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Elric, Elric, Elric

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  • Elric, Elric, Elric

    Dear Mr. Moorcock,

    I discovered the Elric saga at the age of 13 or 14, and it had a rather large impact on me.

    I happened across mention of it in the purple edition of "Deities & Demigods." I was an avid D&D player at the time, having read Tolkien only a couple of years before. The fact that the Elric character was listed as "Chaotic Evil" in the D&D book intrigued me; he didn't sound particularly evil from the description. I also recall wondering, "What's this about a race of sorcerors who grew strong and waned weak? Now that sounds interesting..."

    (Raise your hands. How many people had THAT story in the early 1980's?)

    I recall trekking to the B. Dalton bookstore on El Toro Road (the main street in my boring-but-safe southern California home town). I found "Elric of Melnibone," and positively devoured it.

    At the time, there were just the six books. I have reread them a few times over the years, but confess not getting to the "add-ons" ("Elric at the End of Time," "Dreamthief's Daughter," etc.) (my punctuation can be questionable, but at least I don't type "ect." There should be an award for that, on the internet.).

    I read a number of Corum books. I remember finding a "Dancers at the End of Time" tome in the local library, and deciding, "Hmmm, I must be too young for this. I wish there were more Elric books." What can I say; perhaps at the considerably more sophisticated (or jaded) age of 36, it should give it another try. It's been over two decades, after all.

    I did purchase Hawkind's "Chronicles of the Black Sword" in my late teens or early twenties; I recall being underwhelmed. I enjoyed the Blue Oyster Cult song, however. I did always wonder what you were doing with rock bands, though. I loved hard rock as a kid (Led Zeppelin, Rush), but never got into real heavy metal. Thus, while I loved the COVER ART on Cirith Ungol albums, I didn't buy them.

    I was delighted to find that you had a website, and that there was an very active forum. I remember wondering a few things while reading the Elric and Corum books. The advent of the internet, and your involvement therewith, gives me a chance to ask these questions with a reasonable chance of someone answering. If not you, perhaps one of the many knowledgable readers I see posting in these forums.

    Here is "What I've Always Wanted to Know About Elric, But Was Afraid to Ask":

    1) I remember being confused about the period between "Elric of Melnibone" and "Sailer on the Seas of Fate." I loved the ending of the first book: "I shall be a new man when I return to Melnibone." Man, that reeked of tragedy. That punch really landed with the third book. But I sure wish I understood more about how/why Yyrkoon took over AGAIN. Boy, that would be a good story. Did you ever write it?

    2) I remember in a Corum book, I think, there was some island with twisted, feeble sorceror-villains. There was a throne, carved of some enormous stone. There was something about them being the much degenerated descendents of something better. I think they were called the Malbranch, Malebranch, or something similar (Google has not been my friend, here). It sure looked like a case of "Sleestak Melniboneans" to me (does anyone understand that term, by the way? If you do, I'll hazard a guess that you are over 30 years old). Were these indeed greatly fallen "sons of Melnibone," or some echo in Corums plane of existence? Or no connection at all?

    3) I loved "Sailer on the Seas of Fate." Adored the R'len Cren A'aa part (forigve any misuse of apostrophes, please!). But I remember being so confused and disappointed in a later Elric book, when you disavowed all these events. At least, I think you did. Someone rather authoritative told Elric that these people were actually NOT the ancestors of the Melniboneans. It sure felt like the Battlestar Galactica episode where the angel-guy (Richard Harris?) tells Apollo, "Oh, they call themselves Terrans, and they got an East-West Cold War going, but, ummm... this ain't Earth. Keep on looking, dude." What's the deal? Did you change your mind?

    4) There is no #4. Just a compliment. The stuff about Earl Saxif D'aan (again, not sure of the apostrophe) was amazingly cool. "He knew regret," indeed. Loved that.

    Thanks in advance for any answers, and thanks indeed for the books.

  • #2
    Thanks. Nice of you to write. I'll try to answer your questions, though it's been a long, long time since I read the Corum books. To be honest, I've never read them, as such, since I wrote them. But I'm pretty sure those guys WERE meant to be, perhaps on an alternative plane, the remnants of the Melniboneans. Given that these stories take place on umpteen planes, only some (or one) of which some heroes know about,
    it's perfectly possible. One of the reasons I issued the omnibuses was to give readers an idea of how to read the stories, so that they'd understand the multiverse idea (which I wrote first in The Sundered Worlds -- though this wasn't published, admittedly, in the UK edition, because of copyright problems). I agree that it might be worth 'filling in the gap'. I don't think I have. It's worth remembering, here, that I almost never reread my own work and the whole EC thing is in my head, so if there IS a story I've done which another reader knows about, I apologise in advance. I'm filling in gaps through graphic novels, these days -- see the current Elric: The Making of a Sorcerer with Walter Simonson, coming out through DC -- and if I do another, I might well pick that period. The origin of Melnibone is given in the current volume but there's nothing to say another bunch of proto-Melniboneans didn't also make it through. One of the advantages of the multiverse is that the stories can be told and retold with a certain amount of variation. Thus the film script is different in some story-points to Elric of Melnibone and The Dreaming City, but the essence is retained, as are the leading characters. Readers more familiar with Jerry Cornelius are probably happier with this idea than others. I think there is a point, because I wrote these stories between writing other stories about the multiverse and the Eternal Champion, where it's worth reading some of those other books, at least to get the full flavour of the saga. They all interconnect on some level and at some point and it might, for instance, be worth having a look at the most recent books, which deal more with the dream quests and the moonbeam roads, which help explain discrepencies between one story and another, if discrepencies they are. Anyone else have any thoughts on this ?

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    • #3
      I think it would be possible to do a massive cut-up job on your entire published output and arrange it so all the linked pieces were read next to each other. I think it would need a certain amount of repetition, which would reflect the overall structure as well as the perceived chronology.
      The only trouble is, it would require someone who was more familiar with your work than you are. Now who could that person be? Who could construct a reading list that would take us back and forth through the multiverse, crossing and re-crossing our path?
      Why does the name John Davey suggest itself?
      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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      • #4
        Give the poor bugger a break. After all, he's writing his own books now!
        Is there any Supergeek out there with all the time in the world on their hands plus the skills required ? Okay, okay. I thought not. Ah, well...
        We'll just have to live with the omnibuses, as the tram driver said to the engineer.

        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

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        • #5
          Sorry Mr. M, I didn't really mean to heap more pressure on the redoubtable Mr. Davey. (After all, I've got his reader's guide, I hold him in almost as much esteem as I hold you.) It's just that his is the first name that would spring to the mind of many of the members of this forum. Though Krzysiek seems to know a thing or two...
          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.

          -:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-

          Image Hive :-: Wikiverse :-: Media Hive

          :-: Onsite Offerings :-:


          "I am an observer of life, a non-participant who takes no sides. I am in the regimented society, but not of it." Moondog, 1964

          Comment


          • #6
            I feel I should note that the thread-author is mistaken about Elric's alignment in the Deities and Demigods. It was Chaotic Nuetral, while Stormbringer and Arioch were both Chaotic Evil (of course.) This was a pretty accurate representation of the character in the game terms as Elric vacilates between trying to do good (or at least "just") but failing because of his soul thirsty sword, being vengeful, and not caring.

            I'm mildly embarrassed that I too discovered the work of a favorite author from a D&D manual, but what the hell, you have to learn about things somewhere. Decades later and I have little use for any "sword and sorcery" of any kind, except Elric.
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            • #7
              As I said, I let both D&D and Chaosium have the rights, when the idea of making commercial capital wasn't very high on my agenda. I now wish I'd stepped in and let D&D have the rights, since essentially they made better use of the character. In my view. We often come to authors by indirect routes. A friend of mine became a great fan of the literary writer E.M.Forster because he took a book down from the library shelf when he was actually looking for C.S.Forester, the sea-story writer.

              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
                Certainly a whole generation of fans was brought to your work by the inclusion in the D&D book. It was probably the biggest promotion you'll have received up until the Elric movie comes out. And we did all grow up eventually. Sort of. At least enough to read some of your other books.
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                • #9
                  thanks, and alignment

                  Thanks, Mr. Moorcock, for the answers above!
                  I suppose I'll read them again, this time including the novels added after the first six; should be fun.

                  Regarding this:

                  "I feel I should note that the thread-author is mistaken about Elric's alignment in the Deities and Demigods. It was Chaotic Nuetral"

                  Are you sure about that?
                  I remember it being evil, and links like this seem to bear this out:

                  http://www.mountbromo.com/ethshar/deities-and-demigods
                  Google yields a lot more.


                  But it would have been better if it were that way.

                  -Marc :D

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                  • #10
                    Hmm. I don't exactly have my old book to drag out, so I guess I have to admit to having a lack of proof. Nonetheless I'm pretty sure I remember it that way, so I'm wondering if there was more than one edition before Chaosium forced TSR to cut the Melnibone and Cthulhu mythos out? Nice to have that link regardless. I see used copies of the later Elricless editions around for ridiculously high prices, so I'd imagine you'd have to pay a fortune for the one from the pre-rpg company greedfest days.
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                    • #11
                      I've got the book, and it is indeed Chaotic-Evil.

                      :)

                      H.
                      Hapimeses.com

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                      • #12
                        Hmm. I do wonder if there were a couple editions.
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