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Books you were introduced to by Moorcock

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  • zlogdan
    replied
    I remember a Conan comics written by Roy Thomas some many years ago but I am not certain when. In 1988 I was in a Carrefour store in the city my grandparents lived when I have seen 3 books that have interested me:

    The Color From The Sky by Lovecraft
    Stormbringer ( until 3 years ago the only Portuguese Brazilian issue of Mike's works )
    Stephen King's Pet Cemetary

    I had the money for one book and I thought I could always come back here when we come back to visit our relatives in 3 months so I got Stephen King's book.

    Sadly, Carrefour has never had those books for sale again.

    In 2000 I was returning from a trip with my friends when we stopped by a large mall in Sao Paulo and there was a huge book store there and I bought Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams, which was one book I could afford. When I got home I realized I had the money for two more and I ordered Elric Of Melnibone and Gaiman's stardust. Believe it or not, for many years I thought about buying the other issues ( I almost did ) but it was a time I was not reading much fiction, and importing books was expensive ( as it is sadly now again ). In 2011 I had this massive OCD/anxiety crisis and I believe that I was reading a blog written by Brazilian author Braulio Tavares to calm me down when he mentioned steampunk. I was into the concept before knowing its name but looking for books in the genre I found out "Warlord of the air" which I ordered and read it avidly.

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  • Doc
    replied
    Originally posted by postodave View Post
    I want to mention another writer I discovered through Moorcock, M John Harrison. I first encountered him through his three Cornelius stories which are really good. He sees the kind of patterns underlying the stories rather than the surface techniques. He also has a fight in the Manchester Library which I knew well. I went on to read the Viriconium stories. These are far future stories, at least they seem that until later Viriconium comes to seem timeless. Inventive and strange.
    I’m a huge fan, too. It’s amazing to think about all of the powerful imaginations and talented writers that were
    sometimes under the same roof in the New Worlds era.

    Harrison’s later work is just fantastic. Course of the Heart and Signs of Life just haunt me, and they are just so beautifully written with evocative and lyrical language. Whenever I read Mieville I see his admiration of Harrison (which he trumpets) on every page.

    And Harrison’s trilogy that started with Light just bends my mind. He has a way of making physics-based abstractions completely concrete and lively.

    The guy even writes fantastic reviews for the Guardian.

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  • postodave
    replied
    I want to mention another writer I discovered through Moorcock, M John Harrison. I first encountered him through his three Cornelius stories which are really good. He sees the kind of patterns underlying the stories rather than the surface techniques. He also has a fight in the Manchester Library which I knew well. I went on to read the Viriconium stories. These are far future stories, at least they seem that until later Viriconium comes to seem timeless. Inventive and strange.

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  • postodave
    replied
    Originally posted by Doc View Post

    I think this is what Mike does as well as anyone. He either lets you or makes you use your imagination to fill in gaps. He does more with a relatively offhand “show” than many people do with pages of “tell.”
    The first time I read that I knew who Wodehouse was (I was a big Psmith fan in my early teens) and I think I had heard of de Sade but did not make the connection and just assumed there was some other De Sade I had not heard of who was similar to Wodehouse. I read a lot of books when I was younger where I just assumed I would get the references later. If you read like that even without understanding you get a feel of a world that is understood by those within it even where it makes no sense to you. It's how a child often experiences things and it is also how those outside it experience a sub-culture or counter-culture.

    I tell you who else I think is good at this: J M Barrie. As a child there were loads of bits in Peter Pan I did not understand but just assumed I would when I was older. For example he talks about the food the lost boys ate and I had never heard of most of it. Now I have an edition with notes that tell me a lot of this stuff is not even food. So he tells us 'Their chief food was roasted bread-fruit, yams, coconuts, baked pig, mammee-apples, tappa rolls and bananas, washed down with calabashes of poe-poe' I just assumed that one day I'd know what tappa rolls were, it turns out they are rolls of unwoven cloth used to make loin cloths. I still don't know what poe-poe is. I guess Barrie just wanted a meal that sounded exotic.

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  • Doc
    replied
    Originally posted by postodave View Post
    I love the bit in, I think, the Condition of Muzak, where he talks of Jerry and Catherine as children sitting down in their father's Chateau with a Wodehouse or a de Sade, the incongruence is funny and gives us a sense of Jerry and Catherine's reality.
    I think this is what Mike does as well as anyone. He either lets you or makes you use your imagination to fill in gaps. He does more with a relatively offhand “show” than many people do with pages of “tell.”

    Leave a comment:


  • postodave
    replied
    Originally posted by Sir Sorcerer View Post
    It's interesting how diverse Moorcock's influences and inspirations are and how many of them fall outside the borders of genre fiction. I am in particular interested in the English realists and humourists that he mentions including George Meredith, P.G. Wodehouse, Jerome K. Jerome and Ronald Firbank. Don't think I would have discovered those authors without him. I have always been fond of Saki's fiction, hope that they strike some of the same chords. Also, a German classic, Grimmelshausen's Adventures of Simplicius Simplicissimus.
    Yes, Wodehouse is a major influence on Douglas Adams as well. I am aware of the others but have not read them though I think we have something by Jerome somewhere. I love the bit in, I think, the Condition of Muzak, where he talks of Jerry and Catherine as children sitting down in their father's Chateau with a Wodehouse or a de Sade, the incongruence is funny and gives us a sense of Jerry and Catherine's reality.

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  • Sir Sorcerer
    replied
    It's interesting how diverse Moorcock's influences and inspirations are and how many of them fall outside the borders of genre fiction. I am in particular interested in the English realists and humourists that he mentions including George Meredith, P.G. Wodehouse, Jerome K. Jerome and Ronald Firbank. Don't think I would have discovered those authors without him. I have always been fond of Saki's fiction, hope that they strike some of the same chords. Also, a German classic, Grimmelshausen's Adventures of Simplicius Simplicissimus.

    Leave a comment:


  • postodave
    replied
    Originally posted by J-Sun View Post
    I’m not sure that I’d say you’re dwelling on it, postodave, if that’s who you really are (although your avatar looks suspiciously like an anthology about the number 22 to Putney Common in my shelf: it’s okay, your secret is safe with me. But you owe me a G&T)...
    Splishy Sploshy

    I love Howard and Lovecraft... but man, those guys are cringe when it comes to racism. I feel we can enjoy their work as a whole, accept it for the contextual time it was written in, and still decry the racism. I don’t think we have to cancel Conan because Howard was racist. I think we can say, “wow these are amazing. True, they’d be even better if Howard wasn’t such a racist, and we can’t defend that, but the stories as a whole are amazing!” Now, I get that for some people, they just can’t see past that. And I get it.
    Yes. I read the first three Fu Manchu books a few years ago. You fall over the racism in those but they are good adventure stories. There has been a whole thing about cancelling Lovecraft and I agree that I can look past that and the same with Howard. I think those sex scenes made me uncomfortable because participation was being forced on these girls who were slaves and I kept feeling sorry for them and wondering what I would do in their situation.
    I haven’t read Lieber yet. He’s on my read list for 2021. (Yes, I have a schedule.) And I appreciate this warning. Fantasy was terribly misogynistic for ages. I’ll have to take that into account as I read it. It might be enough to ruin it for me, but I hope not.
    I'm still not sure if there is some kind of moral purpose in this or if Leiber is just enjoying the S and M. He is a sophisticated writer, this is not crude sexism, though I'm not sure what it is.

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  • postodave
    replied
    I want to suggest a redemptive reading of both the first two Jirel stories and The Mouser goes Below (the one with the voyeurism and S and M. This will include spoilers.

    Jirel



    The Gray Mouser

    Leave a comment:


  • J-Sun
    replied
    I’m not sure that I’d say you’re dwelling on it, postodave, if that’s who you really are (although your avatar looks suspiciously like an anthology about the number 22 to Putney Common in my shelf: it’s okay, your secret is safe with me. But you owe me a G&T)...

    I love Howard and Lovecraft... but man, those guys are cringe when it comes to racism. I feel we can enjoy their work as a whole, accept it for the contextual time it was written in, and still decry the racism. I don’t think we have to cancel Conan because Howard was racist. I think we can say, “wow these are amazing. True, they’d be even better if Howard wasn’t such a racist, and we can’t defend that, but the stories as a whole are amazing!” Now, I get that for some people, they just can’t see past that. And I get it.

    I haven’t read Lieber yet. He’s on my read list for 2021. (Yes, I have a schedule.) And I appreciate this warning. Fantasy was terribly misogynistic for ages. I’ll have to take that into account as I read it. It might be enough to ruin it for me, but I hope not.

    Leave a comment:


  • postodave
    replied
    Originally posted by J-Sun View Post

    It’s always a struggle at first to have the protagonists not be good guys. Elric isn’t a good guy. I adore the Thieves World books, and there’s barely anyone in those books that’s remotely noble. Of course I think about Kerr Avon and the rest of the Blakes 7 crew. Antiheroes get us in the gut. We want to like them... and like some things that they do, but then they try to toss their companion of 50 episodes out of an airlock and you say “now hang on...” and you’re supposed to feel that in the gut.

    You shouldn’t agree with Elric or Pyat or Avon or Fafhrd or Tempus or Deadpool on everything. If you do you’re a follower. It’s the struggle to decide which of their actions are right and which are wrong that remind us of our own morality. The struggle is good for us. I’d like to think MM fans know this as much as anyone. Jerry and Elric and Pyat and so many others taught us that. Mike taught us that. Don’t be sheep. Think for yourself, struggle thru the ethics and learn what it means to be a moral human.
    The edition of The Naked Lunch that I have includes some of the TLS correspondence on the book. The reviewer had complained that Burroughs didn't show disapproval of the things he was depicting. Burroughs responded by saying a writer can't keep editorializing like that, actually that may have been a comment by Mike who also joined in. I get that. I don't like what is being done in say the rape in Byzantium Endures but I can see that is there to say something important about this person. The trouble with Leiber when he has these things going on is that I feel The Mouser is still seen as basically a hero in the sense of someone we are supposed to identify with and the rape is then being trivialised. And the slave spanking scene is sort of dwelt on. Mind you I'm dwelling on it a bit now.

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  • Doc
    replied
    Originally posted by Peacefulpie View Post

    Interesting. They both seem a bit too dark and 'out there' for me though.
    For me, that’s kind of the point. 🙂 Different strokes and all that.

    Leave a comment:


  • Doc
    replied
    Originally posted by J-Sun View Post

    It’s always a struggle at first to have the protagonists not be good guys. Elric isn’t a good guy. I adore the Thieves World books, and there’s barely anyone in those books that’s remotely noble.

    ...

    You shouldn’t agree with Elric or Pyat or Avon or Fafhrd or Tempus or Deadpool on everything. If you do you’re a follower. It’s the struggle to decide which of their actions are right and which are wrong that remind us of our own morality. The struggle is good for us. I’d like to think MM fans know this as much as anyone. Jerry and Elric and Pyat and so many others taught us that. Mike taught us that. Don’t be sheep. Think for yourself, struggle thru the ethics and learn what it means to be a moral human.
    The world doesn’t exist with the clarity of black and white. A heroic protagonist can be easy to cheer for, but most of the challenges they introduce you to are their own. Their motives and inner life are rarely challenges, even if the represent higher aspirations. By contrast, Pyat and Elric (among many many others) mostly challenge you to look at yourself and the world from their lens. I struggle along with heroes. I struggle with my own perceptions with anti-heroes and other morally ambiguous protagonists.

    Of course, MM paints these worlds and characters as well as anyone, and challenges me more than most.


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  • Peacefulpie
    replied
    Originally posted by Kymba334 View Post

    Many things really: Both writers were literary experimenters / iconoclasts who wrote about their own times and the human condition as they saw it without fear of being "deplatformed."

    In fact both men incurred the wrath of literary censors in the U.S.A and elsewhere early on in their careers. A writer without vision, self-belief or courage is a scribbler in the wrong trade : propaganda or advertising work is more appropriate for such creatures, imho.
    Interesting. They both seem a bit too dark and 'out there' for me though.

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  • Kymba334
    replied
    Originally posted by Peacefulpie View Post

    What do you like about Ballrd and Burroughs?
    Many things really: Both writers were literary experimenters / iconoclasts who wrote about their own times and the human condition as they saw it without fear of being "deplatformed."

    In fact both men incurred the wrath of literary censors in the U.S.A and elsewhere early on in their careers. A writer without vision, self-belief or courage is a scribbler in the wrong trade : propaganda or advertising work is more appropriate for such creatures, imho.

    Leave a comment:

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