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Tell me about Cornelius and Corum

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  • runequester
    Wanderer of the Mittel March
    • Jul 2006
    • 20

    Tell me about Cornelius and Corum

    So Im looking at getting either the Corum or the Cornelius books next. So, could anyone be so kind as to give a brief rundown of the two series, the themes and general mood, and general impressions you thought of them ?
  • Doc
    Eternal Champion
    • Jan 2004
    • 3630

    Corum is fairly straight-forward fantasy adventure, albiet with brains. If you are looking for a typical eternal champion story--existential dilemmas, questing, and adventure, Corum will not disappoint.

    JC is far less conventional in them, structure, and execution. Jerry represents a real quest for identity and self-discovery. His relationships with Frank and Catherine are a complex dance of changing roles, which take place all over the globe.

    If you are looking for smart escapism, I would choose Corum. I think Jerry demands a bit more from the reader, but the payoff is far different (and I think the payoff is far more rewarding).

    The good news is that either choice is a good choice.


    • tvissoc
      Denizen of Moo Uria
      • Nov 2004
      • 100

      I'm about to embark on this same alternate path. I need to finish two more for Elric. Just finished reading the Dreamthief's Daughter.

      I had purchased a Corum book in the past.... twice. I've lost both copies. I don't lose books. So, I'm guessing that I'm *meant* to choose another path...


      • Materiakeeper
        Moonbeam Traveller
        • Nov 2006
        • 7

        I personally enjoyed reading the Corum books more than I did the Elric Saga. I found Corum seemed more heroic and daring because he didn't always have a mega powerful sword.

        The Cornelius Book that I own I have not been able to get into it quite yet.


        • Kipper
          Lost Boy
          • Nov 2006
          • 611

          I found the Corum books to be more of a High Fantasy/Sword and Sorcery style. I also prefer Corum to Elric, as a hero. Although he is another melancholy character, he has more reason to be so than Elric, imho. I found the second trilogy to be far more entertaining than the 'Swords' trilogy, although even darker.
          Jerry Cornelius seems to me to be far more Science Fantasy aligned. I still haven't been able to completely read the whole set! Because the flow of the narrative is so different, it's hard for me to maintain my usual reading speed, which causes my attention to wander from the story.
          I'd say read Corum first, enjoy, and wallow in the wonder of the fifteen planes. Then turn to JC, and explore his world to experience the contrast for yourself.
          He's well smoked


          • tekeli-li
            Wanderer of the Mittel March
            • Oct 2006
            • 22

            I think Doc summed up the differences between the two well, and would have to second Kipper's advice, having just finished a re-read of the Swords trilogy. Corum's a fast read, a classic Moorcock fantasy adventure, and entirely enjoyable. Jerry Cornelius is a very rewarding read, but, also a challenge, and not nearly so fast. There's some effort involved in digesting it, and, I can't claim I fully even understand the stories- they leave a lot of room for interpretation, and at least left me asking as many questions as they answered. Jerry's a very interesting character, who often strikes me as more a "spirit of the age" than a true individual. (But I'm probably interpreting it all wrong *g*) So, my recommendation is to enjoy Corum, and then move on to JC, they're both excellent.


            • voilodian ghagnasdiak
              Warrior On The Edge
              • Jun 2006
              • 2591

              I also preferred Corum to Elric. I have read the Swords Trilogy and The Prince With The Silver Hand series at least 4 times in the past 25 years. Corum is even more destitute than Elric considering that he is the last of a dying race, trapped in a seemingly hopeless existence. The Corum stories also seemed to be a little bit more mature minded incorporating much less far out fantasy than the Elric saga did. Corum had to depend on his own resources and received less supernatural aid than Elric did. Don’t be put off by him being maimed at the beginning of the story, for he has allies that are far more powerful than the lords of Law and Chaos. The People Of The Pines is another fascinating concept that Mike describes so well that I can see images of them in my head everytime I read it. There a lot of other characters that re-cycle their way through the story the likes of Jhary and Whiskers, Prince Gaynor, Yrkoon and even Voilodian just to name a few. If you read Chronicles Of The Black Sword first, reading Corum second is almost like coming down from a very potent Elric trip. It’s hard to explain but I feel myself drawn deeper into the story with Corum. I can also visualize the settings and characters a lot more vividly since they are a little less fantastic. Science, romance, heroism, horror…..they are all prevalent in the tales of ....
              Prince Corum Jhaelen Irsei.

              The Cornelius Chronicles are a decadent, perverted, drugged out, psychedelic, pseudo military, chaotic sexcapade of science fiction and mod-fantasy that would have to be rewritten before your very eyes to even begin to explain what the story is about. It is very deep and I found that it does take a lot of re-reading of chapters to try and grasp a meaning from the text. It’s a must read but you do need to allow time for absorbtion (and shock recovery).

              My Favorites:
              1. Corum
              2. Elric
              3. Erekose
              4. Hawkmoon……The Four Who Are One!


              • Madrigal Rose
                Eternal Companion
                • Jun 2006
                • 506

                I like your descriptions very much, VG

                I also love the Corum stories, as well as the Hawkmoon series. Corum is so vivid and intense, and yes, those stories rope you in.

                Can't comment on JC yet as I haven't read those, except that they are so much different than the others.
                Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness.
                -Yousuf Karsh


                • johneffay
                  Born Again Nihilist
                  • Sep 2005
                  • 3394

                  I also think VG's description is pretty spot on, although I would rank Hawkmoon above Erekose. Elric only makes my number two slot because of the later material (Fortress of the Pearl onwards).

                  Jerry Cornelius is The Man in this house. I would swap all the Eternal Champion stuff for The Cornelius Chronicles.

                  A good way into JC is to start with the short stories in The Lives and Times... That way, you get a feel for characters before you try to tackle the bigger books. More importantly, because Mike is using the same sorts of structures in the shorts in a more compressed manner, it is easier to work out how they work when you only have ten pages to tackle rather than a couple of hundred.
                  Last edited by johneffay; 12-10-2006, 01:38 AM.