The Cornelius Chronicles (The Chronicles of Jerry Cornelius, #1-4)
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The Cornelius Chronicles (Jerry Cornelius #1-4 omnibus)

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3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  874 ratings  ·  44 reviews
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Mass Market Paperback, 974 pages
Published 1977 by Avon
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Adam
A napalm bomb against linear structure…psychedelic hermaphrodite messiah meets James Bond parody Jerry Cornelius (yes another J.C.) is the “hero” through these interconnected “novels”.(though he is dead throughout most of one of them) More William Burrough type cut up then straight forward narrative these books throw pop culture and history into a blender and create a world where the U.S. napalms London, a women has the power to absorb others, characters disappear and reappear, news clipping bec...more
Kascha
I have to say with regard to all things Cornelius, I am either a simpleton, or these stories are needlessly complicated and convoluted for naught but their own sake.

I have literally been trying to get through this book since the 80's. I cannot do it. There is simply too much going on. Too many logic jumps. Followed immediately by too much abstraction and freelancing babbling about nothing in particular. I know many other people who swear by these stories but as Moorcock novels go I can only conc...more
Ross Lockhart
Last night I finished reading Michael Moorcock's The Cornelius Chronicles, 974 pages of absurdist, non-linear, psychedelic-era science fantasy featuring as its protagonist Jerry Cornelius, "a sexually ambivalent, amoral (but exceedingly oral) portmanteau anti-hero who was part saint and part devil, an instant myth of the pop sixties whose tastes in music, clothes, cars, drugs, wombs, technology, and apotheosis all seemed to make him an authentic emblem of Swinging London and (more narrowly) of t...more
Alan Smith
Few people are neutral about Moorcock's "Jerry Cornelius" series. There's a large group who think the author was high on something when he wrote the stories, comparing them to a kind of prose version of T S Elliott's "Waste Land" full of pseudo-clever allusions, softcore porn, meaningless drivel in which nothing actually happens, or simply a series of vignettes which should properly be called writing exercises rather than a coherent novel. Others regard the stories as the definitive new-wave SF,...more
Kat
Jerry Cornelius was my first introduction to Moorcock and although I've since been working my way through his other books the Cornelius novels are still my favourites.

Although this volume contains 4 novels, I felt I was reading one extended book. Moorcock's disjointed time hopping non-linear narrative lends itself to flexible reading, of course. It's great fun, moving at times, vibrant, silly, epic and at the same time intimate. The shifiting styles of writing manage not to be jarring and never...more
Craig
This is a collection of the four best of Moorcock's Cornelius works: THE FINAL PROGRAMME, A CURE FOR CANCER, THE ENGLISH ASSASSIN, and THE CONDITION OF MUZAK. It is non-linear science fantasy at its absurdist best. As it says on the back cover: "Jerry Cornelius copulates, hallucinates, devastates, dies, and comes back from the dead... frequently." The initials "J.C." figure prominently in many of Moorcock's books, but it all started with these, the story of a rock'n'roll messiah. It's like a sor...more
Craig Nickerson
I made three heroic attempts to get through this, attempts worthy of an eternal champion. No dice. I’d make it about one third in and suddenly be overwhelmed by a feeling of hopelessness and melancholy, like I was wasting my life. Then one day I had an epiphany. I started to read it BACKWARDS. This did not work either. So I shredded it, baked it in with some hash brownies, and ate it.
Jim
Jerry Cornelius is the messiah/destroyer of the world. A mod James Bond/Velvet Underground rocker who has cooler gadgets and cooler licks. Psychedelic trips, asassinations, and transexuals who race through time. What more do you want in your genre bending 60's British science fiction.
Ryan
Delightfully anarchic and freewheeling. Moorcock creates an atmosphere that is psychedelic, apocalyptic, non-linear in time and subtly magical.
Michael
Feb 08, 2014 Michael rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci fi fans, Moorcock fans, rock fans
Recommended to Michael by: Tom Maddox
In all, this book falls into the category of "books that blew me away in my twenties, but don't really seem to hold up anymore." It isn't actually bad, and some of it is even pretty good, but I took one star off from my original review, because the overall effect is middling. Below are the reviews I wrote for each of the novels in the tetralogy, as I completed them over the course of the past half-year or so.

The Final Programme is a remarkably short book, and even less of it (maybe 120 pages) is...more
Ben Babcock
I’m not the right person to read this, at least not right now.

I know it’s kind of my hang-up to turn everything into a generational thing, but I think that’s in operation here. I didn’t live through the 1960s or the 1970s. I don’t get what the political climate was like then, either in North America or in Europe, and I come to New Wave science fiction experiencing everything second hand. That doesn’t mean one needs to be of that age to grok or even enjoy books like this—but I suspect those reade...more
Nick
May 30, 2007 Nick rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: hardcore Moorcock fans
Shelves: scifi, surrealism
The first story in this volume, The Final Programme, is a re-telling of another story from Moorcock's opus, "The Stealer of Souls." Only while that story is a more-or-less straightforward sword and sorcery adventure (tho one that explores the themes of fratricide and incest), "The Final Programme" takes place in an alternate 1970s universe that resembles nothing so much as Austin Powers on bad acid. If you are into psychedelia, absurdism and the grotesque, that story alone is worth the price of...more
Scott Rhee
Surreal. Perverted. Hysterical. Challenging. Brilliant. Moorcock's '60s sci-fi tetralogy about a a time/space-tripping British dandy named Jerry Cornelius is difficult to describe. It kind of works on a visceral level, much like William S. Burroughs' "Naked Lunch". It actually reminded me (a lot) of the works of Burroughs, Thomas Pynchon, and Tom Robbins, whose works are also pretty uncategorizable. Cornelius is definitely a fascinating anti-hero (think Austin Powers meets Doctor Who without the...more
Chris
Except for THE FINAL PROGRAMME, the first book in the collection, the stories and writing are almost indecipherable at times; most times, actually. TFP isn't great either. The only really grabbing thing about it being that it's partially a re-telling of Elric of Melnibone's attempted rescue of his beloved cousin Cymoril from her brother Yyrkoon (from WEIRD OF THE WHITE WOLF), instead with Jerry rescuing his sister Catherine from their brother Frank. Pretty much the character of Jerry Cornelius w...more
Adam
A napalm bomb against linear structure…psychedelic hermaphrodite messiah meets James Bond parody Jerry Cornelius (yes another J.C.) is the “hero” through these interconnected “novels”.(though he is dead throughout most of one of them) More William Burrough type cut up then straight forward narrative these books throw pop culture and history into a blender and create a world where the U.S. napalms London, a women has the power to absorb others, characters disappear and reappear, news clipping bec...more
Leslie
I have a dream...that Michael Moorcock would be in an amazing progrock band with...hmmm...Lemmy. Yeah Lemmy. And that all the songs would be as fantastical as the Elric Saga and the Cornelius saga (hey they are the same guy) and also, what's that you say? This dream has come true?!
Ken
Sep 13, 2012 Ken rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone who likes their fantasy and sci-fi shaken, not stirred.
If you're ready to have your mind blown apart (in a good way) then you owe it to yourself to read this series. Admittedly the first two books are the best. The final two are like watching the movie Memento while on three hits of Window Pain blotter acid. Worth it though.

Woo
One of my all time faves. Re-read bits of this all the time.
Bryon Smith
a big book of indecipherability.
Charles Dee Mitchell
No, I have not read all 974 pages of this quartet. I got it because I wanted to read , which I did and it was great, but I don't plan at the moment to go any further. I did the math and Moorcock was 26 when this was published, and so he was probably writing it while he was 24 or 25. London, 1965. It's a trippy book, lots of fun, and it makes sense largely be insisting that it is making sense. The reader is just along for the ride. It is frequently referred to as James Bond on acid, but I was rem...more
Nicholas Whyte
http://nhw.livejournal.com/1029561.html[return][return]the complex tales of Jerry Cornelius, his family, his allies and his enemies. It's difficult to call it a novel, or a collection of novels; the first book perhaps comes closest to having a conventional plot, but the second and third books in particular are rather free of the contraints of linearity. You have to really let the word pictures wash over you without expecting the narrative to behave as we are used to plots behaving. There's a con...more
Stevelvis
This is 4 books joined together as a Quartet. I enjoyed the Final Program a lot. Enjoyed each of the following 3 books successively less until i just decided to give it a rest at the beginning of the 4th book. Too many books in my queue to spend time on something i'm not feeling right now. I may decide to pick it back up and finish later, but we'll see. In the meantime, i need a palate cleanser of a shorter book in an entirely different genre, and as such I have chosen to read Hunter S. Thompson...more
Travis
A wild, surreal 60's spy movie that also involves weird science, a ton of obscure references, alternate worlds, sex and either hallucinations or an enormous amount of drug use.

If you read only books one and four you walk away thinking it was a cool, but odd sci-fi meets swinging 60's adventure.
If you read the middle two your brain starts to melt because they make almost no sense, have almost no plot or any connection to each other or the first and last book.

An interesting attempt at blending var...more
Skar
Hmm.
Even after finishing this I'm still on the fence about whether to call it "great" and "innovative" or "unreadable".

First book is almost standard, books 2 and 3 are extremely fragmented, without a coherent timeline and with no apparent story. Book 4 somehow patches things up and explains books 2 and 3, but even after that I have no idea what went on during those pages. Might as well skip reading the middle books and skip straight to book 4.

I'm giving it 4 Stars, just for style, but approach w...more
Bevan Audstone
This book is very important to me and I remember very little if anything about it.
It is important because I was young - 12 - 15 and I distinctly remembering throwing the book across the room in frustration at trying to figure out the plot and then going to pick up the damaged book, taping it back together and reading until the end.
I remember it's 'end of the world' scenarios and that is about all.

So, I don't know why it stays with me... or what visions I now claim as my own that came from this b...more
Dave Peticolas

Much strangeness from Moorcock.

Karen
Similar to the "Cancer: Emperor of all Maladies", Dr. Moorcock explores the history of cancer, cancer research and researchers, and our misconceptions about cancer. He also explores the disturbing "truth" that the cellular changes that create cancer are also changes that in other circumstances are essential to our survival. The final chapters, similar to the Emperor of all Maladies, give way to the notion that cancer is here to stay, not eradicated, but perhaps, in some cases, managed well.
Skjam!
Back in the Sixties, of course, this was radical, brilliant stuff. Reading through, I can definitely see how this was a major influence on later British writers, for good and ill.

But being so much of its time, these books have dated badly.

Some readers may find the incest subplot a bit hard to take, and there's a particularly brutal rape scene in the third book.

Recommended only for its historical value, if you're looking for the influences on people like Alan Moore and Grant Morrison.
Brent Hayward
This becomes the second (or third?) book that I have read twice- the first time when I was a young teenager. I remember the bafflement I felt, thinking, This is Sci Fi? Well, I felt it again this time, but now I don't care about categories as much and I was blown away by Moorcock's themes and style and dialogue and characters. Hopping all over time and the world, this book out Pynchons Pynchon, and it's not juvenile, like a lot of Pynchon's work. Great.
Bhakta Jim
I read this when it came out and I was in college. I'd have to say it was like a tagline from the movie "Listzomania":

"I didn't understand it but I loved every minute of it!"

It's a consistently entertaining read, but at the end you won't be able to tell anyone what it was about.

I agree with the reviewers who compared the hero Jerry Cornelius to Austin Powers. Of course we didn't have Austin Powers when the book came out.
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Michael John Moorcock is an English writer primarily of science fiction and fantasy who has also published a number of literary novels.
Moorcock has mentioned The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Apple Cart by George Bernard Shaw and The Constable of St. Nicholas by Edward Lester Arnold as the first three books which captured his imagination. He became editor of Tarzan Adventures in 1956,...more
More about Michael Moorcock...
Elric of Melniboné (Elric, #1) Stormbringer (Elric, #6) The Vanishing Tower (Elric, #4) The Weird of the White Wolf (The Elric Saga, #3) The Sailor on the Seas of Fate (Elric, #2)

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