Thread of Wonder, the next 5000 posts: science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction 2021 and beyond

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All aboard the Strato-Cruiser!

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Monday, 12 April 2021 09:14 (two years ago) link

DO U SEE, I’m a stranger here myself.

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 12 April 2021 10:43 (two years ago) link

Singing thread title to the tune of the Theme from Underdog

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 12 April 2021 12:30 (two years ago) link

Thread of Wonder
5000 posts

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 12 April 2021 12:31 (two years ago) link

Wonder Thread
Wonder Thread!

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 12 April 2021 12:32 (two years ago) link

Thread of royal beauty bright!

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Monday, 12 April 2021 14:40 (two years ago) link

Cool, except PLEASE change "Sci-Fi" to "Science Fiction"; true headz will respect it more.

dow, Monday, 12 April 2021 15:47 (two years ago) link

Seriously, change that shit.

dow, Monday, 12 April 2021 15:47 (two years ago) link

If a mod wants to a mod can, now to read some skiffy some I can make a real contribution to the thread.

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Monday, 12 April 2021 15:49 (two years ago) link


Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Monday, 12 April 2021 15:49 (two years ago) link

In thee beginning (not really, butt a big ol goodun, where I came in)
rolling fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction &c. thread

dow, Monday, 12 April 2021 15:52 (two years ago) link

That rolled from 2011 to 2014, I believe.

dow, Monday, 12 April 2021 15:53 (two years ago) link

Kindle daily deal today. seems odd that it doesn't mention Gagarin by name.

also listed, a Tchaikovsky book, Doors of Eden. anyone? i liked the one about the spiders, i didn't like ironclads.

koogs, Monday, 12 April 2021 18:47 (two years ago) link

just finished The Ministry For the Future. almost comically unsubtle and didactic in its politcs. the last hundred pages or so were "scouring of the shire" bad. first half is excellent.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 12 April 2021 19:51 (two years ago) link

started that -- the first scene is harrowing, but i instantly lost all interest when things shifted to the ministry itself. i suppose no one dramatizes vast bureaucratic processes better than KSR but it's a low bar, and i'm not really up for doom right now

read 'hench', which has a jokey premise -- underemployed young woman seeks placement as a villain's henchman through a temp service -- but turned out to be fierce as well as funny

started jo walton's 'the just city'; it's a little precious but i'm liking it a lot so far

mookieproof, Monday, 12 April 2021 22:25 (two years ago) link

as everyone says about recent KSR, it's actually very optimistic. the first scene though good grief.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 12 April 2021 22:50 (two years ago) link

Yeah, if the future is remotely like that KSR projects I'd be a hell of a lot more hopeful than I am now.

Tsar Bombadil (James Morrison), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 00:44 (two years ago) link

the last hundred pages or so were "scouring of the shire" bad.

I am struggling with this sentence.

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 07:36 (two years ago) link


dow, Tuesday, 13 April 2021 17:05 (two years ago) link

ha! do you mean you're struggling with it syntactically or morally?

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 17:10 (two years ago) link

Uh, aesthetically? The scouring of the shire is a highlight!

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 17:12 (two years ago) link

I'm more bothered by the lack of a comma in 5,000 than I am abt sci-fi tbh

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 13 April 2021 17:31 (two years ago) link

Commas are only for numbers of five figures and up as far as I'm concerned

a murmuration of pigeons at manor house (Matt #2), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 18:53 (two years ago) link

Almost posted that embed 10x ina old-school JW Noizeborad style.

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 19:34 (two years ago) link

I'm sure I talked about some of this in the previous thread about hanging out with horror people mostly then SFF people and then when you go back to horrorland, most people in SFF land start seeming really uptight and conversations have so many restricted areas and I have to respect what people aren't willing to discuss but I find it occasionally frustrating. And then there's this area of horror which is like the children of Dennis Cooper and it's lovely how relaxed they are and talking about what drugs they're taking all the time.

I generally like SFF fans but I do feel like a lot of them (even a lot of the progressive ones) still want stories that are easy to swallow and are probably afraid to look at their dog's anus.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 14 April 2021 21:25 (two years ago) link

Only thing is, the blurbs for some of these authors can be completely ridiculous and leave you hanging, not knowing what it's like or about. "Britney Spears singing love songs to you while Baudelaire gives you an enema" or some nonsense like that.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 14 April 2021 22:18 (two years ago) link

Ha, exactly.

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 14 April 2021 22:25 (two years ago) link

Think I started a thread about that once.

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 14 April 2021 22:25 (two years ago) link

nothing more riveting than people talking about their drug regimens, very transgressive

mookieproof, Wednesday, 14 April 2021 22:32 (two years ago) link

I'm a complete teetolaler and I'm not even into drug talk but my point is it's nice to hear writers talking in a more carefree way. It's probably significant that the horror genre largely escaped the culture war and there's less people out to get each other.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 14 April 2021 22:58 (two years ago) link

Like this crap is still going on in SFF land

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 14 April 2021 23:02 (two years ago) link

i haven't the patience to delve into what you consider 'culture war' 'crap' that's 'easy to swallow'

tbh i've seen way too much of my cat's anus, but nor have i considered cramming something up there and calling it art

honestly you are fucking creepy as hell; maybe you should stick to to 'open-minded' horror boards where you can discuss what you want to do to your waifus with no judgment

mookieproof, Thursday, 15 April 2021 04:46 (two years ago) link

but nor have i considered cramming something up there and calling it art

Does anyone do this?

Old Lunch was asking maybe two years ago about problems with reactionary horror people but as far as the fiction/poetry side goes it's really minimal compared to SFF, it's been said they're more easy going and get on better together.
The drawback is maybe the low brow attitude, too much easy amusement with juxtaposing high and low culture and the shit eating grins (see lots of horror author photos) and it does annoy me when people feel they have to present dark or gross subject matter in a jokey way, I'm regularly guilty of it too and it's often my first instinct to joke about some of these things. I think people do this because if they keep a straight face about it, they're worried people will think they're crazy.
But I think sometimes humor and punky attitude doesn't let people process things as well, I'd rather the subject matters weren't considered so transgressive or frightening, it makes peoples lives more difficult. So it's nice when people are just more at ease with it all, but the transgression is undeniably part of the appeal of some of these writers.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 15 April 2021 17:30 (two years ago) link

There's been a lot of good buzz about this one

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 15 April 2021 17:33 (two years ago) link

Going to be weird hearing “George R.R. Martin Can Fuck Off Into the Sun, Or: The 2020 Hugo Awards Ceremony (Rageblog Edition)” read out at a ceremony.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 15 April 2021 18:48 (two years ago) link

A little bit heartbreaking how many SFF authors despise each other and the awards nominations intensifying it all.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 15 April 2021 21:43 (two years ago) link

How many people nominated for a Hugo alongside Isabel Fall this year celebrated the removal of her story or contributed to the harassment campaign against her?

I think I count 3 so far. I really hope she wins.

— Experiencing A Significant Poggers Shortfall (@mechanicalkurt) April 13, 2021

The entire SF/F community came out and said "if you don't write about being trans in the way we think you should, we will attempt to harm you."

This is especially angering because it was an open secret that literally all of Chuck Wendig's writer friends were sex pests.

— Qualia Redux (@QualiaRedux) April 15, 2021

and some nice animals. What's weirder than the giant bunny in the first picture, is the way that guy is holding the pilot's head

One great sub-genre of retro sci-fi art: Confusingly Placed Animals

— 70s Sci-Fi Art (@70sscifi) April 15, 2021

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 15 April 2021 23:24 (two years ago) link

Jess Nevins - Horror Needs No Passport

This starts with Nevins explaining his frustration that there has been very little survey or study of international horror fiction and that he did this book because nobody else had. It sticks to the 20th century (with occasional background and influential writers from further back), skips USA, UK and a few other english speaking countries but there is still a bunch of english fiction included from other countries. Nevins doesn't say which writers he has actually read himself, he quotes other scholars evaluations quite a lot but I did get the impression he was voicing his own opinions about most of the japanese writers (who are surprisingly well represented in english translation) and these were some of the most enjoyable parts.

It might have been inevitable that many of the writers end up sounding very similar and my eyes often glazed over the descriptions of their approaches (what subgenres, where the horror effects are coming from). But every once in a while there's really tantalizing or unusual sounding stories about Africa, Indonesian martial arts horror, a story about a shepherd, Tarzan starring in Israeli horror adventures, italian extreme horror and amazing sounding gothics from all around the world.

It notes a handful of comic artists, Suehiro Maruo is oddly absent but I was pleased to discover Daijiro Morohoshi who I might have seen a little of but most of what I found on search was new to me.

The political/cultural background for every country is detailed, if horror was frowned upon or even outlawed (often in soviet countries, Germany and Japan censored under post-war occupation, some people writing horror only in exile), whether what each writer was doing was considered high art or trash from the gutter. It seemed like quite a lot of the South American writers were politicians.
A few times Nevins writes about authors not pursuing just "mere fear" and it seemed as if it was his own opinion (?), I don't understand why someone so devoted to horror would feel that being scary for it's own sake wasn't enough, given how that approach can be as intense and memorable as anything else when it's done well.

It is mentioned that Ewers was a Nazi but not Strobl, somehow.

No cover credit for Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

I do wish there was some sort of guide about the availability in english of these books. Perhaps Nevins was concerned it would date the book too much and that people might not bother searching for newer books if they weren't already in an english list? I spent a while checking isfdb and amazon for many of the writers but I didn't have the patience to research every writer that sounded promising. A few were indeed published after this book.
Sad that I probably won't hear about most of these authors again. If a particular writer has sufficiently high status, there's a good chance Penguin or some other classics publisher has them in english, a good deal of this stuff goes unnoticed by most horror fans and I can't blame them too much for not catching them all.

This could and should be an important building block for the future of horror. It's pretty great and I bought Nevins' Horror Fiction In The 20th Century, which can be considered a companion to this.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 17 April 2021 00:20 (two years ago) link

I can't remember who the writer was but one of the unique ideas I came across in the above book was from a writer in exile from a dictatorship who wrote a novel in which even gods are powerless against the goverment, which just seems like a horribly depressing idea. Quite a few south american stories were mentioned in which all the characters are completely fucked and have nothing but terrifyingly bad choices available.

I didn't know that books aimed at railway travelers was such a big thing in India. Which makes me wonder about "airport novels", do publishers and even writers really spend a lot of time thinking about what people want to read at an airport?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 17 April 2021 21:06 (two years ago) link

I like the idea of Brunner but haven’t really been able to read.

It Is Dangerous to Meme Inside (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 18 April 2021 22:14 (two years ago) link

Brunner’s supporting cast, including the Jesuit time-travel expert, Father Ramon

Another one for my 'Catholics in spaaaaaace!' list.

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Monday, 19 April 2021 08:11 (two years ago) link

Never read any Brunner meself, sounds intriguing but this (re: Stand on Zanzibar) puts me off: Some examples of slang include "codder" (man), "shiggy" (woman), "whereinole" (where in hell?), "prowlie" (an armoured police car), "offyourass" (possessing an attitude), "bivving" (bisexuality, from "ambivalent") and "mucker" (a person running amok).

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Monday, 19 April 2021 08:16 (two years ago) link

Elizabeth Moon's Remnant population: emo sf in the Le Guin mould. Good aliens and bad humans, though the humans aren't all that bad, and the dice are stacked rather heavily in favour of the aliens - not that Le Guin didn't indulge in a bit of dice stacking herself. Enjoyable but somewhat cosy and convenient.

Scheming politicians are captivating, and it hurts (ledge), Monday, 19 April 2021 09:28 (two years ago) link

Also for fans of (at least) 5000 posts, this Rollin Speculative looks like the first, b. 2011, and is where I came in: (hey thomp, get back here):
rolling fantasy, science fiction, speculative fiction &c. thread

dow, Tuesday, 20 April 2021 01:42 (two years ago) link

Didn't mean to drop the g, sorry.

dow, Tuesday, 20 April 2021 01:43 (two years ago) link

Haven't heard of Gustav Meyrink - Kafka comparisons are ten a penny but they always sucker me in.

― crutch of england (ledge), Thursday, 7 September 2023 10:24

Best known for The Golem, maybe unfair to compare him to Kafka because he made quite a big impact in his time.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 7 September 2023 21:04 (three weeks ago) link

btw hi shakey! i have missed you

mookieproof, Saturday, 9 September 2023 05:50 (two weeks ago) link

from the guardian's sf roundup, this sounded more intriguing when i misread it as 'tomatoes' / 'tomato':

Once in a generation, a horde of deadly sentient tornadoes attacks a small, isolated midwestern town. The inhabitants’ only hope of survival lies in the hands of the teenage boy known as the Tornado Killer.

churl of england (ledge), Monday, 11 September 2023 07:49 (two weeks ago) link

This seems to have just come out too, let's hope no-one confuses them

PKD did a job on me (Matt #2), Monday, 11 September 2023 13:45 (two weeks ago) link

Piers Anthony - Macroscope

(i) Why I'm reading Piers Anthony books:
Because people's responses tend to his work fall roughly within three categories:

(A) Most people know him mainly for the Xanth series, many recoil at their past fondness for it and the compulsive but not very smart wordplay and sexualized depictions of sometimes very young girls. He's usually seen as someone you can make fun of without hurting anyone's feelings because it seems like his phenomenal success in the 80s and 90s is fading away quickly (?)

(B) Some will stand up for his 60s and 70s books, especially Macroscope, Tarot, Of Man And Manta, Battle Circle, Steppe, Cththon series, Cluster series and maybe a few others (a couple of these nominated for big awards).

There must be at least 30 people who I'm inclined to trust that fall into this group. I recently seen an interview with Ian Watson from the late 1970s in which he called Anthony an appalling but consistently interesting writer.
Some say that at best Anthony has a wild uninhibited freewheeling energy, inventive and very strange. These are things I'm always looking for.
Some of these readers will say Piers Anthony sold out and became a very different writer in the 80s.

(C) A much smaller group will say that on occasion Anthony still written interesting stuff into the 80s, 90s and maybe still today?

For better or worse I'm attracted to authors like Anthony, Jack L Chalker, (Andre Norton and Poul Anderson to a lesser extent) partly because their reputation is so mixed, their body of work so large and critically un-mapped. Despite their popularity it seems like uncharted territory full of landmines. I'm especially attracted to the idea of hidden treasure which was once selling very well but nobody seems to talk about it anymore.

I think Anthony would rather be best known for different books (though he never stopped writing Xanth) and it's probably better for everyone if an artist is best known for their best works. He'd probably be more celebrated if he was a film director because flawed books are so much harder to deal with than flawed films.

I kind of want to figure Piers out too, he's an odd, unpredictable person and I enjoy reading his journals sometimes.

(ii) The actual novel:
I really liked the idea of the alien signal which is a potentially fatal cognitive puzzle (I think there was another signal described as something like a huge library you could explore?), the titular Macroscope that can see across the universe was interesting and I admire how it floated so easily between a surprising variety of subjects (astrology, Sidney Lanier, split personalities, education systems, types of intelligence, prejudices, games), but the slow pace and sheer volume of hard science and lengthy explanations of so many subjects left me so bruised that I couldn't get further than halfway.

There was some unconvincing situations with Afra (her asking everyone to check her body, the trial and punishment) but the exhausting explanations of everything are what defeated me. I skimmed around the remainder and I had a tough time letting go because there's more adventure in the second half but I couldn't make myself finish. I prefer not to review books I can't finish but I had too much to say. Better readers than me have enjoyed the book more but be warned that all the science, history and astrology lectures far outweigh the space opera action/adventure.

Note: the Sphere edition is heavily abridged and apparently makes a lot less sense.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 15 September 2023 21:35 (one week ago) link

The worst thing about wanting to read all the SFF is that most books are potboilers and I'm so bad at coping with boredom. I'll never be John Clute but it annoys me so much that there's probably so much exciting SFF hidden away.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 15 September 2023 21:49 (one week ago) link

a friend of mine once estimated that he'd read 70-80 piers anthony books. he's a nice guy, tho

piers has certainly had a lot of ideas and you can't fault his work ethic. but he's also a seriously creepy mf in ways that play even worse now than they did 40 years ago

Themes of Pedophilia in the Works of Piers Anthony

Revisiting the sad, misogynistic fantasy of Xanth

mookieproof, Friday, 15 September 2023 21:54 (one week ago) link

That's part of what I want to figure out, in Firefly people say he defends paedophilia but in a later interview he said that behaviour was abusive. Did he change his mind or was he just feeling the heat?

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 15 September 2023 22:01 (one week ago) link

There must be at least 30 people who I'm inclined to trust that fall into this group.

You've reached your limit, don't trust anyone over 30!

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 18 September 2023 09:06 (one week ago) link

The Golden Age of … ah, forget it, Jake, it’s Dying Earth Town.

The Thin, Wild Mercury Rising (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 18 September 2023 11:09 (one week ago) link

Among those 30 people is Charles Platt, who wrote sequels to Chthon

Robert Adam Gilmour, Monday, 18 September 2023 20:25 (one week ago) link

I admire your attitude to excavating the past RAG but Piers Anthony (whom I've never crossed paths with in my reading life, and now certainly never will) sounds like a right cunt.

lurch of england (ledge), Tuesday, 19 September 2023 08:48 (one week ago) link

In a lot of ways excavating the present is a lot more daunting. Insane quantities of fiction, fiction websites die all the time and smallpress/self-published books are regularly deleted, and its hard to find honest reviews of small press writers.

Rare books from the 70s are often more findable than some p-o-d books that just got deleted.
I'm a bit less impulsive with buying books recently and I've come back to that bad feeling when I buy lots of books I'm not particularly excited about (but still seem very worthwhile) but it still really bothers me that huge bodies of work can vanish so easily.

Does anyone here fit short fiction magazines in their regular reading habits? I haven't been able to get into the habit but I have a small stack of print on demand magazines.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 20 September 2023 19:25 (one week ago) link

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 20 September 2023 19:40 (one week ago) link

Just South of the Unicorns
A teenager runs away from home to move in with someone he's never met, his idol, the person he respects most of all — a fantasy writer named Piers Anthony. Logan Hill reports. (32 minutes)

dow, Friday, 22 September 2023 00:14 (six days ago) link

Thanks, that's interesting.

Can anyone explain or can anyone give a link explaining why some print on demand books take months sometimes? I ordered something in July that promises a delivery between November-Feburary, the most extreme case I've had but I decided I could wait. Some p-o-d books are promised for months when it seems likely nothing will materialize.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 22 September 2023 20:06 (six days ago) link

I have had cases where a p-o-d book is promises for four months before they tell you they can't send anything (title is probably deleted or there's some glitch). There is a book I ordered in April that keeps getting promised without any date but I'm sure it won't come.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 22 September 2023 20:17 (six days ago) link

some years back, iirc, it was not economical to print individual copies on demand, so they would wait for a number of orders to come in and print them all at once. i would have thought that technology had since solved that problem, but maybe not

mookieproof, Friday, 22 September 2023 20:51 (six days ago) link

I'm guessing that violent writer Rusch was referring to in her blog was William Sanders, the dates and the Shetterly article seem to line up

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 24 September 2023 03:33 (four days ago) link

read 'the iron dragon's daughter' by michael swanwick. weird, surreal, sometimes quite off-putting. but worthwhile imo

its vibes made me think of lanark

(nb i am not at all suggesting that if you liked lanark you should read this)

although i think it's time for me to reread lanark

mookieproof, Sunday, 24 September 2023 04:12 (four days ago) link

always thought about reading that and loved Lanark so…

Kizza Me on the Bus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 24 September 2023 04:43 (four days ago) link

should you or any of your SFF force be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow all knowledge of your actions

good luck ken

mookieproof, Sunday, 24 September 2023 06:33 (four days ago) link

I just read Damon Knight’s “Four In One”. Tremendous

Tracer Hand, Sunday, 24 September 2023 11:37 (four days ago) link

Oh yeah. Good one.

Kizza Me on the Bus (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 24 September 2023 13:25 (four days ago) link

I have it in one those Galaxy one-offs.

Dose of Thunderbirds (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 24 September 2023 13:36 (four days ago) link

One of those. With a forward by Silverbob.

Dose of Thunderbirds (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 24 September 2023 13:37 (four days ago) link

And an Ed Emshwiller cover.

Dose of Thunderbirds (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 24 September 2023 13:38 (four days ago) link

Forgot about Knight’s famed Van Vogt takedown.

Dose of Thunderbirds (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 24 September 2023 13:40 (four days ago) link

All of those Galaxy Project books have intros by Maltzberg or Silverbob. And usually Ed Emschwiller covers.

Dose of Thunderbirds (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 24 September 2023 13:45 (four days ago) link

Ahem. Emshwiller.

Dose of Thunderbirds (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 24 September 2023 13:49 (four days ago) link

Been a while, will take another look if I come across it again (will check lib'), but remember my impression that the endlessly inventive The Iron Dragon's Daughter seemed too diffuse in its effects, or really FX draining rivulets from sense of narrative momentum and human or posthuman or alien interest, also narrative period---although, moment by moment, it was v. readable: yet another item I would have enjoyed more if still doing drugz (maybe)

dow, Sunday, 24 September 2023 17:39 (four days ago) link

From a tyme when Swanwick was publishing tons of stories and novels, in a brainstorm ov invention it seemed.

dow, Sunday, 24 September 2023 17:41 (four days ago) link

might anyone here like to explain/defend michael moorcock?

i've only recently dipped into it -- but i feel like its general inaccessibility, and the fact that forever no one knew where to start, and the magical phrase 'the eternal champion' are providing ~depth~ for a series of pretty average stories?

mookieproof, Tuesday, 26 September 2023 03:04 (two days ago) link

Sinkah to thread!

Dose of Thunderwords (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 26 September 2023 03:05 (two days ago) link

ooh looking forward to this

mookieproof, Tuesday, 26 September 2023 03:06 (two days ago) link

Sinkah doesn’t like him iirc

Dose of Thunderwords (James Redd and the Blecchs), Tuesday, 26 September 2023 03:29 (two days ago) link


mookieproof, Tuesday, 26 September 2023 04:34 (two days ago) link

to expand on my whitehot critical judgments of 22 years ago, it is fair (to moorcock) to point out that even shakey -- who robustly defends his work and mocks those who demur (me) -- doesn't have that much time for the various fantasy trilogies (CORUM) and sextets (HAWKMOON) and lol dodekalogies (fkn ELRIC); i was happily giving a kicking to the worst of his work.

those were the titles i imbibed and came exhaustedly to dislike as a teen -- enough so that i simply never bothered starting any of the books others admire. i think i only read the very first ELRIC and got bored with familiar-trope overload and bailed. the CORUM trilogy is silly as per that thread; the HAWKMOON series i took against for some reason related (as i now dimly think) to the nastiness of its sexual politics? but it was 50 years ago and i was a kid -- i can't be bothered to reread to confirm but i don't remember enough to rest weight on this judgment any more. as a concept the ETERNAL CHAMPION roaming the MULTIVERSE was more about drawing in readers who prefer to buy fiction in potential box sets -- i don't recall MM putting in the interesting work such a notion might generate (as for example DOCTOR WHO has done now and then) but as i say i maybe bailed before i reached it

MM famously wrote an essay on tolkien which ppl occasionally bring up to say "so correct!" about -- but i don't actually think it's very good. it affirms that he basically despises fantasy as a genre and readers of fantasy too, and this comes across in all the above: he just didn't care that much and these speed-churned books reflect it. (he was, as the thread notes, shovelling out crappy pulp to give himself an income while he helmed NEW WORLDS into a deserved place in new wave SF history, while also now and then touring with HAWKWIND, which can't have been restful.)

i chucked out almost all the MM books i owned when i went off to college, except the corum books -- the silliest but also the easiest to reread. i have reread them now and then (last time prior to starting that thread); there are a handful of vivid images that stick with me -- viz a desert plain of dried blood ending in a bottomless chasm, a vast god's castle shaped like corum's naked girlfriend, the death-cavern that god's eye-and-hand beckon the recently offed to do battle with corum's foes -- but i wouldn't start with them and i never read any of the books ppl say *are* good to start with…

i definitely liked bob haberfield's corum cover design (much more than his hawkmoon cover design):

mark s, Wednesday, 27 September 2023 11:46 (yesterday) link

Moorcock a good stand-in for Kilgore Trout.

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Wednesday, 27 September 2023 16:43 (yesterday) link

You sure you don’t mean Philip José Farmer?

Dose of Thunderwords (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 27 September 2023 17:08 (yesterday) link

Maybe it taken a while but I got the impression he likes fantasy more, he's talked at length about the importance of romanticism. Loves Mervyn Peake of course, early fantasy Poul Anderson, Fritz Leiber and a conflicted fondness for most of the founders like Dunsany, CASmith. I don't think his interest in science fiction endured quite the same or his style of SF was maybe too out of step? He said something about not being so interested in outer space.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Wednesday, 27 September 2023 17:56 (yesterday) link

I was thinking more along the lines of Vonnegut's original description of Trout. His prose was frightful; only his ideas were any good.

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Wednesday, 27 September 2023 18:41 (yesterday) link

I've read a variety of good shorter fiction; maybe he's just better at that, like a lot of writers, though it doesn't pay as well, of course.
For instance, "The Lost Canal" was a good Red Desert under the stars corporate warfare asskicker (well, as wiki specifies: an adventure about a man in search of a bomb he needs to disarm.[2]) commissioned by George RR Martin & Gardner Dozois for Old Mars(2013).
More recently, in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (blanking on its title, but) he started with what seemed like and awkward battleground situation---maybe he was self-conscious about the responsibilities of handling serious historical materials, since this was set in 21st Century Middle East---but when the leading man got to ancient city of personal historical connotations, where he's greeted by a still-alluring old flame now with (still having?) sinister connections---that's where he should have started, that part worked.

dow, Wednesday, 27 September 2023 22:02 (yesterday) link

Hey, look at all this Praise for Michael Moorcock

“The greatest writer of post-Tolkien British fantasy.”
―Michael Chabon

“Moorcock’s writing is intricate, fabulous, and mellifluous.”
―Walter Mosley

“Moorcock weaves history, myth, and alternate realities into a seamless whole.”
―Publishers Weekly

“He is a giant. If you are at all interested in fantastic fiction, you must read Michael Moorcock.”
―Tad Williams

“A major novelist of enormous ambition.”
―Washington Post

“He is the master storyteller of our time.”
―Angela Carter

“The 20th century’s central fantasist.”
―John Clute

“No one at the moment in England is doing more to break down the artificial divisions that have grown up in novel writing―realism, surrealism, science fiction, historical fiction, social satire, the poetic novel―than Michael Moorcock.”
―Angus Wilson

Dose of Thunderwords (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 27 September 2023 22:23 (yesterday) link

Anyone read "Behold the Man" recently, I wonder.

Dose of Thunderwords (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 27 September 2023 22:25 (yesterday) link

It's been a while since I read that Tolkien essay but I think that to say he despises fantasy, hmm, I think it very much depends on how you define the genre? Which is probably a thornier question with fantasy than, say, sci-fi; the history feels a lot more fragmented. But also "contempt for the genre and its readers" ain't the worst premise for any artist to start from, I love a lot of stuff that comes from that place.

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 28 September 2023 09:26 (nine hours ago) link

Anyone read "Behold the Man" recently, I wonder.

no but thx for the display name inspiration

behold the thump (ledge), Thursday, 28 September 2023 09:34 (nine hours ago) link

Behold The Man is a nice short read.

I don't think someone who hates fantasy could write Wizardry And Wild Romance, it contains that essay knocking Tolkien, CS Lewis and Richard Adams but it contains a lot of praise for many fantasy writers (sometimes mixed with negatives) but I've read his summations of mainstream writers before and he was trashing a lot of them. He's recently done a new fantasy story to a new small press magazine.

Totally confused that he gave a blurb of praise to an early Brandon Sanderson novel, who a lot of people consider a very formulaic fantasy novelist.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Thursday, 28 September 2023 19:00 (three minutes ago) link

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