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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.

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Mike and Berry

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  • Mike and Berry

    A Question to Mike and Berry, I just wondered what was the history of you guys working together? Is there a story there, how did it all happen? Is Berry doing all this solely because he is fan? I normally only have time to look at the first couple of pages of Q&A myself, but then I discovered only recently that there is also a ton of other pages here! It reminded me how I used to think that there was a group of authors all writing together under the name Michael Moorcock because there was so much stuff out there! Well its possible! - kind of like the way that Hawkwind has had more musicians and writers than any other band I can think of.

    Talking about Hawkwind, Sometime ago I actually set up a Q&A site for Hawkwind and asked the senior band members if they would like to participate but had no reply whatsoever. I still enjoy the music, but I thought they could have at least said no thanks or something. Oh well......

  • #2
    High School, Tanelorn, multiverse.org, and MWM

    Here is my part of the story.

    Around 1981 I met my best friend who enjoyed reading as much as I did. A couple of years into reading he hands me the first Elric book and says, "Hey, you're gonna like this." I snapped through that book in a few days and asked him for the rest. I read the Corum series and then the Hawkmoon series. I spent the next 3 years seeking out all the tangential books I could find. So I guess you could say I was a fan.

    I started at Cerritos Community College where I encountered a guy in my psych class who owned a copy of The Eternal Champion, a long sought after book. I went to his house and as he handed me the book he says, "Yeah, this guy's dead." Until around early 1997 or maybe late 1996 I thought Michael was dead.

    The first computer related job I ever had was at Software Etc. a small computer software retailer that sold game carts and software. Software Etc. was born from the B. Dalton "Software Etc." column near the back of the store. I worked at a very slow store, so I had plenty of time to read technical manuals while working. As my knowledge increased, I began to realize that I could do more than sell software. One day a dude came and was raving on about HTML and web pages and how I should get into them. They and The Internet were going to change the world. Since I was pretty low income and he used the word "free" numerous times I knew I had to check it out. As a store manager I was entitled to a free account to Prodigy. So I joined up and discovered that I could surf the web with a hacked up version of Netscape 1.0 and Prodigy had a free web page builder. So I created the first version of what would become multiverse.org and called it Tanelorn.

    Why Tanelorn? The idea had grown in my mind over the many years since reading my MM books. I felt that the city of peace was the perfect allegory for my understanding of the World Wide Web. The page was a place and Tanelorn was my tribute to the dead Michael Moorcock. I figured if he were going anywhere when he died it would be to a place a lot like Tanelorn. So this "shrine" as such pages were called was built using the Prodigy web page template system. The site no longer exists and I don't even have a print out of the page. Not to worry, it wasn't much to look at any way. It was just a paragraph about Tanelorn and Michael with a few links to the pages I had found that I liked.

    Later I discovered Yahoo!, which was helpful in discovering other Moorcock related sites. A couple of them still exist: Sweet Despise and Tom Zunder's site. There used to be a newsgroup called elric.rat.org, I think it was called. The oldest interview on the net that I can recall is the one at The Austin Chronicle. By this time I had decided that I had to build my own site from scratch so I engineered a deal with a local ISP and my store that gave me FTP access and some web space. That is when Tanelorn 2.0 came a long. Some of you may remember the multicolored and stylistic, if sometimes unbearably crappy, site where I gathered an insane amount of material that is with us yet. I have files burned to disk that no one has seen yet or in years. One website even zipped up the material and sent it to me before they shut their site down. I was very insensitive to the ownership of other people’s content back during this time.

    While hunting down Cawthorn’s maps for the Cartography Section of Tanelorn someone named Bill (Michael's book writing cat) got back to me and told me that I should just contact Cawthorn for permission. I am pretty sure it was John Davey who engineered the communication between Michael and I. At the time I was communicating with John regarding The Nomads and I began to understand that Michael was still alive though I wasn’t consciously looking to confirm it. I hope I have the very first email burned to a CD somewhere. I’m looking at a mail from August 1998 right now that I printed from my Hotmail account. The content is a familiar story to most who have been reading here and at the old multiverse.org site. Multiverse.com were on the verge of trademarking “multiverse�, Game Workshop had cranked out another rip off and White Wolf weren’t coming through for him (thus endangering the rest of that series of books).

    Well, Michael and John helped me with getting information that I needed for the site. I began to marshal other websites that had popped up into the Webring system and I used many other methods of spreading the site onto the World Wide Web to make it easier for others to find. That was mostly successful. There have been many failures along the way related to the aspect of getting web space for free. To get the best bandwidth, uptime and fastest servers we have to spend a lot of money. Instead of spending money, I always seek free hosting and deal with the complications of not having a sweet set up. One of two reasons for doing this should be obvious. I am not rich so I cannot afford such fine equipment and bandwidth (even though I tried it and failed due to a windstorm). Michael has never paid me to do the site, which is fair, since he never asked me to do it. This project is great experience in computers for me (a certain and public ulterior motive). The second reason is that it offers us a kind of protection. No one can buy this site out. There’s no business attached to it. We don’t have a shopping cart. Michael has told me time and again that it’s okay for us to do mostly what we want as long as it isn’t commercial. Any situation that arises that may force me into a corner (say some intellectual property issue with lawyers), I can easily pull the plug on part of or all of the website. If we are forced to close down, we can resurface in the future in some other form or at some other location, like Michael’s Tanelorn (and this reflects my earliest understanding of The Internet).

    In 1997 Michael and I had our first telephone conversation about what would become the Q&A. He said he would love to be able to communicate with readers. I inferred he’d like to preserve his privacy. So I wrote a very bad ASP web application to achieve the goal. My favorite author gave me the chance to expand my earlier projects in a way that I could learn even more technology. Who wouldn’t jump on that project? The application was so bad and I was so inexperienced at writing database transactions, several questions and answers were corrupted, but after I fixed the issue we were running pretty good. So Tanelorn became multiverse.org and I must say, our ~3500 questions entertained one and all. Multiverse.org was ported to JSP/Java (a much better language than M$’s ASP) almost 6 months after I wrote it in ASP and the site remained fundamentally untouched for about 4 years.

    I very much enjoyed building multiverse.org. I had so much fun that after a couple of years I discovered that many of Michael’s business contacts and friends were having trouble using the “unique� navigation system. This made me feel sick, because my chance to impress people in the industry was blown away. I festered over this for at least two years, but I couldn’t find the time to resolve the problems the old site was having. Other problems included; hairballing of the code over time, great amounts of time for fixing problems or adding information, lack of understanding of some of the code a couple of my friends had written, preventing hacking situations and other very technically boring problems. A community was coalescing and I didn’t know how to preserve it in the overall difficult to manage portal I had built. I had to port multiverse.org from one server outage to the next. I started working for Web-X who allowed me to be on their servers, but had to move to my friend’s network, then to my own computer on his network, then my own DSL based network and finally to the horrible PEHosting. We pay PEHosting about $10 monthly, the first time I have ever paid anything on the project. Luis and I are currently seeking a low cost ISP so we can migrate away from PEHOsting. I've changed the system at least 6 times now and the recent upgrade to 7.3 required a $10 purchase of the portal. Managing multiverse.org/MWM has been an experience that has paralleled nothing I have done, professionally speaking. My current computer expertise is inextricably bound to the freedom Mr. Moorcock has given me with his intellectual property.

    The greatest pleasures I’ve enjoyed on the project are many. Here are a few. I was at Michael’s 60th birthday party at the Circle Squared, where I met people I had encountered via multiverse.org, and what a party that was! I’ve bumped into him and Linda near San Francisco for a meal or two where we talked about The Chaos Engineers for a very long time. I’ve been given many pieces of media. I’ve had small bits of information about this or that, which I’ve never published on the site. I got a copy KING OF THE CITY before it was ever printed. Many of the visitors here have given me bits of media. Lastly, I have had the opportunity to be around intelligent people who share my interest in Michael’s work. I’ve also been very stimulated by all the technical work required to maintain the site. Believe me, I really do enjoy it. I enjoy this version of multiverse.org more than any other because of the ease of management. I also have friends in Michael and Linda for whom I care deeply. MWM has become a work of friendship and community. I hope you all will find a friend in Michael, via the Q&A. And I guess that’s my greatest accomplishment to date. I think I’ve engineered a situation where all of Mike’s readers can have that personal one-to-one discourse.

    The whole time Michael has been complimentary, gracious, charming and a continued source of enthusiasm, inspiration and patience. He’s had to put up with emails requesting information, degradation of his IP and annoying email outages. He has helped me to understand so many things about his work and helped me change into a different kind of person. I used to refer to people at the site as “fans� and after an email I understood what multiverse.org would become. It became Moorcock’s Weekly Miscellany a place where “readers� come. After I read that email I stopped being a fan and became a reader. This differentiation defines, I think, what Michael is all about and it is demonstrated in the Q&A: Michael loves people and is a natural humanitarian. “Reader� is to “fan� as “appetite� is to “greed�, I think. No offense intended, but you get the idea. My own “fan boi� (fan boi is a quirky variation of “fan boy� the worst kind of fan – a true fanatic) impulses have been strong since the first day, but I have been successful at quelling the behavior over all.

    Multiverse.org is this Chaos Engineer’s Holy Grail.
    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

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    • #3
      That's one of the coolest strories I've ever read.

      Lucky for us things transpired as they did.

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      • #4
        Very cool...nice story and great work with the website!

        You'll be designing super-computers before long.

        Grateful to both yourself and Mr. Moorcock for the time and energy well spent.
        \"No, I think Space is a dimension of Time. My theory is that Time is a field and that Space exists as an aspect of Time.\" Michael Moorcock

        \"All I know about anything is \"I wasn\'t. I am. I will not be.\" Michael Moorcock

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        • #5
          Awesome, I think we all envy you at least a little Berry. I know I do! ;)

          Thanos

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          • #6
            "Fan boi" I've never been a zealous fan of anything i think?...

            Like those fans who want to hang out with stars and shit..
            I saw a documentary about Kiss fans et al... They were really creepy those fans.. I don't think i would want to be that kinda person unto any authour, or famous persona. It's just unhealthy..

            Although i do sincerely thank Michael for investing some time and effort in helping me with a problem i had a few weeks ago. And it just shows how generous and understanding a spirit Michael has. He's a great guy. :D

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            • #7
              Once again, respect is due to Mr Sizemore... not only for his technical expertise, but also his perseverance. And, of course, it goes without saying that Mr M is to be congratulated for having faith in his readers not to abuse the opportunities afforded to us through this forum... er, have we abused them yet? Probably. But he keeps coming back, so bless him for that.

              I never heard the rumour about our patron's untimely demise, but it must be strange to think that one of your favourite authors is dead and then find a new book sitting on the shelves! Might lead one to presume (as Corum says) that it was just a pen-name for a group of writers, or perhaps a sinister cat bent on achieving world-publishing domination via all nine of their lives? Actually that's a good point. We have ample proof that Mr M is alive and well, but what proof do we have that he isn't a cat in some sort of robotic suit? Steam-powered, naturally.

              D...
              "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

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              • #9
                I have a photo of a black cat putting the finishing touches on THE SKRAYLING TREE. One black cat, deep in concentration, intently pushing the keys on a keyboard. I HAVE EVIDENCE I TELL YOU!

                And I've uncovered another of your sinister plans. Those airships you keep mentioning aren't powered by air at all! Your "airships" are actually cat powered!

                Behold! I found buried deep within the bits and bytes of Mr. Kaplan's Superbliner schematics a digital original. They cleverly disguised the images they provided to us in the Superbliner thread - URL EXPIRED - but I uncovered what they were really planning.

                [broken link]

                I suspect you had trouble getting that thing to fly because of the noble resistance of the cat, but your perfidy has been revealed!
                Last edited by Rothgo; 04-21-2010, 02:19 PM.
                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

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                • #10
                  It's possible to believe MM is dead here in USA.
                  His books, before the internet, really were hard to
                  find. And most of us didn't know how extensive
                  his work is.
                  \"Bush\'s army of barmy bigots is the worst thing that\'s happened to the US in some years...\"
                  Michael Moorcock - 3am Magazine Interview

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                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Berry Sizemore
                    !And I've uncovered another of your sinister plans. Those airships you keep mentioning aren't powered by air at all! Your "airships" are actually cat powered!
                    I see the design problem. If my cats are any indication, the ships will only fly about 3 hours out of every 24. The passengers will also need to take leisurely naps throughout their flights, and I expect the ships will require very large amounts of tuna.

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                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Doc
                      I see the design problem. If my cats are any indication, the ships will only fly about 3 hours out of every 24. The passengers will also need to take leisurely naps throughout their flights, and I expect the ships will require very large amounts of tuna.
                      And what happens if they get in to a "dogfight"?

                      D...
                      "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger." - Trevor Goodchild

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        Originally posted by DeeCrowSeer
                        Originally posted by Doc
                        I see the design problem. If my cats are any indication, the ships will only fly about 3 hours out of every 24. The passengers will also need to take leisurely naps throughout their flights, and I expect the ships will require very large amounts of tuna.
                        And what happens if they get in to a "dogfight"?

                        D...
                        ...why, that would be a catastrophe

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                        • #14
                          Originally posted by DeeCrowSeer
                          I never heard the rumour about our patron's untimely demise, but it must be strange to think that one of your favourite authors is dead and then find a new book sitting on the shelves!
                          When I was a bookseller, L. Ron Hubbard did it all the time! A new meaning to the term ghostwriting.

                          Originally posted by DeeCrowSeer
                          We have ample proof that Mr M is alive and well, but what proof do we have that he isn't a cat in some sort of robotic suit? Steam-powered, naturally.
                          Originally posted by Berry Sizemore
                          I have a photo of a black cat putting the finishing touches on THE SKRAYLING TREE. One black cat, deep in concentration, intently pushing the keys on a keyboard. I HAVE EVIDENCE I TELL YOU!
                          There may be some truth in what you both say. The black cat that goes by the name "Billy", has a certain alien intelligence in it's eyes. I noticed this immediately when I began my catsitting in April. Many a night I could have sworn I heard typing coming from the locked office. And, on more than one occasion, I swear I heard the sound of metallic footsteps and whistles of steam late at night. I would have investigated if not for the odd rattle of the doorknob to the guestbed, and the mysterious scratching sound at the door! I can speak no more of this other than to say that at dawn, all seemed normal. Yes...normal. Perhaps just a reoccurring dream. 8O

                          TL

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                          • #15
                            I must admit The White Wolf's Son once again has a completely unrationalised appearance of a large black cat again... These passages have appeared mysteriously, usually early in the morning. When I cut them out, they appear again the next morning. But is this something I'm not admitting to myself. So what's the answer ?

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