Announcement

Collapse

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

Daily Reminder: Mike wrote The Final Programme in nine days

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Daily Reminder: Mike wrote The Final Programme in nine days

    [broken link]
    Last edited by Rothgo; 04-22-2010, 08:22 AM.
    The cat spread its wings and flew high into the air, hovering to keep pace with them as they moved cautiously toward the city. Then, as they climbed over the rubble of what had once been a gateway and began to make their way through piles of weed-grown masonry, the cat flew to the squat building with the yellow dome upon its roof. It flew twice around the dome and then came back to settle on Jhary's shoulder. - The King of the Swords

  • #2
    this makes me wonder if Gloriana was written "straightforward" in six weeks, including the new version of the 90آ´s, or only the original version? and, even more generally, does this mean the amount of time from the very first idea to the finished manuscript!? that would be quite astonishing.

    Comment


    • #3
      This leaves out the long period of thinking over the book, working out the structure and so on. But I did write it rapidly. Even most of the poetry parodies were done at the same sort of speed, with hardly a break. It's just the way I worked. I wish I could still work at that speed. For a while I thought that I could and it took me a while to realise that I can't any more. It has to do with greater ambitions, more complex structuring and so on. The simple Elizabethan structure of Gloriana into four parts
      reflecting the seasons was a very easy one. Mother London, which used twelves to get the structure I needed, took a lot longer. The forthcoming final Pyat novel The Vengeance of Rome took still longer, of course. Even relatively short novels, like Pete's Rules, which I've been working on (from time to time) for a while now will take longer. I think it had a lot to do with physical energy. Up until I was, say, 45 I seemed capable of extraordinary speed of composition. Gradually, over the past twenty years, I haven't been able to maintain those speeds. I still tend to work faster than the average writer, maybe out of habit, but I can't rely on simple andrenalin, coffee and sugar any longer! On the other hand, unlike several other fast writers, I'm still alive!

      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

      Comment


      • #4
        Saddle up, Pilgrim!

        I wish to respond to some of this. Here's the bit Mr. Moorcock wrote on Conrad:

        Conrad: " My main complaint about teaching Conrad is that they use Heart of Darkness for teaching. This is a very woolly bit of Conrad but is easily slotted into a humanist issue (Belgians in Congo) and means the teachers can talk a lot of fuzzy social nonsense. Lord Jim is central to Conrad, so I've no problem with that. And to be fair I doubt if any teacher would start a student on Nostromo. I have many criticisms of F.R.Leavis, the influential Cambridge English don who so politicised English Literature it's never recovered, but his choice of Victory as Conrad's best and Heart as one of his worst is something I heartily agree with. "

        The characterization of "wooly headed" is just the sort of thing Marlowe's audience is saying as he tells his story, and it's not exactly a group I should like to number myself among. Marlowe is being somewhat obscure for two reasons. First, he is creating for his listeners the sense of the expereince, which, when he was back in Africa, was not quite clear to him as it unfolded, and after all contains some rather purple insights concerning life, the universe and everything. Second, Marlowe is articulating some even more frighetneing revelations about the lower-middle classes, who Conrad (or is it Marlowe?) rightly sees as the timid, unimaginative, greedy and rather swarmy class that makes dictatorships possible: dictatorships like the company all those "pilgrims", as Marlowe calls them, work for. I refer you to the sinister methods of the administrator of the trading station--and then of course there's Kurtz! If PC teachers use the story to ridicule empirialism they are on the right track, but ironically they are teaching a story that pointedly ridicules the world views, assumptions and fears of the very same bureaucratc class that, after all, teachers--with their "credentials" and their "meetings" and their "procedures" and their administrative "structures" and their quasi-military "pecking order" and their pseudo-scientific social and pedagogical "theories"--represent.

        The African setting is incidental; however, it makes a fine backdrop for what is essentailly a 19th century cowboy adventure, comparable to Francis Parkman's *The Oregon Trail*, that delightful diary of a spirited eastern gentleman who, like many gentleman in those days, thought it might be good sport to go see how the pilgrims were faring on the road west. Conrad's story is after all good fun: with the exception of the early bits in *Victory*, some of the best fun Conrad has in all his writing. And that this cowboy story comes with an essentially cowboy moral--LOWER MIDDLE CLASS BUREAUCRATS SUCK--is not suprprising. The wonder of it all is that the teachers who use it to talk about imperalism are evidently oblivious to the fact that Conrad is saying that unimaginative corporate types such as themselves--the real butt of the joke in this instance--are themselves the sort of people who make imperialism possible: unimaginative, huddlled, lacking skills, sucking up to their supervisors, fearing their supervisors, bowing down to the myth of one success profile or another....

        Please, have another look at this remarkable story.

        Best,

        Cowboy

        Comment


        • #6
          I agree with Cowboy's assessment and interpretation -- that's certainly one of the ways the work can be read, and it's one of the ways I look at the narrative. (There are other things going on in the story, too, of course.)

          However, I'd personally be reluctant to suggest to anyone that they ought to look at a work that didn't appeal to them on first reading. There are books that have been written -- good books, in many cases -- that simply don't connect with certain readers. I could give examples from my own experience; I'll mention one: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It leaves me absolutely cold, even though I think it has many worthy aspects.

          There's "goodness" in literature, and "personal taste." They aren't necessarily the same thing.

          LSN

          Comment


          • #7
            While I recognise Joyce's talents, I find it hard to LIKE his work.
            Just the way it is. I'm inclined to agree with you. I never try to persuade people to 'try again' with anything they don't like, because temperament comes into play with everything. I agree Bach is a genius.
            I don't like most Bach. Similarly, my wife can't see any reason why I should be such an enthusiast for Messiaen. What's more, where it comes to entertainment, you can't argue for the merits of one rock and roll band, for instance, over another. We choose what we like.
            Nonetheless, I'd be ready to reread Heart of Darkness for the same reason I went back to 2001: A Space Odyssey three times on the basis that if so many people enjoyed it, maybe I'd discover what it was.
            I don't think I'll try LOTR any more, though! I suspect I'll get more out of Conrad, anyway.

            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

            Comment


            • #8
              Know what you mean. I admire a few of the stories in Dubliners, and I can honestly claim to "like" (highly subjective reaction) Ulysses, but Portrait... isn't my thing. And I understand (at least in part) what Joyce was doing in Finnegans Wake, but the document that he produced doesn't really entertain me much.

              Joyce, in the amount of time he took to bring forth each work, is in a funny way the anti-Moorcock. How many years for Finnegans Wake and Ulysses and Portrait... ? At least in part, it's because his method required lots of second and third thoughts; the degree to which he revised each page shows that.

              I'm surprised that your wife doesn't care for Olivier Messaien. Not even "Couleurs de la Citأ© Celeste" or "Quatuor pour la fin du temps" or "Chronochromie" ?

              I've known listeners to be irritated by "Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum" for various reasons, but few people object to the music itself. (There's one place where it is very loud in a surprising way that seems to have an unpleasant effect for some.)

              There's no accounting for differences in taste. :lol:

              LSN

              Comment


              • #9
                Mr. Moorcock:

                You might find this book interesting:

                AUTHORITARIAN SOCIALISM IN AMERICA: EDWARD BELLAMY AND THE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT by Arthur Lipow

                Among other things, Lipow explores the class issue that is highlighted by Conrad's satire in H of D.

                As for Joyce. That is hard. Kelts! Strange bodies them. Suffice it to say the Keltic literary mind--particulalry the Scottish and American varieties--is pretty darn amazing. But Joyce . . . would it be pushing things to say that . . . well, this is my opinion you understand, but I have to put it out there: ahem, Joyce is wonderful in all sorts of ways, but at the end of the day the stuff comes across as a bunch of balarney.

                :oops:



                Cowboy

                Comment


                • #10
                  Not that Lipow thinks to mention Conrad of course. Not his subject. But the issue is clearly there.

                  Cowboy

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    I'll look out for the book. Thanks.
                    Well, I'm pretty fond of Swift, Lever, Wilde, Yeats, AE and a whole bunch of other Irish writers (including Anglo-Irish, if you count George Moore and one of my all time favourites, Elizabeth Bowen!). Meredith claimed to have Celtic blood (though it's dubious -- but he based much of his self-image on it). I like an awful lot of other Scottish and Welsh writers. I admire Joyce well enough. I just don't LIKE him much.

                    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

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                      ... I admire Joyce well enough. I just don't LIKE him much.
                      That's the way I feel about William Burroughs. Quite possibly, for similiar reasons. Got to admire the style and willingness to experiment, but you come away with a vivid impression of the whiff of unwashed underclothes and bodily fluids. :?

                      Comment


                      • #14
                        I just reread Naked Lunch recently, and can claim to "like" (as in be consistently interested, entertained, or amused by) Burroughs' work. I haven't read Nova Express in many years, but I liked it, with a few reservations. Nevertheless, I understand, but do not share, AndroMan's (what sounds like) mild revulsion. Considering his visceral reaction to certain of the edgier aspects of Burroughs' work, goodness knows how he reacts to Jean Genet.

                        Concerning Joyce, I appreciate what he did, and at times I genuinely like the work. I've always liked the stories "Araby" and "The Dead," and there's some absolutely deadly irony in "Ivy Day in the Committee Room." I like and admire Ulysses, even though it has stretches that make me go, "Yeah, yeah, whatever." An alternately brilliant and tedious book. Sometimes, his sense of comedy doesn't hit my personal bull's eye, but the work is skillfully done, and even when I don't "like" it, I can admire the art with which it was done.

                        My feelings towards Portrait... are not for the most part as positive. That doesn't make it "bad." In fact, I believe it's a pretty accomplished piece of work, albeit not devoid of purple passages. I just don't care for it personally. In part, I'm put off by the personality of the protagonist, Stephen Dedalus, especially in the last phase of the novel. If it's an accurate self-portrait, as is sometimes claimed, it makes one wonder. :lol:

                        Joyce's approach to fiction is an interesting one, and many writers have learned methods and procedures from his example -- to name some sf writers, I think of people like Alfred Bester and Samuel R. Delany.

                        Still, it's not the ONLY way to do things. There are many other, equally valid approaches. Maupassant, in a preface he wrote to his excellent novel, Pierre et Jean, made a plea for multiplicity of approach and method in the novel that seems to me to the point. As Aldous Huxley once put it, a novel is whatever a novelist can get away with.

                        LSN

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          I think it's that coldness that gets to me. I think of how good terrible old Ezra Pound was to his colleagues and friends and how Joyce seemed to cut almost everyone off. Maybe that's the mark of a greater genius, but ultimately we choose favourite writers amongst geniuses and barmy as he was I find Pound more appealing (as long as I'm not reading his anti-semitic filth -- I doubt if I'd have liked him personally). I like Eliot better, too, and I'm inclined to accept Peter Ackroyd's theory that he turned both his wives barmy, so it's clearly not just someone's qualities of character which do it for me. Meredith seems distant and cold to some (perhaps because he didn't embrace modernism but looked back to the l8th century) but for me he's one of the most engaged and passionate writers of the 19th century. There again self-educated people like me are inclined to like writers who aren't commonly included in the canon, so that could be MY temperamental preference. I suspect George Moore isn't usually included for the same reasons above.

                          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

                          Comment

                          Working...
                          X