In the far future, The Doctor and Amy fall in with a group of historical reenacters, the Terraphiles, and join them in their competition to win the ArIn the far future, The Doctor and Amy fall in with a group of historical reenacters, the Terraphiles, and join them in their competition to win the Arrow of Law, an artifact that may be the key to saving the multiverse. But what does the Arrow of Law have to do with the notorious space pirate Captain Cornelius or the theft of Mrs. Banning-Cannon's hideous new gargantuan hat?
The ingredients are all there. At the core, this feels like a P.G. Wodehouse book set in space. Bingo Lockesley is a lot like Bertie Wooster and Mr. Banning Cannon could easily be someone that puts Bertie up to a hare-brained scheme. Moorcock even writes this more like a Wodehouse book than his normal style. It's very remniscent of Dancers at the End of Time in that respect.
The Arrow of Law is a lot like the maguffin in many of Moorcock's Eternal Champion books and the Cosmic Balance winds up playing a big part. Captain Cornelius is likely an aspect of the Eternal Champion and one of the more interesting characters in the book. I like what Moorcock's done with the 500th century and its denizens. However...
My main reason for 2-ing the hell out of this is the lack of The Doctor and Amy Pond. The Doctor and Amy are barely in it and don't do a whole lot. It reads like Moorcock had a Wodehousian novel set in the future already written and just crossed out two of the character's names and changed them to The Doctor and Amy Pond. As a Michael Moorcock book, I'd give this a high three. As Doctor Who book, it's barely a two. When I read a Doctor Who book, I want to see the TARDIS in action and the Doctor using his sonic screwdriver in every chapter, not playing some nutcracker game and looking for a missing hat. The humorous parts were suitably humorous but not Who-ish.
To sum up, it's a case of the ingredients not coming together properly, like stirring the missing eggs and vanilla into the rest of the cake batter after it's already baked for ten minutes. I will think hard before I pick up another Doctor Who tie-in. Unless Neil Gaiman or John Scalzi should happen to write one....more
Karl Glogauer, lonely misunderstood misfit, reaches the end of his rope and volunteers to man an experimental time machine for a friend. Glogauer goesKarl Glogauer, lonely misunderstood misfit, reaches the end of his rope and volunteers to man an experimental time machine for a friend. Glogauer goes to A.D. 28 to witness the crucifixion of Jesus. Only, nothing is quite the way he remembers it from the Bible. John the Baptist is a revolutionary, Mary and Joseph's marriage isn't the way it should be, and as for Jesus...
While most people know Michael Moorcock from the Elric stories, for my money, the best Moorcock stories are the ones only tangently related to the Eternal champion saga. Gloriana is one, Dancers at the End of Time is another, and Behold the Man is a third.
Behold the Man tells two stories. One of Karl Glogauer's adventure in the Middle East nearly two thousand years ago, and the other is Glogauer's life from when his parents split when he was five. Moorcock guides us through the events in Glogauer's life that lead to him traveling back in time. The other thread shows Glogauer's travels and raises questions about identity and destiny. While the big plot twist is fairly predictable, it's power is undiminished.
Behold the Man is a very memorable story and worth a read, although the particularly religious minded should read with caution....more
Queen Gloriana rules Albion, an alternate reality British Empire, with the help of her Chancellor, Montfallcon, and his dirty deeds in the name of theQueen Gloriana rules Albion, an alternate reality British Empire, with the help of her Chancellor, Montfallcon, and his dirty deeds in the name of the throne. Gloriana, as the title indicates, gets no release from sex and grows increasingly distraut. Montfallcon's main henchman, Quire, doesn't like how he's being treated and finds a new patron. His goal: the toppling of Albion...
Like a lot of people, the first thing that drew me to Michael Moorcock was the Elric saga. In my old age, the Moorcock stories I like best are the ones that have little to do with Elric or the Eternal Champion cycle, like Dancers at the End of Time or the Jerry Cornelius stories. Or Gloriana.
As I said before, Gloriana can't have an orgasm no matter what. No man nor woman, ape-man nor robot sheep, nothing can make her climax. Moorcock could easily make this a porno novel but doesn't. Though it takes place in a fantasy universe, it more of a political novel than anything else, with all the court intrigue and backstabbing. The writing is different from Moorcock's other work, more like Mervyn Peake, whom the book is dedicated to. It's easy to see Peake's influence on Moorcock on this one, both in the writing and the labyrinthine halls of Gloriana's palace. Gloriana is a well-written character, as are Una, Wheldrake, Quire, Montfallon, and the rest.
Longtime Moorock readers will note that Una and Wheldrake appear in other Moorcock works as well. Moorcockian gods Arioch and Xiombarg are invoked as curse words and are regarded as old gods. As near as I can tell, those are the only references to the Eternal Champion saga.
I'd recommend this to Moorcock fans with an open mind, as well as Mervyn Peake fans, fans of decadent fantasy, and also readers who like their fantasy to have a political bend....more
Yet another Dangerous Dan book review I did for BlackPigeonPress.com. This is one of the more entertaining ones I wrote.
Sometimes, after you've just fYet another Dangerous Dan book review I did for BlackPigeonPress.com. This is one of the more entertaining ones I wrote.
Sometimes, after you've just finished killing a man with a horse shoe because you were out of bullets for instance, you need to read something light and funny to make you forget about all the carnage you've wrought. Michael Moorcock's Dancers at the End of Time Trilogy certainly fits the bill. It's available as a collection or as individual books: An Alien Heat, The Hollow Lands, and End of All Songs.
First off, I will refrain from making jokes like "I'm always in the mood for Moorcock" or "Ladies demand Moorcock." But just imagine how funny it would be if I didn't.
Many of you will recognize Michael Moorcock from his Eternal Champion series, most notably the Elric novels. While his Dancers at the End of Time series falls within the Eternal Champion saga, it's much closer to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Who knew old Moorcock had it in him?
As you all know, Dangerous Dan is rougher than Dollar Tree toilet paper. That's what kept me from reading something with the word Dancers in the title for far too many years, which is sad because the Dancers books made me smile wider than two for one night down at the Golden Garter. The bit that really tickled my innards and made me pay attention was this quote from the first book, An Alien Heat:
What follows, then, is the story of Jherek Carnelian, who did not know the meaning of morality, and Mrs. Amelia Underwood, who knew everything about it.
Couple a winning quote like that with the fact that Jherek has sex with his own mother on the second page and you can see why I just had to read all of them in the space of four days. As the quote says, Jherek Carnelian, one of the decadent denizens of the end of time, falls in love with stuffy Victorian age time traveller Mrs. Amelia Underwood and follows her back in time to prove his love. Hilarity ensues, coupled with the ongoing mystery of why Jherek's friend Lord Jagged continuously pops up in the same eras as Jherek and pretends not to recognize him. There's also the unstoppable end of the multiverse as we know it but that's on the back burner most of the time. Here's another quote just to show you how hilarious these books are: "Do you plan to have any children, Mr. Underwood?" "Unfortunately." Mr. Underwood cleared his throat. "We have not so far been blessed..." "Something wrong?" "Ah, no..." "Perhaps you haven't got the hang of making them by the straightforward old-fashioned method? I must admit it took me a while to work it out. You know," Jherek turned to make sure Mrs. Underwood was included in the conversation, "finding what goes in where and so forth."
As you can see, if you're easily offended, these aren't the books for you. However, if you're a twisted soul who likes mannerly british humor coupled with incest, perverse sex acts, drug use, time paradoxes, and the end of time as we know it, saddle up, enjoy the ride, and try not to get sprayed with bodily fluids along the way....more
During a strange earthquake, Oonaugh von Bek falls down a chasm into the subterranean world of Off-Moo. Pursuing her are Gaynor the Damned and KlosterDuring a strange earthquake, Oonaugh von Bek falls down a chasm into the subterranean world of Off-Moo. Pursuing her are Gaynor the Damned and Klosterheim, bent on capturing her and draining her blood, along with that of Onric, the son of Elric and the Dreamthief. Meanwhile, Elric, aka Monsieur Zodiac, searches for Oonagh, as do a group called the League of Temporal Adventurers, as well as Oonagh's grandmother, Oona. Can Elric save Oonagh before the cosmic balance is destroyed?
The White Wolf's Son is a satisfying conclusion to the Eternal Champion saga, at least until Moorcock writes another one. The whole story takes place during a dreamquest Elric undergoes to summon Stormbringer while hanging crucified from the mast of the Theocrat's ship about halfway through Stormbringer.
By focusing on Oonaugh and Onric, Moorcock gives us a fresh look at the Elric Saga. Oonaugh's an interesting addtion to the Elric mythos, as is young Onric. A lot of the tale had an Indiana Jones feel, what with the underground cities and Nazis. Once again, Middle March proved to be an interesting setting.
Klosterheim and Gaynor are utter bastards, as are the men of Granbreton. I always thought Hawkmoon's reality had a lot of untapped potential. Now I can consider it well-tapped.
The White Wolf's Son is a good read for any Moorcock fan but it's not one of his best, and it's pretty tied to the previous two books, The Dreamthief's Daughter and The Skrayling Tree. Still, a good read for when you're craving Moorcock. Wink....more
Warlord of the Air: Oswald Bastable is trapped in a cave-in in 1903 and wakes up in 1973, a 1973 with a strong British Empire and it's navy of airshipsWarlord of the Air: Oswald Bastable is trapped in a cave-in in 1903 and wakes up in 1973, a 1973 with a strong British Empire and it's navy of airships. Oswald struggles to belong and runs afoul of The Warlord of the Air. Can Oswald find his way back to 1903?
As I've said before with Dancers at the End of Time and Gloriana, Moorcock's non-Elric stuff is what enchants me as I get older. Warlord of the Air is a good alternate history novel and is widely regarded as one of the forerunners of steampunk. You've got airships, a British empire, and Lenin, Ronald Reagan, Mick Jagger, and Che Guevara in roles other than what you'd normally see them in. Bastable's a good lead character and the fish out of water angle keeps the story moving. The Warlord of the Air was far from the supervillain I thought he'd be based on the title.
The Land Leviathan: Bastable emerges from the ruins of the Temple of the Future Buddha in a 1904 that is not his own, where the world became a utopia due to the intellect of one Chilean boy, then plunged into another dark age, where the Black Attila has aspirations of freeing the black and conquering the world. Will he oppose the Attila or join him?
The second Bastable story is similar to the first. Once again, Moorcock creates a multi-dimensional villain and has Bastable join up with him for a time. Una Perrson and the captain from the previous book make appearances, as do Al Capone and Gandhi, although in roles other than the ones they had in our world. Cicero Hood, the Black Attila, is the most interesting member of the cast, even more interesting than Bastable. The tech in this book is even better than in the last. You get giant tanks, air ships, and drilling machines. Not bad for a story told in the 70's.
The Steel Tsar: Bastable winds up in a world where the Japanese have aspirations of world conquest and Britain, Russia, and Germany have banded together to oppose them. Will Bastable stop the Steel Tsar or join him?
I'll be honest. While the Steel Tsar has all the charm of the first two books, there weren't a lot of surprises. By the third book, I could pretty much predict the plot twists. To top it off, I already knew how it was going to end based on Bastable's appearances in later Moorcock works. Not a bad book but not revolutionary, especially after the first two.
All in all, I enjoyed the Nomad of Time. It was full of proto-steampunk goodness and should appear to fans of Michael Moorcock as well as those of Jules Verne....more
Even better than An Alien Heat, the first of the Dancers at the End of Time series. Hilarious. Once again, kicking myself for not picking these up sooEven better than An Alien Heat, the first of the Dancers at the End of Time series. Hilarious. Once again, kicking myself for not picking these up sooner. Dancers at the End of time deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy when people mention great humorous sf....more
I've been avoiding Michael Moorcock's Dancers at the End of Time series for years and now I feel like kicking myself. An Alien Heat was absurd and hilI've been avoiding Michael Moorcock's Dancers at the End of Time series for years and now I feel like kicking myself. An Alien Heat was absurd and hilarious! Who knew Moorcock was so funny? Jherek Carnellian is a fantastic character, Bertie Wooster-ish at times. I knew I was going to enjoy the book when the prologue said "Following is the story of Jherek Carnellian, who didn't know the meaning of morality, and Mrs. Amelia Underwood, who knew everything about it."
The plot is as follows: The end of time approaches and all that's left of the human race is a group of decadent near-immortals. Jherek Carnellian falls in love with Victorian time traveler Mrs. Underwood and pursues her back to the 19th century. Hilarity ensues. The humor is equal measures Oscar Wilde, Douglas Adams, and P.G. Wodehouse. It's something to behold.
Here's another quote to show you how hilarious this book is: "Do you plan to have any children, Mr. Underwood?" "Unfortunately." Mr. Underwood cleared his throat. "We have not so far been blessed..." "Something wrong?" "Ah, no..." "Perhaps you haven't got the hang of making them by the straightforward old-fashioned method? I must admit it took me a while to work it out. You know," Jherek turned to make sure Mrs. Underwood was included in the conversation, "finding what goes in where and so forth."
That's about all I have to say. Buy it. Read it. Quote it to your friends until they feel like slapping you....more
Jerry Cornellius goes on the trail of Bishop Beesley. Weirdness and mayhem ensue.
I went on a Moorcock binge a few years ago and read nothing but untilJerry Cornellius goes on the trail of Bishop Beesley. Weirdness and mayhem ensue.
I went on a Moorcock binge a few years ago and read nothing but until I was sick of him. Last year, I needed something to read while I was getting an oil change. I'd heard good things about Jerry Cornelius and decided to give it a try. It definitely wasn't what I was expecting. It had a very odd feel to it, a little like the weird feeling Richard Brautigan's Hawkline Monster gave me. The plot seemed secondary. Exploring the weirdness of the Jerry Cornelius character was the focus.
I've read quite a few books in the Michael Moorcock Eternal Champion series. This one is definitely middle of the road. The first book, Count Brass, wI've read quite a few books in the Michael Moorcock Eternal Champion series. This one is definitely middle of the road. The first book, Count Brass, was not good. The ending saved it. The second story, Champion of Garathorm, was better than the first and probably average for a Moorcock story at the time it was written. I liked seeing a female version of the Eternal Champion for once. The third story, Quest for Tanelorn, was on the complete opposite end of the Moorcock spectrum than the first. Sailor on the Sea of Fate from Hawkmoon's point of view. Great stuff and the aftermatch provided an ending to the Eternal Champion cycle....more
June-July 2012 Re-read The Knight of the Swords: Corum, Prince in the Scarlet Robe, leaves his home to visit others of his kind, the Vadagh. He is soonJune-July 2012 Re-read The Knight of the Swords: Corum, Prince in the Scarlet Robe, leaves his home to visit others of his kind, the Vadagh. He is soon ambushed by the Mabden and maimed, losing his eye and hand. Corum finds allies and has his missing hand and eye replaced with the hand and eye of two dead gods. Even with his powerful weapons, can Corum hope to defeat the Knight of Swords?
The Elric Saga was one of my favorite fantasy tales around the turn of the century. The Knight of Swords, first in the Corum series, is a better written version of early parts of the Elric Saga.
Corum isn't Elric, however. He's from a gentle, peace-loving race, the Vadagh. The rise of men, or Mabden as they call themselves, parallels the rise of the Young Kingdoms in the Elric books.
Basically, Knight of Swords is the standard early Moorcock tale. You've got gods meddling in the affairs of mortals, an ancient but dying race, travel to exotic alien locales, and betrayal, sometimes at the hands of weaponry.
I actually found Corum to be a more well-rounded character than Elric, although the tale itself was a little weak. If I was rating the volume solely on this book, it would probably be a weak three.
The Queen of the Swords: Corum and Rhalina meet Jhary-A-Conel and go up against Xiombarg, Queen of Swords, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance...
Elric 2.0 continues as Corum and company go on a quest similar to some of the ones Elric has gone on. I have to say, though, I find Corum's abilities with his Eye and Hand to be a lot more interesting than Elric's and Corum to be a more likeable character.
The locales Corum visited in this one were pretty cool, like the River of White, the Plains of Blood, and the City in the Pyramid. Gaynor the Damned, enemy to many of the Eternal Champions, makes his first (to my knowledge) appearance and Jhary gives hints of Corum's true destiny.
Queen of Swords is a much stronger tale than Knight of Swords, upping this volume in my esteem. The "the end of the world is nigh" feel that's present in the later Elric tales is well represented here.
The King of the Swords: The forces of Chaos have unleashed a rage plague on Corum and the forces of Law. Corum, Jhary, and Rhalina use a sky ship to search for Tanelorn and allies. But will they find them in time?
This one is for all the marbles. Corum and Jhary meet Elric and Erekose at the Vanishing Tower, much as they did in the Elric story of the same name, find Tanelorn, bad things happen, and the first saga of Corum has an ending of sorts.
So, how was Corum on my second reading? Both for nostalgia reasons and for the fact that I thought it aged better than the original Elric saga, I'm giving it a four. I still prefer the Elric Saga overall but Corum definitely has some marks in its favor....more
**spoiler alert** 2011 re-read: The Vanishing Tower: Elric and Moonglum continues their quest to destroy the sorcerer Theleb K'aarna, visiting Myshella**spoiler alert** 2011 re-read: The Vanishing Tower: Elric and Moonglum continues their quest to destroy the sorcerer Theleb K'aarna, visiting Myshella's castle, Nadsokor, the city of beggars, Tanelorn, and the Forest of Troos...
The saga of Elric continues moving toward its conclusion. Elric meets up with Myshella, flying her magic eagle thing around, takes on all kinds of demons, and meets up with Erekose, Corum, and Jhary-a-Conel. More of his destiny is revealed, Rackhir and Brut make return appearances, and Elric spends a bit of time in Tanelorn. I think that about covers it.
The Bane of the Black Sword: Elric and Theleb K'aarna have their reckoning and Elric foresakes Stormbringer for a life with Zarozinia. Can he leave the Black Sword behind?
While I was glad Theleb K'aarna got what was coming to him and Elric and Zarozinia started their relationship, this volume largely felt like filler to me, although that might be because I'm licking my chops in anticipation for the Armageddon shit-storm that is Stormbringer.
Stormbringer: Elric's retirement with Zarozinia at Karklaak near the Weeping Wastes is cut short when Jagree Lern, Theocrat of Pan Tag, summons the Dukes of Hell to Earth. Can Elric slay the Theocrat before the forces of Chaos devour the world?
Ever since reading Stormbringer for the first time, it is the measuring stick against which all endings of epic sagas are measured. Even after multiple readings, it still holds up. Elric slays gods, reawakens the dragons of Melnibone, banishes the Lord of Hell, and brings about the end of the world with the Horn of Fate. Tragedy upon tragedy befalls him, because of his hellblade Stormbringer, in part, but he keeps taking the fight to the overwhelming odds opposing him. It's crazy that by the end of the saga, Elric, Moonglum, and Dyvim Slorm are the only forces of Law left kicking against an unbelievably vast horde of the minions of Chaos. As I said before, even after more than a decade after I first read it, Stormbringer is still the measuring stick.
Farewell, friend. I was a thousand times more evil than thou!...more
**spoiler alert** The 2011 Re-read: Elric of Melnibone: Elric, the sickly albino emperor of Melnibone, combats his cousin Yrkoon's machinations for his**spoiler alert** The 2011 Re-read: Elric of Melnibone: Elric, the sickly albino emperor of Melnibone, combats his cousin Yrkoon's machinations for his throne and winds up on a quest across dimensions for a pair of magical black swords.
In the long, long, long, long wait between volumes four and five of The Dark Tower, a friend of mine told me about Elric, an albino with a soul-sucking sword that kept him alive. Intrigued, I took advantage of my Science Fiction Book Club membership and bought the two collected volumes they had. I was not disappointed.
Elric was created by Michael Moorcock to be the anti-Conan. Where Conan is strong, Elric is sickly. Conan distrusts magic where Elric embraced it. Conan is noble while Elric is... less than noble some of the time.
The first book in this collection deals with Elric and Yrkoon battling for the Ruby Throne. Moorcock builds his multiverse world by world, taking Elric across planes and into encounters with elementals and Lords of Chaos in his quest to foil Yrkoon.
Moorcock manages an epic feel despite the small size of the individual books. Not only was it influential when it first appeared, it's still a damn good story. The dying culture of the Melniboneans and the magical system were both really interesting to me, both during the initial reading and in the subsequent re-reads.
Blood and souls for Arioch!
The Sailor on the Seas of Fate: After leaving Melnibone behind, Elric ventures into the Young Kingdoms. While exhausted on a lonely shingle, Elric boards a mysterious ship. What will he encounter on his voyage before he returns to Melnibone?
Sailor on the Seas of Fate is what hooked me and made me a permanent Moorcock fan. Moorcock introduces the concept of the Eternal Champion and introduces three of them: Erekose, Corum, and Hawkmoon, and does some foreshadowing of things to come. Smiorgan Baldhead is introduced and Elric and Arioch become further entwined. Elric travels to even more planes and explores the ancestral home island of the Melniboneans. Good stuff!
Weird of the White Wolf: Elric leads the Sea Lords of the Purple Towns against his own homeland, Melnibone, seeks The Dead God's Book, and braves the Singing Citadel.
The tragedy and the cosmic scope of the Elric saga become even more apparent with the Weird of the White Wolf. How many other fantasy tales feature an emperor in exile committing genocide on his own people? Elric accidentally slays Cymoril, betrays his Sea Lord allies, and abandons his new lover to roam the world with his new friend Moonglum. The Cosmic Balance is introduced, Elric does more plane-hopping, and tangles with more entities beyond the mortal ken. By the end, he's apparently done with adventuring... until the next volume!