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Elric in the Dream Realms: Chronicles of the Last Emperor of Melniboné, Vol. 5
Michael Moorcock
Del Rey, 421 pages

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: City of the Beast
SF Site Review: The Metatemporal Detective
SF Site Review: Wizardry & Wild Romance
SF Site Review: Close To My Heart: New Worlds: An Anthology
SF Site Review: The Dreamthief's Daughter
SF Site Review: Gloriana or the Unfulfilled Queen
SF Site Review: Behold the Man
SF Site Review: Michael Moorcock's Multiverse
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

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Sandra Scholes

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Elric in the Dream Realms There will be ardent fans that won't be able to resist getting this novel as every book Michael Moorcock writes becomes a gem that never tarnishes over the decades. The way he can weave a fantasy story that grips the reader from the start is a major achievement he manages every time he writes, but for many he will be known for his Elric novels. As in his earlier volumes; Elric: The Stealer of Souls, Elric: To Rescue Tanelorn, and Elric: The Sleeping Sorceress. Moorcock starts with the complete The Fortress of the Pearl.

Michael Moorcock has made his novels into epic pieces of modern fantasy literature everyone remembers fondly. His lead character, Elric of Melniboné is a sorcerer, prince of a fallen kingdom, despoiler of women and sometime physically weak figure, if not for the herbs he consumes to keep him alert and ready to do battle later. It would be easy to hate such an individual, but Elric is not intentionally cruel, and constantly in mourning for Cymoril, his wife who just happens to be the only woman he has ever truly loved.

Considered a Grand Master by many, partly for creating the Elric saga of novels, Moorcock has had a long reign as one of the most popular and most read fantasy writers for over twenty years, and this compendium of stories is no different as it keeps him right up there with all the other luminaries of fiction. Elric was one of the first anti-heroes, a tragic, tortured person tormented by his cousin Yyrkoon who eventually betrays him and takes the ruby throne of his kingdom, making him an outlaw and renegade -- one who is not welcome in the kingdom.

The Fortress of the Pearl forms half of the book even though it was originally released in novel form in 1989, which also contains Elric: The Making of a Sorcerer, a graphic novel, one of many that was drawn by Walter Simonson and reads like a script with fine illustrations accompanying it. It is set in much earlier times when Elric was just a boy prince and heir to the throne of Melniboné, Sadric rules and Cymoril, with whom Elric has a special relationship, dotes on him even then. There is to be a new ruler of Melniboné, yet their father cannot decide who it is to be, Yyrkoon or Elric. Yyrkoon is ambitious and cruel, and Elric sickly and weak but both he and his father underestimate Elric's skill and mastery of spell casting.

"One Life Furnished in Early Moorcock" by Neil Gaiman, author of the best known Gothic fantasy series The Sandman, is a creative piece and seems like a schoolboy's homage to the writer who immersed himself in the exploits of the albino character. It illustrates the growing pains boys of that age go through, identifying with a character that is an outcast and individualistic as they feel. Full of humor just like some of his other stories, this shines as a boy's love for his fantasy idol and what it means to him before he grows up. I think the main moral of this story is a man never truly grows out of the things he did in his youth and that are the true magic of it.

"A Portrait in Ivory" is one of Moorcock's later works where he is met by a beautiful lady who wants to have an audience with him for a very different reason to what he is expecting. At first this story is rather unassuming, yet it has an ethereal quality to it, and the interaction between Elric and the lady brings out a softer side to Elric's personality right up until the end, giving him cause to really think about how much of an impact his long lineage has on others around him who only casually observe.

In "Origins," shown for the first time together are some of the illustrations and covers that have been associated with the Elric novels by artists such as Geoff Taylor, Frank Brinner, Walter Simonson, and Dawn Wilson, but many who remember Michael Whelan's wonderful covers will wonder why he has been left out.

There is a remarkable amount of debate about the Elric novels as they represent the character as an anti-hero who has a vampire sword to aid him as well as Arioch, his maste,r when he surfaces at critical times. It is an incredible body of work to consider, as many will sympathize with Elric in his crusades and journeys until their very end. Moorcock's brand of fantasy writing, as most fans will know is extremely detailed and full of pomp and circumstance.

Copyright © 2010 Sandra Scholes

Sandra Scholes has written stories for magazines in the UK and is currently working on Quail Bell magazine that deals with fantasy, Victorian and Gothic fiction. She sometimes wishes there were more hours in the day so she could read more.


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