Terminal Café
Frequently Asked Questions

Here you will find the Moorcock FAQ.

Why this site?

My intentions with regards to this site can be found here - the site's rationale.

MM on the rap rod.

The Life of

To get some historical background of as a person, check out A Brief History of Moorcock.

Frequently Asked Questions

A person new to Moorcock's writing may well be intimidated by what faces them. If you can think of any questions that should be here, don't hesitate to drop me a message and ask me to include it. Here are of some of the most common questions one would ask when faced with a huge pile of Moorcock books: -

So, what are all of Mr. Moorcock's books all about, then?
What makes him stand out from other authors?
In what order should I read his books?
What's all this about the Colvin Family? James Colvin, Warwick Colvin jnr?
Who publishes which books?
When is Jerusalem Commands coming out?
Where is he living now?
What writers have influenced Mr. M. or who does he hold in high regard as a writer?
Does he have a favourite book of his own?
What about the music?
Can you get any tapes of him reading his books or any interviews with him?
Can you find any of his appearances on video?

  • So, what are all of Mr. Moorcock's books all about, then?

    Well, this is a very difficult thing to define. His first works were primarily fantasy-based, with the occasional outing to science fiction territory. Beginning with The Golden Barge, Moorcock began experimenting with using methods other than conventional ones in telling his tales. Many of these works deal with very similar subject matter to his fantasy works, though, and, at least in my opinion, deal much more satisfactorily with the content.

    Somewhere in the later seventies, Moorcock began to write books with a far greater texture, depth and complexity. Books such as the Between the Wars series and Mother London, illustrate the direction that Moorcock has headed more recently.

    Nowadays, apart from the occasional pure fantasy outing, such as a new Elric book, Moorcock's fantastic literature, such as the Second Ether books, are what I believe to be a "new" hybrid form of the fantasy works and the "literary" works.

  • What makes him stand out from other authors?

    Moorcock's fiction has much to recommend it, other than the most obvious (and certainly primary) fact that it is very enjoyable to read.

    Firstly, the underlying complexity of the theories, cosmology and philosophy make close reading of the books very rewarding. But even if the reader is solely "reading for pleasure" these aspects come through fairly strongly. Perhaps even more than this, Moorcock's books are largely open to interpretation (particularly the latter ones) - that is, he rarely "preaches" to the reader, which would otherwise limit the possible interpretations of his stories.

    Secondly, if you enjoy his books, you have a lot of reading to do if you want to read them all. The sheer number of books ensures that if you are a fan, you have a great deal of material to concentrate on.

  • In what order should I read his books?

    Well, the Orion editions (everywhere except the US - in the US, you'll be after the White Wolf editions are mostly the same), are released in an official order, so that's a good way to start. Just look at the numbers on the spines of the books. But a problem with this is the fact that this series doesn't contain all of the books - in fact, it really only contains the "prime" texts of the series.

    There is another approach that the reader of Moorcock's fiction could take, one that is in some senses, more comprehensible - that is, to read them in chronological order. This approach has its drawbacks, though. For example, if one were to approach Moorcock's works via his Sojan stories (some of his earliest works), they may be turned off there and then.

    For a very detailed discussion on this topic, interested readers should purchase John Davey's : A Reader's Guide, which contains about as much detail as one could want.

    Warwick Colvin Jnr
  • What's all this about the Colvin Family? James Colvin, Warwick Colvin jnr?

    James Colvin is a name invented by E. J. Carnell who took it from a railway guide and was used by Moorcock throughout his time with New Worlds. Even in New Worlds 2 (1993), the Colvin Family appears - Warwick Colvin Jnr. is credited with the "Second Ether" stories that were later included in Blood.

  • Who publishes which books?

    Well, most of the editions I owned (until recently) were the 70s style Mayflower editions. I particularly like the psychedelic covers etc., which tends to make me want to put on a Hawkwind CD whilst reading them. These editions always seem to be available in 2nd hand bookshops. These are a good option as they are usually inexpensive, and are good for the beginner to get a general overview of his works.

    Perhaps the best option, for the "serious" reader is the Orion or White Wolf editions. These are not only grouped well, they are also revised in places. Moorcock has gone back and done a little "cleaning up" of these works, making the links (such as names) between the books adhere to the other books, theoretical points, etc. Aside from these few technical modifications, I don't think there's any other difference between the editions.

    But there are many other books that aren't in the Orion and White Wolf series (even though this series claims to contain the whole Eternal Champion series, it leaves out books such as the Jerry Cornelius ones!). Many of the other books you will need to hunt down. A good place to try is to write to The Nomad of the Time Streams, who stock many of the rare books. But, as I said above, lurking around in 2nd hand bookshops is often a great way to find rare Moorcock books.

  • When is Jerusalem Commands coming out?

    Michael is up to the last few chapters, but don't expect it until at least half way through 2000.

  • Where is he living now?

    At present, lives just near in Austin Texas.

  • What writers have influenced Mr. M. or who does he hold in high regard as a writer?

    There are, of course, many authors who would have influenced Moorcock's writings, no doubt Michael himself could not give a concise list of all of his influences. Some of the more obvious ones include:- Mervyn Peake; Andrea Dworkin; Fritz Leiber; Poul Anderson, Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, Edgar Rice Burroughs, George Meredith and many more.

  • Does he have a favourite book of his own?

    Book, I'm sure he does, but I don't know. I'd say it would be what he is currently working on at the moment. As for favourite character, he has stated many times that of all of the incarnations of the Eternal Champion, Elric is his favourite.

  • What about the music?

    At one time, you could order New World's Fair from Griffin Music, also with a fabulous Moorcock interview book Death is No Obstacle. They went bankrupt several years ago, but I've heard talk that they are back in action. You'll be able to find out here, when there is definite word.

    There are several other recordings, mainly demos, but the only way to obtain these is via tapes of them, as there are no official releases of them yet. Again, Nomad of the Time Streams may be worth contacting.

  • Can you get any tapes of him reading his books or any interviews with him?

    The Nomads of the Timestreams offer a tape of him reading from an Elric book to it's members. It is possible to get some tapes of interviews with him, and him at conventions, too - but you'll find them difficult to find. I do know his has been on several television interviews, but I've never seen one, or heard of anyone having them on tape. He does appear on the Hawkwind video Chronicles of the Black Sword, though.

  • Can you find any of his appearances on video?

    Michael appears on Hawkwind's Chronicle of the Black Sword video, performing spoken word pieces between some of the songs. There is also an extended version of this video, which contains the encore, in which Moorcock sings Coded Languages and Born to Go.

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