Welcome to Moorcock's Miscellany

Dear reader,

Many people have given their valuable time to create a website for the pleasure of posing questions to Michael Moorcock, meeting people from around the world, and mining the site for information. Please follow one of the links above to learn more about the site.

Thank you,
Reinart der Fuchs
See more
See less

Visual imaginings of fiction

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Visual imaginings of fiction

    Oops! Another slightly awkward Perdixian construct title!

    This isn't exactly a new idea, but I'm interested in how readers 'visualise' the fiction that they are consuming at the time. This question arose from a discussion of the old chestnut about how films can 'ruin' the personal imagined world of a reader, as the cinematic interpretation is (of course) 'not how one imagined it'.

    Now, when I'm reading a book, I find that I don't always stick to one 'continuous' or internally-consistent set of images. In fact, particularly with SF or fantastical stories, I seem to hover in this peculiar world halfway between 'real' scenes and characters, and a sort of animated, cartoon-like medium which bears little resemblance to our physical experence, ie. my brain isn't playing a 'film' of the events, more creating a variable-medium construct of relatively vague impressions. The nearest things I can think of to illustrate what I'm driving at are (ironically) the films 'Yellow Submarine' or, perhaps, 'Mary Poppins' or 'bedknobs & Broomsticks', where setting and characterisation shifts between 'flesh & blood' and artwork. But it's a crude model; sometimes I just seem to drift into a 'chaotic' world of very disconnected abstractions that the fictional writing conjures up: there is no exact, logical imagery. I also find that the conjured visual imagery may vary on repeated readings, and that the characters change in appearance or behaviour between books (of the same series); there is a mutability of 'interpretation'. I find this only applies to my own characters when they are 'being created' - once formed, they are autonomous, and tend to be internally consistent, even if they do throw up odd behaviours and surprises, like one's children!

    A corollary of this is the effect that viewing a film (ie someone else's 'solidification') of the story has on one's internal imaginings: Colin Dexter said that he had to a certain extent to force himself not to write later 'Morse' stories with a view to John Thaw playing them! ie, the author himself had his original character idea partly modified by the televisual actuality!

    Will Mr M's 'Elric' be altered by his viewing of the film? It will surely be utterly different to the proto-Elric of the novels, and would possibly be so even if MM were to have total directorial and creative control of the movie - many 'imagined' things are just unfilmable. Or is the internal-Moorcock's own idea of Elric so rock-solid that external interpretation has no effect, like watching a film or play based on 'real' characters that the viewer knows personally in 'real' life? Aaaand, failing to pause for interrogative breath, was Elric visually a finished product with the first story, or did he 'morph' into different forms as time went by - subtle changes to the creator's visual conception of the character, like the changes in the cover illustrations?!?

    well, there you go... :D

  • #2
    Most of my own books are constructed according to a logical choice of images -- images which all fit at least into my own sense of order. I used partcular kinds of symbols, colours, resonances to give the books some sort of underlying order. I don't think I'm changed much by, say, comic versions of my stuff. I do listen to readers and will sometimes introduce or reintroduce stuff they've suggested, but of course I'd only do it if it resonated properly with what already existed.

    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