Monday, 11 January 2016

Stormbringer / Michael Moorcock

3 out of 5 stars
The epic tale of Elric of Melnibone, albino prince of ruins, moves to it's awesome conclusion -with the whole of the natural and supernatural world in mighty conflict - the final conflict, Armageddon. Elric holds the key to the future: the new age which must follow the destruction.To turn that key he must sacrifice all that he loves and risk his very soul.

The strongest feeling I get from Moorcock’s Elric series is melancholy. I understand the lure of that state, as I get it when I read my beloved King Arthur books or at the end of a Shakespearian tragedy. But I feel like Moorcock does it with smoke & mirrors instead of through masterful story-telling. In Stormbringer (and the other Elric novels to be sure) I get this feeling from a combination of atmosphere and setting, but Elric himself leaves me cold. It’s pretty hard to root for the guy who is portrayed as the lesser evil. The details of each novel are tiresomely repetitive—Elric tries to resist using his demonic sword, Stormbringer; without it, he is too weak to be of any use in macho pursuits; he returns once again to using his soul-sucking weapon.

One simple word, repeated several times, was also jarring to me. Elric keeps saying “thanks,” which to me feels like a very modern usage and out of place in this rather archaic setting. If he said “many thanks” it would have grated less for me. Likewise, a number of times contracted words were used, when I thought that spelling out both words would have been more true to the ancient atmosphere, not to mention matching with the other language used. I guess I expect more precise language in a pseudo-archaic world.

I can’t say that I’m unhappy to be finished the Elric saga…..in many ways, it has felt like reading the same book six times.

Book 203 of my science fiction and fantasy reading project.

6 comments:

  1. Hi Wanda

    I found your comments very interesting. I just finished a omnibus edition of all the Hawkmoon stories. I had enjoyed the first book some years ago but finishing the series was a struggle. I liked Count Brass and the Kamarg but as with you the hero Hawkmoon left me cold. In each book Hawkmoon must resolve an encounter or obtain an artifact related to the Runestaff. Which he only does with great reluctance and a lot of whining. By the end of the book I found the nobles of Granbretan, a society of nihilist sociopaths who kill everything including the pets when they take a city more interesting. I kept imagining them in a book written by Peake. The Moorcock book are mostly written to formula, I suspect he needed the cash. The Corum books again follow the same formula, as you said they are like reading the same book six times.

    Guy

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    1. I suspect you are right about Moorcock writing fast for cash and using his sure fire formula.

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  2. I should mention all the nobles and soldiers in Granbretan wear neat metal animal masks relating to their occupation or unit all the time.

    Now that was cool.

    Guy

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    1. I'll have to check this out--I like the sounds of that!

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  3. Hi

    You can have my copy if you like I am not keeping it. Helen can pop it in your mail box.

    Guy

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    1. That's kind of you, Guy. Yes, please!

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