Terminal Café

Jerry Cornelius

Cornelius of London was the name of agreengrocer at Notting Hill Gate. I saw the original of Jerry Cornelius walkingaround in Notting Hill in 1964/5.

Multiverse.org Q&A
Core Works

The Final Programme
A Cure for Cancer
The English Assassin
The Condition of Muzak

Other Works

The Adventures of Una Persson and Catherine Cornelius in the Twentieth Century
The Gold Diggers of `77
The Entropy Tango
The Alchemist's Question
Short Stories

The New Nature of the Catastrophe

The Final Programme


The Final Programme

A Very Tasty World

Jerry Cornelius is already an underground legend, a comic-strip hero, saint and devil in one. This is his first novel.

In it he fights out a grim vendetta in a French chateau, guns his way through the fleshy jungle of a devastated London to a laughable clue in the icy wastes of Sweden, tackles the sinister Miss Brunner and throws a vast party that lasts for months in Ladbroke Grove, and finally (in a high state of sexual ambivalence) leads a horde of happy pilgrims to their death, like lemmings, in the sea, until he (or she) is the only man (or woman) left on earth...

The Final Programme. Herts: Mayflower, 1971.

Jerry is enlisted by the rather strange Miss Brunner, at first it seems to do a little job for her, but as things progress, she seems to have ulterior motives for keeping Jerry at hand. Mrs Cornelius will be so happy to have a messiah in the family. Readers of the Elric book Stealer of Souls, will notice a rather startling similarity with this story…

This book is set in a much more linear universe than the latter ones, while still dealing with some of the themes that were to be dealt with in the successive books.

A Cure For Cancer


A Cure for Cancer - Fontana

Up from the ocean depths comes the jet-black Caucasian transvestite champion. Resplendent in warpaint, wampum beads and silk suit by Cardin, armed only with a tomahawk and vibragun, he returns to the napalmed ruins of London to resurrect his sister and wrest from the disgusting Bishop Beesley and his formidable henchwoman the black box which has diffracted the cosmos and set the world spinning at super-speed towards its own final solution. Lock up your daughters, hide your stash, keep to the shadows.

Jerry Cornelius is back.

A Cure for Cancer. London: Quartet, 1971.

America! Or is it Amerika?

One of Jerry's infamous parities?

The Bishop and Mitzi?

Catherine is dead. But is it for good?

The first book's narrative structure and themes are folded inwards, and we are able to peel one layer of the onion's skin, to come a little closer to the harlequinade, the drama performed for us by Harlequin and Columbine, as well as many others - the drama of the century!

The title's ironic - referring to lunatic ideas of 'social cancer' not unlike some of the ethnic cleansing notions recently occuring in Bosnia.

From Multiverse.org's Q&A section.

The English Assassin


The English Assassin

Jerry Cornelius rises from the deep to witness the destruction of the world - and to poop the biggest party ever thrown west of Ladbroke Grove.

The English Assassin. London: Quartet, 1972.

The Condition of Muzak


The Condition of Muzak

The Condition of Muzak considers the process of living as a harlequinade and is, for me, a most moving summation... Here we move through Mr. Moorcock's obsessions, Bob Dylan, the Arthurian Legend, through chrono-zones - behold the pun! - to bisexuality, with a small sideswipe at Stanley Kubrick on the way. The realisation comes that Jerry is seeking sanctuary in different universes of Time in separate private mythologies. As indeed, is the implication, are we all... TOM HUTCHINSON, THE TIMES

Quoted on The Condition of Muzak. London: Fontana, 1978.

The Adventures of Una Persson and Catherine Cornelius in the Twentieth Century


Una Persson and Caterine Cornelius in the Twentieth Century

Una and Catherine - lovers, revolutionaries and time-travellers extraordinaire - have recovered from their last escapades. Now they flash through the dimensions in a dazzling kaleidoscope or real and imaginary twentieth centuries, a riotous extravaganza of alternative pasts, presents and futures...

Their new adventures are unruly, catastrophic, fantastic. And with Jerry Cornelius and a host of Moorcock creations never far away, the action is madly unpredictable and immensely enjoyable... Your trip starts here!

Una Persson and Catherine Cornelius in the Twentieth Century. London: Granada, 1980.

The Gold Diggers of 77
(Ten Claims that Won Our Hearts)


A story written to coincide with the release of the Sex Pistols' film The Great Rock & Roll Swindle.

"Wot 'cha gonna dooooo about it? Wot 'cha gonna do!??!"

The Entropy Tango


The Entropy Tango

The good airship Lady Charlotte Lever chugged over what was probably Transcarpathia. Una Persson was stopping over in London to see her lover Catherine.

Makhno's anarchists held Ontario. Toronto was about to fall. The Americans were agitated. It was 1948 and a Second World War was about to break out.

Major Nye hoped not. He remembered the Great War and Geneva in 1910. Jerry Cornelius was left behind in a New Hampshire barn.

While in Lionel Himmler's Blue Spot Club, Miss Brunner ordered jugged hare as Bartok played on the jukebox.

The Entropy Tango. London, New English Library, 1987.

The Entropy Tango is a late 20th century Grand Guignol. Its mise en scène is a climacteric world in revolutionary upheaval, its players refugees from the Cornelius tetralogy - The Final Programme, A Cure for Cancer, The English Assassin and The Condition of Muzak. The archetypes are Harlequin, Columbine and Pierrot.

The Basic theme of the Cornelius mythos is the obsessive search for identity in a rapidly changing cityscape. John Clute says in his Introduction to The Cornelius Chronicles, the American edition of the Cornelius tetralogy: 'The presentation of the self in everyday life in the inner city is a form of theatre where identity is a role and where entropy is high...'

Entropy is a metaphor for identity failure. Jerry Cornelius is no longer a force for Chaos, he is its victim - he is unable to control the megaflow. The city decays and revolutionaries age, while the temperature falls. The twin leitmotifs of the catastrophe are alienation and paranoia.

Essentially a romance, The Entropy Tango incorporates anachronistic, paradoxical and apocryphal material. Moorcock abandons classical symbolism in favour of images containing the optimum number of associations - metaphors capable of many meanings. The novel is conceived in terms of tone, pace and mood, and quotes from earlier work or newspapers, magazines and pop songs (either directly or in terms of images, atmosphere and style). Written with Moorcock's characteristic bravado, The Entropy Tango is witty, lyrical and allegorical. The iconography is kaleidoscopic and the irony penetrates like a shot from a needle gun.

The Entropy Tango. London: New English Library, 1981.

The Alchemist's Question
Being the Final Episode in the Career of the English Assassin


The Alchemist's Question is a complete novel - the final Jerry Cornelius story which Moorcock has been promising for some time. In it he re-examines the main themes of the Jerry Cornelius novels and features all the surviving characters. The sinister politician/scientist Miss Brunner; her henchman and promoter of heroin consumption Bishop Beesley and his daughter Mitzi. They have decided, through their usual bizarre logic, that the best thing that can happen to England is for them to bring on the nuclear winter as quickly as possible. Trying to stop them are Jerry himself, his sister Catherine, her lover Una Persson and the amiable but bewildered ex-Indian Army soldier Major Nye. But Miss Brunner has the upper hand and things look bad for the human race right up to to finale when our heroes make their last stand against her on Glastonbury Tor.

As in his other Cornelius books Moorcock farce and sharp political satire to make some telling points about today's most urgent problems - feminism, racialism, imperialism and the Third World War.

The Opium General. London: Harrap, 1984.

The Alchemist's Question is a revisitation of the themes dealt with in the "primary" Cornelius books, in the light of several more recent concerns for the well-being of the human race. The ebullience of the sixties has now completely vanished, Jerry is getting older and having a hard time keeping hold of his previous identity. Miss Brunner, who now has much in common with a certain quasi-female British prime minister, wishes to take their political agenda to the very extreme. Una, who represents what is perhaps the only voice of clarity in the narrative, on the other hand, believes she knows the way to halt Brunner's stultifying reign of Law.

The Delhi Division

(1968 New Worlds Vol.52 No.185)

Jerry, who is at present in India, is to assassinate the Pakistani. But what of Jerry's unborn son?

The Tank Trapeze

(1969 New Worlds Vol.52 No.186)

The Peking Junction

(1969 - The New S.F.)

The Dodgem Decision


The Dodgem Arrangement


The Dodgem Division

(1969 Speculation #23)

The Nature of the Catastrophe

(1970 New Worlds Vol.53 No.197)

The Sunset Perspective

(1970 The Disappearing Future)

Sea Wolves

(1970 Science Against Man)


(1971 Frendz #3 - 5)

Dead Singers


All the Dead Singers

(1971 Ink 5/10/71)

The Swastika Setup

(1972 Corridor #4)

The Longford Cup

(1973 Penthouse Vol.8 No.7)

The Entropy Circuit

(1974 An Index of Possibilities)

The Murderer's Song

(1981 Tor Zu Den Sternen, 1987 Tales from the Forbidden Planet)

The Gangrene Collection

(1990 City Limits)

The Romanian Question

(1991 Back Brain Recluse #18)

The Enigma Windows

(1995 New Statesman & Society)

The Spencer Inheritance

(1997 The Edge)

The Spencer Inheritance

(1997 The Edge)

This story has been re-printed online on the website of The Edge Magazine.

The Camus Referendum

(1998 Gare du Nord)

Cheering for the Rockets

(1998 Interzone)

Related Articles

In In Lighter Vein, Moorcock discusses some of the more interesting technical effects used in the Jerry Cornelius stories.