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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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Would it bother you if Mike never wrote another fantasy...?

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  • FlyingElvis
    replied
    I'll add my 2 cents.

    I won't claim to be a student of Mr. Moorcock's work, because I am not. I can only say that for a period of a few months, 25 years ago, I read all 6 Elric novels. I haven't read anything in the fantasy genre better, since. I am embarassed that I didn't find the time to revisit his work.

    I just started reading EC from the top of the omnibus series, and guess what? It exudes the same magic that I experienced 25 years ago.

    Do I wish MM could churn this stuff out ad nauseum? Hell yeah.

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  • Jules
    replied
    It's very noticable in the Brit papers - the Sunday Times will not review SF or Fantasy books (although it has no problems with Crime, which is an acceptable genre for some reason). They will review Ballard (and SF output from Atwood, Amis, etc).

    The Guardian on the other hand gets Mike to do reviews, although it doesn't do 'hard' SF.

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  • A_Non_Ymous
    replied
    I'd agree, Dead-Air, that people like Ballard -- and Disch -- can ALWAYS get their good work published. I remember the small surprise I had when I saw Disch's story "Slaves" in the Paris Review way back when, and Ballard's story "The Assasination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Considered as a Downhill Motor Race" in The Evergreen Review. Clearly, even back in the '60s, there were literary magazines that would publish these guys.

    That's not exactly the problem to which Disch alluded.

    The problem is that certain doors are always closed to these guys, according to Disch, just because they've got the "taint" of having been sf writers (however unfair the categorization).

    One well-paying, high-profile market to which Disch alluded was The New Yorker. One might argue about the pluses and minuses of being published there, but it is high profile without question -- and Disch says sf writers (with perhaps LeGuin being the token exception) aren't permitted in the front door. It's a galling situation, I'm sure.

    He indicated that there were other, comparable examples. The point is, I suppose, that it's not an equal opportunity situation. Some doors just won't open, no matter how good the writer. So it's not a meritocracy. *

    LSN

    * Except in Prototype X -- right, Perdix?

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  • Dead-Air
    replied
    Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg
    Something to examine in this context is the numerous diatribes from sf writers who made their names in the '60s and '70s about how they are in effect second-class citizens in the larger publishing world because they are characterized as genre writers. Thomas M. Disch claims there is a "glass ceiling" above which sf & fantasy writers cannot rise in certain literary circles, no matter how good their work. This can apparently show up as restrictions in magazines, where their work (even if non-sf) is pretty nearly automatically rejected. Disch is an insider, so I'll assume he knows what he's talking about.
    All true, but then every now and again you get a J.G. Ballard who can write anything he damn well pleases and be rather certain of a publishing deal and a good shot at a film adaptation. Of course that's true of Michael Chrichton too, so it's not necessarily a measure of quality by any stretch of the imagination.

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  • A_Non_Ymous
    replied
    Originally posted by Doc
    Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg
    Did I write something obscure? :?

    LSN
    Do you mean this time?
    :lol:

    I write obscure stuff during my quotidian existence, but I've always thought my postings here were models of lucidity. :lol:

    Can't really think of anything obscure I've ever posted here, to tell you the truth. I can do so if I try, I'm sure, but I'm not being scholarly here; I'm just playing.

    That PWV found my use of "ghetto" in this context a bit hard and knobby does not equate to that usage being obscure. Really. It's only been in common parlance among sf readers for the last 35 years or so. He just happened to have missed it -- for whatever reason.

    Back to original topic time, before Dee leads the Topic Police on a raid of the premises!

    LSN

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  • Doc
    replied
    Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg
    Did I write something obscure? :?

    LSN
    Do you mean this time?

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  • PsychicWarVeteran
    replied
    Not exactly, you used terminology (ghetto) in a manner that was correct but that I didn't get at first. I was trying to compliment you on not dumbing down your language to suit the ignorant (in this case me).

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  • A_Non_Ymous
    replied
    Did I write something obscure? :?

    LSN

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  • PsychicWarVeteran
    replied
    Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg
    Mr. Moorcock has crossed and recrossed the various genre boundaries so much that he doubtless has produced some confusion as to how he should be classified.
    Yeah, no kidding! He did, afterall, just get a [broken link]lifetime achievement award commonly given to horror writers. :lol:

    As far as the 'ghetto' reference goes... I've never been one to dumb down my speech to satisfy the ignorant. Good to know others such as yourself hold the same standard.
    Last edited by Rothgo; 04-08-2010, 12:27 PM.

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  • A_Non_Ymous
    replied
    Something to examine in this context is the numerous diatribes from sf writers who made their names in the '60s and '70s about how they are in effect second-class citizens in the larger publishing world because they are characterized as genre writers. Thomas M. Disch claims there is a "glass ceiling" above which sf & fantasy writers cannot rise in certain literary circles, no matter how good their work. This can apparently show up as restrictions in magazines, where their work (even if non-sf) is pretty nearly automatically rejected. Disch is an insider, so I'll assume he knows what he's talking about.

    Harlan Ellison fought to have the "sf" designation removed from his books because of the problems with such categorizations. Vonnegut did, too.

    People like Asimov and Poul Anderson used to refer to the "ghetto" aspect of sf, but they thought it wasn't necessarily a bad thing. There are positive aspects to working within a genre's boundaries, along with the quick and ready recognition by the smaller readership, as well as the loyalty.

    Mr. Moorcock has crossed and recrossed the various genre boundaries so much that he doubtless has produced some confusion as to how he should be classified.

    LSN

    Leave a comment:


  • PsychicWarVeteran
    replied
    Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg
    Take a look at the historical usage... of the word "ghetto," as applied to the circumscribed living areas of Eastern Europeans of Jewish descent.
    Being an English major and a linguistics buff, I was aware of that meaning of the word (indeed, the Italian island by the same name where Jews were forced to live circa the 1500s is where the word originated), but even that definition didn't originally get your point across to me as you meant it. I'm willing to admit this was a failure in understanding on my part and not a misuse of the term on yours. :| I do get it now, however.

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  • A_Non_Ymous
    replied
    Take a look at the historical usage (an origin) of the word "ghetto," as applied to the circumscribed living areas of Eastern Europeans of Jewish descent.

    The metaphor should become more clear.

    LSN

    Leave a comment:


  • PsychicWarVeteran
    replied
    Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg
    Yes, "ghetto" is the word that sf writers and non-sf writers use regularly to describe the conditions and "rules" of working within the genre. Also, the fact that such writers get stigmatised by the association.
    Oh. I guess I'm not as knowledgeable on writer lingo. In these parts, 'ghetto' is how you'd describe someone parking their car on their lawn or stringing clotheslines between apartment buildings, so I was out of my element linguistically, as it were.

    Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg
    Your PC patellar-reflex is showing, PWV. I think you need to get out more.
    But my computer has no knees! :P

    But for the record, you have no idea how far away from knee-jerk reactionism my comment truly was.

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  • A_Non_Ymous
    replied
    Yes, "ghetto" is the word that sf writers and non-sf writers use regularly to describe the conditions and "rules" of working within the genre. Also, the fact that such writers get stigmatised by the association.

    Your PC patellar-reflex is showing, PWV. I think you need to get out more.

    LSN

    Leave a comment:


  • PsychicWarVeteran
    replied
    Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg
    Ah, yes, Kأ©rouac. Haven't read that one since the mid-'70s, either. An entertaining book, indeed. I've wondered a bit of late how much the Beat-period writers are still read and enjoyed...
    Funny story...

    Karin (that's m'lady) and I went to see an Our Lady Peace show here in Seattle a couple years ago. We were probably the oldest people there, it was weird. Anyway, when I was telling my mom about seeing the show, I mentioned the average age of the audience, which was around 22 at best guess. I said, "When they got to the line in one of their songs that mentions Jack Kأ©rouac, I told Karin that we were probably the only ones besides the band who even knew who Kأ©rouac is."

    My mom replied, "Who's Jack Kأ©rouac?"

    I was stunned. My mother, who was a hippie when I was born in '66, hadn't a clue who Jack Kأ©rouac was.

    I found that rather sad. And funny at the same time.

    Of course, she had the same reaction the first time I ever mentioned Michael Moorcock's name, so, you know, it's not like she's well-read or anything. :?

    Originally posted by L_Stearns_Newburg
    People who prefer the restrict themselves to the fantasy & sf ghetto...
    Not sure it was intended, but that came off sounding kinda smug. Was 'ghetto' really the best word? I have to assume you are referring to the restrictive qualities of a ghetto and not the other negative connotations more readily associated with the word.

    For me, the percentage is probably around 10%. And I'd argue that Mike's fantasy and SF is far more than ghetto fiction. I've learned a lot about real life from Mike's fantasy work.

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