While I work through my backlog of pending reviews, we continue with old stuff and the Michael Moorcock series.
The Eternal Champion was volume 1 in White Wolf Publishing’s Moorock series. This is volume 3. I made no notes on volume 2, Von Bek, but I’d recommend it just on the basis of The War Hound and the World’s Pain being in it.
Raw Feed (1998): Hawkmoon, Michael Moorcock, 1967, 1992.
“Introduction” — Short piece where Moorcock says this series of four novels was written as popular entertainment with no profundity despite some allusions to “The Beatles or well-known politicians”.
The Jewel in the Skull — I liked the character of Hawkmoon with his emotional detachment, near catatonia, awakening to become an enemy of Granbretan. I liked the Black Jewel threatening to eat his mind. I liked the villains Granbretan (Great Britain of a far future Europe). The emotional reserve and fascination for eccentric behavior, animals, and heraldry of the British is here satirized by the Orders who constantly go about in animal masks. I liked the knight in Jet and Gold.
The Mad Gods’ Amulet — Hawkmoon’s fight against the Dark Empire continues with a classic fantasy ploy – the diversion to quest after a magical item necessary for the main fight/quest. Though here Hawkmoon is unaware, for a long time, that the Runestaff has manipulated him into seeking the Mad God’s Amulet. He thinks he’s pursuing his betrothed Yisselda. I liked the Mad God and his minions (particularly the army of naked woman). I also liked the ambitious villain D’Averc with his affected illness. Hawkmoon warily accepts him as an ally. I also liked the ethereal city of Soryandum. I also liked the far future setting of this series with is antique cites and forgotten cities.
The Sword of the Dawn — I liked this novel too with treacherous, dishonored playwright Elvereza Tazer who constantly alludes to his own work (which includes a play on “Chirshil and Adulf” – Churchill and Adolf). I liked the weird Flana who has a mind only for love; however, she can’t remain in love with the proudly mad, insane men of Granbretan and abandons (and sometimes kills) her lovers. I liked Meliadus growing dissatisfaction with the Emperor. I liked the trip to Wales (“Yel” here) and, particularly, the voyage to legendary America (Amerkh). My favorite bit was the Legion of the Dawn who seem to be supernatural Amerindian warriors called by the supernatural Sword of the Dawn.
The Runestaff — The Hawkmoon saga closes with a finish much more upbeat than I expect from a manifestation of the Eternal Champion. (Not every incarnation comes to a bad end, evidently, but I expect them to since I read the Elric books first.) Yes, Count Brass, Olabahn, and Flana’s love, D’Averc all die, but Hawkmoon lives as does his wife Yisselda Flana, a woman whose ethereal love usually comes to a bad end for her lovers, seems rehabilitated by D’Averc’s love since he is not an insane decadent of the Granbretan variety and seems about to reform the Granbretan empire to make it more humane. The style of this novel was different, in its short chapters, than the others in the series. I liked the ethereal inhabitants of Dnark (New York). One Jehamia Cohnahlias is the embodiment of the Runestaff. Since I haven’t read any of the Moorcock tales with Jerry Cornelius, I don’t know what to make of this. The Runestaff, in the reformed Granbretan Empire, seems to have struck a balance between Chaos and Law. (This is never mentioned as a goal, but is a theme of the Eternal Champion cycle.) I liked the fleet of Granbretan ships named after its Gods. I caught the names of the Beatles and many authors (most sf): Churchill, Brian Aldiss, and J. G. Ballard. The other allusions, if allusions to real people, I didn’t catch.