Cautionary Socialist Recasting of History, March 26, 2002
Reviewer: Mark D Burgh "Music, Writing, Art, Film, History Freak" (Fort Smith, AR United States)
Michael Moorcock's Nomad of the Timestreams is a political statement of deep profundity wrapped in an imperialist candy-coating of red uniforms, zeppelins, and ripping yarns.
Moorcock's multiverse is never better here. Oswald Bastable, ripped from his home in the Railway Children Series by E. Nesbitt, is part of the British Empire in 1902. Like a Kipling story, he finds himself doing the dirty work of imperialism unthinkingly. He is punished by being sent into an alternate history seventy-odd years in the future. There he tries to reassemble his life, but finds his sense of social justice is too much, and ends up working for anti-imperialist terrorists. The books are rife with real historical figures turned into their ugliest form, and in each racism is the central conflict, and no matter what he does, or what his good intentions are, Bastable always ends up at the forefront of mass destruction namely twice dropping nuclear weapons.
This is a work on the 1970's with its politicals worn bravely on its sleeve, still, Moorcock's vision is soaked with justice and through the adventures in various apocalyptic landscapes, one is as much entertained as educated.
Brilliantly written, well-researched, a dazzling performance equaled only by his Dancers at the End of Time series.