duke elric


Maybe it’s the books we read when we’re young that stick with us the longest. That’s the time when books not only excite us, but seem to tell us about ourselves and our futures. As a teenager I read (wallowed in and feasted upon, really) Tolkien, Evelyn Waugh, Emily Brontë, Jane Austen, “Great Expectations” and “David Copperfield,” “Crime and Punishment,” “The Great Gatsby,” P.G. Wodehouse and Kafka. A predictably unstructured and non-academic bag, I guess. I also read, with mounting glee, and seized from different corners of the bookstore when my mother wasn’t watching, the paperbacks of Michael Moorcock, especially those concerning the doomed prince Elric. I didn’t even know, back then, that Moorcock was already becoming one of the greatest British fantasy writers, the heir to Mervyn Peake, nor that his “Elric” books belonged to the “sword and sorcery” genre; and only later, as sword and sorcery swept like a virus through movies and games and into the digital universal, did I understand that I’d read works whose influence would prove to be immense — strange and exhilarating stories from someone at the top of his game. Moorcock is a master, and though he’s written more carefully, and more beautifully, and with much more high-minded purpose (in “Gloriana” and “Mother London” for instance, or the dazzling quartet of books concerning the dandy Jerry Cornelius), he’s never quite slammed home runs as outrageous as these.

more from the LA Times here.