Moorcock's Finest, December 16, 2000
Reviewer: D. Scott McMillin (Chicago, IL United States)
The Cornelius Chronicles along with The Adventures of Una Persson and Catherine Cornelius, Life and Times of Jerry Cornelius, and The Entropy Tango represent some of the best fiction Moorcock has ever penned.
As a young teenager I devoured Moorcock's Eternal Champion books, but it wasn't until college that the Cornelius books held any interest for me, and at that point I had stopped reading SF/Fantasy altogether (I had Nabokov to read...). In many ways Jerry is the mature reader's Eternal Champion--the novels do echo many of the themes found in the other EC novels.
I actually find it quite daunting to sum up The Cornelius Chronicles in such a limited space. My 1977 Avon edition is almost 1000 pages and the four novels that make up the Chronicles (a tetrology?) offer different experiences and styles.
My nutshell: The Chronicles are concerned with Jerry's struggle for identity amidst the entropy of urban life in 1970's London. Satirical, funny, sexy, and sad; filled with a wonderful cast of characters. It really is genre-busting--from 60's spy flick to urban realism. Postmodern (in the literary sense; search for Brian McHale). In many ways it reminds me of Pynchon's V.
Find and buy these books if you can. Hopefully they will, as the author states above, be published again. Of Moorcock's "SF" work, these (with Behold the Man) are the ones that should stay in print--eternally.
This is what Michael Moorcock was up to before all of the Elric stuff. Kind of like a sci-fi Austin Powers with out the comedy and the Bond references. A little dated with 60's psychedelic culture, but a lot of fun if you're into that era.
This paperback contains 4 novels:
The Final Programme
A Cure for Cancer
The English Assassin
The Condition of Muzak