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SFF Author: Michael Moorcock

Michael Moorcock(1939- )
Michael Moorcock has written numerous award-winning science fiction and fantasy novels, anthologies, mainstream literature, literary criticism (he likes Fritz Leiber‘s work and doesn’t like Tolkien’s), and even lyrics for an English rock band and for Blue Oyster Cult. His most famous work is his fantasy epic Elric of Melnibone. Here’s his website.



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Elric of Melniboné: A fantasy giant

Elric of Melniboné by Michael Moorcock

Elric of Melniboné is one of those fantasy giants that shook the genre. He’s probably not so well-known as Conan or Gandalf, but he’s nonetheless in the same country club of figures often cited as seminal to sword and sorcery — for good reason. The argument could definitely be made that Elric was the basis for most of the brooding, troubled heroes that have become so popular of late. Think of all those angsty sorcerers and tragically doomed warriors wandering across unforgiving worlds.


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The Sailor on the Seas of Fate: The weird one

The Sailor on the Seas of Fate by Michael Moorcock

The Sailor on the Seas of Fate is the Elric book that’s been cited to me as “coming from left field” or “the weird one,” which considering it’s Elric is saying something (the next book is actually called The Weird of the White Wolf, for an amusing bit of trivia, although Weird in that context is used archaically to mean “fate”). It’s not that The Sailor on the Seas of Fate is bad necessarily,


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The Eternal Champion: Examines the multiplicity of an individual

The Eternal Champion by Michael Moorcock

Though I have read a handful of Elric stories and several comics — new and old — based on the character, The Eternal Champion is the first complete novel of Michael Moorcock’s that I have read, and I enjoyed it immensely. Erekosë, another character in Moorcock’s larger ETERNAL CHAMPION series, is a fascinating character who, as a warrior with ethical concerns about war, allows Moorcock to reflect upon weighty matters via his fictional narrative. But most importantly,


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The Knight of the Swords: Begins as a tale of revenge, but becomes much more

The Knight of the Swords by Michael Moorcock

I started reading Michael Moorcock only a few years ago, and already he is one of my favorite authors. And the six-book CORUM series, for me, is second only to the ELRIC saga. In some ways I like better that Corum’s story is complete within these six volumes, unlike Elric’s, which never ends as Moorcock continues to add new stories (though he has, at least, written the story that tells of Elric’s end as a character).


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The Queen of the Swords: Delightful prose and a page-turning plot

The Queen of the Swords by Michael Moorcock

This review contains spoilers for The Knight of the Swords, the first book in the CORUM series.

The Queen of the Swords, the second book in Moorcock’s CORUM series, takes place after Corum, The Prince in the Scarlet Robe, has had a needed respite from defeating Arioch, The Knight of the Swords. Aricoch, along with the Queen and King of Swords, are the three Lords of Chaos responsible for upsetting the Balance in the fifteen planes of Corum’s universe.


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The King of the Swords: Corum learns the nature of revenge

The King of the Swords by Michael Moorcock

This review includes spoilers for Books 1 and 2 in the CORUM series.

The King of the Swords (1971) wraps up the first of the two trilogies that make up the CORUM series. Between the end of this book and the start of the second trilogy in The Bull and the Spear, eighty years will pass. But The King of the Swords is a culmination of all the events set in motion in the first two books.


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The Bull and the Spear: Begins a second, compelling CORUM trilogy

The Bull and the Spear by Michael Moorcock

This review contains spoilers for the first three books in the Corum series.

Michael Moorcock’s CORUM series is comprised of two trilogies. In the first trilogy, Corum defeated the three Chaos rulers of the fifteen planes, giving Law back much of its lost power and thereby restoring the Balance. Starting eighty years later, the second trilogy starts with The Bull and the Spear (1973). As the book starts, we find that Corum has lived in peace with his great love,


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The Warlord of the Air: Political message doesn’t overwhelm the adventure

The Warlord of the Air by Michael Moorcock

In 1971, Michael Moorcock published a trilogy called Nomad of the Timestreams. Titan Books is reissuing this series. The first book, The Warlord of the Air, introduces us to Oswald Bastable, a captain of the 53rd Lancers in 1902, who, through a bizarre occurrence is hurled into 1973 — a 1973 that is very little like the one our history books, or Wikipedia, tell us about.

Moorcock is an excellent writer, and in The Warlord of the Air he set out to create a late Victorian/Edwardian pastiche.


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Gloriana, or The Unfulfill’d Queen: Reader Unfulfill’d

Gloriana, or The Unfulfill’d Queen: Being a Romance by Michael Moorcock

Gloriana (1979) is Moorcock’s homage to Mervyn Peake (author of the Gormenghast saga), and fittingly, is a lush tale of intrigue told in thoroughly British prose. At times brilliant (especially in the descriptions of the seasonal festivities), often captivating and humorous, often sluggish and overly subtle, ultimately unfulfilling, it’s a book I recommend borrowing from the library before buying. Not everyone will enjoy such decadence.

Speaking of decadence,


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The Best of Michael Moorcock: Excellent short stories

The Best of Michael Moorcock by Michael Moorcock

The Best of Michael Moorcock is a collection of the legendary author’s best short fiction, containing several of his classic stories, as well as one previously unreleased story.

The collection, lovingly edited by John Davey with Jeff and Ann VanderMeer, is nothing short of excellent. There are really no bad stories here, and some that are simply stunning. As someone who has read many of Michael Moorcock‘s novels but barely any of his shorter work,


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The Runestaff: Old-school sword and sorcery

Hawkmoon: The Runestaff by Michael Moorcock

This reissue reveals how much epic fantasy has changed since the 1960s. It’s hard to believe that there is an epic fantasy stretched over just four 200-page entries. Certainly, Hawkmoon: The Runestaff is an old-school sword and sorcery tale. Originally published in 1969, Michael Moorcock’s The Runestaff is the fourth entry in The History of the Runestaff. Tor has now released the story as Hawkmoon: The Runestaff. How have things changed?


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The Whispering Swarm: Incandescent prose gives way to boredom

The Whispering Swarm by Michael Moorcock

“… There was Blackfriars Bridge and the rich waters of the river, marbled by rainbow oil, poisonous and invigorating, buzzing like speed. What immune systems that environment gave us! It was an energy shield out of a science fiction story. The city lived through all attacks and so did we. Our bit of it – almost the eye of the storm – was scarcely touched. I grew up knowing I would survive. We all knew it.”

Michael Moorcock is one of Those Names in the SFF field.


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The Michael Moorcock Library: Elric of Melniboné adapted by Roy Thomas

The Michael Moorcock Library (Vol. 1): Elric of Melniboné adapted by Roy Thomas

“Melniboné has never stood for good or for evil, but for herself and the satisfaction of her desires.”

Michael Moorcock’s Elric cannot follow this line of thinking that is prevalent among his people, the people of Melniboné; in fact, it’s so prevalent that even his lover, whose words I quoted above, believes that they are a race of people above ethics, above good and evil, in the way we think of such concepts.


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Fast Ships, Black Sails: Pirates and adventure!

Fast Ships, Black Sails edited by Jeff and Ann Vandermeer

I was never a big fan of pirates (ninjas, on the other hand…) but nonetheless, the very word evokes adventure and the high seas. Fast Ships, Black Sails doesn’t really stray far from that expectation and delivers eighteen stories marked with action, treachery, and a sense of wonder.

A good chunk of the stories revolve around traditional concepts of a pirate, with only a few exceptions, such as “Boojum” by Elizabeth Bear & 


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The New Weird: As terrifying as Kafka on LSD

The New Weird by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

It’s easy to imagine two different readers reacting in opposite ways to The New Weird. One might find it delightfully odd; the other might find it as terrifying as Kafka on LSD. And a third might find it delightfully odd because it’s as terrifying as Kafka on LSD. Certainly, no one is likely to find it boring.

The New Weird is a well-organized anthology, with a short, useful introduction; a section entitled “Stimuli,” containing older selections (though not very old;


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Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery

Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery edited by Jonathan Strahan & Lou Anders

Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery is a book I’ve been eagerly anticipating ever since it was first announced in 2009. I was particularly excited about the anthology’s impressive list of contributors which includes several authors I enjoy reading like Glen Cook, Greg Keyes, Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie, Garth Nix, Tim Lebbon, Caitlin R.


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Epic: Legends of Fantasy: Lives up to its title

Epic: Legends of Fantasy by John Joseph Adams (editor)

Epic: Legends of Fantasy, edited by John Joseph Adams, is an anthology of stories written by some of the biggest names in epic fantasy. The book clocks in at over 600 pages not just because it’s very difficult to tell short epic stories (though some of these authors do manage to pull it off) but because here the authors are not just telling epic legends, they are legends in and of themselves. George R.R.


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Thoughtful Thursday: Rename this horrible cover!

Time for another “Rename This Horrible Cover” contest!

Please help us rename this atrocious-looking science fiction novel by Michael Moorcock.

(We love Moorcock’s Eternal Champion stories but, sadly, this is the second Moorcock cover we’ve been forced to feature in this column).

The creator of the title we like best wins a book from our stacks

Got a suggestion for a horrible cover that needs renaming? Please send it to Kat.

We love this game!


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