age Flash characters... I'm wondering if Fox might have been influenced by early EC stories.
                (I found the 'D'... it was hiding in my closet)

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                • #9
                  Terry Pratchett, too, writes about some ideas of the Multiverse (and even names it) in some of his Discworld-books.
                  Just as an example, there is a scene in Lords and Ladies, I think, where Granny Weatherwax tells Archchancellor Ridcully that, in another world, they married, had children together and died both some years ago when their house caught fire, and all that just because there is a place where every possibility is a truth...
                  There's more of that, but this on just popped into my mind.

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                  • #10
                    With all due respect to Gardner F. Fox, who wasn't the most original writer in the multiverse, I think he was one of the great synthesists of comics. I have never read superhero comics regularly, since Captain Marvel became Marvelman, so I doubt if that's as big an influence on me as, for instance, Philip Pullman claims Batman and Superman were on him. The concept, as I say, has been used in many fine sf stories, certainly since the 1930s and tended to be the kind of fantasy or sf I preferred as a kid -- L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt, for instance, wrote the Harold Shea stories, which I much enjoyed, and Poul Anderson wrote Three Hearts and Three Lions, one of my great favourites. A. Merritt's The Ship of Ishtar was another influential book.

                    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in Europe:
                    The Whispering Swarm: Book One of the Sanctuary of the White Friars - The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction
                    Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles - Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - Modem Times 2.0 - The Sunday Books - The Sundered Worlds


                    Pre-order or Buy my latest titles in the USA:
                    The Laughter of Carthage - Byzantium Endures - London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction - The Sunday Books - Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles
                    Kizuna: Fiction for Japan - The Sundered Worlds - The Winds of Limbo - Modem Times 2.0 - Elric: Swords and Roses

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                    • #11
                      I hate typos.... That was supposed to be influneced... not influence...

                      Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                      With all due respect to Gardner F. Fox, who wasn't the most original writer in the multiverse, I think he was one of the great synthesists of comics. I have never read superhero comics regularly, since Captain Marvel became Marvelman, so I doubt if that's as big an influence on me as, for instance, Philip Pullman claims Batman and Superman were on him. The concept, as I say, has been used in many fine sf stories, certainly since the 1930s and tended to be the kind of fantasy or sf I preferred as a kid -- L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt, for instance, wrote the Harold Shea stories, which I much enjoyed, and Poul Anderson wrote Three Hearts and Three Lions, one of my great favourites. A. Merritt's The Ship of Ishtar was another influential book.

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