Monday, September 27, 2010

If Tolkien glorified war in his stories, did Moorcock glorify drugs, incest and genocide, in the Elric series?

Some of you who have read The Cimmerian will know about an essay written by Michael Moorcock entitled "Epic Pooh". Brian Murphy did an excellent job picking the essay apart, check it out here.

One of my favorite characters that Michael Moorcock created was Elric the 428th sorcerer emperor of Melnibone. Being an albino, he's a sickly king who is kept alive through drugs and sorcery. He's charged with keeping many traditions, many so vile and cruel it makes Drow look civilized. He's also deeply in love with Cymoril who is his cousin. An unlikely character for swords & sorcery fiction. Through the course of the series, Elric finds himself at odds with the evil ways of his people, and his cousin Yrkoon who has been plotting to take the throne by force or treachery.

Elric leaves his homeland, his beloved Cymoril, and leaves his cousin Yrkoon in charge of Imrryr. Yrkoon sits in the throne and rules like a tyrant, but Elric knew that he would be a cruel emperor, and wasn't that the way of things in Imrryr? When Elric finally returns to his homeland he leads an army of barbarians, The Young Kingdoms in fighting Yrkoon and his fellow countrymen. The result is the genocide of Elric's race as well as his lover Cymoril.

Does this mean that Moorcock glorifies these horrific qualities like cruelty, incest, drug use, and genocide? No, not anymore than Tolkien glorified war.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Discovering Lin Carter

I've been discovering Lin Carter's work for the first time. I've read some of his short stories in the past and also his Conan pastiches but I've been reading The Gondwane Epic and feel like I'm discovering him for the first time. He was quite a prolific writer in the field of Swords & Sorcery fiction, and was the editor of the popular Flashing Swords anthologies. He's now more of a forgotten favorite to some and a maligned writer credited with hurting the Conan series (I disagree with this).

The Gondwane series is more of a Swords and Planet or Dying Earth story which used to be commonplace in the 60's and 70's but now it's too uncommon. It's kind of a mixture of post-apocalyptic/swords & sorcery/science fiction world of high adventure. Although criticized as being heavily influenced by Jack Vance's Dying Earth series, Carter made it his own wonderful fantasy realm. Set on the super continent "Gondawane",think Pangea reforming and you'll have the right idea.

"Millions upon millions of years hence, when all the ancient continents of Old Earth have come together to form the immensity of Gondwane, the Last Continent, in The Twilight of Time, there shall come a Savior of Galendil to wrestle with the Doom of the World: They shall call him Silvermane." - Oth Kangmir (The Book Imperishable)

The main character is Ganelon Silvermane, a human bio-mechanical construct of considerable size and strength, created by the scientists and alchemists of Gondwane as the ultimate hero of mankind. Joined by the Illusionist of Nerelon, Xarda the Knightrix of Jemmerdy, and the Bazonga, a giant sentient robot bird/vehicle, they travel the world of Gondwane to finally bring peace to a troubled world.

Currently I'm reading the second book "The Enchantress Of World's End" and it's as good, if not better than the first. I really like the Death Dwarves! Horrible, mutated form of anti-life!

If you get the opportunity to read the series you should, it's a fun read!