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Topic: Michael Moorcock and Others

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Subject: Michael Moorcock and Others
Date Posted: 1/31/2010 10:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/11/2007
Posts: 1,807
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Is Michael Moorcock considered science fiction or fantasy?  I have several volumes of his, and I've been told they are to be read in order, but not necessarily in the order they appear in the books (several books in one omnibus).  Has anyone read any of these, and are they any good?  The first one is The Eternal Champion and includes the books The Eternal Champion; Phoenix in Obsidian; and The Sundered Worlds.  And then there's about 12 more volumes, I think.

Also, has anyone read Terry Goodkind and Robert Jordan?  These are fantasy, right?  Are they any good for someone who doesn't read a lot of fantasy?

Date Posted: 2/1/2010 1:09 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2009
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I've heard good things about Michael Moorcock, but never had a chance to read him.  (One of these days I'll find the time to read all the books I own!)  I think he does mostly fantasy but some science fiction.

I've read as much as I can stand of Terry Goodkind and Robert Jordan.  Yes, they're fantasy.  If you don't read a lot of fantasy, stay far away.  Robert Jordan's series is up to 13 massive door stopping volumes.  Goodkind has at least 11 or 12.  There's no end in sight yet for either series.  That's a huge time commitment for someone who doesn't read lots of fantasy.

In my opinion, both series start off pretty decently but really start to drag after the 3 or 4th book.  Jordan is pretty polarizing.  He has lots of people who hate the last half of the series, and others who absolutely love the last half.  Doesn't seem to be much middle ground there.  Maybe that's because the ones who thought it was just "alright" quit earlier in the series.

Date Posted: 2/1/2010 2:47 AM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
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Michael Moorcock is one of those mind bogglingly prolific writers, so he has stuff in lots of genres.  I'm using one of his books for this challenge, but I'm not familiar with the series you're asking about, 

I've had the first Wheel of Time book sitting on my TBR pile forever but can't seem to make myself read it.  I'm vaguely curious, but have a strong suspicion it won't be my thing. 

Date Posted: 2/1/2010 6:36 AM ET
Member Since: 10/31/2009
Posts: 84
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"I've read as much as I can stand of Terry Goodkind and Robert Jordan.  Yes, they're fantasy.  If you don't read a lot of fantasy, stay far away.  Robert Jordan's series is up to 13 massive door stopping volumes.  Goodkind has at least 11 or 12.  There's no end in sight yet for either series."

Actually Goodkind's Sword of Truth series ended with book 11.  Jordan's Wheel of Time series is projected to conclude in late 2012 with the 14th volume.  Both series are wildly popular, though not on the same level as Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter.

As far as a Moorcock reading order goes, this link explains it better than I could ever hope to.

Date Posted: 2/1/2010 9:03 AM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2009
Posts: 851
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I have to recommend an old trilogy ( I just re-discovered it, read it twenty years ago and loved it then as well!)

Robert Stallman -  The Orphan, The Captive and the Beast.

Funny, entertaining and unusual, not your normal fiction.

It is about a 'beast' that is captured in a human body and its struggle to free itself and move on to a different dimension. Great Read!

Date Posted: 2/1/2010 2:55 PM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2006
Posts: 50
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Moorcock - fantasy or SF?  It depends on the story.  The stories about his (arguably) most famous characters - Elric and Corum - skew towards fantasy.  Jerry Cornelius is science fiction.  However, much of Moorcock's writing falls into that wonderfully blended style that incorporates elements of both.  Oswald Bastable, Dorian Hawkmoon, Dancers at the End of Time, Kane of Old Mars (his Burroughs homage), etc.  For all his pretensions, most of Moorcock's stories can be placed solidly within the pulp fantasy/sword & sorcery tradition of R.E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, and company.  Once upon a time, this sort of "science-fantasy" was fairly common...

Regarding Jordan and Goodkind: I've read a fair amount of their works, and I say don't waste your time.  IMHO, Moorcock and the other authors mentioned here created more interesting stories and truly "fantastic" worlds in far fewer words than either of these clowns.  However, if you really feel compelled to wade through an interminable doorstop-sized fantasy series, I would suggest George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire or Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen

Date Posted: 2/1/2010 3:05 PM ET
Member Since: 5/17/2006
Posts: 50
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Sorry Kim, I forgot to answer one of your questions in my previous post.  The Eternal Champion is one of Moorcock's concepts (along with the Multiverse and the Cosmic Balance) that underlies much of his work.  Erekose, Corum, Hawkmoon, Elric, and others are all incarnations of this character in their own worlds and dimensions; most of them have no knowledge of their other incarnations.  (John Daker/Erekose is the only one who is aware of all the others.) 

How does this translate to a reading order?  It doesn't at all, really; you can pick and choose which Champions seem the most interesting to you without any fear that you're missing something.  If you want to know more, visit Moorcock's Miscellany at http://www.multiverse.org.  Hope this helps a bit!

Date Posted: 2/1/2010 7:15 PM ET
Member Since: 8/11/2007
Posts: 1,807
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Aaron & Jason - Wow, that is an awesome site that the both of you recommended!!!!  I have most of those books, and it's a bit daunting to see all the books listed in each omnibus.  I think I am going to have to crack down and start reading them.  I've had them for years and they are just sitting here collecting dust!

Thank you all for the posts.  I have now added a few more books to my WL.  And I think I will pass on Goodkind and Jordan for the time being. :)

Date Posted: 2/2/2010 9:08 PM ET
Member Since: 9/11/2005
Posts: 905
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I put a note to this effect on the SF page as well as on the regular Bazaar.  i have 12 of Moorcock's books on my shelf that have been there since last August with no interest.  If anybody wants some of them, make an offer.  i'll accept almost any reasonable deal, starting a 3 for 2 and getting better if you want some of them.  Thanks.  Winston