Michael Moorcock

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Michael Moorcock is a prolific British writer of both science fiction and science fantasy. He edited the British science fiction magazine New Worlds Science Fiction in the 1960s, and is considered one of the founders of the so-called "New Wave" movement in science fiction: his serialisation of Norman Spinrad's Bug Jack Barron was notorious for causing a British MP to condemn the Arts Council's funding of the magazine.

During this time, he frequently wrote under the pseudonym of "James Colvin"; as an in-joke, one of his later novels (Breakfast in the Ruins, I think) even included an introduction by Colvin that mentioned Moorcock's unfortunate death. Moorcock, indeed, makes much use of the initials 'JC', and not entirely coincidentally these are also the initials of the subject of Breakfast in the Ruins who happens to be Jesus Christ.

His Behold the Man, first published in New Worlds, about a time-traveller taking on the role of Christ won the Nebula award for the best novella of 1967.

His work is complex and multilayered. Central to many of his fantasy novels is the concept of a "Universal Champion", who has potentially multiple identities across multiple dimensions. This cosmogeny is called the "Multiverse" within his novels. The "Universal Champion" is engaged in a constant struggle with not only conventional notions of good and evil, but also in the struggle for balance between order and chaos.

He has also collaborated with the British rock band Hawkwind on many occasions: the Hawkwind track "The Black Corridor", for example, included verbatim quotes from Moorcock's novel of the same name. An album The New Worlds Fair by "Michael Moorcock and the Deep Fix" was released in 1975, which included a number of Hawkwind regulars in the credits. ("The Deep Fix" was the title story of an obscure collection of short stories by "James Colvin" published in the 1960s): There is an album track entitled "Black Blade", apparently referring to the sword Stormbringer in the Elric books, by the American band Blue Oyster Cult, which lists Moorcock in the song credits.

One of Moorcock's popular creations was Jerry Cornelius (another JC), a kind of hip secret agent of ambiguous sexuality; the same characters featured in each of several Cornelius books, but the individual books had little connection wiith one another, as another variation of the Multiverse theme. The first Jerry Cornelius book, The Final Programme was made into a feature film.

Since the 1980s, Moorcock has tended to write more "respectable" mainstream novels, such as Mother London and Byzantium endures, which have had good reviews, but continues to revisit characters from his earlier works, like Elric, with books like The Dreamthief's Daughter.

Books:

  • Science fiction: The Black Corridor, Behold the Man
  • Jerry Cornelius books: The Final Programme, A Cure for Cancer, The English Assassin, The Condition of Muzak

...and many, many more