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The Time of the Hawklords

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  • The Time of the Hawklords

    I have just finished reading Hawkwind: Days of the Underground by Joe Banks. It's a detailed exploration of Hawkwind's first decade or so. In one essay he explores the Hawkwind mythos created on album sleeves and promotions and in the novel The Time of the Hawklords. This is a very odd creature. I gather it was Mike M's idea but was several years before coming to fruition and was handed over to Michael Butterworth. I read a copy of the book from my local library when it came out in the seventies and bought a secondhand copy in the eighties. Mike did not like the way the book which he had largely not written was attributed to him and was even more disgruntled to have his name put on the sequel which he had nothing to do with. One can see why the publisher would want to do that: a book written by someone closely associated with the band would be more marketable than a book written by someone with no connection with them. It really is an oddity. The idea of Hawkwind rocking in a ruined London is good and leads to lots of charming images. Other ideas like the minds of straight society being stored in what would later be called cyberspace are ahead of their time. But it flounders in places. The underlying metaphysic - that the battle between good and evil on earth is a relic of a battle between two alien races in ancient times runs straight into the euthyphro dilemma; why call one side good and the other evil if good and evil did not already exist? This is a long way from Mike M's subtle distinction between law and chaos and the need for balance. The other ropey idea that good and evil can be aligned with musical styles did originate in an earlier piece by Mike. Music, like law and chaos is intertwined and complex. But back in the seventies there was a tendency to see pop as, not just aesthetically, but morally bad. A bit like the Blues Brothers a few years later depicting Blues and Country as enemies.

    Anyway, I know it has been discussed on here before but I wonder if anyone else has read it. I certainly don't think it's a bad book, just an odd one. Anyone else have any thoughts.