Michael Moorcock

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Michael Moorcock in 2006

Michael Moorcock is a Speculative Fiction author of roughly 80 novels and short stories collections. He combines a graphic and powerful imagination with an often frustrating inability to resolve a plot except by Deus Ex Machina.

In the 1960s he became editor of New Worlds magazine, evolving its format from a fairly conservative science fiction magazine into an anarchic counter-cultural organ (heh, heh. Moorcock. Organ), bringing a much-needed waft of swinging-London "hipness" and progressive sensibility to fantastic and fantasy fiction and touching off the so-called "New Wave" of science fiction (not that one.)

Most of his work centers around the concept of the "Eternal Champion"; a being who undergoes repeated incarnations throughout time, and is destined to maintain the balance between Law and Chaos-- whether he wants to or not. Many of his earlier works were written as stand-alone works; but have been retroactively added to the Eternal Champion mythology, mainly through later crossovers.

The Eternal Champion commonly has a sidekick of some sort, if only briefly. Just as the Champion has many incarnations, so does the sidekick, and is commonly referred to as the Eternal Companion. The nature of the Companion varies, from Hypercompetent Sidekick, to The Watson, to Damsel in Distress, to almost pure comic relief. The various sidekicks are also commonly more down-to-earth than the Champion; and frequently Genre Savvy, being aware of the nature of The Multiverse, the Champion, and themselves.

The Eternal Champion also has a (typically doomed) love-interest: the Eternal Consort.

He strongly dislikes J. R. R. Tolkien's works despite having met him personally and finding him sympathetic on a personal level (although he has also stated that certain accounts have overstated his dislike of Tolkien's works; notably, he did use The Lord of the Rings as a favourable reference point for the inventiveness of Ursula K. Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness. However, there is also the essay "Epic Pooh", which spells out what he does dislike about Tolkien's works). He also loathes C. S. Lewis and Robert A. Heinlein. These people's opinions on him are unreported. On the other hand he greatly admires Mervyn Peake and considered the Gormenghast trilogy an injustly-overlooked masterpiece.

He cannot multiply 13 by 13 and get an accurate result. This is a flaw shared by his editors. Assuming he has editors.

He has also written songs for Blue Öyster Cult and Hawkwind and occasionally performed with the latter band. During his brush with Hawkwind he seems to have befriended Lemmy Kilmister, who later went on to found hard rock/heavy metal seminal ensemble Motorhead. He has dedicated a recently-released Hawkmoon omnibus to "his friend Lemmy".

Some members of Hawkwind helped him record a music album under the name of "Michael Moorcock and the Deep Fix" (in the mid-70s). When, with the advent of Internet, enough fans began pestering him for a reissue he made his own personal copy downloadable from his website (the masters apparently having been forever lost).

He has also written comics plots which have been illustrated by Walt Simonson and contributed a few issues to Alan Moore's "Tom Strong".

He is one of a number of writers that Games Workshop (and TSR) ripped off shamelessly.

A longtime fan of Doctor Who, Moorcock was commissioned by the BBC to write a Who novel, The Coming of the Terraphiles, or Pirates of the Second Aether!! (2010).

Lifelong anarchist.

A highly prolific writer, most of his works fit into collections revolving around a particular incarnation of the Eternal Champion; although there are a few stand-alone works. Many of his earlier works were later incorporated into the Eternal Champion mythology.

Some examples of the Eternal Champion works below:

  • The Elric Saga (Elric of Melnibone)
  • The Eternal Champion Saga (Erekosë / John Daker)
  • The History of the Runestaff (Dorian Hawkmoon)
  • Count Brass (Earl Aubec)
  • The Cornelius Chronicles (Jerry Cornelius)
  • The Dancers at the End of Time (Jherek Carnelian)
  • The Chronicles of Corum (Corum Jhaelen Irsei)
  • A Nomad of the Time Streams (Oswald Bastable)
  • Von Bek (various members of the von Bek family)
  • The Second Ether (Jack Karaquazian)
  • Behold the Man (Karl Glogauer)
  • Kane of Old Mars (Michael Kane)

Notable works not part of the Eternal Champion mythology:

  • Behold the Man (Not originally an Eternal Champion novel, it was later retconned in).
  • Gloriana, or, The Unfulfill'd Queen
  • Mother London
  • The Pyat Quartet (aka Between the Wars)
Michael Moorcock provides examples of the following tropes: