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Michael Moorcock's Multiverse
Michael Moorcock (illustrated by Walter Simonson, Mark Reeve, and John Ridgeway)
Vertigo/DC Comics, 288 pages


Walter Simonson
Michael Moorcock's Multiverse
Michael Moorcock
Michael Moorcock has published over 70 novels in all genres. These include several series that share, to different extents, a common multiverse: the Cornelius Chronicles, The Dancers at the End of Time, Erekose, The Books of Corum, Hawkmoon: The Chronicles of Castle Brass, Hawkmoon: The History of the Runestaff and the classic Elric of Melnibone Saga. He has also edited an anthology of late Victorian science fiction, Before Armageddon. Under the pen name E.P. Bradbury, he published a series of novel-length pastiches of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom novels.

Moorcock was born in London in 1939 and began writing, illustrating, editing and printing fanzines under the MJM Publications imprint at a young age. He became the editor of Tarzan Adventures at 16 (some sources say 17), and later the Sexton Blake Library. In 1964 he became the radical editor of the experimental and frequently controversial British SF magazine New Worlds.

A multiple winner of the British Fantasy Award, Moorcock is also a World Fantasy Award and John W. Campbell Memorial Award winner for his novel Gloriana. He won the 1967 Nebula Award for his novella "Behold the Man." He has twice won the Derleth Award for Fantasy (for The Sword and the Stallion, and The Hollow Lands), and the Guardian Fiction Prize (1977) for The Condition of Muzak. He has been shortlisted for both the Booker and Whitbread prizes, Britain's most prestigious literary awards. Moorcock currently lives in London, Spain and Texas. Moorcock has also recorded music, both solo and with the progressive rock group, Hawkwind.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The War Amongst the Angels
SF Site Review: The Dancers at the End of Time
SF Site Review: Kane of Old Mars
SF Site Review: Sailing to Utopia
Michael Moorcock Interview
Michael Moorcock's Musical Contributions
Bio-bibliography: Michael Moorcock
Bibliography: Michael Moorcock
Vote for your favourite Moorcock novel
Michael Moorcock Tribute Site
Michael Moorcock Tribute Site
Elric of Melnibone site

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steven H Silver

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Michael Moorcock is well know for his ability to recycle his characters and concepts into a variety of forms. His graphic novel, Michael Moorcock's Multiverse, is confirmation of this ability. Originally published as a series of three tales in the magazine of the same name, this graphic novel weaves these disparate threads together well.

"Moonbeams and Roses" follows the adventures of Rose, who originally appeared in the novel The Revenge of the Rose (1991) and Sam Oakenhurst, hero of Blood (1995) and subsequent novels. "The Metatemporal Detective" portrays Sir Seaton Begg of Moorcock's ubiquitous Begg/Beq/von Bek family as a 30s era detective in the Sherlock Holmes vein. Finally, "Duke Elric" transports Moorcock's most famous creation, the albino Melnibonéan emperor Elric, to Europe at the turn of the first millennium. All of this is framed by the story of a friendly evening of gambling between Jack Karaquazian (Blood, etc.) and Moorcock, himself.

All three adventures focus on the quest for the elusive Silverskin, a king, underworld crime boss and possibly more. Eventually, as Moorcock's protagonists close in on Silverskin, their stories become more closely wrapped together in the manner with which Moorcock has always combined his characters. Even before the culmination, such characters as Count Zodiac, Sir Seaton Begg's enigmatic cousin, bear a striking resemblance to other characters, notably Duke Elric.

Because of the varying settings of which Moorcock makes use, and the differences between the plots, different aspects of the novel will appeal most strongly to different readers. The events surrounding the Rose and Sam Oakenhurst are probably the most metaphysical of all the plotlines, while Sir Seaton Begg's investigations are set in a London and Europe which Moorcock has frequently examined in such works as Mother London (1988) and his "Between the Wars" sequence (1981, 1984, 1992).

The illustration is well done, using colours, styles and designs appropriate to each storyline -- each story having its own artist. Walter Simonson's artwork and frames have a tendency to get a little busy when portraying the story in "Moonbeams and Roses." Mark Reeve's pictures, which illustrate "The Metatemporal Detective," use a dark, moody style evocative of the period and setting. John Ridgeway's illustrations for "Duke Elric" range from Anglo-Saxon England to the lands of northern Africa and the introduction of a Melnibonéan dragon.

Because of its graphic novel format, it is quite possible that Michael Moorcock's Multiverse will draw new readers to his works.

Unfortunately, the book is not the best introduction to Moorcock's work. There are several concepts in Michael Moorcock's Multiverse which are better explored, and in greater detail, in his textual novels. A new reader approaching them for the first time in a graphic novel format may find himself at a loss for what Moorcock is attempting to say and do. While knowledge of all or most of the characters and their relationships from their textual adventures is a help, it is not necessary for the enjoyment of Michael Moorcock's Multiverse.

Copyright © 2000 by Steven H Silver

Steven H Silver is one of the founders and judges for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History. He sits on concoms for Windycon, Chicon 2000 and Clavius in 2001 and is co-chair of Picnicon 1998. Steven will be serving as the Programming Chairman for Chicon 2000. In addition to maintaining several bibliographies and the Harry Turtledove website, Steven is trying to get his short stories published and has recently finished his first novel. He lives at home with his wife and 3200 books. He is available for convention panels.


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