Welcome to Moorcock's Miscellany

Dear reader,

Many people have given their valuable time to create a website for the pleasure of posing questions to Michael Moorcock, meeting people from around the world, and mining the site for information. Please follow one of the links above to learn more about the site.

Thank you,
Reinart der Fuchs
See more
See less

John Davey Interviews Michael Moorcock

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts
  • Whiskers
    flying cat
    • Nov 2003
    • 1950

    John Davey Interviews Michael Moorcock

    Just found this interview:

    Michael Moorcock

    By John Davey

    JOHN DAVEY: With the imminent publication of The White Wolf's Son, you have said that there will be no more Elric novels, and possibly no more fantasy novels from you. Is that true and, if so, what has prompted this decision?

    MICHAEL MOORCOCK: I began writing 'heroic fantasy' because at the time almost nobody was writing it. Robert E. Howard was dead. Fritz Leiber had written a few Gray Mouser stories published in magazines in the 1940s, Poul Anderson had written The Broken Sword and then gone on to specialise in science fiction and Tolkien wasn't available in mass market. This was regarded as an uncommercial and specialised form and the editor of SCIENCE FANTASY, Ted Carnell, asked me to write my first Elric story not because he thought it would sell enormous numbers of copies, but because he had a special affection for that kind of fiction. As it happened, the readers loved those first stories and the rest is history. I had at the time something of a blank canvas. Now all the techniques and innovations I regarded as my own have been copied, as is the normal way of things, by generic versions, just as Tolkien and Howard have generic versions of their work. The only difference is that I'm still alive, still satisfying my urge to write fiction! The last Elric trilogy — really an Eternal Champion trilogy, I suppose — was an attempt to do something new, and I hope vital, with the form. If I succeeded, I'm glad, but I don't think I can take the genre any further without it ceasing to be that genre. So while I might yet write another fantastic book, probably something closer to Gloriana, I shan't write another Eternal Champion heroic fantasy.

    J.D.: It also seems that The White Wolf's Son will conclude (or at least overlap with) various sagas of the Eternal Champion such as Bastable, Hawkmoon, Von Bek, etc., much as you did thirty years ago in The Quest For Tanelorn. I gather the War Amongst the Angels is also involved. What prompted you to tie up so many loose ends in this way?

    M.M.: I have two natural tendencies. The first is to come up with fresh riffs on themes and ideas and the second is to provide resolution. I hope I've managed to do both in this sequence, tying up what some readers have dignified as 'philosophical' themes as well as story lines. At the same time as resolving a sequence, I try to provide fresh aspects of existing sequences — thus the references to ideas from The War Amongst the Angels and the other books in that sequence. There is no forwards without backwards, no life without death, no Law without Chaos! In that sense, therefore, I'm more like a weaver of tapestries than a linear story-teller. Back and forth, back and forth, goes the loom. Hey! Maybe I'm a Norn and don't know it :)

    J.D.: Universal Pictures have optioned a trilogy of Elric movies, to be written, produced and directed by Chris and Paul Weitz. I know it's early days yet, but what is the current status with those productions?

    M.M.: The picture, as pictures do, goes along slowly— but it does go along.

    We now have a script, which I'm informed Universal are delighted with, written by Chris and Paul. I have made my notes about it, Universal have made theirs and so on. We're currently about to take the next step, I hope. I'd also hoped that maybe Paul Bettany could be considered for the role but apparently there's a villain in The Da Vinci Code who's an albino and he's taken that part. See what I mean about feeling swamped by ideas that I used to think of as my own?

    J.D.: Your more recent Elric books, those from 1989's The Fortress Of The Pearl onward, have had a very different feel to the earlier stories of the '60s & '70s. Was this a deliberate move on your part, or simply a natural progression of your evolving style?

    M.M.: Yes, it's a deliberate choice to make those Elric books perhaps more 'literary' than the earlier ones. I always identified with Elric as my 'first born' fully fledged heroic fantasy hero and I still do identify with him. However, I'm a lot more mature now than when, around the age of 20, I first began to write his adventures. The additional complexity of the books therefore reflects my own growing complexity and understanding. It is a natural progression, of course, but it's also a conscious one. I've always been a very conscious writer, pretty much from the beginning of my career. You can see my analysis of fantasy fiction appearing side by side with my stories in, say, SCIENCE FANTASY magazine, where I was writing literary essays as well as fiction.

    J.D.: In recent years, you seem to have returned to scripting comics & graphic novels again — with Michael Moorcock's Multiverse, the current Elric: The Making Of A Sorcerer series and others — after some time away from the field. Again, what has prompted this decision?

    M.M.: One of the reasons I've started doing comics again is that I don't feel so obliged to write such complex stories in comics — although Multiverse was pretty complex, certainly for a comic — and the other big reason is that I love working with Walter Simonson. Walter comes up with visual versions of my scripts which always surprise me. He says he likes working with me because my scripts spark a lot of different images for him. However, it can result in Walter slowing down and while he continues to astonish me (and I suspect himself) I think he'll be glad to return to something a bit simpler on his next job. I, of course, took a bit of a 'holiday' with the Tom Strong two-parter I did recently. And that's what comics can be for me, a bit of a holiday. I enjoy the form, for which I seem to have a natural ability, and it's fun to do more straightforward narrative, letting the artist add much of the complexity (where that happens).

    J.D.: Who, in the current fantastic-fiction genres — fantasy, horror, and science fiction (graphic or otherwise) — do you feel these days is days pushing the boundaries of those fields, much as you are renowned for doing in the past?

    M.M.: I very much like what China Mi?ville's doing, especially with Iron Council, his latest. Steve Aylett is an original. His latest book, Lint, is possibly his best. In heroic fantasy I think Steve Erikson is doing original work. To be honest, I don't read much in any of those genres, especially horror. We're not seeing such a great pushing of the boundaries as we did in, say, the '60s and '70s. Rather we're seeing subtleties and sophistications of the form. But there are some brilliant young writers out there — K.L. Bishop, for instance, Jeffrey Ford and Jeff VanderMeer — who are doing extremely good work. Paul di Filippo continues along his highly idiosyncratic road. Rhys Hughes is starting to be noticed. Lots of good people.

    J.D.: Next year sees publication of the non-fantastical The Vengeance Of Rome, the final volume of Colonel Pyat's four-volume 'memoirs' which have taken twenty-five years to complete. I assume you'll be both pleased and relieved to see this mammoth project concluded; yes?

    M.M.: Nearly thirty years of living with the Nazi holocaust! You bet I'll be pleased that's over. I set out in the '70s to try to examine the roots of the holocaust but I didn't find most of the other fiction which had been done about the holocaust all that satisfying. As a result I decided to make my examination take the form of a kind of black comedy, in which I could show the racists and other villains as perhaps they saw themselves — nice guys with a dirty job to do. It's not as simple as that, of course, but I believe I've managed to pull off what I hoped to pull off. Almost as soon as I finished the final draft of The Vengeance of Rome I took most of my reference books, about Mussolini and Hitler, for instance, and got ride of them. Some, I simply threw in the garbage. I couldn't bear to be near them. Yet even now I find myself drawn back to that examination. I made it my business to look at every piece of film footage, every photograph of victims and try to see each person as an individual. And then I tried to do that with the perpetrators (actually something of a harder job). I wanted to see how we got into that filthy situation in the hope that I would contribute at least something to the chance of it never happening again. Of course, since then we've had Rwanda and it's now going on in the Sudan, but at least we're more engaged in trying to stop it than people were in the '30s. Or so I hope.

    J.D.: Which brings us neatly, and lastly, to... what's next?

    M.M.: What's next? I'm writing a personal memoir of Mervyn and Maeve Peake, provisionally called Loving. It's not a biography, but a reminiscence. I'm writing a text for a bunch of previously unpublished Peake illustrations, which will first be done in French, called The Life and Adventures of Captain Crackers. I'm working on a 'straight' novel provisionally called Pete's Rules and I must admit I am hatching a new fantasy, closer to Gloriana than anything else, which I might or might not write. There are some comics ideas, too, and a movie idea or two which my agent asked me for. I've done several short stories of various kinds and plan a few more. So it looks as if I'll be kept pretty busy in my retirement...


    John Davey was born in London in 1962. He is perhaps best known in fantasy/S.F. circles as Michael Moorcock's bibliographer (for his sins), and his first publication was a mini-bibliography called Michael Moorcock: A Reader's Guide (1991/'92). Contrary to popular belief, the perpetually promised definitive bibliography has not been shelved, but has become rather unceremoniously back-burnered whilst he tries to decide if he wants to become a full-time writer and, thus, a pauper for the foreseeable future.

    In 2002, The Nephyrite Press published his d?but novel, Blood And Souls, about which he says "I guess I'd call it a contemporarily set fantasy novel. Despite its dedication ('to Michael Moorcock, for specific and other inspiration') — and certain other, deliberately resonant themes — it's neither set in a Moorcockian world nor based on any of his characters." His second, as yet unpublished novel is another such fantasy, written for so-called Young Adults, and he is currently working on a third, a good old-fashioned ghost story (for grown-ups). He also has a children's picture book written and in need of an illustrator.

    He has spent the last twelve years awaiting the perpetually promised new Kate Bush album, which at least makes him feel slightly less guilty about the Moorcock bibliography.

    Copyright آ© 2005 Time Warner Book Group
    The cat spread its wings and flew high into the air, hovering to keep pace with them as they moved cautiously toward the city. Then, as they climbed over the rubble of what had once been a gateway and began to make their way through piles of weed-grown masonry, the cat flew to the squat building with the yellow dome upon its roof. It flew twice around the dome and then came back to settle on Jhary's shoulder. - The King of the Swords
  • Mikey_C
    Champion of the Balance
    • May 2004
    • 1511

    Re: John Davey Interview Michael Moorcock

    Originally posted by Michael Moorcock
    I might yet write another fantastic book, probably something closer to Gloriana

    \" ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell


    • Ant
      Eternal Companion
      • Dec 2003
      • 711

      Bettany not Elric? Maybe you'd like to discuss that [broken link]here?


      PS. Hey, Mikey_C: Put some spaces between those MexWave.gifs so they don't force a too-wide page! Ta.
      Last edited by Rothgo; 04-08-2010, 01:54 PM.


      • GuyLawley
        Champion of the Balance
        • Aug 2004
        • 1479

        Yes, please fix this page width thing ASAP !!!!

        TIA !