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Appreciation of EC Myth by Africans or Afro-Americans?

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  • Appreciation of EC Myth by Africans or Afro-Americans?

    Hello Mike,
    I'd be interested to know what feedback you have got over the years from people who are not of our European, American, Nordic, Eastern European and Mediteranean background regarding the various EC incarnations who in their iconography and symbolism don't relate so much with their cultures and backgrounds - and even appearance. Elric, even if he is a member of a species other than human, Hawkmoon, Corum, von Bek never seemed to have many ingredients from African, Asian or American Indian sources.
    How do readers from other ethnic-cultural background appreciate your Eternal Champion, any idea how the identification/reception process works nevertheless?

    I mean I could imagine that the motif of an eternal mission to maintain the balance between Chaos and Order can sure appeal to readers of many origins, while the EC characters appear "white" to me, if I may use this very unprecise word. It would be interesting to see if in a black man's imagination it works just the same. How much significance do the EC's hold for them?
    I'm sure people will have communicated their thoughts and feelings.

    On a side note, there is an old Mexican song called "Angelitos Negros", perhaps best interpreted in the 1940's by Toأ±a la Negra, a singer from Veracruz who I made a documentary about. This cancion is a complaint that the painter who creates all the beautiful murals in the church doesn't paint black Angels if God is supposed to love us all.
    Google ergo sum


  • #2
    black EC

    I think that in one of the Elric books Mike describes a meeting Elric has with Erekose and Erekose is described as a tall black man.Surely there could be "black incarnations" of EC.Mike just followed the typical motif.
    Some things first appear in one "form" and the replicas don't change so much.As far as your example...there are "black Christs" in countries with black people but-yes-the angels are considered to be white.Too much white in fact,blond hair etc etc.This is because they are the succesors of other white beings in European and Middle East(ern?) mythology.
    I would like to see a story of a black man by Mike.I mean,come on Mike!In the quiz topic about SF authors you proved you actually are...Ursula Leguin!And her famous hero-Ged-is black!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: black EC

      Originally posted by heiron
      ...
      Some things first appear in one "form" and the replicas don't change so much.As far as your example...there are "black Christs" in countries with black people but-yes-the angels are considered to be white.Too much white in fact,blond hair etc etc.This is because they are the succesors of other white beings in European and Middle East(ern?) mythology. ...!
      In Ethiopian painting you find the Angels are, well, brown - which has to do with the fact that Ethiopians perceive themselves as - not black!
      Google ergo sum

      Comment


      • #4
        Of course Jack K. and Sam, from the Second Ether trilogy, are fine examples of non-white EC chaps. Although not directly related to those two, I also enjoyed the Fabulous Harbours story with Poppy Begg (was it?) tapping in to Egyptian mythology. But it's an interesting question, so I'll shut up now and look forward to the answer... :)
        "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm not sure if this is germane to this discussion, but famous rapper, Coolio, has been quoted as saying his favorite books in the world are Anne Caffrey's Dragon Riders of Pern series. I also remember him saying that after he gets out of the hip-hop "game" he wants to retire and write high-fantasy novels. I'm not making this up!

          From Dr. Drew.com

          drDrew.com: What's your favorite thing to do when no one else is around?
          Coolio: Read fantasy books about knights and wizards and dragons. My favorite authors are Robert Jordan and Ann McCaffrey.


          No word on if he's ever read Elric or other EC novels.

          Comment


          • #6
            Jerry Cornelius has been obsidian.

            Rose is black.

            But I think the core of LETranger's question is still relevant.

            Have there been Chinese or Japanese ECs?
            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

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by DeeCrowSeer
              Of course Jack K. and Sam, from the Second Ether trilogy, are fine examples of non-white EC chaps.
              And with all apologies to the others, Jack K. may be the coolest incarnation of all.

              Comment


              • #8
                Erekose is black. At the end of Breakfast in the Ruins Karl Glogauer is black. Pretty much all the characters in the Second Ether trilogy have black or brown African origins. Jerry is black in some manifestations.
                It's true I haven't written many oriental characters (Professor Hira is one) but Revenge of the Rose was seen as primarily in a Japanese world, in my imagination at least. And, of course, I've put a lot of Amano's interpretations on the Orion omnibus collections. I thought my characters were pretty international, all in all!

                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


                • #10
                  Erekosأ« was also the first character I thought about when I read LEtranger's post. I always wondered why he is described as jet black in The King of the Swords, because I can't recall him being described as such in The Eternal Champion or in The Dragon In The Sword. Is Urlik Skarsol also black? What about John Daker? If John Daker was originally white and found himself all of a sudden as black Erekosأ«, that would have been an added surprise I would assume, but something of this sort is not noted by Daker/Erekosأ« who is the narrator of the story.

                  About Le Guin:
                  I see Ged as dark brownish-red, and all the other people in the book (except the Kargs and Serret) as brown or brown-red, to very dark or black (Vetch). In other words, in the Archipelago "people of color" are the norm, white people are an anomaly. Vice versa on the Kargish islands. That much is pretty clear in the books. How dark you want Ged to be is pretty much up to you! Why not? Readers rule, OK? But what drives me up the wall is cover illustrators - trying to get them not to make everybody white, white, white. Did you ever see the very first English edition of A Wizard of Earthsea? It was a Puffin paperback, I think. I was really excited about it - I think it was my first English publication - until I saw it. The Ged on the cover was this marshmallow-colored guy drooping like a lily in a sort of nightgown. Oh Lord! I think most white people have failed to notice that most of the people in most of my SF and fantasy are not white people. So. What else is new?
                  It seems then that when white people read books they automatically imagine the characters as white, even if the author hints otherwise! I must say that when originally reading the Earthsea books I failed to notice the characters were supposed to be dark skinned.

                  I think that as long as an author doesn't note the skin color of his or her characters, they can be interpreted as either white or black, and the interpretation would probably have to do with your own skin color.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Yes,Erekose is not described as a black guy in The eternal champion.I guess Mike meant that Erekose's incarnation when he meets Elric is a different one-one of a black guy.John Daker is a typical English man,I think.
                    I used to imagine Ged as a man like me-a mediterrenean kind of a man-although I knew it was wrong.SPOILER ABOUT TEHANU: As it is pretty obvious in the Wizard of the Earthsea,Ged and "her"(I forget names) become a couple.I think their colours(he-black,she-white) and the fact that they become a couple was a nice anti-racist story.Of course Tehanu was published in the 90's so it wasn't something special but the (nice) idea was always there by Leguin.END OF SPOILER
                    Haven't read The Ether trilogy,I will go to search for it.And for The Chinese Agent as well.
                    Hey,Munglam was supposed to be eastern but he wasn't described as Chinese or Indian.Of course that's normal as Elric lives in another world but I recall an invasion from the east by a horde that looked like Mongols.So there could be chinese-like heroes there,but Mike didn't mention much about these countries.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Still ... do you ever get a feedback on identification processes from Africans or Afro-Americans re. the EC and different manifestations of him?
                      It isn't only the colour I would imagine, but the deeper mythical layers that are touched.
                      Google ergo sum

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by heiron
                        Hey,Munglam was supposed to be eastern but he wasn't described as Chinese or Indian.Of course that's normal as Elric lives in another world but I recall an invasion from the east by a horde that looked like Mongols.So there could be chinese-like heroes there,but Mike didn't mention much about these countries.
                        I tend to think of Moonglum as being faintly oriental when I read the original Elric novellas, although as you say he's not described that way in the actual text. Likewise, several artists have depicted the Pan Tangians as Oriental, although I don't think that's specifically in Mike's stories either.

                        [broken link]
                        Last edited by Rothgo; 04-23-2010, 04:21 AM.
                        _"For an eternity Allard was alone in an icy limbo where all the colours were bright and sharp and comfortless.
                        _For another eternity Allard swam through seas without end, all green and cool and deep, where distorted creatures drifted, sometimes attacking him.
                        _And then, at last, he had reached the real world – the world he had created, where he was God and could create or destroy whatever he wished.
                        _He was supremely powerful. He told planets to destroy themselves, and they did. He created suns. Beautiful women flocked to be his. Of all men, he was the mightiest. Of all gods, he was the greatest."

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Oren Douek
                          It seems then that when white people read books they automatically imagine the characters as white, even if the author hints otherwise!
                          Fear of a Black Multiverse! (Sorry, that was a Public Enemy pun, rather than an accusation)

                          As a budding writer, with a supposedly "Latina" heroine, it's an issue that interest me because I don't want to keep going on about skin colour, but I sometimes feel it's necessary to drop a hint here and there. To some extent I'm engaged in "positive discrimination" (as we called it back at uni) but mostly it's just natural curiosity about the world outside my rain-swept corner of England.

                          But again, this doesn't answer L'Etranger's question so I'll shut up again. Promise.
                          "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Originally posted by heiron
                            Yes,Erekose is not described as a black guy in The eternal champion.I guess Mike meant that Erekose's incarnation when he meets Elric is a different one-one of a black guy.John Daker is a typical English man,I think.
                            My understanding was that the Erokose Elric meets is a sort of archtype of the Eternal Champion, and not actually John Daker/Erekose. If I recall he says something to that effect when first introduced. When asked his name he says something like, "Erekose, I suppose, since that is life in which I experienced the most peace." I cannot recall the exact quote and don't have the book handy; but I thinkt hat's the gist of it.

                            So John Daker is, I think, your typical Anglo-Saxon Briton; and, thus, the version of Erekose that he finds himself in is also white. However, the other Erekose is black, as described, and only assumes the name Erekose because it was his prefered incarnation. What his real/birth name might be is anyone's guess.

                            Another possible black EC, although not cononiacal, I think could be The Gypsy Prince from Tad Williams's short story, "Go Ask Elric" in "Tales of the White Wolf." By extension, I guess you could say Jimi Hendrix is also an EC

                            As far as other non-European cultures being represented in the EC, the most prevalent would now be American Indian, thanks to MoaS and the new Elric books. I think that there is alot of room for south asian (Indian) and east asian takes on the EC and maybe someday we'll see more of this...
                            "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
                            --Thomas a Kempis

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