Terminal Café

Moorcock Chat at WorldCon '97

August 31, 1997

MichaelMoorcock: Hi everybody! Let's do it! MM

Omegawidow: Hello, Michael.

Philo1: How do like chatting?

farside: So, Michael, where do you see fantasy writing heading... have we seen it all?

FooFighterUbu: * give a round of applause from Moore Manor Dalton, GA. *

FooFighterUbu: Good to see you sir

erastus: MIKE clap clap clap!

laurent: So what's up with the new comic? the preview seems good

Chris: hi from sweden

shred: hang on, we're going Moderated.

shred: Michael, are you able to speak?

MichaelMoorcock: At this end it's Chaos but here goes. Fantasy writing heading ? Wherever the individual good writers will take it. Fantasy is as good as those who write it. The new comic's going great. I'm enjoying it more and more and it's getting more and more complex because Simonson in particular is doing a wonderful job.

Falstaff: the latest Jerry Cornelius story i read was All the Way Round ... any plans for others?

MichaelMoorcock: There are always plans. It depends what happens to stimulate a story. Usually a JC story is a response to something -- frequently in the political/social arena.

Igor: Is there going to be a feature movie based on on your books? Animation would be preferable of course.

MichaelMoorcock: Anime is the way I'm seriously thinking of going, yes. Probably more satisfying at the current state of technology than live-action. But up to now I haven't liked any of the offers. The problem with spending millions of dollars is that those who spend it seem to want rather more control than I'm willing to give. Can't blame them. They don't blame me. But that's the reality.

forky: michael your novels are mostly a few hundred pages in length. what do u think of authors such as ROBERT JORDAN who can write a series of books whose average lenth is around 700 pages. and this is a series on 7 books with another 4(atleast to come). and would u ever envisage doing this yourself

MichaelMoorcock: No I don't plan any fantasy books that long. My object is to keep them as succint as possible But that also means they go vaguely out of genre, because you're messing with the genre in order to concentrate certain existing tropes, say, and get them over with. I'm only windy in my non-fantasy books....

farside: Michael, what's the latest project you're working on?

MichaelMoorcock: The comic is now at episode eight (of twelve). I'm close to finishing the last Pyat (Holocaust) novel in first draft. I'm working on a new London novel (non fantasy) currently called King of the City. And some short stories, features and so on. Usual catalogue.

Hopper: Who was the first character in the Eternal Champion mythos that you wrote about?

MichaelMoorcock: Actually, the Eternal Champion. But Elric was the first published story of the EC.

Philo1: Any more Elric novels in the making?

MichaelMoorcock: Only via the comic -- which has a lot of Elric in it.

Chris: hello mike from sweden I have been a fan for over twenty years and Im waiting to find out what happens to corum in the next conjunction!

MichaelMoorcock: He'll be there.

Timeras: Are you aware of you growing WWW presence, and what are your feelings on that topic.

MichaelMoorcock: I'm enjoying it a lot. Some bright people out there.

Igor: Do you see other writers exploring the multiverse/antihero concepts that you created? and how do you feel about it?

MichaelMoorcock: I don't mind other writers exploring those concepts but I don't much like a lot of the stuff out there which seems merely cloned -- with nothing fresh added by the writer. Doing the comic, for instance, I love to see other people's interpretations and amplifications of the characters and images, but I'm not about to do one of those crop sharing deals and farm my characters and stuff out to others. Maybe when I'm dead or almost dead.

FooFighterUbu: to MM> Live with CG would do fine, but who would play Elric?

shred: (regarding a feature film)

MichaelMoorcock: Physical appearance isn't as important as a FACE that has character -- that can reflect the ambiguities and so on in Elric.

Timeras: How about David Bowie as Elric?

MichaelMoorcock: Bit late.

forky: do drugs still have a part in your life? when your novels were re-printed a few years ago the pre-face always began " i wrote this book in a few weeks in the 60's when i was dropping acid and smoking pot" well maybe not those exact words but u get my drift

MichaelMoorcock: I believe that drugs should be strictly controlled -- and given to all those over forty.

Falstaff: any chance you'll pick up a guitar again and record some more songs? say for a CD multimedia project based around your stories?

MichaelMoorcock: I was as good a musician as I could be when surrounded by good musicians. I'm no longer surrounded by good musicians and my standards have gone to hell. I can't stand the sound of my own playing and I don't have the aspiration (or influence) I used to get. But if I was going to do a musical project -- and one day I'd love to -- I'd try to get back to some sort of reasonable standard. Until then, we have to wait...

FooFighterUbu: How did you get involved with Blue Oyster Cult. Love your songs. you didn't write Godzilla did you?

MichaelMoorcock: Eric Bloom contacted me and asked me to write some songs. So I sent him The Great Sun Jester. Thereafter we did a few more. Eric's still a good friend. No I didn't write Godzilla.

Max: What are your views on literary theory, such as Semiotics, Foucault, ete, etc. I've noticed some similar themes in your books. Or is this just a coincidence?

MichaelMoorcock: I'm a little chary of theory. I prefer practice. In a sense Ballard and I -- and one or two others -- have been doing that stuff people have been theorising about for years. As I see it the theories fit our stuff rather than the other way round. I'm exploring a lot of existential/post-modern ideas in the comic -- via, I hope, a good yarn.

Timeras: Which manifestation of the EC do you consider is a quintessential (bad spelling i know) hero or anti-hero. That is, which character is clearest in your mind?

MichaelMoorcock: Elric remains my favourite character largely I suspect because of his ongoing ambiguity. He still tends to reflect my own if you like philosophical questions. He is definitely clearest for me, although I tend to think of all my characters as real people.

laurent: What do you think about the Hawkwind concert in NY this week end with maybe Lemmy?

MichaelMoorcock: Wish I could be there. But I'm here. Spoiled for choice.

Falstaff: what's King of the City about?

MichaelMoorcock: London.

Hopper: Do you have a favorite incarnation of the Eternal Champion?

MichaelMoorcock: Elric. See above.

Timeras: Is there a manifestation of the Eternal Champion that you have never written a word on or about, whose name you know, that maybe you will one day write about? Could you tell us his/her name?

MichaelMoorcock: Not really. I'm even incorporating myself as a character into these new stories... Maybe it'll all turn into some appalling psychological fantasy. But no -- when the character walks into my head, that's when they turn up. I have very few 'planned' characters.

Forky: do u have a least favorite incarnation of the EC

MichaelMoorcock: Hawkmoon. Never did see him as real.

Timeras: Did you experience any disappointment with the short stories published in the PAWN OF CHAOS?

MichaelMoorcock: Yes.

Max: Have you ever read Zamyatin's book "We"? There are major similarities with some of your work and this. This is also a highly underrated work of dystopian fiction, in my mind.

MichaelMoorcock: I love We, but read it long after it might have any strong influence on me. I'm fond of all the Russian experimentalists of the early years of the century -- Pilniak and so on -- and would recommend them. Getting Grin in translation is still almost impossible.

FooFighterUbu: Chaosium has published a pretty difinitive game originally named Stormbringer and re named Elric. Have you seen it? And what do you think of the gaming immulation of your work?

shred: (is that "simulation" or "immolation?")

MichaelMoorcock: I don't play games. Period. So I have no clear idea of how good a game Elric is. Some of the writing can be excellent. I'm a little disappointed in the Chaosium visual.

Philo1: Is the entire EC series going to be reprinted?

MichaelMoorcock: It already has been in England. The White Wolf series is in some ways complementary, in that it incorporates books not in the UK series -- where rights problems didn't allow me to put all the books in.

Timeras: In your newsgroup alt.books.moorcock, there has been some discussion on your like or dislike of Tolkien. Once and for all: Can you tell us wether or not you like him?

MichaelMoorcock: I have an abiding contempt for the old prof.

Jexer: What are your Inspirations?

MichaelMoorcock: Fantasy writers ? Mervyn Peake. J.B.Cabell, Dunsany etc. Fritz Leiber.

Max: Which of your books have been most influenced by Feminist thinking? And are you planning to write any new works with a female protagonist?

MichaelMoorcock: I'm not sure my books have been much influenced by feminist thinking although I am of course a strong pro-feminist and a great supporter of the greatest radical feminist around Andrea Dworkin (recommended). I think I'm a pro-feminist by instinct and I hope the books reflect that instinct. But I'm not much given to straight political allegory. Yes, however, I have several good female protagonists coming up. King of the City will have one.

Falstaff: (to MM) ok, i'll rephrase the question: would you tell us a little about the story of King of the City, please?

MichaelMoorcock: It's about life in London from the late eighties to the present. About the greed of Big Business (there's an un usual theme) and all that stuff.

Timeras: Since I read the preview of the new comic, I saw the picture of The Rose on the back (WOW) and since the comic isn't in my local comic shop, I haven't discovered the name of her sword. Did I miss something? What is the name of the sword? Is it one of Stormbringer's brethern?

MichaelMoorcock: Isn't the Rose great. Wait until you see some of his other characters, too. Great Sam Oakenhurst in episode two. Her sword's the same as in the other stories she's in -- Swift Thorn.

Vyper: who would you consider must reads in this genre?

MichaelMoorcock: Very few, I think. But Carroll's books definitely. (Jonathan, that is). Hard to say because tastes vary and I'm not a great reader of generic fantasy. I like individuals and individual books. Mervyn _Peake remains my great favourite and I think he's worth reading because of his extraordinary imagery, narrative gifts and tremendous characters -- all works. A peak indeed.

FooFighterUbu: do you have a favorite artist or artists? Comic or otherwise?

MichaelMoorcock: Comic -- Simonson is wonderful, wonderful! I like Rick Berry. I like Jim Cawthorn's Elric best. Jeff Jones and that whole school of artists interests me. There are lots of excellent people out there. My own taste leans towards the PreRaphaelites.

Max: I don't suppose you've ever considered taking a book-signing, or "research" trip to Australia, by any chance? A lot of people would love to see you....

MichaelMoorcock: I'd love to go to Australia. So far ill-health and poor timing has always stopped us. I've also hinted heavily to various organisers of literary conferences that I'd like to be invited, but so far they're hip to my pathetic attempts at getting a free trip to the Antipodes.

shred: Unfortunately, we really need to let Michael go now.

shred: Thanks for taking time out of your busy WorldCon schedule to come online with us.

MichaelMoorcock: Thanks for all your questions, folks. That's all for now. Sorry it couldn't be longer. Best! MM

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