June 24th, 2008

there!, Hello

They called for me.

43) The Eternal Champion by Michael Moorcock (484 pages, White Wolf, 1996).
A complitation of three reprinted novels and a brief novella. Moorcock's style is clearly influenced by the sword and planet sort of pulpy adventure fiction that appeared under the bylines of such writers as C.L. Moore, Leigh Brackett and more, though he does offer up a deep philosophical layer to his adventure stories.

43a) They called for me.

The Eternal Champion, I have already written about in a previous entry.


43b) I dreamed I lay in a dark valley and all around me were the titanic forms of archangels.

The Sundered Worlds is a piece of sf of the worst sort. It offers up plenty of interesting Big Ideas swaddled by an unlikeable story. The characters ultimately did not interest me. The structure is unique in that it pairs a lackluster Goal Oriented first half (what we might dub a "bad video game plot," these days) followed by a change of cast for the (oddly tepid) space operatic "war of minds" second half. The writing is very straight ahead and clear. The novel is utterly forgettable but for the concept of the Multiverse.


43c) I know grief and I know love and I think I know what death may be, though it is said I am immortal.

Phoenix in Obsidian returns to Erekose (titular Champion protagonist) as he is called to yet another of his personas. This adventure finds him on a dying Earth ("ice is nice and would suffice") that appears to have no conflict. Why has he been summoned here? He soon finds out that not all is as placid as it appears. There are plenty of fun bits, a few bad ones, and some odd views of decadence (invoking the glam rock stylings of David Bowie, believe it or not). Phoenix is a not uninteresting follow-up to the titular novel, but it feels a tad bit rushed. Perhaps this is because the plot seldom slows and much happens in a small span of words, a comment which nicely encapsulates:


43d) Beyond the tall and ominous green-glass forest of Troos, well to the North and unheard of in Bakshaan, Elwher or any other city of the Young Kingdoms, on the shifting shores of the Sighing Desert lay Tanelorn, a lonely, long-ago city, loved by those it sheltered.

"To Rescue Tanelorn", this long short story (or short novella) finds one aspect of the Peaceful City Tanelorn (found through out the Multiverse in one form or another; this one is located in the Young Kingdoms of the Elric cycle of tales) threatened by a Chaos headed army of beggars. The Red Archer (also of Elric fame) sets out on a multidimensional quest to enlist the aid of the mythical Grey Ones (beings of great power who are aligned to neither Law nor Chaos). The five realms he goes through are intriguing (worthy of more page/story time than the scant time actually spent in them), and brought to mind the fascinating journey found in Alan Moore's comic book series Promethea. The piece whizzes along at a fair clip, sketching out brief images that I longed to see as full paintings (perhaps of the fifteen foot tall variety). So much occurs in such a small space, the story seems nearly superfluous to its cascade of delightful locales and imagery.


Currently Reading: Tower Hill by Sarah Pinborough (yep, still reading this), and Conan: The Invincible by Robert Jordan.