Weeding Womb

Lost Sorceress of the Silent Citadel

Lost Sorceress of the Silent Citadel by Michael Moorcock. (Rebuttal.) Rez has something to say about my review of Lost Sorceress of the Silent Citadel. I now turn the review over to him. However, I'd first like to say that, in light of this, I think anthologist David G. Hartwell is losing brain cells faster than a rusted-out Thunderbird loses oil, since this is his second major gaffe (he also anthologized the same story twice). Another rant on something similar will follow.

Moorcock doesn't write SF. Never has, tho some has been mismarketed as SF. He writes fantasy, period. Some is set in reasonably contemporary or distant-future times (like the End of Time series; odd, and definitely an acquired taste; vaguely akin to The Worm Ouroboros), and since it often involves a fairly random array of tech stuff, it looks like SF at first glance. Most involves different incarnations of the same character -- frex, Jerry Cornelius/Jherek Carnelian, depending on which era you're in. Or sometimes Elric and -- um, I can't remember the other similar guy's name. But it's The Eternal Champion by any other name, plus various sidekicks and opponents.

Way back when, Elric of Melnibone was the first antihero protagonist in a major sword and sorcery novel (series of 6, plus an End of Time appearance). He's evil, but that's just being true to his nature (which is why he can be an aspect of the Eternal Champion). You wind up rooting for him, and feel sad when he dies. Oh, if you ever do read it, it's gotta be the revised series (DAW issue with the wonderful covers), not the original issue. Way better written.

There IS some Mary Sue-ness involved here and there, mainly in the contemporaryish fantasies, and it's entirely deliberate. -- Can't think what it's called, but one of his books is set in 1960s London and is about his own life as a squatter (used to be that anyone could squat in city-owned houses and it took the city about a year to kick 'em out, and since the squatters often improved the properties or at least kept 'em from going further to hell, squatting was not discouraged beyond just getting 'em to move to a different empty house occasionally). Anyway, the book is pretty much autobiographical.

One of Moorcock's major recurring themes is mysteriously-imparted knowledge, that you somehow get if you're tapped into something Cosmic (willingly or not -- Elric didn't exactly volunteer, more like got first tempted and then hijacked. But Elric is a wonderful character.) -- Moorcock is a pothead from the hippie era, and really into the idea of an "expanded consciousness" and of everything being "fated" or perhaps more accurately, "doomed". And yes, he does overwrite sometimes, mostly when describing stuff specific to a place or era. He can be really good with character interaction, but when he gets away from that, it tends to devolve into overly-detailed. I think of him as "the paisley author". :)

The original Flash Gordon series is actually pretty good. Very B-movie, but it's fun without being pretentious. You're not supposed to take it seriously. :)

The Archon

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