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Your First Moorcock 2020

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  • Your First Moorcock 2020

    Mine was the Lancer edition of Stealer of Souls. I read it in about ‘72, maybe ‘73. For a lot of years I thought it was Stormbringer. But, then, I saw the Lancer cover in the Image Hive and properly recalled matters. It was a great way to pass a stormy weekend in the San Juans. It was also a perfect next step from ERB to REH to MM. these were tough times, economically, here in the Jet City. It was good, clean fun at a reasonable price. Though, I did hide it so that my parents wouldn’t think I was worshipping the devil.
    Kevin McCabe
    The future is there, looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become. William Gibson

  • #2
    Would have Been Elric of Melnibone wayback in my Teens. It was hte beginning of a long Moorcockian journey! :)

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    • #3
      There used to be a very small, but packed floor to ceiling bookstore where I used to live by the name of Bookland. They primarily sold paperbacks from all genres and had a very extensive science fiction and fantasy section and it was always a fun place to go and see what you could find. They weren't a used bookstore, but carried a lot of new old stock and whatever the price was on the cover was the price you paid. So, even if it was a paperback from the 60's or 70's you would only pay change for it or a $1 or so and when you are a kid that's fantastic because you didn't have too much money with you anyway. I recall being around 12 or so going in the bookshop and finding the DAW edition of Mike's Bane Of The Black Sword, the one with that amazing Michael Whelan cover art. The cover first attracted me because it had a very Dungeons and Dragons look to it and at the time I had just started playing the RPG with friends, so I decided to give the book a go. I was for ever hooked on Moorcock after that!
      "He found a coin in his pocket, flipped it. She called: 'Incubus!'
      'Succubus,' he said. 'Lucky old me.'" - Michael Moorcock The Final Programme

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      • #4
        It was the Jewel in the Skull which they had in the local library and I was not that impressed. When I re-read it two years later I loved it and when I read the Mad God's amulet immediately afterwards I felt I was reading for the first time something I would read over and over throughout my life. So, what had happened? Well, shortly afterwards I read my first Elric, also from the local library, the Sailor on the Seas of Fate. The story in that one seemed to be picking up from preceding events though in fact it wasn't but when I got to him I knew Hawkmoon from the other book. Then I read Legends from the End of Time, which I also found in the library, that was unlike anything I had ever read. While I was on holiday with my parents I read The End of All Songs and that realy grabbed me,I read it twice in the same two week holiday and I had no problem folowing it without reading the first two parts. There was a review of The Condition of Muzak in Melody Maker which helped me get Jerry Cornelius and I found a copy of The Final Programme in Manchester and took it to Colege and read it on my first night away from home. When I read the Stealer of Souls I recognised the story and even the pun on Tanglebones but did not knowwhich came first. I then spent most of the next year buying and devouring Moorcock.

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        • #5
          Warlord of the Air, which I picked up at a library I was then a member of c. 1981-ish. Read it, enjoyed it, then forgot it. It was 1993 before I started reading the rest of the Moorcock collection, courtesy of Erekose the Eternal Champion and Ermizhad in Loos Ptokai. (Similar thing with JG Ballard - in 1987 I picked up one of his books - The Wind From Nowhere - and read it, enjoyed it, then forgot it. A few years later I got another one - the collection of short stories that included The Garden of Time and The Soundsweep and The Voices of Time - and I was hooked! Had to read the lot. still haven't finished, not by a long shot!)
          sigpic Myself as Mephistopheles (Karen Koed's painting of me, 9 Nov 2008, U of Canterbury, CHCH, NZ)

          Gold is the power of a man with a man
          And incense the power of man with God
          But myrrh is the bitter taste of death
          And the sour-sweet smell of the upturned sod,

          Nativity,
          by Peter Cape

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          • #6
            Mine was Stormbringer. I loved it and continued on to Stealer of Souls.

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            • #7
              The Lancer edition of "Elric of Melnibone", published as "The Dreaming City", I believe. Completely amazed by how unlike any other fantasy it was. Followed rapidly by the DAW editions of "Sailor on the Seas of Fate", "Vanishing Tower", and "Weird of the White Wolf". I had to wait a few years before I could get the remaining books in the saga, but it was worth the wait. "Stormbringer" remains my favourite piece of fantasy writing.
              The name that can be named is not the true name.

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              • #8
                I am wondering if in a strange way reading a series like Elric out of chronological story order gives you a better sense of narrative. I read Sailor on the Seas of Fate then Stealer of Souls and Strombringer, then Elric of Melinibone and then The Sleeping Sorceress. So my sense of how they fit together was constructed as they went along. The original 9 stories derrive part of their narrative sense from being a buddy story, so because Moonglum has been there almost from the start his giving up himself at the end has a poignancy. The Elric and Moonglum tales in the Sleeping Sorceress strengthen that. The pre-Moonglum stories detract a little from that but there is still a sense of it all fitting together and you feel that even when you read out of order. So Rackhir and Smiorgan who step into the Monglum role will come up later and these prequils strengthen their place in the unfolding narrative. If you read it all in narrative order then when you meet these two you don't already know the role they will play later and I wonder if that changes the feel. I read The Fortress of the Pearl and The Revenge of the Rose as later additions. To me the latter especially, throws the balance of the narrative out; it seems too much to fit into the space it occupies and the Rose seems to come from nowhere and go nowhere and never be mentioned again. I wouldn't want not to have another story but really I would have wanted more Moonglum.

                I often wonder about books fromthe past that we receive as a finished cannon. What would it have felt like to read of the death of Sherlock Holmes and not know he would be back? What if you first read Conan in the published order (which you can still do in some editions). Would the narrative feel different?

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                • #9
                  I was going to try to save some effort and link back to when I had previously answered the "first Moorcock" question in years past but it seems to be even more effort to search for the post in the deep catalogs of history than to just re-answer the question. So, for me it was "Tales of the White Wolf" anthology with the eye-catching cover art by BROM. 'Twas the title, first that drew my attention as I was in the processes of developing a character with a white wolf companion. Seeing the artwork certainly drew me in deeper and upon opening it and discovering "Go Ask Elric" by Tad Williams (my favorite at the time) I simply couldn't resist. The character of Elric immediately intrigued me as I read the convoluted collection of shorts and I knew I had to discover more about Elric and about Mike's entire corpus. It wasn't long after that when I started hunting used bookstores for the old DAW US mass market editions (finding a mix of those with Whelan and Gould covers--see my avatar). A few years later the White Wolf Eternal Champion omnibuses started to arrive, by which time I was working in a bookstore so I was able to get Trade Cloth (hardcover) and Trade Paper pre-ordered for each volume as they became available. I have been collecting Moorcock ever since (and Williams still, of course!).
                  "In omnibus requiem quaesivi, et nusquam inveni nisi in angulo cum libro"
                  --Thomas a Kempis

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by postodave View Post
                    I am wondering if in a strange way reading a series like Elric out of chronological story order gives you a better sense of narrative. I read Sailor on the Seas of Fate then Stealer of Souls and Strombringer, then Elric of Melinibone and then The Sleeping Sorceress. So my sense of how they fit together was constructed as they went along. The original 9 stories derrive part of their narrative sense from being a buddy story, so because Moonglum has been there almost from the start his giving up himself at the end has a poignancy. The Elric and Moonglum tales in the Sleeping Sorceress strengthen that. The pre-Moonglum stories detract a little from that but there is still a sense of it all fitting together and you feel that even when you read out of order. So Rackhir and Smiorgan who step into the Monglum role will come up later and these prequils strengthen their place in the unfolding narrative. If you read it all in narrative order then when you meet these two you don't already know the role they will play later and I wonder if that changes the feel. I read The Fortress of the Pearl and The Revenge of the Rose as later additions. To me the latter especially, throws the balance of the narrative out; it seems too much to fit into the space it occupies and the Rose seems to come from nowhere and go nowhere and never be mentioned again. I wouldn't want not to have another story but really I would have wanted more Moonglum.

                    I often wonder about books fromthe past that we receive as a finished cannon. What would it have felt like to read of the death of Sherlock Holmes and not know he would be back? What if you first read Conan in the published order (which you can still do in some editions). Would the narrative feel different?
                    I realised that in reading The Stealer of Souls after The Sailor on the Seas of Fate I would first have encountered Smiorgan Baldhead in the latter. Prior to that people beginning with the Dreaming City would encounter him first in that story. However I doubt it made any difference to the way I read the story. As far as I can remember I recognised the name but I think what you need to feel the significance of the betrayal at the end is all there in the narrative; we know this guy trust Elric in spite of his outsider status. I am just curious: do the later additions change the meaning or feel of the earlier narrative and does an out of order reading have any impact on how you read what you read.

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                    • #11
                      My 1st experience was with Corum. It was in a "library" session at the school. We were taken to the school library for an hour a week and told to read what we wanted. I was already an avid reader having consuemd Lord of the Rings and Consn. I'd read a lot of the Conan books already, so picking up a fantasy book with a giant on the cover and some hero waving around a sword seemed OK. I remember thinking it was similar to a a lot of the other fantasy stuff I'd read. But, then a friend directed me towards the Hawkmoon Series and that really got me enthralled. My younger brother started out with Elric and we were swapping stories through-out our school years.

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                      • #12
                        My first Moorcock was The Sword of the Dawn , I picked it up in the local library in 1972 , read it that night and have never stopped reading Mike's work since .


                        , [Ok Emerson ...oot the motor !!!!

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                        • #13
                          I used to wander through W.H.Smiths on the way to and from school between 1973 and 1978. I was already into Science Fiction, but the paperbacks with weird psychedelic covers and the single word "MOORCOCK" on the front really struck me. Had no idea what they were about, but picked up "The Jewel in the Skull", followed by the other three books in the series. That was my introduction to Moorcock, and probably my first introduction to anything that wasn't "straight" SF (I didn't even read Lord of the Rings until a few years later).

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                          • #14
                            Should the Runestaff TV series ever get going, hopefuly Hawmoon will again be a major doorway to Mike's books.

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                            • #15
                              My first was the Elric series (the Berkeley editions with those fantastic covers).

                              and yes to the Runestaff series taking off, Rothgo!

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