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Frank

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  • Frank

    It's been a while since I read Elric of Melnibone, so reading the graphic version jogged my mind on this and I always did wonder...

    Elric steps through the Shade Gate, meets Rackhir, enters Ameeron, and just before he encounters Niun-Who-Knew-All, he and Rackhir fight some creatures (Pig, Snake, and Thing). Familiar scene, of course, right?

    As 'Thing' dies, he whispers the name Frank with his dying breath. Now, considering the many crossovers and subtle interlinkages filling the EC Saga, am I right in assuming that this 'Thing' is, or is a reference to, Frank Cornelius?

    Or was I reading wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too much into things? 8O 8O 8O

  • #2
    It's Frank alright. MM's work is full of such cross references.

    Now read on!

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    • #3
      Yeah, I always did wonder. I mean, it is obviously Frank, but is it? You know...
      I couldn't figure out how Frank would have got to be that way. But then I never could get through the Jerry Cornelius stuff, so maybe I missed something along the way.
      I barely got through the first three, and haven't got to the fourth or beyond. Too young I think, don't have any direct personal reference to the era the early Jerry stuff was based in. (25, just, btw)
      The wierd thing is, at the time I first read Elric when I was about 18, I'd obviously heard of Elric through the Role Playing connections, but was only vaguely aware of Jerry, as a character and nothing more. The books were all on my dad's bookshelf, but I'd never looked at them until I started reading them.
      Anyway, the wierd thing was that as soon as I read that the first time I thought of Frank Cornelius, but at the time I didn't know that Jerry had a brother! I can only assume I saw a book when I was very young and that it stayed with me somehow as a deeply buried memory.
      Strange. Still, I do love those references. Gives the Multiverse a sense of depth.

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      • #4
        If the cultural references are a problem, you might want to pick up The Lives and Times of Jerry Cornelius and work backwards. They're much more recent stories historically, with the last one set in 2002.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by TheEighthSon
          I can only assume I saw a book when I was very young and that it stayed with me somehow as a deeply buried memory.
          Strange.
          Give yourself a little credit for some intelligence. Isn't it possible that you naturally predicted a complex pattern?
          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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          • #6
            When I've got through my current stuff I do plan on going back to the Jerry Cornelis stuff. I've got the whole series up to Firing the Cathedral (signed ).

            I remember that the first four can be read in any order, so I gather that the others can also... I guess I'm just used to reading things in the 'correct' order, but if there's any problems next time round I'll give that idea a try.

            Give yourself a little credit for some intelligence. Isn't it possible that you naturally predicted a complex pattern?
            It's always possible, and I do like to credit my intelligence whenever I can :D , to whoever will listen :D :D :D , but there's predicting things and getting things uncannily spot on like that. Only knowing Jerry as a name I'd have no idea at the time that he had a brother, let alone his name. Maybe it's an example of Mike's work entering a collective human subconscious or something 8O :? . It's like, I know nothing about Berry, but it would be wierd if I knew your sister is called Mary, without even knowing if you even had a sister!

            Meh... It's all good, regardless. :D

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            • #7
              The recent death of Derrida reminds me that I wrote the Cornelius books on the basis that every reader puts their own interpretation on a work of fiction, so these were designed that way -- so you could interpret them any way you liked and read them in any order you liked. My only provision is, I suppose, that I think The Final Programme isnآ´t as assured a book as all the ones which followed it, because I hadnآ´t quite got my sea-legs with the series at that stage. Certainly everything which followed is intended to be read however you choose, to make whatever you like of the material. Even the more clearly آ´satiricalآ´stories, like Firing the Cathedral, have counter-riffs which are there to offer more than one argument. Iآ´m curious, while on the subject -- does anyone else know of any other work designed to be read in this way ?

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              • #8
                I did see a reissue of a book recently - I think it was French, from the 60s, where the chapters were loose and could be read in any order you like - which seems to be an extension of the same idea. Wish I could remember the title.

                Would you call yourself a "pre-post-modernist", by the way? :lol:
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                • #9
                  In answer to Michael's question, well of course there's the Naked Lunch by Burroughs, though that's just one book and not a series. I read it from page one to the end though, and I bet most people do.
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                  • #10
                    I think, Michael, with regard to your whole body of work, that it can be read in any order.
                    It was certainly the way I read it first time round, picking up this series here, that novel there. My enjoyment never suffered for this, and probably helped when it came to reading the Cornelius series and associated books. Having more or less caught up with you, as it were, reading the books as they come out is a similar experience. It has become clear to me, that there is no "correct" reading order for the EC series as a whole. I say this without disparaging the work of those who have worked out reading orders, indeed, the order they set out is probably correct and indispensable for those new to your work, but not absolutely vital. With all the connections and reflections, one novel can lead you to wanting to read one from a completely different series!

                    Can't think of any other work by another author that works the same way though, sorry! You really do offer something we can't get anywhere else. :oops:
                    You see, it's... it's no good, Montag. We've all got to be alike. The only way to be happy is for everyone to be made equal.

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                    • #11
                      That's true, though I rather enjoyed reading the Elric books in particular in chronological order based on Elric's life (even though Michael didn't write them in order.) I'm actually envious of my wife for getting to do the same thing with Fortress of the Pearl and Revenge of the Rose plugged in the right places too (impossible for me since they hadn't been written yet!)

                      I did suggest she hold off on The Dream Thief's Daughter and The Skrayling Tree until after Stormbringer though since they are actually more Eternal Champion books than purely Elric ones and reflect a bit of a more evolved (post-millenial?) style in Michael's writing. Even though those books apparently fit in before Stormbringer in Elric's life, they have a distinctively "post" feel to them to me.
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                      • #13
                        Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                        The recent death of Derrida reminds me that I wrote the Cornelius books on the basis that every reader puts their own interpretation on a work of fiction, so these were designed that way -- so you could interpret them any way you liked and read them in any order you liked. My only provision is, I suppose, that I think The Final Programme isnآ´t as assured a book as all the ones which followed it, because I hadnآ´t quite got my sea-legs with the series at that stage. Certainly everything which followed is intended to be read however you choose, to make whatever you like of the material. Even the more clearly آ´satiricalآ´stories, like Firing the Cathedral, have counter-riffs which are there to offer more than one argument. Iآ´m curious, while on the subject -- does anyone else know of any other work designed to be read in this way ?
                        All Stephen King's novels relate to his Dark Tower series in one way or another. But they aren't quite as open in interpretation, I wouldn't say... the main 7 DT books yes, the others not so much.

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                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
                          The recent death of Derrida reminds me that I wrote the Cornelius books on the basis that every reader puts their own interpretation on a work of fiction, so these were designed that way -- so you could interpret them any way you liked and read them in any order you liked. My only provision is, I suppose, that I think The Final Programme isnآ´t as assured a book as all the ones which followed it, because I hadnآ´t quite got my sea-legs with the series at that stage. Certainly everything which followed is intended to be read however you choose, to make whatever you like of the material. Even the more clearly آ´satiricalآ´stories, like Firing the Cathedral, have counter-riffs which are there to offer more than one argument. Iآ´m curious, while on the subject -- does anyone else know of any other work designed to be read in this way ?
                          Sorry to be a little late and contribute something only tangentially, MM...

                          I think House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski is somewhat like what you describe, even though I'm not sure it could be further from Jerry's wild adventures in tone. It is multi-voiced, structurally, and the different levels of the story wind up being relatively prominent in the oddest ways. Also, the book itself is notorious for it's extensive footnoting (with both real and imaginary sources) and for it's ee cummings- like presentation of some of the words.

                          Having said that, everyone I know who has read it has found something different than everyone else, often to the point of describing a seemingly different book. Some see it as a serious descent into madness, others see it as the autobiographical exploits of someone selling a story, and others see it as a relatively conventional horror story cloaked in a few interesting devices. It has also been interesting to see which narrator people seem to trust most, even though that choice doesn't seem to color their readings.

                          I consider this, like the JC stories, a great contemporary example of very open texts (sorry to reference Barthes instead of the late, great Derrida).

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                          • #15
                            i think the ideas of the 'physics' of the multiverse change depending on what you've read and whose perspective you are thinking from, so there have been several times where i have gone back and re-read and had a completly different view of the process depending on whose logic you believe. for instance, elric's life is certainly different after you've read about Lord Jagged, or the 2nd ether for instance. and Jerry C. will throw you in a complete upscale corkscrew. i find i like to read The Condition of Muzak before reading the JC quartet in its more "traditional" order, so i begina and end on the same book

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