Books.

All general, non-comics discussion goes here!

Moderators: Don Alexander, midgetshrimp

User avatar
Don Alexander
Dr. Ebil SithMod
Posts: 27507
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:26 am
Location: Under the arms of the ancient oak, where daylight hangs by a lunar noose...

Re: Books.

Post by Don Alexander » Fri Jun 26, 2015 1:43 am

Back to Sword & Sorcery? No, now we have Sword & Planet!! Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion 9: Kane of Old Mars is Moorcock's affectionate tribute (and partial parody) of Edgar Rice Burrows' John Carter of Mars books. As he originally did not want to be directly associated with what is essentially Young Adult SF, he penned them under an alias which in itself is a tribute to both Burroughs and Ray Bradbury. Allegedly, Moorcock wrote these three slim volumes (the omnibus is 330 pages long) in just nine days, which is utterly insane... :| I own the first and third book as separate volumes. The narrative structure is strongly reminiscent to A Nomad of the Time Streams. Instead of Moorcock's grandfather, here it is the alleged author himself who chances on the actual Protagonist, Michael Kane. Kane says he has an incredible story to tell, they retire to the author's abode, where Kane tells what then becomes the book, and the author promises to publish it "though most will think it fantasy I invented" (not a direct quote, just the gist).

Michael Moorcock (writing as Edward Powys Bradbury) - City of the Beast (aka Warriors of Mars): Michael Kane is a MAN! :ymsmug: Huge, ravishing looks, bronzed, athletic body, and a brilliant physicist to boot! He invents a matter transmitter, and volunteers as the first human test subject. But bang, he lands on Mars, a Mars which is rather dry but hardly barren, in a time when Earth was just jungle and dinosaurs eating each other. The very first human (!) he meets is a ravishing girl, and, well, First Girl Wins! Alas, she is also married... Or was it just betrothed? Anyway, to a prince of a neighboring city-state, an old ally, so hands off. The main plot of the book is that the Argzoon, blue giant humanoids up to twelve feet high, attack the city. After outlasting a siege and driving the Argzoon off, Kane and his love's brother travel north to the mountains where the Argzoon dwell, to save - you guessed it - the princess, who has been kidnapped by the "witch" Horghul. Here, in the huge cave under the mountains, lies the eponymous City of the Beast. Beast gets slain, Father of princess saved (was missing for years after a punitive expedition which went into a trap), former betrothed of princess revealed as traitor and is killed, everyone returns happy, wedding is arranged... and then, finally, Kane's fellow scientist, after a week of hard work, figure out what went wrong and pull Kane back! =)) His fantastic tale is not believed and he basically has to clear his desk at the university of Chicago... Dejected he travels the world and then meets a man named Bradbury...

Michael Moorcock (writing as Edward Powys Bradbury) - Lord of the Spiders (aka Blades of Mars): Bradbury is quite affluent, and promises to build Kane a new matter transmitter. Kane returns to Mars but shows up somewhere else (on Mars that is). The first person he meets is... a blue giant!! Named Hool Haji. But it turns out that there are two cultures of them, and these are the good guys, the Mendishar. Though they have their own serious problems, as their capital has been taken over by the former palace guard, the Priosa, once highly respected warriors, but now militaristic tyrants. A girl in the Mendishar village where they meet with other leaders of the rebellion falls in love with Haji, but when he spurns her, she flees and rats them out to the Priosa (who then kill her, she was a really sad character). The Priosa massacre nearly everyone, Kane and Haji manage to flee into a desert with some compatriots. There they find an underground complex which was once built by the Yaksha. The reader already learns in the first book that the human cultures of Mars are not really technological, instead, they employ the remnants of extremely advanced technology left by two races, the Sheev (good) and Yaksha (evil) who once - you guessed it - almost completely wiped each other out (allegedly, some of each still exist somewhere, though they never show up). This underground complex might as well belong to the Umbrella Corporation and lie under Racoon City, as it contains mutated horrors which kill some of the party. After quite a few more adventures, Kane learns he has indeed returned at the correct time, and, after crossing yet another plot of the dread Horghul, he is finally reunited with his Shihaza! And now he has the power to return at will to Earth of his own time and dictate the story to his benefactor.

Michael Moorcock (writing as Edward Powys Bradbury) - The Masters of the Pit (aka Barbarians of Mars): A time of peace follows, and Kane, still a scientist, organizes expeditions to the underground Yaksha complex to exploit it. This book was really very... linear. It read like a rather badly written roleplaying adventure, and I have the feeling that it was the most parody-like (though in this volume, Kane actually does his best to live by the rules Burroughs made for his own characters but which they seemingly never followed...). So, the heroes are on a simple quest: Travel from A to B, B being the Yaksha complex. On the way, the motor of their airship fails. They come to a city, Cend-Amrid, where the inhabitants suffer a double curse.. The rulers had acquired a capsule of Yaksha manufacture, opened it, and - SAHPRIZE, MOTHERFUCKER! - unleashed a deadly bioweapon! To somehow cope with this, they mentally turn themselves into emotionless robots. Kane and Haji manage to convince them to repair the motor and Kane swears he will find a countermeasure to the plague. Okay, back to B. But there, they meet a barbarian horde who has acquired the Yaksha weapons and also abducts the heroes! It goes on like this, they basically slide from one shitty situation to the next. Somewhere in between, the Masters and their Pit also show up (generally, the non-"of Mars" titles were kind of stupid, each time applying to only a small part of the story). There are also some Chekov's Guns, including a little vial which is forgotten for most of the book and then, in the end, may have contained the cure for the plague. Anyway, Ende gut, alles gut, wie immer halt. Kane returns to Earth once again, dictates the story, and again there's the hint that more adventures may come - but they never did.

All in all, a reasonably fun read, but it became rather boring with time. Okay, I realize that certain aspects of the story, like the protagonist being almost superhuman (I mean, he was like a MinMax character who somehow managed to hide all the Min...), are a must be for this genre, but that does not mean I have to wholeheartedly embrace them. Moorcock generally has rather boring characters, but here, they were especially cardboard-cut-outish.
ImageImage
Sithlord of the Sithling and best customer of McLovecraft's Image, in the business of keeping the little Platypus in business
Moderations in GREEN and signed by the DAMNed. I am not anonymous! Also, MODSMACK!! Image
Winner of the... 2010 Kilopost FRANKIE; 2010 Mad March Nom Off; 2010 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2010 Fan-Thing Contest; 2010 Mimic Contest (tied); 2011 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2011 Contest-for-the-next-Contest (tied)

User avatar
Don Alexander
Dr. Ebil SithMod
Posts: 27507
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:26 am
Location: Under the arms of the ancient oak, where daylight hangs by a lunar noose...

Re: Books.

Post by Don Alexander » Fri Jun 26, 2015 7:19 pm

Okay, so by now we've had different variants of fantasy, and different variants of SF, So, how about some... Douglas Adams??? :D :D :D Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion 10: The Dancers at the End of Time is so far THE discovery I have made in this plethora of books. Moorcock set out to write something ridiculous and over the top, a homage to Oscar Wilde and fin du siècle, and man, does he ever deliver!!! The setting is indeed the End of Time. The Universe is old, and the human race is nearly extinct. But those who remain are utter gods. Their ancestors have perfected technology, and Planck level powers ("Godtech", to follow Orion's Arm) lies at their fingertips, almost. Using Power Rings (not sure if I should shout Captain Planet! or do the Green Lantern Oath...) which couple to some kind of hypermachines under old and rotting cities where "the energies of whole star systems are stored", the final inhabitants of Earth can create anything they can imagine by a little turn of the ring. This society has almost forgotten science, because everything has been solved anyway, they are immortal (they can die quite easily, but just get resurrected), there is no disease, no real death, no need for anything, and therefore also no money. And... no concept of morals either. Each of these dandies and - is that a word - dandettes - lives on a quite large swath of Earth, shaping their environment as it pleases them, and the results are usually extremely bizarre.

Michael Moorcock - An Alien Heat: Jherek Carnelian (indeed a descendant of Jerry Cornelius) is the son of the Iron Orchid. He is special since he was actually conceived, well, rather traditionally, and birthed, and grew into a child and an adult - almost everyone else was just made by someone else sometime in the past. He is fascinated by the "Dawn Age" of Earth's history - roughly anything before the, I dunno, 25th century or so. But the records of these times are strongly corrupted, and herein lies the main humor of the story. What these decadent debaucherers think to be "detailed and correct representations of the past" are utterly laughable - and hilarious - fairy tales. Furthermore, they are steadily visited by time and space travelers, who they usually capture and keep in their menageries. As stated above, morals and any real emotions do not exist anymore. By page two, Jherek has fucked with his own mother, and not too long afterward, he (finally!) has sex with Lord Jagger, his best friend. Who is male. Well, mostly. While gender identity seems to exist, no one really cares, as they can be male, female, human, beast, fungi spore cloud with a twist of a ring. Making love is one of their ways to combat their worst enemy, boredom. And parties, of course. The crazier and merrier, the better (usually also involving random couples having sex right in the middle of the proceedings...). The reader gets to know further fantastic characters, like the Duke of Queens (who allegedly lives where the palace of the Queens of New York used to stand...), Mistress Christia (the Everlasting Concubine, who is mostly... doing it), the eternally depressed Werther de Goethe (especially amusing to me, a German), the even more morose giant Mongrove, who lives in a titanic black castle under a perpetual rainstorm... Further characters have names like Lord Shark the Unknown and Gaf the Horse in Tears... I mentioned above many of Moorcock's characters are a bit cardboard cutout, well, here it seems he poured 90% of all characterization he ever did. Anyway, an alien creature lands on Earth with a message of DOOM: The universe is ending! Planets crumble to dust! The Dancers are amused, then he lands in a menagerie. But before he does, a weird circumstance occurs. A young lady, described as very beautiful, a redhead (I imagined Riley Keough in her role as Capable in Mad Max: Fury Road), shows up: Mrs Amelia Underwood, a good Christian housewife from Victorian era England! Who is, of course, aghast at everything!! She lands in Mongrove's menagerie, and Jherek and Jagger conspire to get her out of there. In a wild caper, they steal the little doomsayer alien from My Lady Charlotina (who dwells under Lake Billy The Kid), and exchange him for Amelia - for Jherek has come up with a DARING plan! He will fall in love with Mrs Underwood!! Something no one in remembered history has ever done! The book up to this point was already fantastic, what follows is utterly hilarious. A man with an essentially kind heart, and actually massive amounts of innocence, meets a totally pent-up and prude woman... I can't even express how awesome that all was!!! ^:)^ After a while, she recognizes that he is not such a bad type after all, and does start falling for him - though of course she would never admit this!! And then, in a moment where she just might kiss him... she travels back to her home and time!! Jherek is bereft and manages to convince the "last scientist" Morphail (who is a dwarf with a hunchback and a club foot, because that's what scientists all looked like back when scientists still existed) to use a time machine to travel back to London, Earth, 1896. This part of the book represents the last third, and, alas, it drops off a little bit. His power rings of course do not work anymore, so suddenly the god becomes more than mortal - without having an inkling what life is like in the less savory parts of a city in late 19th century. This was also a point where the character became a bit grating, because it started to become unrealistic just HOW naive he was, completely incapable of taking anything seriously... Suffice to say, he is not able to ever make it to where Mrs Underwood lives, but dechronizes just in time...

Michael Moorcock - The Hollow Lands: This is really "Yakety Sax - the Book"! During a hunt in a wood, a bunch of our crazy decadents come across the Lat - a group of seven (!) dwarf (!!) creatures who are described as "brigand-musicians". They are aliens, and while their description does not really resemble them, I very soon saw them as minions in my mind's eye!! =)) These creatures are foul-mouthed, totally lecherous, their musical instruments also function as ultra-powerful weapons, and their life goal is to rob all treasures of the universe, kill all other males and fuck the females!!! They go on an orgy of destruction, and Jherek, in his flight, falls through the rabbit hole and lands in Wonderland... which is a children's home miles underground which contains powerful time-control machinery which cycles the complex again and again through a week or so. The children - who obviously never grow older - are cared for by Nurse, a large and very primitive-looking robot. The complex was created at the end of the reign of the Tyrant-Producers, who made "movies" which involved all of earth's population, whether they liked it or not. And the last one of these was utterly insane and produced a bloody genocide movie, and these were the last surviving children that could be saved. The Lat also land down here, get put into pyjamas and severely disciplined (their weapons do not work). Jherek manages to convince Nurse that the surface is safe, and she uses the powerful machinery to send him back to London. This time he is more careful. He soon meets none other than H. G. Wells, who he thinks is the genius inventor of the time machine... Wells is actually traveling to Bromley, and thus Jherek and his Amelia are reunited. Soon, though, her husband returns home, who is, hardly imaginable, even more a totally-fixed-in-his-ways Christian prude, who accuses his wife of adultery. The maid calls the police, and the chase is on!! *cue Yakety Sax on repeat* It all ends up in the Café where Jherek originally met Wells, and suddenly not only the police (and Mr Underwood), led by a resolute inspector, shows up, but also the Lat (the policemen think they are Latvians, obviously anarchists bent on plotting against the Crown!), several others of the Dancers who think it's all extremely delightful... It's a total freaking mess, just fantastic. This book was slightly less good than An Alien Heat but still better than anything else I've read by Moorcock.

Michael Moorcock - The End of all Songs: And suddenly, it all switches. The hilarity is mostly tucked away, as Jherek and Amelia land in the very distant past - likely the early Devonian (but perhaps also the late Silurian), a period in time when there was flora on land (mostly ferns, trees or flowers did not exist yet), but no fauna at all. One hilarious line is when Jherek remarks that this is paradise and they can be like Adolf and Eva... =)) =)) =)) They meet a time traveler from an alternate late-19th century, who can't take them with him, but he leaves a hamper full of food. And some days later the police inspector shows up, and then the minions, er Lat - who of course steal the hamper. *more Yakety Sax* They try to flee on to the ocean but are assaulted by Eurypterids (gigantic sea scorpions, pure Nightmare Fuel) which tear apart several Lat (who indeed die the Final Death). Moments later, two humans in diving gear on a boat show up - none other than lovely Una Persson and Captain Oswald Bastable of the Guild of Temporal Adventurers! The GTA have their base here and we also get to meet Karl Glogauer, one of Moorcock's characters from two novels I do not own at all, and Professor Faustaff (see Omnibus 6) is also mentioned... Everyone who needs to finally gets back to the End of Time, but soon catastrophe strikes! Not only do the police and Mr Underwood show up, no, the Lat (those left) return with their weapons and start blowing everything up!! The effort to "play the backup back" overtaxes the cities and everything suddenly vanishes. Where Earth was, nothing much remains except barren bedrock. Not even the Sun is there, the planet is adrift in deep space. Mongrove, who had formed a deep friendship with the little doomsayer alien and had traveled the universe to spread the sad news, returns (along with further of the alien's species, who had been kept in a menagerie beforehand, which pretty much led to the end of the world because they were not free to do anything against it). But then, finally, the wily Lord Jagged returns, having puzzled out how to use the energy of the entire Multiverse to power Earth in its final days. And after a few tricks (and some more Yakety Sax), everything ends romantically (and, I have to admit, very cutely!).

All in all, this is definitely the best Moorcock I have read so far even if the rest is not comparable to the first 100 pages of An Alien Heat.

The reason why I committed this speed-reading burst has to do with my New Year's Challenge. At least 50 books and 15000 pages read in 2015, at best twice that. Well, with the finalization of Volume 10, I have now read 51 books! :YMPARTY: Also, my volume count for this year has actually reached 53. But I have not achieved the other half-goal yet, I'm only at ~12400 pages. :(
ImageImage
Sithlord of the Sithling and best customer of McLovecraft's Image, in the business of keeping the little Platypus in business
Moderations in GREEN and signed by the DAMNed. I am not anonymous! Also, MODSMACK!! Image
Winner of the... 2010 Kilopost FRANKIE; 2010 Mad March Nom Off; 2010 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2010 Fan-Thing Contest; 2010 Mimic Contest (tied); 2011 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2011 Contest-for-the-next-Contest (tied)

User avatar
FurriesRock
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2015 11:33 pm

Re: Books.

Post by FurriesRock » Fri Jul 03, 2015 1:15 am

Anything by Dr. Haha Lung.

Look at his books on Amazon, this guy writes a lot of things that teach you how to be a modern day spook.

User avatar
GermanMerc
Posts: 523
Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:25 pm
Location: Germany (pretty obvious, huh?)

Re: Books.

Post by GermanMerc » Fri Jul 03, 2015 8:42 am

The books look interesting, orderd to and will give them a try.

Quote removed. The DAMNed
Be creative, invent a perversion.

User avatar
Don Alexander
Dr. Ebil SithMod
Posts: 27507
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:26 am
Location: Under the arms of the ancient oak, where daylight hangs by a lunar noose...

Re: Books.

Post by Don Alexander » Sun Nov 01, 2015 9:15 pm

LO! I read a book! Yeah, my long absence in posting (little novels) here has nothing to do with reading so much I don't get around to writing about it... Instead, after my big burst in late June, I've just not done much of any reading (except newspapers and magazines...) :(

In mid-August, my mom sent me a link to a page on Kim Kommando (my mom follows her...) about a new book. It looked interesting, it was said it was good, so she ordered the hardback. It arrived after my father had died... But I initially "kept away" from it, I had other things to do. Finally, a few days ago, Wednesday, this big correction job I had mentioned failed to materialize, so I decided to pounce on it. I'm talking about:

P. W. Singer & A. Cole: Ghost Fleet (A Novel of the Next World War): At least one of the authors (Singer) is seemingly an expert on modern - and future - combat, having written a seminal non-fiction book on robotic warfare six years ago. Now he collaborates with, um, another guy :P to pen a novel on a future conflict between the US, China and Russia. It's never stated when the novel takes place, but my guess would be the 2030s. After having discovered vast oil reserves in the Mariana Trench, the Chinese, with Russian aid, execute a bold first strike package (non-nuclear) which wipes out all US communication and spy satellites, almost the entire Pacific fleet, forces all aerial forces (Air Force, Navy aircraft...) to be grounded, and conquers Hawaii in Pearl Harbor II - Pearl Harder. While never attacking the continental US, they turn the tables and become the dominating world power. Great Britain (which has lost Scotland by now) sticks to the US, the rest of the European countries just stay out of it, NATO is dissolved... Then, after months of preparations, much of it involving the eponymous "Ghost Fleet" of old, unused combat ships (especially focusing on the Destroyer USS Zumwalt), the US strikes back, reconquering Hawaii, blowing up all the Chinese satellites, and almost their entire fleet, leading to something of a phyrric victory where no one in the end, for years to come, will have the capacity to wage war..
The authors clearly bow down to the late Tom Clancy, especially noting his Red Storm Rising as an inspiration. And I'm not going to say this is Clancy Lite, all the tech-geekery (the book rocks a 20-or-so page appendix with over 400 sources) more turns it into Clancy++ - but in terms of the actual book, it's more like Michael Crichton (or Michael Bay... :P ) tried to emulate Clancy. It's a fun, fast-paced read for sure, but in contrast to Clancy, it jumps right in with almost no background, the characters are hardly fleshed out and it gets kind of confusing when you have ten different perspectives within 20 pages. Think A Song of Ice and Fire condensed from 1000+ pages for each novel to 380... For all their tech knowledge, the authors seem to have a big black hole where "understanding of orbital mechanics" should reside. The Russians fight alongside the Chinese in a total surprise move, after it has been reported that there have been border clashes with China in Siberia - no background on that. Many scenes just... end, and you're left wondering "And what happened then?"
On the other hand, the book had some really awesome moments. The scariest future implication was the above-mentioned grounding of all air forces. Why? The planes, especially F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, are full of computer technology, and among the thousands of chips, there are some produced in China, and those contain miniature antennae... And the Chinese air-to-air missiles are equipped with transmitters which send a very specific wavelength, activating these antennae, which then become homing beacons. The missiles always kill... The crowning moment of awesome for me in the book was when Anonymous returned after a decade-long hiatus, invading the Chinese military hacker brigades and killing them all by hacking their stim pumps to overdose them with orgasmic stimulants; all the while, the anonymous creed is blaring out of every loudspeaker and headphone... =)) =)) =))

All in all, a good but hardly excellent read. If you like(d) Tom Clancy, give it a try, but set your expectations on "Dale Brown".
ImageImage
Sithlord of the Sithling and best customer of McLovecraft's Image, in the business of keeping the little Platypus in business
Moderations in GREEN and signed by the DAMNed. I am not anonymous! Also, MODSMACK!! Image
Winner of the... 2010 Kilopost FRANKIE; 2010 Mad March Nom Off; 2010 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2010 Fan-Thing Contest; 2010 Mimic Contest (tied); 2011 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2011 Contest-for-the-next-Contest (tied)

User avatar
Don Alexander
Dr. Ebil SithMod
Posts: 27507
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:26 am
Location: Under the arms of the ancient oak, where daylight hangs by a lunar noose...

Re: Books.

Post by Don Alexander » Sun Jan 03, 2016 5:25 pm

Gnarf! :(

It's like the weather outside: "Brace yourself! (The Winds of) Winter is never coming..."
ImageImage
Sithlord of the Sithling and best customer of McLovecraft's Image, in the business of keeping the little Platypus in business
Moderations in GREEN and signed by the DAMNed. I am not anonymous! Also, MODSMACK!! Image
Winner of the... 2010 Kilopost FRANKIE; 2010 Mad March Nom Off; 2010 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2010 Fan-Thing Contest; 2010 Mimic Contest (tied); 2011 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2011 Contest-for-the-next-Contest (tied)

User avatar
Don Alexander
Dr. Ebil SithMod
Posts: 27507
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:26 am
Location: Under the arms of the ancient oak, where daylight hangs by a lunar noose...

Re: Books.

Post by Don Alexander » Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:46 pm

I'm back, biotches!! Time to go on another posting spree, now, like a month later...
Don Alexander wrote:The reason why I committed this speed-reading burst has to do with my New Year's Challenge. At least 50 books and 15000 pages read in 2015, at best twice that. Well, with the finalization of Volume 10, I have now read 51 books! :YMPARTY: Also, my volume count for this year has actually reached 53. But I have not achieved the other half-goal yet, I'm only at ~12400 pages. :(
So, before I go into detail of what I read, I'll report on my final results of my New Year's Resolution!

The good news: I kept them!

The bad news: Just barely. :(

As mentioned above, I had already exceeded "books read" by the first half of the year. But I was still missing about 2600 pages. Should not be a problem considering how much I had already read, right? Well, judging by my October post, yes, it would become a problem. Because I again stopped reading! I finally resumed on the 20th of December, a day before driving home!! :-o This was a Sunday and I tried to catch up mightily with the book I had begun way back in June, but it was also the day after a concert and maybe I was somewhat sick? Despite having slept a normal eight hours, I conked out again and again and added another four or so over the course of the day (and then another 12 or 13 the following day!!! :-o :-o :-o ), and made hardly any progress. Got to about page 275.

I packed a bunch of books going home... and forgot this one!! :| I told myself, if push came to shove, I'd count these 275 pages to my yearly total.

But I did not need to! :ymparty: I drove my mom quite crazy... :D I could not opt out of garden work, stuff like that, but everything else (going to the movies, meeting friends, watching some DVDs with my mom) was subsumed to the unholy speedread demon!! I of course began a new book, and in the following ten days, managed to chew through a total of five volumes containing a total of ten books. And when I finished the last one in the late afternoon of the 31st, I was at 15080 pages!! I had read a total of 63 books in the year, and my volume count was even 66. So I managed the first challenge, yes, but not even the "advanced" level. :(

And this year? Well, I'd say 50 books and 15000 pages remain a worthy goal. Anything more is a real bonus.

Now on to part II of this post.

After my return home in January, I would manage several further books, and finally bring my volume count below 300, the first time since, I guess 2008 or so!!!

But we can't have that now, can we? So a day before I left, I went to Amazon UK and looked for further works of Michael Moorcock. The 15 White Wolf Omnibus editions cover a lot of his material, but not even all of what can be considered part of the Eternal Champion series - e.g., anything concerning Jerry Cornelius is completely missing.

Two years ago, Gollancz in the UK began publishing the Michael Moorcock Collection, which is to become the definitive bibliography. I've heard some rumors that many of the Eternal Champion books have undergone further minor edits compared to the versions I read... Hmph. But that aside, this contains many books I do not need, as they match the White Wolf version very closely. But otherwise, there is a lot of stuff I did not have yet.

- Jerry Cornelius: I own an omnibus volume called The Cornelius Chronicles, nearly 1000 pages thick, which contains the first four novels - it's republished as The Cornelius Quartet. Did not need that. But further, shorter novels and novellas have been collected as The Cornelius Calendar (yet another huge volume with over 900 pages), and the rest (I hope...), short stories, can be found in Jerry Cornelius: His Lives and his Times, which is something like v4 of a short story collection from the early 70's. So, 2.

- Michael Moorcock's Short Fiction: Three volumes. The first one seemed almost useless, since all but one story was already known to me from EC14 - Earl Aubec (see below), but it turned out this story was almost short-novel length, filling 1/3 of the volume. The other two contained much more stuff I did not have. Each is headed by a typical quite short Moorcock novel, The Brothel in Rosenstrasse and Breakfast in the Ruins. 5 now.

Gloriana, or the Unfullfill'd Queen is a book I actually own. But it's very likely my version was censored. The new Gollancz edition contains both the censored and uncensored version. 6...

The War amongst the Angels (Second Ether Omnibus): I also own a trade paperback of the last, eponymous book of this trilogy, which represents a third possible conclusion to the Eternal Champion cycle. The omnibus is nearly 900 pages long. ...and 7.

The other six books were not from the MMC.

Karl Glogauer: Moorcock wrote two books on this incarnation of the Eternal Champion. One is the above-mentioned Breakfast in the Ruins. The other is the seemingly quite famous novel Behold the Man. I already had it in my shopping cart when I discovered there was an omnibus edition containing it, Breakfast, and a completely unrelated novel which I had already read - and the omnibus was cheaper! 8.

Between the Wars - The Pyat Quartet: With some later additions excepted, Moorcock was pretty much done with the main work of the Eternal Champion cycle by the mid-70's, and decided to do other stuff. He began a fictional autobiography of a crazy Soviet military guy - and here, decided to write much longer books. The first one, Byzantium Endures, appeared in 1981, and is about 400 pages, the other three, the last of which only appeared in 2006, are about 600 pages each. These are among Moorcock's highest rated books. 12 now!

Sojan the Swordsman: Way back in the late 50's, Sojan, a cheap copy of Conan, was Moorcock's first exploration into the idea of the Eternal Champion. Consisting of a bunch of really short stories, typically five pages or so long, it has been expanded multiple times. In 2010, a slim trade paperback was published in Paizo's "Planet Stories" series, together with a short novel by another author. Sojan was also released as an eBook only by Gollancz, and that version seems to contain several more chapters or fragments than even the one I have. Grmpf. It's supposed to be really bad, but whatever. Collector! And that brings us to 13 in total. They've all arrived now, Sojan was the last, last Saturday.

I got all this stuff on Amazon UK because pretty much nothing seemed to be available in Germany. I also found out that books in the UK are horridly expensive, all these volumes cost between 9 and 13 Pounds Sterling! Luckily, of course, this was only for new books from Amazon directly. Get them used from the Amazon Marketplace, and they become MUCH cheaper. But similar to my experience in the US, you always have to pay a fixed S&H amount. This turned out to be 4.02 Pounds, about €5.7. For EACH book. :( On the other hand, the base prices were much lower. The highest was The War amongst the Angels at 4.48 pounds. I got all four Pyat books and the really big Karl Glogauer omnibus for a Pence each - i.e., 4.03 pounds. It all amounted to yet another €96, still a lot cheaper than my shopping in the US a year earlier...

A final note: All of the Gollancz books as well as the Pyat Quartet have a weird format. I'm sure there is a special term for it. It's intermediate between normal paperbacks and the hardcover/trade paperbacks of the White Wolf omnibus series (the Behold the Man omnibus and Sojan are actual trade paperback size). So now my trade paperback column (also containing nine R. A. Salvatore omnibus volumes), which I had reduced so much in the last ten months, is back to its original size, and a bit precarious in terms of stability... >_>

I predict I'll need until the middle of the year to finish these all off. I'll later call it "My Moorcock Years."
ImageImage
Sithlord of the Sithling and best customer of McLovecraft's Image, in the business of keeping the little Platypus in business
Moderations in GREEN and signed by the DAMNed. I am not anonymous! Also, MODSMACK!! Image
Winner of the... 2010 Kilopost FRANKIE; 2010 Mad March Nom Off; 2010 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2010 Fan-Thing Contest; 2010 Mimic Contest (tied); 2011 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2011 Contest-for-the-next-Contest (tied)

User avatar
Don Alexander
Dr. Ebil SithMod
Posts: 27507
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:26 am
Location: Under the arms of the ancient oak, where daylight hangs by a lunar noose...

Re: Books.

Post by Don Alexander » Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:59 am

And now for my further reading...

Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion 11: Elric: The Stealer of Souls holds a special place in my heart. Way back in 2003, I could have gotten this book for just €5, at the same time and place (Spielemesse Essen) where I started the omnibus collection. I managed to overlook the price on the big plastic tub which contained it and many other books... And since it looked expensive, I did not even ask! Later on, after acquiring several further volumes for a similar price, I went back to this place - and it was gone! :(( I had to wait 12 friggin' years to finally get my hands on it, paying over 20$ for the hardcover... Funnily enough, I then found an autograph of Moorcock's inside!!! :D This had not been mentioned at all in the description. No idea if it really makes it worth more.

I own all four books contained within this thick (620 pages) volume as single volumes as well.

The Sleeping Sorceress (aka The Vanishing Tower): I started reading this book immediately after finishing The Dancers at the End of Time. I managed all of half a page (!) before putting it away, having gotten somewhat sick of reading... In the following months, I managed bits and pieces. I was on about page 40 at the end of October, where I read Ghost Fleet. I finally decided to finish it and did so November 1st. Now... I don't really remember what happened here! :P It's been so long. Like many other Elric books, it consists of three novellas. In the first one, Elric has travelled far south, where he aids the Dark Lady of Castle Kaneloon (more on that later) against - yet again - Theleb K'aarna of Pan Tang, who manages to escape. No idea about the second part. The third then is, once again, the trip into the Vanishing Tower of Voilodion Ghagnasdiak, known from EC7.

The Revenge of the Rose: At the time of its publication, 1991, it was purported to be the final Elric novel. It's moderately long, nearly 300 pages. This was the book I got stuck in. I was not able to complete it until some weeks ago. Elric travels east, and after some battles, he is semi-abducted by the Melnibonéan dragon Scarsnout. She is able to travel through the Multiverse, also along the time axis, and brings him to an ancient city on Melniboné, at a moment (10000 years ago) shortly after his forefathers entered their pact with Chaos, which caused the entire city to be razed! Here, he is confronted by the ghost of his father, Sadric! Sadric has managed to escape the clutches of Arioch, as their patron demon is in conflict with Mashabak, another Lord of Hell. Sadric gives Elric a quest: His actual soul is kept in a wooden box, a box in the possession of three sisters traveling on another plane. Find it, bring Sadric his soul (which will free him and let him ascend to the Melnibonéan version of heaven, there to rejoin his wife), otherwise, Sadric will somehow merge with Elric, a horrible outcome since his father has always hated him. The she-dragon brings him to another plane, landing on a weird, mile-wide "runway" which stretches from horizon to horizon. Shortly thereafter he meets Ernest Wheldrake, a poet from Earth (! It seems he is a main character in Gloriana) Elric and Wheldrake reach a town with very friendly inhabitants, and there meet a woman named Rose... Who, so it seems, shows up much more often in later books as Rose von Bek. They inquire about the sisters and pretty much get kicked out, since the sisters sought "the Gypsy Nation". On their way back to the weird mega-road, they meet none other than Gaynor the Damned, who featured prominently in the Corum books . At this point, the meeting is weirdly friendly. They then find the Gypsy Nation. It is a huge agglomeration of gigantic, nearly a mile wide traveling villages which create this mega-road (the edges are made of walls of refuse), a nation perpetually on the march - to ever come to a halt is the ultimate anathema. Horribly, Elric and Rose find out that the huge devices are powered by enslaved millions who walk beneath them, ever pushing... They manage to find accommodation in a more "progressive" village where a lot of foreigners live. A family of psychics gets kicked out of their house because they can't pay the rent anymore. Elric and Rose follow them and invite them back, and quickly realize that their destinies are intertwined. Shortly thereafter (Wheldrake falls hopelessly in love with the daughter of the psychic family), everything goes to hell when Gaynor summons Mashabak to destroy a bridge of the road. Since the Gypsy nations absolutely cannot stop walking, they all spill over into a pit leading straight to hell like lemmings... L-) This was like... half the book. It becomes weirder after that, involving a werewolf, Gaynor again, a long hunt for the Three Sisters, a bunch of revelations, very powerful sorcery, a captured Lord of Hell... All in all a pretty good book, but it suffered a bit from the broken way in which I read it.

The Bane of the Black Sword #1 - The Stealer of Souls: The Bane of the Black Sword is a further novella collection. The fourth part, the short story To Rescue Tanelorn..., appeared in EC1 - The Eternal Champion. Anyway. Some time after the abovementioned happenstances - it is by now five years after Imryyr's destruction - Elric, reunited with Moonglum, resides in the western part of the northeastern continent. He is hired by several merchants in a city to plunder the grand villa of the richest merchant, their rival. Elric finds out that this merchant is protected by non other than Theleb K'aarna!! And that his former lover, Queen Yishana of Jharkor, is also on the premises. What's amusing - I just found this out - is that is the first story featuring Theleb K'aarna that was written. The story The Singing Citadel, where we first meet Yishana (who becomes Elric's lover) and K'aarna, only appeared six years later or so... Anyway, Elric hears of a band of roving and pillaging Melnibonéans. It turns out they are lead by his old frined, the Dragon Master Dyvim Tvar. Old animosities are shelved and Elric hires the mercenaries to storm the villa. A big battle ensues, Elric is actually captured and separated from Stormbringer for a while. He gets released by the merchant after promising that he will not harm the man. Still, the villa finally gets stormed, Elric kills Theleb K'aarna, who has gone raving mad by this time - and also the merchant he was not supposed to harm, because Stormbringer is insatiable... :ymdevil: Dyvim Tvar also dies. The other people of the city force the original merchants who hired Elric to cough up a large sum of money (Moonglum is very happy about this, he was aghast when Elric promised to work for free just to get back at K'aarna...), the Melnibonéans get paid, and Elric, Moonglum and Yishana ride into the sunset...

The Bane of the Black Sword #2 - Kings in Darkness: Which then seems to gobble Yishana. Because she is completely absent from the following stories, with no reason given. Elrik and Moonglum are now on the run from the beggars of Nadsokhor, and enter the haunted Forest of Troos in the tiny land of Org. This independent Kingdom is shunned by everyone else, a mini-Mordor. It is said to be the remnant of a huge battlefield where the Doomed Folk, an ancient, powerful race, smashed themselves out of existence. There they meet Zarozinia, daughter of a lord of the city of Karlaak, which lies to the east of Org, at the border of the Weeping Waste. Zarozinia lost all her companions after they were ambushed by Orgians. The three travel to the court of the Orgish king, where some weird shit happens involving the resurrection of a "King in Darkness" from a great burial mound, which is followed by a great massacre which essentially vanquishes the state of Org... Overall, this was a rather crappy story, more of a plot device to get Zarozinia into Elric's life, and wean him from Stormbringer - concerning the latter, he finds herbs in the Forest of Troos which are able to keep him healthy without needing the blade. And the former? They quickly fall for each other, and at the end of the tale, they reach Karlaak and... marry!! :-o

The Bane of the Black Sword #3 - The Caravan of Forgotten Dreams aka The Flame Bringers: Months of peace pass in Karlaak, Stormbringer is banished to the armory, likely muttering and complaining all the time. But then new danger looms in the east, Terarn Gashtek, the Flame Bringer, and his half-million-heads Mongol-like horde is crossing the Weeping Waste, aided by the powerful sorcerer Drinij Bara - we later find out Bara is being coerced since he put his soul into a cat and Gashtek managed to get hold of the phylactery. They are but three days from Karlaak! Elric sends a messenger in hopes of finding the Melnibonéan mercenaries, now led by Dyvim Tvar's son, Dyvin Slorm. Then he and Moonglum, pretending to be mercenaries themselves, enter Gashtek's great camp. They manage to get the cat and give Bara back his soul, and in a final battle which involves the Melnibonéans and some of their dragons, Gashtek is slain and the horde dispersed. What amused me is that Bara was described as a very powerful sorcerer, nearly on Elric's level - but then he gets himself killed by being in the way of an arrow... :P

Stormbringer: And so... it ends. The final volume of the Tale of Elric of Melniboné. Once more consisting of four novellas. In Dead God's Homecoming, Zarozinia is abducted. Elric manages to kill, then resurrect the leader of the SWAT team, and gets a riddle - it seems the dead are only allowed to speak in riddles. He learns that in the west, the kingdom of Dharijor has allied itself with the Theocrat of Pan Tang, Jagreen Lern, and has started a campaign of conquest. He travels there, where they also meet Dyvin Slorm and his mercenaries again. The ensuing battle, lead by queen Yishana (welp, there she is again!) goes very badly. Yishana gets killed, and Lern continues his conquest. Elric, Slorm and a few others flee west, where they meet a dude who calls himself Sepiriz (who is similar, but not identical to the Warrior in Jet and Gold from the Hawkmoon books) who explains that Melnibonéans are not "true humans" but an intermediate form which is to bring about the age of true men. Also, Sepiriz' people, the Nihrainians, have Mournblade, the sister sword of Stormbringer. Both were forged ages ago to slay the "Dead Gods", who may even be creatures from an earlier Cycle. One of these Dead Gods has been released, and it was he who had Zarozinia abducted, hoping to lure Elric and get his hands on both blades, to prevent these weapons from killing, finally, the already Dead Gods. Elric and Slorm travel to a Choas-warped valley where they confront the God, slay him, and save Zarozinia - thereby setting in motion a vast change in the world... Upon returning to Sepiriz, Elric finds out that his world is pretty much doomed, but from its ashes, millions upon millions of years later, a new Age of Man will come!! So, yeah, the "Young Kingdoms" are actually Earth, possibly before the time of the dinosaurs... :-??
In Black Sword's Brothers, Elric tries to get the unconquered Young Kingdoms to unite against Lern's Chaos hordes, but they haggle and fight and it all breaks apart. Elric and Moonglum learn that Lern has managed to summon three Lords of Hell, amongst them Arioch, physically to the Young Kingdoms. The two try to reach the Sorcerer's Isle and contact the Lords of Law, but the rapidly growing Chaos-manifestations send them off track. They learn Sepiriz is trying to contact Law, but Elric must travel to Pan Tang and do nothing less than banish the Chaos Lords! To do so, he learns a mystic rune which summons all manifestations of the Black Sword - millions of them! Arriving on Pan Tang, he and Moonglum fight their way in, and indeed Elric manages to create a SwordStorm and "kill" Arioch and the two others. But when all the swords return to their native realms, Stormbringer goes with them, leaving Elric helpless. He and Moonglum are captured by Lern and brought along to a great sea battle in which the navies of the southern lands are vanquished. Elric and Moonglum are saved by ships from the Purple Towns (after Elric has managed to summon Stormbringer), and return there, The Theocrat's forces sweep the southern continent, leaving only the northeastern continent free.
Sad Giant's Shield involves the quest for a mighty artifact, the eponymous shield, which is supposed to help Elric finally defeat Jagreen Lern and his forces. Dang, there is no detailed plot on multiverse.org... :(
This is also the case for the final part, Doomed Lord’s Passing. Well, less spoilers, I guess. :P I read this just some weeks ago... :-L Anyway, it all ends fucking epicly. More and more lands fall to Chaos, parts of the world are simply dissolving, and it all comes down to a climatic battle. While Jagreen Lern is finally killed (and Zarozinia also dies somwhere), the End of the World has become essentially unstoppable. But to restore the Balance and enable the resurrection, Elric must weave three powerful spells - and he is to weak for the last one. Moonglum, in utter desperation, instructs Elric to kill him, giving him the final iota of strength that is needed. In finality, Elric is confronted by the entity that is Stormbringer. The sword reverses itself, and kills Elric, adding his soul to the great many it has reaped. Decrying that it was also way more evil than Elric himself, it flies off into the sky.

THE END.

With great relish, I placed this tome into my column that I created in my little entry hallway. I had finished the Eternal Champion omnibus collection!!! :ymparty:
ImageImage
Sithlord of the Sithling and best customer of McLovecraft's Image, in the business of keeping the little Platypus in business
Moderations in GREEN and signed by the DAMNed. I am not anonymous! Also, MODSMACK!! Image
Winner of the... 2010 Kilopost FRANKIE; 2010 Mad March Nom Off; 2010 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2010 Fan-Thing Contest; 2010 Mimic Contest (tied); 2011 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2011 Contest-for-the-next-Contest (tied)

User avatar
Don Alexander
Dr. Ebil SithMod
Posts: 27507
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:26 am
Location: Under the arms of the ancient oak, where daylight hangs by a lunar noose...

Re: Books.

Post by Don Alexander » Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:51 pm

But of course, this did not happen until early January. Now back to the days before Christmas. Having forgotten the above-mentioned book, I took to reading Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion 12: Corum: The Prince with the Silver Hand. Even more than the first Chronicles of Corum, these books are deeply rooted in Celtic folklore. I also own the entire trilogy as a thick softcover named The Chronicles of Corum, and also the last two books as single volumes.

The Bull and the Spear: After the Sword Rulers were destroyed, Corum actually managed to achieve something rare for the incarnations of the Eternal Champion: peace. He lives with his Mabden bride, Rhalina, in his ancestral castle. But the Mabden are mortal, whereas the Vadhagh are essentially immortal. And thus, despite remaining hale in body and mind and living to the grand old age of 96, there comes the day when Rhalina passes away. Corum despairs and falls into a grand funk for an entire decade. Then voices start calling him in his dreams, but he ignores them, thinking he is going insane. Only when Jhary-a-Conel shows up and convinces him to follow the summoning does he awaken again. To find himself in a world a thousand years in the future (which should mean this is actually after the Conjunction of a Million Spheres, a cataclysmic event which is said to start a new Cycle across the entire Multiverse and which becomes more and more important in the last few volumes), called by the descendants of Rhalina's people. It turns out that several centuries in the past (long after, it seems, Corum died, was interred in a mound and became a legend...), vile beings came out of Limbo into this world. The White Walkers, um, I mean, the Eldrazi from the Blind Eternities, um, the Fhoi Myore (based on the Irish legend of the Fomorians :x ) are beings which simply do not belong into the normal regions of the Multiverse. They wish to return to Limbo, but are unable to, therefore they spread Eternal Winter over all the lands. In nine gigantic battles, the Mabden, allied with the last of the Vadhagh (those dudes from the flying city with all the futuristic technology), fought and banished the Fhoi Myore. Or so they thought. But now the last have returned. Only seven they are, but each has the power of a Dark God. Each of them has a "superpower", and all of them can raise the dead to form a frosty zombie army. Oh, and how else could it be, we find that Prince Gaynor the Damned has allied himself with them. Corum is given a task: Find the spear Bryionak, a legendary, lost weapon from the old wars against the Fhoi Myore. This spear is able to summon - and tame - the Black Bull of Crinanass, a godlike creature which may be the last defense against the spread of the Cold Folk (as they are also called). Corum's journey takes him through winter-deadened lands. He meets a seeress who warns him to be afraid of three things: A brother who will slay him (but he has no brother!), a harp, and beauty. He has, indeed, heard such a harp in the ruins of his former castle. And beauty? Well, there is the king's daughter who predictably becomes the new Eternal Concubine. He is attacked by the the Hounds of Kerenos (the leader of the Fhoi Myore) and saved by the powerful Mabden wizard Calatin, who commands a horn which emulates that of Kerenos and can call off attacks of the Hounds (and destroy their zombie mushers). Corum receives the horn and continues on to the legendary island of Hy-Breasail, where he comes upon the Sidhe smith Goffanon - an acclaimed dwarf, eight feet tall! :-o After some haggling, Corum receives the spear which had been in Goffanon's keeping, trading it against the horn. He also receives some of Goffanon's spittle, which was the price Calatin demanded. The wizard is not happy at all to have lost his horn and demands Corum's Scarlet Name-Robe. In the end, there is, of course, a climatic battle. The Bull is successfully summoned and smashes the Fhoi Myore army, even killing one of them for good. It then sacrifices itself to the spear, and its blood rejuvenates the land. Happy ending - but Corum still hears the harp...

The Oak and the Ram: The battle has been won, but the war is far from over. The brother-in-law of King Mannach, King Fiachadh, approaches the folk at Caer Mahlod with a request: Amergin, Druid and High King of the Mabden, is held hostage by the Fhoi Myore in the former largest city, Caer Llud. Without Amergin, the Mabden are a weak and divided race, fodder for Cold Folk conquest. Corum sets out on this new quest, aided by another legendary artifact, Arionrod's cloak, a Tarnkappe. On his way, he meets Gaynor again, a hilarious meeting in the morning fog: "Good morning, Gaynor." No idea why, but I laughed so hard at that. Again, the Hounds come, and now Corum is saved by the re-arrival of Jahry-a-Conel. They travel to a great henge, Craig Dôn (of course it is great, with a name like that), a place the Fhoi Myore fear. After managing to evade the hounds, they enter Caer Llud disguised as living corpses (very classical ;) ). Corum seeks out the highest tower, where he comes upon not only Calatin - who has taken a heel turn and allied himself with the Fhoi Myore - but also Goffanon! But it turns out that the Sidhe smith is under a glamour - should never have laughed and spit into that bag... Not genre-savvy at all. Corum manages to extract Amergin, overwhelm Calatin, steal the horn and get Goffanon back to his senses. On they way out, they see the Fhoi Myore are gathering a massive army. Back at Craig Dôn, Jhary uses Whiskers :x to enter the mind of Amergin (who has magically been convinced he is a sheep - baaah! Also, he is painfully thin and dying since he can also only eat specially magically prepared food), and finds out that the High King can only be saved - somehow - by two further legendary artifacts: The Oak and the Ram. These are said to be in a castle in the south. On their way there, they come upon a true Sidhe (and not just a dwarf), Ilbrec, who is the son of the former Sidhe king and greatest champion. Ilbrec is pretty much Thor but twice has tall!! He wields (later on) a magical sword named Retaliator which is an incredibly powerful weapon against the Fhoi Myore. But he is also fickle. It turns out that the Fhoi Myore army is marching on the same castle our heroes are riding toward. Before reaching it, Calatin appears again, sicks Goffanon on Ilbrec, and one of the actual Fhoi Myore on Corum! The Vadhagh prince manages to defeat it, barely. Ilbrec knocks out Goffanon and chases Calatin off. At the castle, a marriage has just taken place, and the Oak and the Ram are the wedding presents. With the dreadful army just hours away, Ilbrec decides the Mabden are doomed, and leaves. Indeed, a massacre ensues, though Corum manages to turn the tide against a pack of "evil Ents" by setting them on fire. It then turns out they are saved by Ilbrec, who kept the actual Fhoi Myore at bay using Retaliator to draw a circle of banishment. The new bride, already a grieving widow, bestows the mythical artifacts upon Corum & Co., who return to Caer Mahlod, where they indeed paste together a ritual which restores Amergin.

The Sword and the Stallion: Final volume! So far, I was enjoying Corum. Not as good as Elric, better than Hawkmoon... But not really anything special. But this last book was really good. And, ech, it is missing a description of content - similar to Stormbringer! So let's see what I remember. Reunited under Amergin, the Mabden decide to march upon Caer Llud to defeat the Fhoi Myore once and for all. During planning, Goffanon hints at another power in the world which could be used against the Cold Folk, but Ilbrec scoffs, it's way too dangerous (or were the roles opposite?). Only after a long discussion is it revealed that there is a cursed island in the northwest, Ynis-Scaith, which is supposed to be home to a powerful race of sorcerers. Corum assures the Mabden he will be able to travel there and return, hopefully with new allies, before the Mabden army reaches Caer Llud. Well, it turns out that the folk of Ynis-Scaith, the Malibann, and their emperor, Sactric (it seems he is something of an expy of Sadric, Elric's father, and the Malibann are the Melnibonéans), really don't like visitors. Corum and Jhary land in a world of dreadful illusion, and only barely make it out alive after having a frank discussion with Sactric. The ghostly emperor can't leave his island per se, but is able to transfer his soul into Whiskers. Returning to the beach, they encounter... Calatin! And... Corum!! A synthetic Corum! Calatin gloats that while not even a day has passed for Corum, several months have passed in the real world, and the Mabden army was smashed and wiped out when they assaulted Caer Llud. Amergin still lives, but all the other kings are dead! A fight ensues, and Calatin is killed, the Doppelgänger carries his body off into the waves. Corum and his comrades make haste to return to the mainland. The last Mabden - among them, luckily, the king's daughter, Corum's love - have holed up in Caer Llud, surrounded by the Fhoi Myore. Here another horror awaits: Everyone claims Corum has gone over to the enemy and even orchestrated the Mabden defeat!! Yes, it must have been him, he wore his Scarlet Robe... Corum manages to regain the trust of the Mabden, and soon thereafter the tenth and final battle against the Fhoi Myore ensues, in which Sactric plays a decisive role by weaving a great illusion which draws the Fhoi Myore into Craig Dôn, banishing them back into Limbo, finally. Peace?? Not for Corum, who still hears the harp. He returns to his ancestral castle, where he finds a golden youth playing the harp - Arioch?? Outside, he is attacked by none other than the king's daughter, his love - indeed the beauty he was supposed to fear, and then dies battling his "brother" - as foreseen.
ImageImage
Sithlord of the Sithling and best customer of McLovecraft's Image, in the business of keeping the little Platypus in business
Moderations in GREEN and signed by the DAMNed. I am not anonymous! Also, MODSMACK!! Image
Winner of the... 2010 Kilopost FRANKIE; 2010 Mad March Nom Off; 2010 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2010 Fan-Thing Contest; 2010 Mimic Contest (tied); 2011 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2011 Contest-for-the-next-Contest (tied)

User avatar
Don Alexander
Dr. Ebil SithMod
Posts: 27507
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:26 am
Location: Under the arms of the ancient oak, where daylight hangs by a lunar noose...

Re: Books.

Post by Don Alexander » Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:48 am

And now, after all this Sour Sword & Sorcery, let us return - so one would hope - to fun and wackiness! Back to the End of Time!! Specifically Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion 13: Legends from the End of Time. This book is based upon a story collection featuring three novellas of exactly the same name. It has been expanded with another book as well as a further novella. It is a bit special in my omnibus collection as it is the only volume where I own none of the content as single volumes.

Legends from the End of Time #1: Pale Roses: This, and all the further tales, are set in a time period during and after The Hollow Lands. The climax of An Alien Heat is mentioned (being a wonderful adventure, of course), and every once in a while, reference to Jherek Carnelian is made, but neither he (nor his lady) ever show up. In this first tale, Werther de Goethe, Emo at the End of Time, hears of the concept of Sin, and decides he must experience it. Soon thereafter, he (just having been dropped by his lover, Mistress Christia, the Everlasting Concubine) happens upon a 14-year old girl drowning in his lake! He takes her in - she claims to be a normal human who escaped from an abandoned menagerie - and decides she should be brought up with moral rectitude. He really flowers in his role as a father, but, well, you can guess what happens. Sinful, sinful things causing wonderful guilt and remorse. :P And of course the girl was just Mistress Christia in disguise...

Legends from the End of Time #2: White Stars: Werther may be emo, and the giant Mongrove a true cynic - but there is no greater misanthropist at the End of Time than Lord Shark the Unknown, who always wears a shark mask, lives in what used to be the Rockies in a complex of square rooms, and is surrounded by automata made in his own image because he has no imagination whatsoever. The Iron Orchid and the Duke of Queens meet him while he is dueling with one of these automata. The Duke is fascinated by this, and when, shortly afterward, he destroys Lord Shark's lichen garden during the creation of a miniature continent, he insist upon dueling Shark. Shark doesn't manage to get out of it, even when he insists that the duel must be to the death - the final, absolute death, no resurrection allowed. The whole thing gets even more complicated when a bunch of space marines from the 24th century show up, led by a overzealous sergeant who tries everything to get his men back to the war against the vile scum beings from Alpha Centauri... (Especially after he finds out mankind won the war.)

Legends from the End of Time #3: Ancient Shadows: These two tales were reasonably amusing, the humor level being roughly consistent with The End of All Songs. But this last tale... It was nothing but depressing! :( Two time travellers appear at the End of Time, a woman named Dafnish Armatuce and her son Snuffles. They stem from ~95th century, a time of great austerity. Earth had almost destroyed itself and civilization was only able to reconstitute itself by imposing a dictatorial rule and extreme self-control and self-denial. Tooootally the wrong mindset for the End of Time!!! :D Dafnish soon despairs, but her son, the "only" sixty-year old Snuffles, soon takes to delving into all the excess. Everything becomes worse when they meet Miss Mavis Ming, a neurotic time traveler form ~2060, the first true human time traveler. Ming is quite lonesome but also a horribly annoying person. It all goes south really quickly and ends in total tragedy. :(

The Transformation of Miss Mavis Ming aka A Messiah at the End of Time (or the Return of Fireclown) aka Cosntant Fire: The book with the most and longest alternative titles, like, ever. It first appeared as a novella under the latter name, was then expanded. The first name is, I think, the US publication, the second the British one (I've mentioned that many Moorcock books have different titles in the US and UK). Finally, the last chapter was altered as it featured some BDSM content, and this censored version has since been published as Constant Fire always. Alas, it's the version published here. :-L This was a really weird book, and one of my least favorite Moorcock works. Not only does it strongly feature above-mentioned Miss Mavis Ming, no, it also features Emmanuel Bloom, the Fireclown. Who so happens to land at the End of Time in his spaceship, declare everyone to be a sinner, and then he goes forth blowing everything up. Of course, the Dancers can reconstitute their works (and themselves - although one of them who is seemingly never mentioned anywhere else dies the true death because they forget to resurrect him in all the chaos), but it all becomes pretty annoying after a while. Bloom sets his sights on Ming, declaring her the most perfect woman in all the Multiverse, and aggressively pursues her. Ming is a part of the menagerie of Doctor Volospion, but semi-autonomous. She returns to him for protection, and he actually manages to trap the Fireclown and cut him off from his power. But Bloom has an ace up his arm. Volospion collects religious artifacts (as well as prophets, saviors and messiahs...), and Bloom tells him that his Holy Grail is fake - for only HE is the Keeper of the Grail! Yes, indeed, he is the heir of the Von Beks, and an incarnation of the Eternal Champion. A very weird and unsympathetic one indeed. He makes a deal: Ming for the real Grail - and then he fools Volospion anyway... In the end, he pretty much rapes Ming (the scene which was kind of censored), and... somehow turns her so that she becomes his. That all felt very wrong...

Elric at the End of Time: Finally a romp!! This novella was once published as part of a book of the same name which I don't own. Battling some shaman who got his hands on advanced technology left by the Doomed Folk (see Kings in Darkness), a sorcerous explosion casts Elric to the End of Time. There, the Dancers try to make him welcome, though he has a similar problem to Dafnish Armatruce... The Duke of Queens and some others invent glorious battles out of thin air to keep Elric occupied. Such as a flying ship filled with the dreaded parrots!! :)) Or how about the Grash-Tu-Xem - a race of Old Ones older than any Old Ones except the Elder Old Ones of Ancient Thriss!! In the end, Lord Jagged comes and appears as... ARIOCH! :ymdevil: He manages to get Elric back to his own age and plane. And the tale ends with a cryptic remark that he embodied this Arioch dude really very well... WTF???? :-\ :-o =)) =)) =))
ImageImage
Sithlord of the Sithling and best customer of McLovecraft's Image, in the business of keeping the little Platypus in business
Moderations in GREEN and signed by the DAMNed. I am not anonymous! Also, MODSMACK!! Image
Winner of the... 2010 Kilopost FRANKIE; 2010 Mad March Nom Off; 2010 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2010 Fan-Thing Contest; 2010 Mimic Contest (tied); 2011 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2011 Contest-for-the-next-Contest (tied)

User avatar
Don Alexander
Dr. Ebil SithMod
Posts: 27507
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:26 am
Location: Under the arms of the ancient oak, where daylight hangs by a lunar noose...

Re: Books.

Post by Don Alexander » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:31 am

I managed to finish up Corum: The Prince with the Silver Hand early in the morning on Christmas day and continued on with Legends from the End of Time, but was soon interrupted. Christmas time means new books, and in this case, it was two must-read ones!

Stephen King - Finders, Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy #2): There are books which just burn themselves into my mind, and then there are those which, despite me liking them, just kind of fade. Alas, Mr. Mercedes, the first Bill Hodges book, seems to be one of them. I actually didn't even think of looking up what I had written a year ago about it - turns out it's hardly anything. Anyway, this book begins with only a relatively tenuous link to the first book. We follow two story paths. In one, a quite crazy young man invades - with two accomplices - the home of an old writer, in, I think, 1978. This writer created, in the early 60s, several "all-American novels", except that in the third one, the rebellious main character sells out, enters the advertisement industry, gets married... The young man is a huuuge fan of the first two books but is hugely pissed at the third one - very reminiscent of King's classic, Misery. He has heard the writer, who pretty much left publishing after that fateful third novel, has a bunch of notebooks in his house with further writings. He indeed finds these notebooks in a safe, and quickly establishes that they contain a fourth novel! He kills the writer, and shortly thereafter, his two accomplices. But then his hopes burn up when a friend of his advises that he should sit on the notebooks for a LONG time, they were way too "hot" to sell now. He hides them and 20k$ in a chest which he buries. Shortly thereafter, he gets drunk, and when he does, he totally loses control. He rapes a woman, gets caught, and sent to jail. Life! No one except his friend knows he killed the writer (and the other two). But he fucked up.
In 2010, then, a young boy's family is nearly shattered when the dad, already unemployed, is one of the survivors of the killing spree of Mr. Mercedes. There's your initial link. A while later, after a flood, he finds the buried chest, unearths it, and discovers not only the money, but also the unpublished notebooks. He becomes a rabid fan of the novel series - there are actually TWO new, unpublished ones!! - and uses a trick to slowly support his family with the money. But then, finally, the once young, still angry, still psychotic man gets released from jail, now quite old, decrepit, and desperate to find his long-lost treasures. And at the same time, the money has run out, and the young kid, now a teenager, decides to approach a shady book dealer - who was once friends with an incarcerated angry young man ;) - trying to sell one of the notebooks...
These were the first 100 pages of the 440 page book. They had nothing to do with the characters from Mr. Mercedes - and they were AWESOME. Such a good story. Then we, quite drastically, switch back to Bill Hodges, and, erm, a bunch of people I barely remembered... I can hardly claim that the rest went down the drain, no way. But it become a lot more conventional, and less enthusiastic. All in all, still a good book, though.

Stephen King - Full Dark, No Stars: I had sent two of my friends a list of books I did not own yet, among them several King books - and I got this one. :) It's a novella collection in the tradition of Four Past Midnight or Different Seasons. As the title suggests, these are supposed to be really dark and bleak tales. For the most part, the promise was fulfilled.
1922: It seems the general thread of this story follows Poe's The Telltale Heart. It is the confession of a farmer, in 1930, who, eight years earlier, killed his own wife, with the help of his son. This was quite a sordid and depressing tale, straddling an unclear line between realism and the supernatural - the character seems to be haunted by rats sent by his dead wife. It was good, but actually the weakest main story imho. Also, at nearly 200 pages, it exceeded most of Michael Moorcock's books...
Big Driver: Hooooly shit. This was an absolutely fucking brilliant tale, and at the same time one of the most horrifying things I have ever read. The protagonist, Tess, is a woman somewhere between "young" and "middle-aged" (like me :-s ) who is, despite being reasonably attractive and also quite sane, weirdly single. She writes mystery novels featuring seniors (the Knitting Circle) for seniors. All very cozy and bloodless. After a meet-and-greet, she is advised to take a backcountry shortcut that avoids the snarls of the interstate - and here, she drives into a trap, and is shortly thereafter raped, beaten, strangled and left for dead. Ouch, I say. That scene was really, really harsh, and I can imagine anyone with actual bad experiences would totally flip. Tess comes to in a storm drain and somehow manages to drag herself home, where she begins to plot her revenge. The whole thing was very Tarantino, very Kill Bill, filled with both desperation and dark humor. Turns out it has actually been made into a movie for TV (even starring Maria Bello!), which is supposed to be so-so. Pity. Should have been Tarantino.
Fair Extension: At about 35 pages by far the shortest main piece. Actually quite funny, and really good. A man, riddled with cancer, having come to terms with his death, meets a weird streetside vendor who calls himself George Elvid. It was quite amusing how the protagonist immediately deciphered the last name into Devil. Elvid claims he sells "Extensions". Yeah, even hair extensions, if need be. In the case of David Streeter, though, a life extension would come in handy, eh? Indeed, the vendor seems to know everything about him. Streeter is more and more convinced that this dude really is El Diablo. Now, Elvid grinningly states that he can't offer immortality, but he can cure Streeter, give him another 20 years or so. But of course, there's a hitch. There always is. Just that in this case, no, he is not damning his soul to hell or anything like that. Instead, there must be a quid pro quo. Streeter's life will take a sharp upturn, but someone else's life must take a similarly sharp downturn. So... Who is the person you hate the most?? Only after some thought does Streeter find the answer: His best friend, actually... The man who only got through school by copying Streeter's homework, who then stole Streeter's high school sweetheart and married her, who has become a millionaire with a perfect life while Streeter remained stuck in suburbian mediocrity and then was nearly felled early by cancer. And so... it begins.
A Good Marriage: The second absolutely brilliant piece. Darcy leads a decidedly mediocre but generally happy life. She's been married to her husband Bob, an accountant, for nearly three decades. One night, while her husband is away for business, she needs some batteries for the TV remote. She enters the garage, usually her hubby's kingdom. There, she comes across a big box full of magazines. The first, mildly disturbing discovery is that most of them are shopping catalogs which her husband has apparently hidden to prevent her from buying too much stuff. Then, deep down, she finds a hardcore BDSM porn rag. Now this... wow! A facet of her husband she had never suspected! After some thought, she decides to forget about it, not confront him with it when he comes back. His business. When she shoves back the box under a big table, she hears a weird clacking sound. She almost lets it go, but... no. She investigates, and finds a small secret compartment. Which contains the wallet of a murdered woman. ID and all. A woman murdered, the police are sure, by a notorious serial killer who calls himself "Beadie", who has been doing this for several decades... A serial killer who is none other than her husband. WHAT NOW???? Seems this was also turned into a made for TV movie, with pretty bad ratings. Real pity. Though it's hard to bring the tale to screen, as it is mostly a thoughtscape with very little outside plot.
Under the Weather: This short story, about 20 pages, was a bonus to the paperback edition of the book, and has appeared again in Bazaar of Bad Dreams, King's newest short story collection. Of all, it was the least interesting, especially since, at least for me, it was totally predictable. Brad works at an advertising agency, and lately, his wife has stayed in bed, feeling under the weather. Or so Brad keeps telling himself... I was amused that the premise of the tale was quite similar to some lyrics of the morbidly inventive German dark metal band Eisregen, especially Blass-Blaue Lippen and Meine Tote Russische Freundin.

All in all, a really awesome story collection and one of the best books in months.
ImageImage
Sithlord of the Sithling and best customer of McLovecraft's Image, in the business of keeping the little Platypus in business
Moderations in GREEN and signed by the DAMNed. I am not anonymous! Also, MODSMACK!! Image
Winner of the... 2010 Kilopost FRANKIE; 2010 Mad March Nom Off; 2010 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2010 Fan-Thing Contest; 2010 Mimic Contest (tied); 2011 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2011 Contest-for-the-next-Contest (tied)

User avatar
Don Alexander
Dr. Ebil SithMod
Posts: 27507
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:26 am
Location: Under the arms of the ancient oak, where daylight hangs by a lunar noose...

Re: Books.

Post by Don Alexander » Sat Feb 06, 2016 2:43 pm

And now we're down to the wire! I finished both Full Dark, No Stars and Legends from the End of Time on December 28, and began with the final book of 2015, the book which would carry me beyond 15000 pages: Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion 14: Earl Aubec and other Stories. This fat (600 pages) short story collection draws from multiple sources, among them two earlier short story collections which I also own as single volumes: The Singing Citadel and The Time Dweller. Furthermore, it contains a complete novel, which I also own as a single volume - see below. It's another special book for me, since it was the only hardcover volume I bought way back in 2003, for just €5 - I later found it on Amazon for 100$... :| I'm not going to mention all stories because frankly, I don't remember them all in detail...

Earl Aubec aka The Dream of Earl Aubec aka Master of Chaos: The title story can also be found in an earlier Elric book, though it does not feature Elric. It is, though, a kind of prequel. On the southern continent in Elric's world, a new kingdom, a kingdom ruled by humans, has arisen. The queen sends her lover and champion, Aubec, south to destroy the evil castle of Kaneloon (remember that?), which sits at the literal edge of the world - beyond it is only roiling, unformed chaos. Aubec masters the illusionary and labyrinthine castle, and finally comes upon the guardian: Myshella, the Dark Lady, Empress of the Dawn. But she is not an agent of vile chaos, but an instrument of law. And now that Aubec has "Achievement Unlocked: Kaneloon", she uses her power to form vast tracts of fresh land out of Chaos. Fertile, unpopulated land. And then teleports Kaneloon to the edge of Chaos again, as always. This expansion also allows the kingdom of men to expand and proliferate - the seed of the Young Kingdoms which Elric will later travel through.
Jesting with Chaos aka The Last Enchantment: This was also published in the Elric at the End of Time collection under the latter title. Elric, traveling from A to B as is his wont, comes upon a hounded man, and declines to aid him. So the man curses Elric and sends him into some alternate realm where the Lords of Chaos have a board meeting. :P They challenge him to invent something new for them. After long pondering, Elric creates a replica of himself, and within the mind of it is the variety of Chaos but also the striving for the order of Law. Satisfied, the albino is let go by the Lords, to continue on his journey.
The Greater Conqueror: This was the first real highlight of the book! :) Simon of Byzantium is a mercenary at the time of Alexander the Great. He has come to Babylon to enlist in the Great Conqueror's army. He actually manages a personal audience, and first meets a weakened, but sharp-minded and kind man. But when an aide comes in mentioning protests because some army unit raped and pillaged, Alexander is overcome by a demonic force and screams that all the protesters should be slaughtered!! Simon, shocked, actually attacks this Alexander-Demon, who defends himself easily, delivering the uber awesome line: "For you, I shall invent a death!!" :ymdevil: Simon manages to escape but is a marked man. In the further tale, he manages to save a young woman (who, of course, becomes his sweetheart), who is the daughter of a politician who soon becomes a target of Alexander's wrath as well. Flight, regrouping, counterstrike, in the end Simon manages to defeat the demonic entity that turned Alexander into a tyrant, bent on wiping out the entire Western civilization - a Lord of Chaos! Alexander is but a husk without the demonic lifeforce, and dies, redeemed. "We shall say he died of a fever." :D What I really liked about this story was the protagonist, who is actually the next best thing to an atheist in the ancient world. He does not pray to gods or believe in the existence of the supernatural at all. But of course, he needs to come to terms with the actual existence of higher things, and only when he does does he become another incarnation of the Eternal Champion.
Going Home: A cool SF story. Several centuries earlier, mankind colonized a habitable world some dozen light years from Earth. But they destroyed all records of why they came here. Now this young civilization has expanded enough to build powerful star ships of their own, and they send a fleet to Earth to find the answer. They are going home! But what they find is very disturbing. No, no global apocalypse. Mankind continues, but it is... weird... They are greeted in a reasonably friendly manner but without fanfare. The city they are taken to is geometrically regular and without any charm. Everything looks the same. There is no music, no art of any kind. Everything is efficient and joyless. Only after multiple inquiries is the order which sent their ancestors to the stars unsealed - and immediately, they are told to leave the planet. Turns out several centuries before, the dull part of mankind decided to eject all "madmen" - these being the creatives, the daring, the forward thinkers. So all the pioneers went to the stars to propagate REAL mankind, while the drones remained on an Earth which is slowly dying since all progress has halted. In the end, aiming towards the stars, the captain tells his crew: Let's go home.
Consuming Passion: What happens when a pyromaniac actually becomes a pyromancer?? EVERYTHING BURNS!! :ymdevil: Pretty cool, since it is told from the pyro's perspective.
Wolf: A very disturbed man comes into a village, is taken in by a caring woman, becomes a werewolf and kills her. Hm. Not good.
The Opium General: A young woman is the girlfriend of a former rock star become heroin addict who is in a death spiral. Very realistic and disturbing.
A Dead Singer: This was a weird but fun story. A legendary roadie, a man who actually existed, drives through England in his battered camper. At his side: A recently resurrected Jimi Hendrix. And they are looking for their next fix.
The Lovebeast: For millennia, the Lovebeast has hovered in space above Earth, a spiritual entity that wants to give nothing but love. Now mankind is dying out, but by chance, they establish a connection with the Lovebeast. But will pandimensional love save them? Pretty trippy.
The Golden Barge: A Fable: So, here's the book. It's the first Moorcock novel to survive, from when he was just 17 (one earlier book was allegedly "eaten by rats"), predating even Sojan. I kept this one for last, not knowing what to expect. It was described as an existentialist novel, and not rated highly. Turns out I liked it! One morning, at the docks of an unknown country in a semi-realistic fantasy land whose historical period seems to vary between medieval and early industrial depending where you are, and which is characterized by an endless river (known only as the River) which flows through it. Jephraim Tallow, a simple fisherman, looks up into the morning mist and sees the Golden Barge. A ship bedecked in splendor, seemingly without crew, which drifts down the river, soon to disappear from view. Then and there, he decides following - and finally boarding - the Golden Barge is his life's quest. He leaves his decrepit mother, is incarcerated in the next town over, finds a very dedicated lover, aids and betrays a prophet, takes part in a revolution which he then also betrays, backstabs everyone who somehow tries to help him, all in his quest for the Golden Barge. Despite being just four feet tall and lacking a navel (something weird that happened after he saw the Golden Barge for the first time, it's never mentioned later anymore...), he is charismatic, but also psychotic - a total anti-hero. He isn't badass, he is just bad. And because of this complete lack of qualities, I actually found myself enjoying the book a lot. :D It's about 120 pages (in the large hardcover format), and I finished in in the late afternoon on the 31st, as the last story within Earl Aubec - fulfilling my New Year's resolution!
The Deep Fix: A cool SF story. Scientist have perfected the control of minds via auditory impulses. Too bad this also turned most of mankind into mindless zombies. A scientist in his beleaguered laboratory uses the scant time between attacks to go under in a dream world of his own devision in which he partakes in a bunch of weird adventures. Rather long and with a twist ending.
The Real Life Mr Newman (Adventures of the Dead Astronaut): A quite weird but good tale about an astronaut who somehow transitions into a parallel dream world. Together with a woman, he travels across Europe to different capital cities (Paris, Berlin) who are all kind of... metaphors of the cliche attributes of their real-world inhabitants.
Goodbye, Miranda: Boy and girl love each other. Boy learns levitation. Girl hates boy. Boy haunts girl. Girl kills own father. Boy kills girl. Boy flies away. :| Wut?
Islands: Each man is an island, they say. What if this were more true than we think, and each human actually dwells in a private universe in which they would be all-powerful, if they were not dragged down by the conformity of human society?
Some Reminiscences of the Third World War: Casablanca; Going to Canada; Leaving Pasadena; Crossing into Cambodia: Four interconnected stories told from the perspective of a Russian secret agent who is involved in the upcoming third world war (the last story takes place during the war). Quite James Bond-ish, actually, and really good!!
Mars: Weird story of a bunch of aliens landing on Mars and a guy who tries to communicate with them.
The Frozen Cardinal: Hands down THE most awesome story in the book, and, next to An Alien Heat, the best thing I've ever read by Moorcock. PERFECT SF! An exploratory team of scientists have landed on an alien planet and are ascending the giant ice shelf of an Antarctica-lookalike. In a deep glacial crevasse, they find the story's title: a frozen cardinal. Not the bird, but a Roman cardinal. Complete in finery and regalia, one hand held up in benediction. Frozen, yet seemingly alive. A total mystery - this team is the first to have ever landed on this planet. After some debate, they decide to dig him out and let him thaw. And then weird shit begins happening... This story was totally creepy and strongly reminded me of the atmosphere of The Thing.
The Mountain: Mankind has been essentially wiped out - a virus, I think? Two scientists have managed to survive in a hut somewhere in the Scandinavian wilderness. Now they are out, going somewhere, and they spot another human being in the distance - a woman! Mission: Repopulate the Earth commences.
The Time Dweller and Escape from Evening: Two interconnected stories taking place on a far-distant future Earth which is reminiscent of the world or Urlik Skarsol (Phoenix in Obsidian from the very first omnibus). Everything is cold, the seas are sluggish and extremely salty. In the first story, a man becomes the first Time Dweller, able to walk in all four dimensions with ease. In the second story, another man is outcast by the rigid society of Moon and comes down to Earth.
Waiting for the End of Time...: Everything is being sucked up by The Mass. On the final planet of the Universe, the last members of a super-advanced mankind make their last stand against universal extinction.
The Stone Thing: A Tale of Strange Parts: Sometimes a stone cock is just a stone cock.
The Last Call: They are calling! Calling for you, Champion! Calling... for the last round before curfew.
My Life: A VERY fictional description of the authors "first time", apparently from a story collection full of such stories. Actually manages to be quite erotic while also being totally ridiculous.
Sir Milk-and-Blood: This story finalizes the volume. Two IRA terrorists, who, along with a third, had the job of blowing up a streetcar, at night, while it was in its storage shed, have messed up. Their bombs went off early (killing their third compatriot and a bunch of women of children). Now they are on the run, not being of any use to the movement considering the bad publicity. Most of the story deals with the two drinking in their hideout, talking about what has happened, life, the universe, and... you know. Waiting for their "release". But when it comes, it is very different than what they expected.

All in all, the collection was not that good. Some excellent tales and a good book, but a lot of mediocre to bad stuff (there's quite a few stories I have not mentioned at all, I'm pretty sure I don't remember them because they weren't good).
ImageImage
Sithlord of the Sithling and best customer of McLovecraft's Image, in the business of keeping the little Platypus in business
Moderations in GREEN and signed by the DAMNed. I am not anonymous! Also, MODSMACK!! Image
Winner of the... 2010 Kilopost FRANKIE; 2010 Mad March Nom Off; 2010 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2010 Fan-Thing Contest; 2010 Mimic Contest (tied); 2011 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2011 Contest-for-the-next-Contest (tied)

User avatar
Don Alexander
Dr. Ebil SithMod
Posts: 27507
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:26 am
Location: Under the arms of the ancient oak, where daylight hangs by a lunar noose...

Re: Books.

Post by Don Alexander » Sat Feb 06, 2016 10:51 pm

So, 2016!! Go! Of course, the next book was clear: Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion 15: Count Brass! The final volume! The second Hawkmoon trilogy also known as The Chronicles of Castle/Count Brass. I own the first two books as single volumes as well. This trilogy, as I have mentioned beforehand, represents the first (and, at the time, likely only envisioned) end of the saga of the Eternal Champion. So, more than anywhere, BEWARE YE SPOILERS!

Count Brass: A weird title. Count Brass is dead, right? It's half a decade after the Battle of Londra and the fall of Granbretan, the battle which saw the deaths of Count Brass, Bowgentle, D'Averc and Oladhan. Hawkmoon now rules in Castle Brass in the marshes of Kamarg, happily married to the Counts daughter Yisselda, with two children. But then people start looking at him askance, and rumors swirl that he is a murderer and traitor. Hawkmoon confronts an old soldier and gets to hear that the ghost of Count Brass has been seen in the marshes, claiming Hawkmoon killed him in Londra. Hawkmoon investigates and indeed meets the Count! But he is no ghost. Nor is he a simulacrum. Avoiding a fight, the two start discussing, and Hawkmoon finds out this Count is much younger, by about two decades. He was in a near-death situation in a battle against Granbretan somehwere in the Balkans when some kind of... oracle dragged him bodily out of there and told him: You will die in seconds but I can prevent this. But in the future, a man named Dorian Hawkmoon will betray and kill you. Go forth and slay him, and I shall return you to your time and prevent your upcoming death. Hawkmoon indeed remembers Brass once telling him of this battle where he nearly died. They decide to meet again the following night. Hawkmoon follows Brass but loses him, nearly drowning in the marsh (and losing his poor horse!). The next night, to his surprise, not only Brass is there, but also Bowgentle, D'Averc and Oladhan!! All have similar stories. Saved from the brink of death (e.g., Oladhan was battling a bear single-handedly), told Hawkmoon would kill them in the future. Bowgentle is "less removed" from his time than Brass and actually remembers meeting the Count once - but this is in a time which is still the future for Brass. Other than that, none know each other, and none know the Duke of Köln. Hawkmoon suspects some of the sorcerer-scientists of Granbretan have survived and are manipulating time and space. Shortly afterward, they meet with the oracle, which has the form of a glowing glass pyramid. This turns out to be a vessel carrying none other than Baron Kalan of Vitall, one of the scientists Hawkmoon suspected. They drive him off, and decide to ally themselves and set out for what was once Syria, to the place where the city of Soryandum once stood. The wraithfolk of that city were powerful time mages, after all. Over the course of the trip, there are multiple confrontations with the pyramid, in each case Kalan returns one of the "returned dead" back to their own time, until only Count Brass remains. By this time, they have found the folk of Soryandum, who construct a machine similar to Kalan's pyramid. They use it to follow the mad scientist to a crude alternate Londra, a staging ground from which Kalan and another prime suspect, Taragorm, plan the reestablish the old rule of Granbretan. This all leads to a climatic battle, of course. All of these time manipulations have been eased by the approaching Conjunction of a Million Spheres - and conversely, the scientists warn Hawkmoon and Brass that they should not intervene, as this could have terrible effects on the entire Multiverse! Of course, our badass heroes do not give a shit, and kill the bad guys - though Kalan escapes. The Time Winds carry Hawkmoon back to the Battle of Londra where he manages, with his newly gained knowledge, to actually save Count Brass's life (the other three are unreachable)!! But then he blacks out and comes to at the moment he is drowning in the marshes. He is saved not by Yisselda but by Count Brass!! And, to his utmost horror, he learns that saving the Count in the battle led to a domino effect... which killed Yisselda!! And since, he has - so Brass claims - been insane, babbling that Yisselda lives, that he has children...

The Champion of Garathorm: Alas, both this book and the following have no plot description on multiverse.org... Let's see what I can remember. It is about two years after the fateful events which saved Count Brass but deleted Yisselda's existence from the time stream. Hawkmoon is wasting away. In his room in Castle Brass, he has a huge miniatures set emulating Londra. Endlessly, he replays the battle, seeking a version where he can save both Brass and Yisselda - not that he has any hope of returning to this time. Count Brass and his other compatriots have no clue how to help him or distract him. Things change when a visitor arrives: Katinka von Bak (indeed yet another Von Bek variant), an old mercenary who rose to a high position in Ukrainia. She reports that a dreadful army of otherdimensional warriors is sweeping out of the eastern Bulgar mountains and ravaging the low countries. She needs Hawkmoon's help! After a while, he manages to collect himself enough to accompany her, slowly coming back to life. On their way east, they happen upon Jhary-a-Conel, who confuses Hawkmoon mightily by steadily calling him Eternal Champion and mentioning having lived many lives. Jhary also reports he has heard rumors of this army - but strangely, no one else on the western side of the Bulgar mountains has... Finally, they come upon a deep cave, and within, they find the prone body of a beautiful young woman... ...and a ritual sends Hawkmoon's soul into this woman's body!! It turns out to have been a ruse all along. For on the other side of the cave, which is a transdimensional tunnel, lies the world of Garathorm - and it is this world, not our Earth, which has been overrun by the army. An army of Chaos which has only been able to gather because the Conjunction of a Million Spheres has weakened the boundaries throughout the Multiverse. And none other than Baron Kalan (who himself was transported to Garathorm by the Time Winds) is responsible for the young woman, Ilian of Garathorm, to lose her soul. She is the King's daughter, and had led the defense against the invaders, but was recently disgraced when she revealed the location of her sister under torture, who was then killed. To save Garathorm, the Eternal Champion must return. And since Hawkmoon was "wasting his soul" in his desperate state, Katinka and Jhary have transfused it into Ilian, creating a hybrid creature which is mostly Ilian but which also has the vast tactical and strategic knowledge of the Duke of Köln. They manage to find the last "rebels" and take the battle to the Chaos army, which is led by a servant of Arioch named Ymryl, who wears a yellow horn with which he can summon Arioch. During the battle, Ilian comes across a destitute woman being held prisoner by Kalan - it is Yisselda!! She was actually not killed but just abducted by the baron. Kalan himself believes that only Hawkmoon can kill him, and is very surprised when Ilian slays him... "No man can kill me!" "I AM NO MAN!" On the other hand, Katinka also dies. After saving Garathorm, Ilian gets her soul back and becomes Queen, and Hawkmoon and Yisselda return to Kamarg.

The Quest for Tanelorn: I've indirectly known of this book for a quarter century! :-o There's a song about it on Blind Guardian's Somewhere Far Beyond album from 1991. Back in Castle Brass, Hawkmoon is mostly happy. He has Yisselda back, and of course her father is still there, he is not insane anymore... But still, his children... Then they receive a message from the Queen of Granbretan which hints at trouble - and they also receive a fateful visitor, Orland Fank, the nigh-mythical figure who once sent Hawkmoon and D'Averc to Dnark to retrieve the Runestaff. He hints that Hawkmoon's children do exist out there - in Tanelorn... Hawkmoon and Yisselda travel to Granbretan, but then Hawkmoon collapses on the Silver Bridge and sees the vision of some titanic creature at the horizon which plaintively calls to him, calls him Elric... And Hawkmoon leaves this world, and comes upon a ship traveling through the Multiverse, and here now comes, once again, the battle against the outerdimensional hypersorcerors Agak and Gagak which already appeared in EC5, there written from Elric's perspective. But now we find out more. For Erekosë, this takes place after his appearance as Urlik Skarsol in Phoenix in Obsidian. And for Corum, it actually somehow takes place AFTER his death at the end of The Sword and the Stallion! :-o As is known, they defeat Agak and Gagak, the battle seemingly being one of the many circumstances that occur during the famous Conjunction of a Million Spheres. Elric returns to his time, many of his adventures yet before him. Corum also returns to his world, only to commit suicide! And now... it becomes complicated. Orland Fank shows up again on the island of Agak and Gagak, and with him Jehamiah Cohnahlias, the golden boy, the spirit of the Runestaff. The boy takes Hawkmoon and Erekosë to Tanelorn, and here also the creature Hawkmoon has seen on the Silver Bridge returns. It is nothing else than the entity that inhabits Stormbringer, and it carries the name Shaitan... They witness the events at the end of Elric's life (which I had actually not read at this time!). In Tanelorn, they find an amphitheater where dozens of dozens of incarnations of the Eternals (Champion, Companion, Lover...) are found. Here, Erekosë finally finds his lost love Ermizhad again. Also, the Shaitan holds the children of Hawkmoon hostage. And then... shit goes down. Really omnidimensional, worldblasting shit. Which I don't remember in detail. It ends with Erekosë, having found happiness and acceptance of his fate, wields, after growing to titanic proportions, the Black Sword to smash the Balance itself, shortly after the Conjunction has already wiped out all the Lords of Chaos and Law!!!!! All this timey wimey wobbly stuff also returns Bowgentle, D'Averc and Oladhan to life (and Yisselda shows up again too, of course), and in the end, Hawkmoon, in a world devoid of the great battles between Chaos and Law, a world in which mankind is completely in charge of its own destiny, returns to Kamarg with all his friends and family restored to him, to leave out his life in peace.

THE END
ImageImage
Sithlord of the Sithling and best customer of McLovecraft's Image, in the business of keeping the little Platypus in business
Moderations in GREEN and signed by the DAMNed. I am not anonymous! Also, MODSMACK!! Image
Winner of the... 2010 Kilopost FRANKIE; 2010 Mad March Nom Off; 2010 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2010 Fan-Thing Contest; 2010 Mimic Contest (tied); 2011 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2011 Contest-for-the-next-Contest (tied)

User avatar
Don Alexander
Dr. Ebil SithMod
Posts: 27507
Joined: Sat Aug 30, 2008 11:26 am
Location: Under the arms of the ancient oak, where daylight hangs by a lunar noose...

Re: Books.

Post by Don Alexander » Sun Feb 07, 2016 12:08 am

So, I'm done with the main Eternal Champion cycle, but I'm far away from being done with Moorcock! Way back in 2003, at the Spielemesse Essen, I had bought, I think, four of the main omnibus volumes. But there were two further books which were being sold at multiple places. Two original short story collections: Michael Moorcock's Elric: Tales of the White Wolf is from 1994, published right at the beginning of the White Wolf omnibus publication history. It consists of an introduction and a new Elric tale by Moorcock, and all the other short stories are written by other authors, but featuring Elric or his world!! Similar to EC14, I'm not going to mention all since I've forgotten a few and there is basically no info on them...

Michael Moorcock - The White Wolf's Song: Later also known as The Black Blade's Song/Summoning. All these renamings... This is a rather weird story. Elric is riding toward a city when suddenly, a huge, blazing sun-like sphere shoots up into the sky - and begins to spit out winged shapes. Lords of Chaos! Battered, beaten, falling from some immense, incomprehensible battle. Sounded a lot like Milton's Paradise Lost, the casting of Satan from Heaven... While Elric witnesses this, stupefied, he is joined by another traveler I had not read about in a long time: Renark von Bek, Count of the Rim, one of the protagonists from the SF story The Bloodred Game/The Sundered worlds - and seemingly an active player in the "Game of Time", a thing that has only been mentioned in passing in the EC volumes, having something to do with Una Persson and the League of Temporal Adventurers... Anyway, even Arioch is seen to fall. Elric and Renark make it into the city where they find a bunch of children in a temple. One of the children's protectors turns out to be a Chaos Lord in disguise, and one of the children has a preternatural gift for prophecy. Renark tries to convince Elric several times to become a player in the Game, but the Melnibonéan refuses, even after being granted a vision of the vastness of the multiverse.
Tad Williams - Go Ask Elric: The first rather famous author! A hilarious tale!! A junkie in the late sixties - and huge Hendrix fan - tosses an acid trip and lands in a dungeon where Elric has been imprisoned after losing Stormbringer. Acid dude thinks Elric is Jonny Winter. Elric manages to summon Arioch (Acid dude: "Hey! You look like that guy from the Rolling Stones who died in a swimming pool!"), but his patron says he has no power to help. Even before, Acid dude has found out he can use Alice in Wonderland-like powers of shrinkage and growth, and uses these to get Stormbringer back. The two then land on a big plain, being attacked by a huge Chaos army which is itself just fleeing from some kind of Black Hole effect which is devouring everything. They get to a hillock where an Eldren-like folk with dark skin are preparing their last stand, and there they meet the leader - JIMI HENDRIX!!!! Acid dude is totally elated. Of course, it is not really Jimi, but a kind of anti-Elric. Darkskinned, serving law, and wielding a pure white sword named Cloudhurler (Stratocaster...). They merge the swords which creates a beautiful, angelic creature named Harmony which manages to defeat the devouring thingy. Acid dude returns to his place, and his friend tries to tell him what a freaky acid trip they had been on...
David M. Honigsberg - Now Cracks a Noble Heart: Elric is present at the last battle of King Arthur to escort Albion's majesty to Tanelorn... And Bedwyr has a real problem of getting rid of Excalibur.
Roland J. Green & Frieda A. Murray - A Devil Unknown: Elric shows up in Renaissance Milano, models for Leonardo da Vinci and then teams up with the (martial) artist to take out a group of cultist summoning Chaos.
Richard Lee Byers - Kingsfire: One of those "Elric travels from A to B but gets sucked into another world on the way" stories. Here he lands in a mythical version of our Middle Ages, and teams up with a knight questing for the titular Kingsfire, the sword of Richard Lionheart. It is to be found in a Faerie Kingdom, wielded by a guardian spirit (like an Ent) who has been driven insane by the weapon which has qualities similar to Stormbringer.
Brad Linaweaver & William Alan Ritch - The Littlest Stormbringer: This story was pure genius, and totally wicked!! It's an alt history in which the axis powers have won WWII. The protagonist - the story is told from his perspective - is an ambitious Hitler youth in a training camp. There, his younger brother and two friends are dabbling deeply in arcane arts - Ultima Thule and shit like that, think Hellboy. And what do they do?? They summon Elric to kill all the jews! =)) =)) =)) Of course, the Prince of Ruins is pretty annoyed by all of this, and Stormbringer is hungry... This story was chock full of blackest humor and just totally delightful. Especially because I'm German. :P
Gary Gygax - Celebration of Celene: Whoa, GYGAX!!!! This story turned out to be really excellent as well. Especially since it had nothing to do with Elric! :P Instead, it was a Moonglum story. Another fascinating aspect was that it took place in the unknown Eastern Lands, far even from Elwher, which is already at the edge of the Young Kingdoms map. Moonglum was especially rogueish in this one.
Stewart von Allman - Too Few Years of Solitude: Elric as a young teenager is instructed in torture. Quite disturbing. Yyrkoon also shows an early propensity for cruelty.
Paul W. Cashman - White Wolf's Awakening: Great story detailing the death of Sadric and the ascent of Elric to the Throne of Melniboné. Immediately upon Sadric's death, certain elements in the palace stage a revolt, believing Elric to be a weakling not worthy of the throne. The young emperor must develop the qualities his enemies attest he lacks to overcome them. Felt very canon.
Nancy A. Collins - The Dragon’s Heart: This story is very precisely placed, shortly before The Dreaming City. Elric is conferring with the raider captains, whose fleet will carry him to Imryyr where they will raze the city and Elric will slay Yyrkoon and Cymoril. One of them remarks that they could use dragons! But the dragons are loyal to Melniboné. Where could one get more. Elric remembers vague, ancient legends, and travels far into the the north, where he indeed happens upon a secluded, tropical valley in the ice. There he meets... dinosaurs!! :D He battles a T-Rex, is gravely injured but saved by the ancient dwellers of the valley, yet another form of Eldren/Elves. He meets their queen, a fascinating, demonic/angelic entity, who already existed at the time of that 3000 year old legend Elric recalled. Then there is a lot of sex. :P But in the end, Elric leaves empty-handed and has his memory wiped (to preserve continuity, *cough*). And in the very end, the queen bears a child, the son of Elric, whom she names... Lucifer! I felt this must be some huge insider joke likely having to do with other works by Collins.
Karl Edward Wagner - The Gothic Touch: This was a rather special story. A looong time ago, my best friend's older brother initiated an elite RPG round which he called "GURPS Kane" - based on the writings of KE Wagner. And here I meet Kane again! Elric and Moonglum land in a desolated, haunted castle where they meet Kane, who pretty much implies he has orchestrated some events to get the two here. He needs Elric and Stormbringer. It turns out an old legend about the castle and its haunting is based on it being built on the buried remains of a giant alien spaceship! Kane (who evinces advanced, futuristic knowledge like radioactivity, rare metal alloys etc.) is out to get some technology off the bridge. It turns out - I am reminded of Prometheus - the captain of the ship has maintained an undead existence as a guardian. This thing reminded me a lot of the Star Spawn of Cthulhu...
Thomas E. Fuller - The Soul of an Old Machine: In a tavern, Elric complains that assuredly his fate is the most awful in all the worlds. This summons a jester creature (which probably features in other works of Fuller) who makes a wager: He will show Elric a creature who's fate is worse. The Melnibonéan and Moonglum land in a world where an immense battle is taking place. Think "In the far future, there is only war" - it really felt like Warhammer 40K. They happen upon a titanic battle mech. Elric attacks it with Stormbringer, only to realize the machine, while sentient, has no soul. And can do naught else but obey the Controllers and fight forever. He loses his bet.
Jody Lynn Nye - The White Child: Elric is drawn to a village on the sea of the western continent, where a powerful mage has managed to create an albino child - a young clone of Elric! He tries to force Elric to summon the water elementals to help the fishing village back to prosperity. Elric is, shall we say, not amused. Much death follows.
Robert Weinberg - The Other Sword: This story seems to have an interesting genesis. It seems to be based on a continuity error. At the end of Elric of Melniboné, Elric and Yyrkoon enter a cavern (which the Lords of Chaos can't penetrate) where they find Stormbringer and Mournblade. They battle, Elric wins, takes Stormbringer as his own, but leaves Mournblade. Then, in The Dreaming City, it is Yyrkoon's wielding of Mournblade which leads to Stormbringer slaying both him and Cymoril. But where did Mournblade come from?? This question plagues Elric right after Kings of Darkness. He has married, but can't rest. He manages to embark on a dream quest - only to learn a shattering truth. Lord Arioch himself hypnotized Elric, sent him back into the cavern... and it was Elric who delivered the sword into Yyrkoon's hands before leaving on his one-year-journey through the Young Kingdoms!!! To prevent a total mess-up of the following stories, Elric forgets this revelation but feels he has found a satisfying answer...
Charles Partington - Arioch's Gift: Really weird and bad story set in some alternate future. An alleged "heir" to the Melnibonéan throne seeks Stormbringer to assert his position. Moonglum is dragged forth from the dungeons where he has dwelled for decades, only to die miserably shortly thereafter...
Peter Crowther & James Lovegrove - The Trembler on the Axis: The author should actually be named "Lovecrowther", methinks. It also plays in the Unknown East, like the Gygax story. In a tavern, Elric meets a weird bunch of people. A sorcerer who insists he isn't one, a veteran soldier and a young man of seemingly no distinction. Elric wishes to travel west, but there is a great desert in the way. I'm-not-a-mage claims to know a way through the desert. They depart, and shortly thereafter, some weird shit goes down involving parasitic, intelligent slimy worm-things that live in human bodies and are regurgitated to feed. Wow, body horror muchly?? Turns out the old soldier has long been controlled by such a thing, and he infected the young man, who is now to feed on the mage! Elric manages to save him, and they travel on together. But, alas, the mage was also not wholly truthful. He knows only the way to a certain point in the desert, where a crack runs straight from south to north. A crack that goes down seemingly forever, and is straddled by a man who holds in his hands some kind of artifact. Gazing up at the sun, he is blind. He should be long since dead. He trembles on the axis. The mage has come for the artifact, but upon removing it from the Trembler's grasp, he realizes that this is all that prevent some NAMELESS, UNSPEAKABLE ELDRITCH ABOMINATION which dwells in the chasm from vomiting itself across all creation. Seriously, this moment was worthy of the New Englander himself. The mage accepts his fate - and becomes the new Trembler on the Axis. Elric is forced to retrace his way, not a step further than before.
Nancy Holder - Beyond the Balance: Weird, rather incomprehensible tale that takes place right after the end of Stormbringer. A dead Elric is led through some kind of Hell by Arioch...
Neil Gaiman - One Life, Furnished in Early Moorcock: Ah, another famous author! Very good story, and very meta. It is not an Elric story, but one taking place in our real world, describing the teen years of a big Moorcock fan. Lots of masturbation included. =))

Ooookay. That's it, folks! For now! :P The next book, already hinted at above, still remains mostly unread.
ImageImage
Sithlord of the Sithling and best customer of McLovecraft's Image, in the business of keeping the little Platypus in business
Moderations in GREEN and signed by the DAMNed. I am not anonymous! Also, MODSMACK!! Image
Winner of the... 2010 Kilopost FRANKIE; 2010 Mad March Nom Off; 2010 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2010 Fan-Thing Contest; 2010 Mimic Contest (tied); 2011 Joker Cleavage Contest; 2011 Contest-for-the-next-Contest (tied)

User avatar
yiraheerai
Peach Fuzzball of Doom
Posts: 8303
Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:55 am

Re: Books.

Post by yiraheerai » Thu Mar 24, 2016 5:07 am

Just finished The Martian. I found it highly entertaining. Definitely my type of humor, though I'm curious as who where the obsession with the 70s thing came about. I clenched my jaw so hard during the ending that it's now incredibly sore and there's a bit of a headache. I'm also very easily moved to tears and the like, so there's that. I'll probably try to watch the movie sometime soon and see what difference there will be.

I'm not that well versed in a lot of science or math (we don't get along well, math and me), so I can't tell you how exaggerated the science fiction is. The beginning is actually pretty unbelievable to me along with the combination of skills he had. He was a botanist but also a mechanical engineer? I know there's double majors and the like so it's possible but the probability is pretty damn low, I think. It starts getting more realistic as it goes on into the practicality of survival and the like. There's a lot of props to JPL and NASA in there which is nice to see. They know their stuff and it probably saves his life more than a couple of times.

Anyway, I consider it a good read. :)
A mask, any mask, whether horned like a beast or feathered like an angel is the face of immortality. Meet me in Cognito, baby. In Cognito, we'll have nothing to hide. - Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

Post Reply