He was all in black: the massive breast-plate, the padded jerkin, the long greaves, the mail gauntlets. At his side was a five-foot broadsword that was said to have belonged to the human hero. Aubec. Resting on the deck was the great round war-board, his shield, bearing the sign of the swooping dragon. A black helm crowned him, with a dragon's head on the peak and dragon's wings flaring backward, a dragon's tail curling down. All about him was black, but for the white shadow within the helm, from which glared two crimson orbs. Wisps of milk-white hair strayed from beneath the helm, and in the scant light the fine, handsome features of the albino emperor suddenly stood out. He listened for the first sound of the approaching battle.....
(This book was later reprinted under the title of Elric of Melibone)
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, at the age of sixteen, and later moved on to edit Sexton Blake Library. As editor of the controversial British science fiction magazine New Worlds, from May 1964 until March 1971 and then again from 1976 to 1996, Moorcock fostered the development of the science fiction "New Wave" in the UK and indirectly in the United States. His serialization of Norman Spinrad's Bug Jack Barron was notorious for causing British MPs to condemn in Parliament the Arts Council's funding of the magazine.
During this time, he occasionally wrote under the pseudonym of "James Colvin," a "house pseudonym" used by other critics on New Worlds. A spoof obituary of Colvin appeared in New Worlds #197 (January 1970), written by "William Barclay" (another Moorcock pseudonym). Moorcock, indeed, makes much use of the initials "JC", and not entirely coincidentally these are also the initials of Jesus Christ, the subject of his 1967 Nebula award-winning novella Behold the Man, which tells the story of Karl Glogauer, a time-traveller who takes on the role of Christ. They are also the initials of various "Eternal Champion" Moorcock characters such as Jerry Cornelius, Jerry Cornell and Jherek Carnelian. In more recent years, Moorcock has taken to using "Warwick Colvin, Jr." as yet another pseudonym, particularly in his Second Ether fiction.
Always hard to evaluate a work when you've already seen everything it influenced. The Witcher draws some obvious inspiration from Elric, and this seems to share a lot of concepts with Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber which started a few years prior. I found Elric pretty hard to take as a protagonist, but I'm curious to see how he develops in the full length novels. The prose is good but fantasy prose has definitely changed a lot in 50 years.
Vreemd genoeg het allereerste kortverhaal waar Elric in voorkwam. Ik kan me inbeelden voor een eerste kortverhaal dat het een mooie introductie en teaser is naar de achtergrond van Elric. Maar als je al redelijk wat Elric verhalen hebt gelezen, dan is het moeilijk om nog geteased te worden.
Ik zou het wel aanraden om dit te lezen als introductie tot de wereld van Elric.
Compared to most of the other books I've read recently, Moorcock exhibits an excellent understanding of pace. A lot happens in this short novel, and you never feel like you're forcing yourself to read on.
Moreover, Moorcock has an impressive imagination. I recognize many of the fantastical ideas in this novel from later books, games, and movies that clearly drew inspiration from this universe. Unfortunately, an indirect consequence of this cultural influence is that the ideas feel stale, already well-worn in the fifty years after the book's publication; so, I couldn't enjoy the novel nearly as much as I might have if I had read it in the 70s.
Enjoyed it a lot. This is the first of the Elric books that I have read; the reading order for these things is very confusing! Apparently this book was also published as "Elric of Melnibone" in 1972?
The only other Moorcock books I have read are the Castle Brass trilogy, and while I enjoyed the worldbuilding in those they felt like a bit of a slog to actually get through. This book was much more reader-friendly and the story clipped along nicely.
The first time I read this was about thirty years ago. I didn't even remember I had read it until the climactic final confrontation in the novel. Didn't make much of an impression then; didn't make much of one this time either.