Michael Moorcock

English science fiction and fantasy writer Michael John Moorcock was born 18 December 193. He is best known for his novels about the character Elric of Melniboné, a seminal influence on the field of fantasy in the 1960s and 1970s. Moorcock began writing whilst he was still at school, contributing to a magazine he entitled Outlaw’s Own during the 1950’s. In 1957 at the age of 17, Moorcock became editor of the Tarzan Adventures where he published at least a dozen of his own Sojan the Swordsman stories during that year and the next.

In 1958 he wrote the allegorical fantasy novel The Golden Barge. This remained unpublished until 1980, when it was issued by Savoy Books with an introduction by M. John Harrison. He also edited Sexton Blake Library (serial pulp fiction featuring Sexton Blake, the poor man’s Sherlock Holmes) and returned to late Victorian London for some of his books. Writing ever since, he has produced a huge volume of work. His first story in New Worlds was “Going Home” (1958; with Barrington J. Bayley). “The Sundered Worlds”, a 57-page novella published in the November 1962 number of Science Fiction Adventures became his 190-page paperback debut novel three years later, The Sundered Worlds

In 1964 Moorcock replaced Carnell as New Worlds editor and published “New Wave” science fiction, which promoted literary style and an existential view of technological change, in contrast to “hard science fiction”, which extrapolated on technological change itself. He occasionally wrote as “James Colvin”, a “house pseudonym” that was also used by other New Worlds critics. A spoof obituary of Colvin appeared in New Worlds #197 (January 1970), written by Charles Platt as “William Barclay”. Moorcock makes much use of the initials “JC”; these are also the initials of Jesus Christ, the subject of his 1967 Nebula award-winning novella Behold the Man, which tells the story of Karl Glogauer, a time-traveller who takes on the role of Christ. They are also the initials of various “Eternal Champion” Moorcock characters such as Jerry Cornelius, Jerry Cornell and Jherek Carnelian. Moorcock also uses “Warwick Colvin, Jr.” as a pseudonym. Moorcock discusses his writing in Death is No Obstacle by Colin Greenland and has also published pastiches of writers for whom he felt affection as a boy, including Edgar Rice Burroughs, Leigh Brackett, and Robert E. Howard.

All his fantasy adventures have elements of satire and parody, while respecting what he considered the essentials. He became literary author, with the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1977 for The Condition of Muzak, and with Mother London later shortlisted for the Whitbread prize. Novels and series like the Cornelius Quartet, Mother London, King of the City, the Pyat Quartet and the short story collection London Bone established him as a major contemporary literary novelist alao revisits characters from his earlier works, such as Elric, with books like The Dreamthief’s Daughter or The Skrayling Tree. Following the publication of The White Wolf’s Son, he announced that he was “retiring” from writing heroic fantasy fiction, though he continues to write Elric’s adventures as graphic novels such as Elric: the Making of a Sorcerer, with his long-time collaborators Walter Simonson and the late James Cawthorn. He has also completed his Colonel Pyat sequence, dealing with the Nazi Holocaust, which began in 1981 with Byzantium Endures, continued through The Laughter of Carthage (1984) and Jerusalem Commands (1992), and finishes with The Vengeance of Rome (2006). Among other works by Moorcock are The Dancers at the End of Time, set on Earth millions of years in the future, and Gloriana, or The Unfulfill’d Queen, set in an alternative Earth history.

In 2008 Moorcock was named by a critics panel in The Times as one of the fifty best British novelists since 1945. Most of Moorcock’s earlier work consisted of short stories and relatively brief novels. Since the 1980s, Moorcock has tended to write longer, more literary ‘mainstream’ novels, such as Mother London and Byzantium Endures, but he continues to revisit characters from his earlier works, such as Elric, with books like The Dreamthief’s Daughter or The Skrayling Tree. Following the publication of The White Wolf’s Son, he announced that he was “retiring” from writing heroic fantasy fiction, though he continues to write Elric’s adventures as graphic novels with his long-time collaborators Walter Simonson and the late James Cawthorn, who also produced the graphic novel, Elric: the Making of a Sorcerer. He has also completed his Colonel Pyat sequence, dealing with the Nazi Holocaust, which began in 1981 with Byzantium Endures, continued through The Laughter of Carthage (1984) and Jerusalem Commands (1992), and now culminates with The Vengeance of Rome (2006).

other novels by Moorcock include The Dancers at the End of Time, Gloriana, or The Unfulfill’d Queen, The Caravan of Forgotten Dreams, The Pleasure Garden of Felipe Sagittarius, The Steel Tsar, Behold the Man, Mother London, King of the City, Hawkmoon, “Corum” and His Eternal Champion and the Pyat quartet. However the Elric of Melniboné stories areMoorcock’s most popular works, Elric is the reverse of what Moorcock saw as clichés commonly found in fantasy adventure novels inspired by the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, and Conan the Barbarian. the concept of an “Eternal Champion”, who has potentially multiple identities across multiple dimensions of reality and alternative universes appears in many novel and this cosmology within his novels is called the “Multiverse”. The Multiverse is based on a concept theorized in particle physics and concerns various primal polarities such as good and evil, Law and Chaos, order and Entropy.

Another of Moorcock’s popular creations is Jerry Cornelius, a kind of hip urban adventurer of ambiguous gender; the same characters featured in each of several Cornelius books. These books were most obviously satirical of modern times, including the Vietnam War, and feature a variation of the Multiverse. The firstJerry Cornelius book The Final Programme (1968), was also made into a feature film in 1973 and is similar to two of the Elric stories: The Dreaming City and The Dead Gods’ Book. In 1998, Moorcock wrote new stories featuring Cornelius: The Spencer Inheritance, The Camus Connection, Cheering for the Rockets, and Firing the Cathedral, Moorcock’s most recent Cornelius story is, “Modem Times”, and a version of Cornelius also appeared in Moorcock’s 2010 Doctor Who novel The Coming of the Terraphiles.

Moorcock also collaborated with the British Prog rock band Hawkwind on many occasions including “The Black Corridor”, which includes verbatim quotes from Moorcock’s novel of the same name. He also worked with the band on their album Warrior on the Edge of Time and wrote the lyrics to “Sonic Attack”, Hawkwind’s album The Chronicle of the Black Sword was also largely based on the Elric novels. Moorcock appeared on stage with the band occasionally during the Black Sword tour and he can be seen performing on the DVD version of Chronicle of the Black Sword. Moorcock also collaborated with former Hawkwind frontman and resident poet, Robert Calvert (who gave the chilling declamation of “Sonic Attack”), on Calvert’s albums Lucky Leif and the Longships and Hype.

Moorcock has his own music project, Michael Moorcock & The Deep Fix, their first single was “Starcrusier/Dodgem Dude” and first album was New Worlds Fair, which included a number of Hawkwind regulars. The next album Roller Coaster Holiday was issued in 2004 and In 2008, The Entropy Tango & Gloriana Demo Sessions were released. These were sessions for planned albums based on two of his novels: Gloriana, or The Unfulfill’d Queen, and The Entropy Tango. Moorcock also wrote the lyrics to a few album tracks by the Blue Öyster Cult: “Black Blade”, “Veteran of the Psychic Wars”, “Warriors at the Edge of Time” and “The Great Sun Jester”, which is about his friend, the poet Bill Butler, who died of a drug overdose. Moorcock appeared on five tracks on the Spirits Burning CD Alien Injection, singing lead vocals and playing guitar and mandolin. The performances used on the CD were from the The Entropy Tango & Gloriana Demo Sessions. an audiobook series of unabridged Elric novels, read by Moorcock, has also Been released including The Sailor on the Seas of Fate

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