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Ergo Ego

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  • Ergo Ego

    While we're reflecting on the life of the young Moorcock in the Jazz Fan thread, I thought I'd mention that I recently managed to get hold of Ergo Ego from John Davey - I hope to get a few scans up in the near future, although I sadly won't be able to do the whole issue. That seems to have been put together after your travels around Europe, Mike, as there are humourous references to your travels in it. Any recollections on the background to putting out that fanzine? Was it done before you started writing the Elric stories and other work from the early 60s?
    'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

    Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

  • #2
    Last fanzine I ever produced shortly before getting married and, yes, after returning from Europe where I'd lost -- somewhere around Hamburg -- some of the related short stories. I then lost the stencilled cover while hitchhiking back from Tunbridge Wells and had to ask Jim to do another one.I still wrote occasionally for fanzines after that but never published another.

    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


    • #3
      s

      When do the writings in Ergo Ego date from? One is titled 'Fragment, 1956' and I think you mentioned elsewhere that a short bit of The Hungry Dreamers appeared in there.

      There seems to be a gap in your writing career from 1959/60 to 1961 when the first Elric stories appeared. Presumably you were still writing during that period, but nothing really seems to have been published from your first appearance in New Worlds with Peace On Earth up to Elric. Was that reference on the cover of Ergo Ego about being 'rejected by a dozen of the best publishers' a joke or a statement of fact - there seems to be some self-deprecating humour runnning through the fanzine?

      Can you fill us in a bit on your travels around then? You seem to have spent quite a period of time in Europe - were you backwards and forwards from England to Europe or did you spend a long stretches abroad? Did you take much with you? The 'chronology' in Ergo Ego seems to indicate you were in Paris (1958 & 59), Berlin (60), Oxford (61), Stockholm/Uppsala (61) and Brussels (61).

      In Ian Covell's informative interview in Science Fiction Review in 1979 you talk about performing in nightclubs and busking in Europe, pawning your guitar, hitchhiking in Paris and being found starving and fainting and sent home by the British Consulate and also climbing mountains in Lapland, but I've never really got a clear picture of the whole period, just bits and pieces. Would you say that period of travel was reflected in your subsequent writing? The settings of sections of The Final Programme, for example, seem to mirror some of them.

      p.s. sorry for all the questions, but I'm interested in this 'silent' period of your career. When is someone going to write that detailed biography of your life?
      'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

      Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

      Comment


      • #4
        Jingle Cap

        One of the Time Centre Times issues I've just got includes a repro of Jingle Cap, which is described as a supplement to Ergo Ego. Were these sent out together, or separately?
        'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

        Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

        Comment


        • #5
          I was in Sweden and then hitchiking across Europe, but I'd probably had a fair amount of anonymous work published in that period. I wrote Caribbean Crisis around that time, too. It took quite a while to appear, while Bill Baker shifted its politics to the right!
          Most Ergo Ego stuff was from before my travels -- actually all that remained of my manuscripts, most of which I lost somewhere in Hamburg after helping celebrate a policeman's birthday (long story).
          Lost a whole bag with work in it, including what you might call most of my first belle epoque period (Alien Heat represents my second).
          I went to Sweden in 1959 and stayed in Uppsala before going up to Norrlands first with Lars Helander, my old friend, and then meeting up with Dave Harvey to go further up to Kiruna and the mountains of Lapland. Back in Upsala I found I'd lost my regular nightclub gig (they'd never been that happy with blues) and I pawned my guitar, left the ticket with Dave and hitchiked to Paris. No money was waiting for me as I'd hoped at George Whitman's bookstore (then called Le Mistral -- now renamed somewhat spuriously Shakespeare and Co) and I hung around without food (and being wary of George's offered bed) until I was very weak. At that point I was found sleeping in the Luxembourg Gardens (I can still be found sleeping there on occasions...) and a bit feverish. I was taken to the British Embassy, who sent me home, having taken my passport. I got the passport back after I'd paid them for my ticket.
          I then shared digs with Barry Bayley in Holloway and we began our writing partnership, mostly for Fleetway -- also Duel Among the Wine Green Suns. Met and married Hilary and kids came quickly after that.
          Wrote a lot more comics and stuff as well as stories for Carnell until I took over NW. Early sf novels for Compact (some done as NW serials rather rapidly because we didn't one -- all written month to month,
          including A Cure for Cancer, to hit the NW deadline). Almost every novel was written in three days because advances for fiction were actually less than I could make writing comics and three days was all the time I could afford. I must admit I'm vague about some dates and the fanzines going up are actually helping me get some memories in order! Thanks!

          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


          • #6
            Very interesting biographical info Mike, thanks for that. I'm sure we'd all love to hear the story about the policeman's birthday if you have the time to tell it... :)
            'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

            Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

            Comment


            • #7
              Just down near the docks, hoping to get a lift from a trucker. In a bar waiting to see who came in. Who came in was a bunch of people whom I thought rather sinister. They were talking in hushed voices, glancing at me. Eventually the door burst open and in came these gun-toting cops (don't forget armed cops were still unfamiliar to Brits). More murmured comments. Then the bar fell silent. The doors opened again and another cop entered. Suddenly the place erupted with sound. Someone produced a bunch of flowers and a cake. 'Happy Birthday, Klaus!' they
              shouted. They then insisted I join them and help celebrate Klaus's birthday. A lot of schnapps later -- bag gone, I'm lying on a concrete road island watching the Krupp sign flickering in the grey dawn light...

              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

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