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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
My reactions to reading this omnibus in 1995. Spoilers follow. “Introduction” -- An interesting introduction to the first volume of the saga of the multiverse hero, the Eternal Champion aka many other names including Elric of Melnibone. Moorcock explains that his Eternal Champion in his many manifestations allows him to create and explore many ethical situations and show the eternal tension and battle between Chaos and Law not, he says emphatically, to be confused with Good and Evil.(the Eternal Champion very often wars to establish a balance between the two). I find it revealing, given his outspoken political views, that one of Moorcock’s favorite books is John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. Moorcock also reveals a dislike for hard science fiction and a love of romantic science fiction, in particular C. L. Moore, Leigh Brackett, Edmond Hamilton, Charles Harness, Phillip K. Dick, Alfred Bester, and Jack Williamson. His science fiction and fantasy was an attempt to re-evoke a type of wonder in sf. The Eternal Champion -- I liked this well done fantasy of 20th century man being transported to another Earth in another time to be Erkosë, that universe’s version of the Eternal Champion. The prose was moody and evocative at times. I liked the grim – though the hero isn’t that bothered – ending where John Daker aka Erkosë wipes out humanity as the result of making a rash promise to a woman he doesn’t really love but tries to convince himself that he does. I think Erkosë is a little hard on his ex-friend Roldero who makes some excellent arguments (I think Moorcock includes them to muddle the moral waters) that, while the Eldern may individually be nice people, they are not human and, de facto, they are not threats to man’s interest. (Erekosë has supposedly been summoned to this world to annihilate the Eldern.) Erkosë sides with the Eldern and takes a rather harsh attitude towards humans. The Eldern, for their part, profess no self-interest. Still, they are not too unhappy about letting him break banned, ancient weapons out of their armory so man can be exterminated. I think Moorcock is quite right to say that one of the novel’s primary themes is betrayal of our notions of a morally simple world. The Sundered Worlds -- This space opera was written, according to Moorcock’s notes, in a 36 hour session when he was 21. It shows some of the author’s speed and youth in not only its headlong pace, uninspired prose (Moorcock seems to have thought mystery is evoked by just pairing contradictory adjectives), dialogue filled with clumsy explication, and poorly developed themes (specifically the theme of abandoned lovers). Still, I liked two things. First, the Blood Red Game of mental warfare via disgusting/loathsome/terrifying images was neat. Second, I liked this slant on the Eternal Champion story with Count Renark von Bek sacrificing himself at the end of the first part, seemingly so that his driven, noble, obsessive spirit can be spread about the “multiverse” (perhaps as the Eternal Champion though that is not said). I liked the earnest, pulpy speeches about man having a destiny to fill by overcoming the limits of nature and the multiverse. Phoenix in Obsidian -- I enjoyed this second John Daker sword-and-sorcery novel. Essentially this delightfully gloomy and decadent (though I would have liked more explicit details on the decadent life of Rowernarc, a city waiting for the world to die in ice) novel recapitulates the themes of The Eternal Champion and Moorcock’s Elric series. As in the first Daker novel, he is summoned to save a world (here from the onslaught of the Silver Warriors and the death of the sun) by individuals (the Silver Queen here) who later regret it (Daker kills the Queen to provide the blood for the Black Sword to restore the sun). Here, though, no race is annihilated. Rather Daker rescues the Silver Queen from Bishop Belphig so the Silver Warriors no longer have to fight for him. The central motif of the Elric series – a doomed hero who is “Destiny’s Champion, Fate’s...
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
Comprising 3 novels and 1 short story, this begins the lore of the multi-verse and the Eternal Champion. 2 stories deal with Erekose, 1 with a Von Bek and the short story deals with Tanelorn. The Erekose stories were enjoyable as a foundation to the other Eternal Champion incarnations, and made the glimpses we see of Erekose in Elric and Corum that much deeper. The Von Bek storyline dealt with the multiverse and the tone was scifi/psychological and didn't really fit, in my opinion. Also didn't seem to fit in with Moorcock's Law, Chaos and the Great Balance schtick. Definitely would recommend as a start before Elric or Corum. Even though it definitely would give spoilers for those 2 characters.
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