Elric of Melniboné

At the last meeting Tom suggested we could read the Elric books for one of the upcoming meetings.

There are quite a lot of these books. Moorcock wrote the first Elric stories around 1963 and, as so often happens in SF, stories got patched together and released as books. Then after their success Moorcock revisited them and wrote several more books. The order of publication doesn’t necessarily match the internal order, and to confuse matters further some of the books have been published under several different titles. The books I know about are (in internal order):

  • 1 – 1972 Elric of Melniboné
  • 2 – 1977 The Sailor on the Seas of Fate
  • 3 – 1977 The Weird of the White Wolf
  • 4 – 1972 The Vanishing Tower
  • 5 – 1977 The Bane of the Black Sword
  • 6 – 1965 Stormbringer
  • 7 – 1984 Elric at the End of Time
  • 8 – 1989 The Fortress of the Pearl

Amazon do a compendium of a couple of books (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Elric-Of-Melnibone-Stormbringer-MASTERWORKS/dp/1857987438/ref=sr_1_1) and this would be a good starting point. The Stealer of Souls is available separately from 1p at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stealer-Souls-Michael-Moorcock/dp/0583113443/ref=sr_1_9. You should also find the Elric books in second hand bookshops across the land.

The Elric books are one of my guilty pleasures. I’ve seen claims that they contain all sorts of subtle hidden references, but I have to say they (or at least the early ones) are the most awful tosh. However they are huuuuuugely entertaining, providing you can find your brain’s off switch. I’m not sure how much discussion they would generate, because they really aren’t that deep. However I’d love an excuse to read them all again so I’d definitely vote for choosing them.

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Books for Q3

It’s been suggested (by me, but no-one’s objected so far! :-)) that we choose books on a quarterly basis i.e. three at a time. That means we only have to do four new posters a year rather than a new one every month. Since we haven’t chosen a book for June yet, this means choosing four books to take us up to the end of Q3.

I suggest people recommend books as comments to this post, and I’ll keep the post updated with the current contenders. At the May meeting we’ll finalise the list.

See below for more details. As a summary, how about:

June – Nightfall One and Two, Isaac Asimov
July – Elric books to be decided, Michael Moorcock
August – A Fire Upon the Deep, Vernor Vinge
September – tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach (My favourite 🙂 ), Stephen Erikson

NB recommending books that cost a bomb or are thousands of pages long isn’t going to win friends and influence people. I wouldn’t rule out books on this basis, but remember that we all have to agree on the books.

The current contenders are:

  • An anthology as suggested by Robin – possibly Nightfall One/Two by Asimov or possibly some other anthology, but preferably not one costing £10 or several thousand pages long Robin!
  • Tales of Bachelain and Korbal Broach is available for £1 in Poundland in Frodsham Street. Kyle and I have already read this, so I guess it wouldn’t be top of our lists. However it is very funny in a dark and twisted way.
  • Elric books – see my post above
  • Geoff has suggested A Fire Upon The Deep. This is a classic of hard SciFi. It’s a longish book, but an easy read and it ought to be in every Sci-Fi fan’s bookcase.

Iain M Banks – terrible news

I wam gutted to learn today that Iain M Banks has terminal cancer. There is a tenuous link to me in that he held up a copy of Exit, Pursued by a Bee during a book signing at NewCon4. He was selling 40 of his books to every one I sold of mine. I was sitting next to him and he took pity on me and helped me out. What a gentleman. He’s 7 years younger than me. Just shows we have to make the most of our lives.

I know there’ll be a wave of positive vibes winging his way this year – and well-deserved.

Geoff