An Excellent Choice

Michael Moorcock will become this year’s SFWA Grand Master.

See? If you ever start one of the major movements in science fiction literature, maybe you can be an SF Grand Master as well! Something to shoot for, anyway.

This is a great and wholly appropriate choice for Grand Master, in my opinion.

And yes, there’s a new Elric book out.

37 Comments on “An Excellent Choice”

  1. Man! I can’t wait for that.

    I love the Chabon quote. I actually read Elric before I read LOTR. What a sick little kid I was.

  2. Awesome! I was totally obsessed with the Eternal Champion when I was a teenager. Then I got older and became obsessed with his other works.

    I’ve never seen Elric cover art that matched the old DAW covers.

  3. Ah, one life, furnished in early Moorcock. I too was reading Moorcock before I picked up LOTR. What sick little children, indeed.

    He’s truly a world treasure.

  4. I’ve never read much of Elric. I must try to do so sometime soon.

    The only Moorcock I remember reading is a short story that crossed Elric and some crazy collection of people at the end of time. I rather liked it. Who were those crazy people, anyways?

  5. Author Emeritus announcement coming soon? Anyway, pray tell is this award a lot of back-room dealing and politics or has it been well deserved over the years. The list of past winners is certainly a who’s-who.

    Who has been overlooked to date based on the criteria for the award? Howard Waldrop who brought the ha-ha back in SF? Gardner Dozois, who has to be considered the Grand Daddy editor of all time (I’m proud to say I own every “Years Best” anthology..just try to find volumes 1-3!!)? Joe Haldeman? Greg Bear? I’m just tossing out names? Who has been overlooked….and why?

  6. Now I want to dig all my old Moorcocks out of the garage and reread them–Elric, Jerry Cornelius, Dorian Hawkmoon, Corum something unpronounceable…all the manifestations of the Eternal Champion. Must be 50 or 60 of them. I wonder how they’ll hold up.

    Has Elric ever been anime-d? or manga-ed? And if not, why? Seems he’d be perfect.

  7. That cover….

    The flames or whatever, and the ‘C’, obscure Stormbringer and make the perspective look wrong. It kinda looks like he’s holding a clawed wand or something.

  8. I picked that up last week. It’s great seeing Elric back in print! I used to have the ACE reprints from the 80s with the silver covers and the Robert Gould cover art. It’s good stuff.

  9. Three cheers for that choice!

    One small nit is that I’m waiting for his ever-postponed volume of Mervyn Peake biography.

    Back to the experiments with lichen…

  10. Is he (the albino on the book cover) fighting with a samurai sword or driving a motorcycle?

    Also.. the OMW cover looks like they’re attacking a big gumball.

  11. AJ – Those crazy people at the end of time are The Dancers at the End of Time from the books of the same name. Jherek was always my favorite incarnation of the Eternal Champion, although I greatly enjoyed the Jerry Cornelius as well.

    Not to knock Elric (or Stormbringer, nosir, nothing against Stormbringer) — those books were great. It’s just that the moping got to me after a while.

  12. I was totally obsessed with the Eternal Champion when I was a teenager. Tried to reread some of them a few years ago, and they struck me as jejune and unreadable. Tastes change, I suppose.

  13. Re: BOC. Moorcock also has/had a close relationship with the British space-rock band Hawkwind. My favourite Hawkwind album, Warrior on the Edge of Time, is chock full o’ Moorcock.

    The Grandmaster for Moorcock is long, long overdue. I am not a huge fan (as someone else said, the endless moping gets to me) but I recognize Moorcock’s towering contributions.

  14. Unfocused,

    Thanks! I’ll have to look for the Dancers. There was a crazy nuttiness there that I’m fond of.

    What little of Elric I remember from that story… these days I would have called him emo. A scary, scary emo I wouldn’t want to meet in a dark anything.

    That book cover looks so cool. And definitely a burning sword. Burning sword! If he’s emo, he’s an awesomely popping, sort of handsome emo….

  15. It’s not “a new Elric novel,” Steve, it’s previously published stories that have been re-arranged and (apparently) somewhat re-written. I love Moorcock, and seriously enjoyed reading about the ultimate emo fantasy hero as a teen. I’m glad these stories are managing to stay in print, but I do sometimes feel that re-releasing your most successful material over and over again with little tweaks seems a little too much like the DVD release model (regular version, special edition, super special edition, anniversary edition, etc.).

    Count me in as someone who doesn’t really feel like this artistic style meshes as well with the text as any of the previous versions did, too. I’m not sure why it is, because the artist is obviously very talented, but I think it might partly be because Elric’s world to me always seemed sort of surreal and surface-y, almost like the textual fantasy equivalent of the nonsensical planet Jane Fonda lands on in Barbarella. The political and magical dynamics of things rarely seemed to make sense, and there were lots of big colorful flourishes but not a lot of fine detail devoted to context. I almost think that it requires a more abstracted or over-the-top “fantastic” style to convey the right atmosphere . . . in this particular case, the more “real” the illustrations appear, the less believable they become.

  16. My short list was…

    Carol Emshwiller, Harry Harrison, Kate Wilhelm, J.G. Ballard, Algis Budrys and Gene Wolfe

    I guess I thought Michael was too young at 68 years old.

  17. 68 is old enough!

    Also, aside from the fact he deserves it, it Nebula Awards Weekend is in Austin, which Moorcock now lives in or near. So it’s a geographically appropriate pick (and will guarantee local media coverage of the event).

  18. Just those living, over 60 years of age and who I can name off the top of my head who deserve this more than Moorcock:

    Gene Wolfe
    C. J. Cherryh
    Brian Aldiss
    Larry Niven

  19. Nate:

    Eh. It’s not contest for who deserves it more, and it’s not actually up for a vote. Moorcock certainly deserves it enough.

    Also, Brian Aldiss was made Grand Master in 1999.

  20. If it’s not up for a vote and it’s not about who deserves it more, then Moorcock is perfect. :) But I will stop being the grump and let the Moorcock fans enjoy the parade. I would have thought Aldiss had made it, but I double checked with someone even dumber than me. Peace out, albino boyz!

  21. Weird that Niven hasn’t been a Grand Master yet. Strange are the ways of Awards For Best Anything Ever.

  22. In Death is No Obstacle, a collection of interviews with Colin Greenland, Moorcock explains in detail how to write an Elric book:

    I divide my total 60,000 words into four sections, 15,000 words apiece, say; then divide each into six chapters… In section one the hero will say, “There’s no way I can save the world in six days unless I start by getting the first object of power”. That gives you an immediate goal and an immediate time element, as well as an overriding time element. With each section divided into six chapters, each chapter must then contains something which will move the action forward, and contribute to that immediate goal.

    Very often it’s something like: attack of bandits — defeat of bandits — nothing particularly complex, but it’s another way you can achieve recognition; by making the structure of chapter a miniature of the overall structure of the book, so everything feels coherent… So you don’t have any encounter without information coming out of it. In the simplest form, Elric kills somebody, but as they die they tell him who kidnapped his wife. Again, it’s a question of economy. Everything has to have a narrative function.

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