Michael Moorcock

I started this little book club a couple of years ago for a number of reasons. It was originally envisioned as a way of: 1. Getting some of you SF enthusiasts reading. 2. Sharing my love of reading with likeminded individuals. 3. Introducing readers to authors they may not have otherwise checked out. 4. Spotlighting new or lesser-known writers and giving them whatever exposure this modest blog could provide. Over the course of the club’s run, we’ve read some wonderful books and hosted some equally wonderful authors – a few up-and-comers, many established players in their various genres, and a couple of outright legends in the field. Today’s guest author falls in the latter category.

I’ve been a fan of Michael Moorcock for as long as I can remember and it gives me great pleasure to be able to introduce some new readers to the works of an author who helped shaped not only the Fantasy genre, but SF, comics, and gaming as well. But before I turn this blog over to Mike, I’d like to make mention of another author many of you may be familiar with.

About a year ago, author Catherynne M. Valente kindly took the time to stop by and discuss that month’s Fantasy Book of the Month Club selection – The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden. Those of you who took part may remember the book, a wildly inventive narrative that fashioned tales within tales within tales, or the supporting Q&A (click here to jog your respective memories: http://josephmallozzi.com/2008/08/26/august-26-2008-author-catherynne-m-valente-answers-your-questions-and-carl-binder-takes-us-on-a-virtual-tour/). Well, in today’s comments section, blog semi-regular Gen informed us that Catherynne is going through a bit of a difficult time and has come up with a novel way of dealing with the challenge she faces. She has started to write a novel, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, that she will be offering up free to those interested. Every Monday, a new chapter will be made available on her site. As I said, it’s free, but if you enjoy Catherynne’s work (and I can’t imagine you wouldn’t) and want to support her in this ongoing project, there’s a handy link you can click on to make a donation. As Catherynne writes: “Pay whatever you like for it, whatever you think it’s worth.”: http://yuki-onna.livejournal.com/487082.html.  Head on over a check it out.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, I proudly turn this blog over to Michael Moorcock…


Sparrow_hawk writes: “Questions for Michael Moorcock.:

1. I first read the Elric stories almost 30 years ago. Even though I enjoy them now just as much as I did the first time I read them, I’m a very different person than I was then and my perspective on Elric has changed. Did the way you perceived and portrayed the character of Elric change as you wrote about him over time?”

MM: Yes.  I wrote the first Elric stuff as a late teenager and he reflects all my late teenage angst.  As I matured, ironically he matured to a degree, which was a bit hard to do in retrospect.  Having killed him off in Stormbringer (which was conceived as a novel, by the way, but written in four parts to fit Science Fantasy, which did not run serials) I then had to go back and write a YOUNGER version of a character with whom I continued to identuify!  I could also develop his world and back story a lot, of course, because in this kind of supernatural adventure, derived (by me at least) from the early 19th century gothic novel, the landscape and weather is a reflection of the characters’ inner workings.  Later, I was able to send Elric on his ‘dreamquests’ (see Making of a Sorcerer, the most recent comic original) which also helped explain other aspects of his character, and the last three novels (generally known as the Dreamquest trilogy) which began with The Dreamthief’s Daughter also came up with other ways of developing his character to reflect what you might call my own maturer development as a writer.  Of course, this regular habit of mine to go back to earlier characters has been a help in that it’s a bit more like weaving than telling a story entirely from beginning to end — in a sense more the way memory works, shunting back and forth through past, present and future, nolt necessarily in that order!

“2. There is a line at the very end of Stormbringer that seems very sad to me and John Picacio’s image of Elric in the book fits it perfectly: “And as he died he wept again, for he knew that the fraction of the sword’s soul which was his would never know rest but was doomed to immortality, to eternal struggle.” Could you discuss a little (or a lot!) about your idea of the “Eternal Champion”?”

MM: I actually wrote The Eternal Champion, The Sundered Worlds (which introduced the idea of the Multiverse) and the Elric stories all around the same time, so I was thinking on my feet a bit, not having thought the material through as much as maybe an older writer might have done.  A major influence was Melmoth the Wanderer, the story of a man doomed to immortality until he can shift his burden on to another.  I was swamped not only in Romantic poetry and fiction but also in existentialist work by the likes of Sartre and Camus.  I saw Elric as representing an eternal element in human nature — the wish, in spite of all vicissitudes, to create justice, either through self-sacrifice or through some form of imposition.  All that said, I was writing in a popular form (even if I was trying to make it my own as best I could) so wasn’t about to go into long explanations about Elric’s inner struggles.   But I’ve always believed that it takes  a long, long time to achieve social justice and that ending reflects my belief (and also, I suppose, my patience! ) .

“3. Let’s say that someone, like me for example, loved your writing but had only read some of the Elric books and was interested in reading some of your other Eternal Champion books. There are a lot of them. Where would you recommend that I start?” 

MM: The Eternal Champion books, beginning with The Eternal Champion and the other main books in that set (The Silver Warriors aka Phoenix in Obsidian, The Dragon in the Sword and possibly the graphic novel The Swords of Heaven; The Flowers of Hell).  Then the Hawkmoon books, then the Corum books.  After that you get into the non-S&S stories, such as the Cornelius tetralogy.  Slowly, I hope, the books open up to include a lot of non-fantasy work as well, because my basic argument has been from the beginning that we are ALL the Eternal Champion — we’re all heroes.  And heroines. 

Tammy Dixon writes: “My questions for Mr. Moorcock are: Elric’s world was so detailed with layers upon layers of stories/myths. These stories were written over a period of time. How did you keep all of these details straight? Are there any details that you goofed on, that you can share with us? The back book cover mentioned a movie deal. Any word on that?”

MM: First, the movie.  There have been movie offers made on Elric for some forty years, but I rejected them all, usually very quickly, because I didn’t like what the producer or director wanted to do.  When the Weitz brothers came to me, I liked what they had to say and also by then the LOTR movies had come out showing that your story (in a fantasy film) didn’t have to take second place to the effects.  Effects should help tell the story, not the other way around.  Then we had a contractual glitch which took a long time to resolve and we all went off to do other things.  But Chris Weitz and I are still discussing what to do (after he finishes the sequel to Twilight) assuming that we are still happy with the studio, who have continued to keep the project alive for us, in spite of our delays.  However, should anything emerge which makes me not want to do the movie, I won’t do it until I’m happy with the situation.  It’s important to me to keep Elric true to the original character and idea.

I’m sure there are some minor details I’ve goofed on, but I have a great editor in John Davey, who edited the special omnibus editions of the entire EC cycle in the 90s, and John will pick me up on something he spots.  Mostly, I don’t seem to goof all that much, at least by the time stories get into book form.  I have only ever reread one Elric book (Elric of Melnibone) and have not read the others, relying on some instinctive memory of the character (and the other characters) in the stories.  I don’t know what it is, but somehow I can, by knowing the character, seem to remember events.  There have been a few goofs in for instance the Hawkmoon books, but those were addressed mostly soon after the books were written.  I have a lot of readers who are quick to let me know when I goof!

DrowElf writes: “I was one of those Elric first-timers and even though, as you say, the stories were assembled by publication date, I thought they held together well. At no point was I confused (well, there was one story, I can’t remember which one, when Moonglum was absent at first and I was wondering why but it’s later explained that he was visiting his home town) and it all flowed together nicely.   I have some questions for Michael Moorcock –  How do you think fantasty literature has developed since Elric was first published? At the beginning, it was all Tolkien derivatives but today, you have books like Rothfuss’s lyrical Name of the Wind, Abercrombie’s anti-fantasy First Blade series, and Erikson’s dark Malazan novels to name just a few. How do you think Elric influenced the development of fantasy? How do you view fantasy being written now? And are there any contemporary fantasy authors you enjoy reading?”

MM: Well, this is slightly tricky.  But when I started reading fantasy there wasn’t any Lord of the Rings.  I’d heard of The Hobbit as a children’s book, but it had looked a bit ‘elfy’ to me and I didn’t much care for stories with the average elf, gnome or pixie in them by then (though Tufty the Tree Elf was the first fantasy I read at about age 4).  I was also a bit too old for the Lewis books, though I’d loved the E.Nesbit books, which were his great influence).  I had grown up with Norse myths and legends, Celtirc M&L and later Hindu M&L and so on.  And I loved ERBurroughs’s Martian books, as well as, a bit later, Robert E. Howard.  I had heard that LOTR was going to be published.  People were talking about it in terms of William Morris.  Then I read  an American book by a new writer called Poul Anderson.  Published in 1954, it was called The Broken Sword and was set in the time when Vikings were raiding England and the peoples of Norse legend were being pushed back by the coming of the Christians.

I’ve reviewed it in the reviews section of my own website Moorcock’s Miscellany.  I have to say that when I eventually did read LOTR I found it disappointing.  I’ve read very little of the fiction which derives from Tolkien.  Anderson, Fritz Leiber, Howard and the whole tradition of American fantasy adventure fiction is what chiefly influenced mine.  The author I preferred to Tolkien was Mervyn Peake and he remains my single greatest favourite, though there is almost nothing supernatural in the Peake Titus Groan books which, being published around the same time as Tolkien’s, have often been compared with LOTR, though they have almost nothing in common.  That said, while I have not easily been able to get into Tolkien, I also can’t read H.P.Lovecraft or other fantasy ‘classics’ — I tend, in fact, to like ‘science fantasy’ better — the kind of thing written by China Mieville and M.John Harrison.  Erikson and Co represent a very interesting strand and I have to say I like it better.  Gene Wolfe could also be included, I think. Elric had a pretty strong influence on fantasy fiction, much of it through RPGs and the original D&D book (which listed his mythos) as well as comics and so on.  The whole notion of the multiverse, for instance, made its way into fantasy fiction by that route and there are quite a few Elricoids out there, it seems!   Certainly, there seem to be a lot more troubled albinoes about than when I was a lad…

StarFury writes: “Mr. Moorcock, As a big fan of your work, I can’t tell you how pleased I am to have this opportunity. Thank you for making the time to stop by and chat with us.  A couple of Elric-related questions:
– We’ve had some discussion about Stormbringer’s gender and the suggestion that the sword is female – something that was downplayed in later editions. I’m wondering what your initial feelings were in this regard and how the jibe with your present mindset. Stormbringer = male, female, or asexual? And why?”

MM: To be honest, I don’t think I gave Stormbringer one particular gender.  I still don’t think of the sword as male or female but as both.  I didn’t deliberately downplay this idea.  I must unconsciously have made the sword a ‘she’ in earlier stories and I know that in later stories I choose not to give the sword a gender at all.  I’ve written several stories where I haven’t described the gender of a character and you’ll find a fair bit of ambivalent sexuality outside the fantasy stories.  Arioch, even, is described as male but is not always presented in male form.  Jerry Cornelius shifts sexual identity faster than most of us change underwear.

“- When writing your very first Elric story, were you at all concerned that your hero would prove too unlikable to an editor or the general public? Was there ever a point early on when you considered softening Elric to make him more palatable to the consumer or was this never an issue?”

MM: Never an issue.  Elric was based on the hero-villains I’d liked as a boy — including, of course, Byron.  I don’t think it occurred to anyone.  In those days we didn’t really discuss how a character was likely to go down with the public — unless we were coming up with a comic book character when I worked at Fleetway.  Elric came out pretty much exactly as I wanted him to be (influenced, as I’ve said elsewhere, by Zenith the Albino, an adversary of pulp detective Sexton Blake — I’ve talked about him elsewhere, including in the current Del Rey series).
“And general questions – There has also been some discussion on the role of women in the fantasy genre. What do you say to those who feel female characters have historically been given short shrift? Is it a result of the genre’s roots as targeting predominantly male readers? Do you think that things have improved re: fantasy’s depiction of women?”

MM: When I first started drafting the Elric stories I was 18 or 19 and was 20 when I did the first one.  That was in 1960.  In those days black people were still called ‘coloured’ by people trying not to sound racist and ‘negro’ was used for similar reasons.  Neither the politics of colour or gender had been greatly discussed.  In the following five years we became increasingly sopihisticated in our realisation of what stereotyping did and how it was a bad idea.  The first Elric stories had women who were mostly ‘handbags’ (as we now call men who are an accessory to a woman…) but I soon began to develop women who drove the dynamic of the story.  I have always hated stereotypes and worked against them.  I had trouble at Fleetway (IPC — UK’s largest periodical publisher) because of my refusal to use stereotypes.  In fact, in some of my early criticism I discussed how the form itself is often the message, almost demanding that the author employ stereotypes.  The medium really can be the message.  So you’ll find a lot of my work goes against stereotyping after those early stories.  If I could go back and change them, that female stereotyping is the one thing I’d  change.

I think the depiction of women has improved across pretty much all genre fiction.

“You’ve written for both SF and Fantasy. Do you prefer writing for one genre over the other? And why do you think it is that Fantasy outsells SF so considerably?”

MM: Well, I’ve written in most genres and also written a fair bit of literary fiction.  I’ve always said that I pick the form that best suits the idea.  At present I’m writing a new Elric story, a ‘straight’ realist story that’s pretty autobiographical, a satirical pulp detective story (actually it’s more homage than satire), a novel that is part fantasy/part autobiography, an article about my relationship with London for The Financial Times and I’m working on another story which might come out ‘straight’ or fantastic.  I’ve done that since the beginning of my career, just as I prefer to tell some stories in graphic novel form, for instance.  I think contemporary fantasy has largely taken over from the historical fantasy (pirate bodice rippers, say) as well as other related to genres, so it appeals to a much wider audience than SF.  SF has always tended to have a mainly male audience whereas contemporary Fantasy (with its wider base) clearly appeals much more to women AND men.

“- Given the opportunity in some alternate reality, what book series or character not your own would you have loved to have written?”

MM: Well, Elizabeth Bowen is my ‘default’ favourite modern novelist and I think she’s the writer whose talent I most envy.  I actually haven’t read her fantasy short stories (she’s primarily a literary novelist) but I’d certainly like to have written some of her novels.  I also like the novelists Elizabeth Taylor, Colette, Angus Wilson and, as mentioned, Mervyn Peake.  Perhaps J.G.Ballard is my favourite writer of science fantasy.  You’d have to BE him to write like him and I’m not sure I’d want to go through his life. 

Tangar_Ree writes: “And questions for Michael Moorcock -Can you tell us about your works in progress. What are you toiling away on at present?” 

MM: Oops.  I’ve just spoken a little about work in progress.  I’ve started writing a fresh series of Elric stories set at the time when he and Moonglum are wandering the Young Kingdoms. The first of these was Black Petals in Weird Stories, the second is called Red Pearls and I’m doing it for a S&S anthology.  The Sanctuary of the White Friars is a three book series which uses a lot of straight autobiography but is set in what was a real thieves’ sanctuary off Fleet Street in London into the early 19th century. The story mixes real elements and straight elements and in some ways looks to the theological fantasies of Charles Williams (the ‘other’ Inkling, whom I greatly admire) for inspiration.  Stalking Balzac is also autobiographical but deals pretty much wholly with my relationship with a very dear friend, Tom Disch, who died last year.  Another story, provisionally called Curare is my homage to Sexton Blake (aforementioned pulp detective) and Zenith, among others.  Various other shorts in the works.    I’ve also been in the process for some time of writing a memoir of Mervyn Peake.

“And what can you tell us about the upcoming Elric movie? How involved will you be in its development?”

MM: If it comes off, I’ll be very involved.  If I’m not involved, it won’t come off. 

The English Assassin writes: “Hello Michael, I’m happy to hear that an Elric movie has finally been given the greenlight. Which brings me to my question: When will an updated version of Jerry Cornelius hit the big screen?”

MM: Nice idea.  I’ve thought of that a bit lately — perhaps because someone’s doing a remake of the movie Jim Cawthorn and I wrote in the 70s, The Land That Time Forgot!  It would be nice to do a good Cornelius movie today.  Something a bit less simple minded than The Matrix? 

Eric Stewart writes: “Here are my questions for Mr Moorcock: 1. How did Elric get Stormbringer?”

MM: That’s described in Elric the Making of a Sorcerer (DC Comics) and in Elric of Melnibone.  To say anything else would be a spoiler, I think.

“2 Why does Stormbringer take souls?”

MM: To feed Elric and maintain their symbiotic relationship.

“3. Has Elric signed an evil pact that prevents him from getting rid of Stormbringer?”

MM: Not exactly. 

“4. Elric so far seems to abandon every women he gets involved with, is there a particular reason? Is Stormbringer a jealous sword?”

MM: Only, I think, in the first stories does he do that.  But mostly he doesn’t stay with them because of what happens to most women who are around him.  You could say that Stormbringer’s jealous.  But Stormbringer’s really more ambiguous than that.

“5. What inspired you to create this character?”

MM: I wanted to write a fantasy character who was as different from other fantasy characters as possible.

“6. How old were you when you wrote the first Elric story?”

MM: I was 18 when I first sketched the character and first story out but I didn’t write the story until commissioned to write it by Ted Carnell, editor of Science Fantasy magazine when I was 20.

EndofTimes writes: “Hi, Mike. Thanks for coming by and answering our questions. I’m wondering if you have a preference in terms of genre (fantasy vs. scifi) or media (novels vs. comic books)? If so, why? Do you feel that one gives you a freedom to pursue certain stories? And, finally, an plans to write for film? Like, say, an Elric movie script?”

MM: I don’t much like writing for film.  Too many other people involved!  As I said elsewhere, I tend to pick the form which best suits the story.  This is probably noticeable mostly in the US in The Best of Michael Moorcock which has just appeared.  That shows a pretty wide variety of different kinds of fiction.  I really do get ideas which are best suited to one form or another and sometimes will even change genres when I’m part-way through if it seems the story will be better suited to another form.

GateTech334 writes: “I really enjoyed this book. I honestly didn’t think I would because I’ve always been more of a fan of what you referred to as more traditional fantasy, but I fell in with the Elric character. I’ve already picked up the next two volumes and look forward to reading them all eventually.  If I could ask the author a question, I’d like to know the genesis of the Elric character. He makes mention of his inspiration for the albino character in the book’s introduction, but I’m wondering if there were parts of Elric’s character that were inspired by real individuals? Maybe a bit of himself?”

MM: Yes, there was a lot of the young me in the first Elric stories and I have tended to identify with him all my life, which is probably why I’ve written so much about him over the years.  The only other character for whom I feel exactly the same bond is Jerry Cornelius, who came out of Elric in the first place!

DasNdanger writes: “First, let me say that I am thrilled to finally have discovered your books, and your characters. The stories flowed with such ease I almost forgot I was reading, and the characters really resonated with me. I appreciate the time you’ve taken to share with your readers, both here and elsewhere. Thanks you.  Now, a few questions:

1. Mike, you have said that Elric very much reflects the man you were at the time of your writing these stories, and the character of Moonglum was inspired by a dear friend of yours. What about the antagonists – Theleb K’aarna, and Jagreen Lern – did anyone or anything in particular inspire their creation?”

MM: Good question.  I think the villains were more complilations of people I disliked than Elric, for instance.  I have based certain villains on other people I’ve truly disliked, but none of Elric’s antagonists I can think of are based on real people.

“2. You describe the Melnibonéans as “a race without conscience or moral creed, unneedful of reasons for their acts of conquest, seeking no excuses for their natural malicious tendencies. But Elric…was not like them.” Is it this difference in Elric – call it a fledgling conscience, or sense of morality – that fated him to be the Eternal Champion, or something else?”

MM: It’s one of the reasons.  But the Melniboneans weren’t always as I described them when the first stories open.  In other stories I show how they gradually became as they are, so it’s fair to argue that Elric might even be a throwback to a different time.

But it seems that the Eternal Balance chooses its champions for mysterious reasons!

“3. Elric is a character in conflict, full of contrasts. One that stood out to me was, despite his gloomy, brooding nature, he often seemed quite optimistic that things would work out in his favor. At times this came across as something akin to a childlike naiveté, as if he could not – or perhaps would not – anticipate what could go wrong. Was this due to over-confidence on his part, or idealism, or just plain stupidity?”

MM: Arrogance, mostly, I’d say.  Also I’d argue that anyone who claims to be a pessimist doesn’t usually involve themselves in action.  Elric’s actions often contradict his own assessment of his character.

“4. I’ve heard writers say that sometimes their characters ‘hijack’ the story and take on a life of their own, perhaps taking the story in a direction they hadn’t intended, or surprising them with a revelation that they hadn’t expected. Has this ever happened to you, or do you have a fairly strong outline for what you want for both the characters and the story that keeps everything in check?”

MM: It happens  lot.  I create the character, then the story, then the plot.  Frequently the characters take the story over and drive it in an entirely different direction to the one I planned.” 

“5. Hand-written or typed – which allows thoughts to flow more freely when writing?”

MM: Both — depending on where I am or what I prefer at the time.  I’ll frequently start a story in longhand and finish it on the keyboard, but I’ll often go back and forth, also.  I’ll start typing, then find I prefer to do it in longhand for a while.  One thing I’m no good at however is dictation.

“Mike, thanks again for taking this time to share your thoughts and your creations with us!”
MM: You’re welcome!

KellyK writes: “Joe, thanks for introducing me to the Elric saga. Yet one more author to add to my growing list. And thanks to Michael Moorcock for 1. Agreeing to answer our questions and more importantly 2. Writing such a great series. I honestly cannot wait to read the rest.And while I’m thanking people, thanks to artist John Picacio for the beautiful artwork.Okay, some questions for Mr. Moorcock:

1. Judging from the sheer volume of work produced and the fact that you wrote one of your first Elric story in a day(!) I’d say its safe to say you were a fairly prolific writer. My question is – Would you still consider yourself a prolific writer?”

MM: I probably am, by most standards.  Most of my fantasy novels were written in 3 days.  As I got older it started to take a week and the last ‘just Elric’ novels I wrote took three weeks.  So it’s evident I’m slowing down.  But I’m still writing an average of two novels a year or more in terms of volume. Which is considered prolific, though it feels pretty damn’ lazy to me!

“2. One question that comes up now and again when authors comes to visit concerns their writing process. Some writers are early risers while others are night owls. Some (like Stephen King) work to raucuous background music while others prefer silence. What is your writing process? Day? Night? Loud? Quiet? And when it comes to writing, do you plan out your stories in any detail before starting or are you a make it up as you go along type?”

MM: Again, it depends very much on the work being done.  But I used to write a regular day with an hour off for lunch, developed when I had young children and tight deadlines.  Same with music.  I generally do play music but sometimes it will be loud and raucous, sometimes popular, sometimes classical.  I tend to have a bunch of favourites I’ll play, though.  Other times I listen to BBC Radio Four which is mostly a news and features channel.  I’ve done this since I was a kid. If I plan stories in detail it usually means that I’ll change the story in a lot of ways before it’s complete.  I’ll often have a dozen or more plots for the same story before it eventually gets where it’s supposed to go. 
“3. It has just been brought to my attention that you maintain a web presence (which is great). I’m wondering what your take is on how growing technology has affected the face of publishing. With more and more small publishers shutting down and genre magazines ceasing publication, what can authors do to keep their work relevant in the face of rapid change?”

MM: I think web magazines are, in some form or other, going to take over where conventional magazines and publishers leave off.  I think there are some superb ‘smaller’ publishers around, these days, which use the web to their great advantage.  As larger publishing conglomerates start collapsing under their own weight, I suspect we’ll see more and more successful ‘niche’ publishers, who can take advantage of IT to grow.  Authors can start thinking in terms of using YouTube, say, to bring mixed media to their storytelling methods.  There’s a lot of interesting stuff being done — and to be done.

Bailey writes: “I remember reading the Elric books many years ago and being fascinated by them.  Have you gone back and read them recently?”

MM: No.  I’ve only ever read Elric of Melnibone all the way through, about nine years ago.

“What did you think, would you change anything if you were writing them today?”

MM: Some of the stereotypical stuff.

“Has your outlook on life changed significantly since then?”

MM: I don’t think so.  It’s become more sophisticated, I hope, but I still feel passionate about much the same things, including social injustice. 

Drldeboer writes: “For Michael Moorcock: Thanks so VERY much for offering to answer questions.
1) Are you still critical of fiction writers who push an “agenda” with their stories, such as political views or deliberate stereotypes (ie Jewish characters)?” 

MM: Well, I prefer to leave as much as possible to the reader’s interpretation.  I don’t much like reading most fiction where the author has a clear agenda, I must say.  I have to say I hate racial or gender stereotyping, so I wouldn’t mind a character being of any race or gender preference as long as the story isn’t used to attack such a character.

“2) Do you still think fantasy lit should have meaning, and not just be escapism, or do you think both have their merits?”

MM: Both have their merits.  I tend not to like portentous fiction, as so much sf use4d to be, which pretends to have meaning when it’s really just a bit of escapism.  I don’t write much that is JUST escapism, but I don’t mind readers reading my stuff just as escapism if that’s what suits them.  I never expect readers to have to analyse what I write.

“3) Many of your characters have the initials “J.C.”, is there a reason behind that?”
MM: Pure coincidence, though much has been made of it.  Many of my friends — John Carnell, Jim Cawthorn, John and Judith Clute, John Coulthart etc. etc. — have those initials and the James Colvin pseudonym I sometimes wrote under was given me by — John Carnell.  I DO tend to pick names with that resonance, but not deliberately. 

Joseph Kiss and Jack Karaquazian are two more.

And thanks again, Joe.

All best,


33 thoughts on “June 11, 2009: Author Michael Moorcock Answers Your Questions + Supporting Author Catherynne M. Valente’s Latest Project

  1. Wow. quick turn around time. Really appreciate Mr. Moorcock’s participation here, and that the other blog readers came through with some good questions. Many thanks to Mr. Moorcock and Mr. Mallozzi for this Q&A.

  2. Quick question for Joe:

    How does the filming of sgu work while Lou is on a supposedly ‘live’ television show at the moment? Is he somehow traveling back and forth, the show is not actually live, or is he able to stay there because there aren’t any scenes for him???

    Thanks always,


  3. Thanks so much, Mike! Great Q&A!! It helped me get my head around a few things I’ve been wondering about regarding Elric, but also has shed some nice light on your creative process, and evolution as a writer. And thank you, Joe, for making this possible. Good stuff!


  4. Sorry for the double post, but is it just me or is anyone else having a problem with the link to Ms. Valente’s link? I’ll try again in the morning, but after 5 tries I’m calling it a night.

  5. Joe —

    Are you getting Top Chef Masters up there? It was great last night watching my local fave, Hubert Keller, kick a$$ with just a hot plate, a toaster oven and a microwave. Even more fun seeing him get lost in the grocery store.

  6. Please forward my comment to the Paul McGillion Q & A please.

    Hi Paul, you rock. If you were offered a regularly recurring role on SGU as Carson Beckett the clone, or another character, which role would you choose and why.

    I was at the Save Carson rally at the Studio years back. Skipped an important English class for ya! 😀 And when I was at the Bridge Studio’s Haunted Studio Tour, the guide forgot to mention you as part of the cast, so I yelled out your name. That’s how much you rule 😀 Best of luck!

  7. A question for Joe:

    From your blog, I get the impression that you love food.

    I’ll be driving out to the east coast (Canada) this summer with stops in Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City – a day or two per city. Could you recommend some must try restaurants – and maybe chocolate shops?

    I’m really hoping to stop by Au Pied de Cochon since I’ve heard so much about it, but that’s just one meal in one city.

    If you know of any gems in Nova Scotia or PEI, please feel free to mention them as well.

    I’m game to taste anything once – except foods with high use of peanuts, since I’d rather not die just yet. That being said, I do have a weakness for Italian, Japanese, and French cuisines, plus chocolates, pastries, and the occasional good plate of pub food.

  8. Thank you so much to Michael Moorcock for answering all these questions!
    And to Joe for hosting!

  9. Thanks again Joe. Your efforts are much appreciated to bring on authors of such calibre as Michael Moorcock.

    Useless fact for the day: “Twelve plus one” uses the same letters that spell “eleven plus two.” Da da duuuuuummmm.

  10. Dear Joe,

    Me and my luck… everytime I contribute a question to the blog… there is no mailbag LOL Anyways buddy, if its not too much asking can you please answer the question I asked yesterday. Much appreciated.

  11. @NICOLE

    As per Ottawa – I’m not much of a “foody”, but so you know, most of the better places are downtown – not that huge an area, near the Parliament Buildings. There is one place called SANTE – I haven’t been in years – not sure if it’s even in the same location [Rideau & Sussex – across from the Rideau Centre], but I do believe it’s one of the better places. Oh, and NO good parking to speak of unless you do it at the Rideau Centre – where there is also a GODIVA shop! [3rd Floor just down from the Westin Hotel entrance] The whole area is pretty much public transit and walking…

  12. @NICOLE

    Oh, and the CHATEAU LAURIER used to have some pretty good dining… It’s between Parliament Hill and the Rideau Centre. And THE MARKET area is a block over – lots of little pubs and whatever….

  13. Questions for Paul McGillion:

    I’d just like to say that Beckett is one of my favorite Stargate franchise doctors with the other two being Frasier and Lam and I try to use Beckett more in my Atlantis fan fictions then Keller. Now here are my questions:

    1. What would you say was your favorite Beckett moment just something you like from an episode?

    2. If you could choose an astrological sign, other then Capricorn, for Beckett which one do you think would best fit him?

  14. Thornyrose: try again today. I got in no problem. Good luck.

    Mr. Moorcock, thank you so much for answering our questions. Really good stuff in the Q & A. I enjoyed it reading this one!


  15. The Bridge Studio has a “Haunted Studio Tour”??
    Wha…, wha…, what is that all about???

    (I love haunted things!)

  16. Thanks to Mike for answering my questions. I’m looking forward to reading his Jerry Cornelius books.

    And a novel in three weeks is “slowing down”?! I WISH I was that slow!

  17. @Tammy. I did try again. I am claiming lack of sleep for failure last night; it’s amazing what happens when you actually click on the right places. Anyways, the transaction is complete.
    @Das. NOW you worry me. That Elric link was the scariest thing I’ve seen on this blog, I believe. I shudder at what the picture of Stormbringer would look like.

  18. Thanks for the heads up on Catherynne M. Valente’s book. I will donate what I can for it. I loved The Orphan’s Tales (both books) and can’t wait to read this one.

    I haven’t been on here for a little while as my work life seems to crazier than normal. I really should get ready for work since I have to be there in 15 minutes. Good thing I live half a block away huh? And I’m helping one of my best friends deal with the death of his mom. Hasn’t been a good week for me.

    One question for you – have you read The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly? I loved it and I was wondering if you would consider it for a BOTM selection. (Okay I think that’s two questions.) It’s about a boy dealing with the death of his mother during WWII in London and is drawn into this world that he believes could only exist in the books he surrounds himself with and he has to try to find his way home before he’s killed in this strange world of fantasy, fairy tales and other myths. It can be a little graphic in some places but it was a good, easy read.

    One question for Paul McGillion – Out of all the roles you have played in your life, which was your favorite and why?

  19. Thanks to Mike!
    My question for Paul McGillion is:
    The Authors of SGA said, that in Stargate Atlantis is one gay character.
    Can you imagine that the person is Beckett?

    Greetings from Bavaria

  20. coucou =) ça va ? Moi génial! Enfin en week end! en plus il fait un temp superbe!!! Snif vous ‘navez pas encore répondu a mes question. Merci pour ce Q/A

    bisou bisou
    je vous adore!

  21. My question for Paul McGillion:

    Hi Paul.
    You never gave me a right answerd for my question at FedCon in Bonn about the number of takes it took to finish the kiss-scene in “Duet” 😉
    Here is another try to get an answer 😀
    Wish you all the best.

    And thank you Joe for giving us the opportunity to ask our questions.


  22. Hi Joe,
    Wow cool, Thanks for the Q&A.(Really want to see how the movie thing turns out).

    So a few questions if you don’t mind

    1. I am going to be in Vancover and want to visit places you guys have filmed. Are there any parks I can go to that I can see the same trees and some recognizible landmarks?

    2. Almost one year ago, Brad had an interview in which he said the Atlantis movie would be made in the near future(Also, he already knew you guys were doing Universe, so I am assuming he had that in mind during the interview). Almost 10 months later the actors haven’t even been contacted yet. I mean how can this not be considered a delay?

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  23. @ Thornyrose – Awww! I think it’s a cute kitty! A pissed-off kitty, but cute nonetheless! 🙂

    @ Mike Moorcock – Even though I’ve been hanging out over at Miscellany, I really appreciated this opportunity Joe presented because it ‘forced’ me to read a bit faster than I had planned to (I really intended on tackling The Stealer of Souls over the summer), and by doing so, it’s freed up my time to look into those stray Elric stories that aren’t included in the Del Rey series (yet – though not sure the dream quest stories will be, so looking to track them down somewhere). But it’s also really piqued my curiosity about the other EC stories, hopefully I’ll soon be reading them (I’ve heard good things about Corum, so he’s the one I’m particularly interested in).

    Oh, just another little thing…

    When I finished reading Stormbringer last Saturday, my niece drrraaaaaagged me out to a festival, where I bought (for cheap!) this dragon & sword pendant, in honor of finishing the story:


    I’ve turned it into a bookmark since it just seems such an appropiate way to keep my place in the Elric stories (still have many more to go! Woo! He’s not dead yet! 😀 ).


  24. Hi Joe,

    This is just something very random here but i would like to ask anyway.

    How would one get a hold of the cast of SG1 and SGA (and possibly, SGU) to invite them to come here to St. John’s, Newfoundland for a convention? This is their website if you’re interested. http://www.scifiontherock.com/

    I hope you can help me in getting the invites out there.



  25. @ Narelle – Ha! Love that! Gonna use it the next time the party gets dull. “Hey, guys…what do twelve plus one and eleven plus two have in common? Yeah, they both equal thirteen…but what else?? Huh?? HUH?? Oh, come on! It’s EASY!”

    Yeah. It’s stuff like this that’s the reason I don’t get invited out much… 😛


  26. Just a comment, not a real question:
    I’m not much for rewatching episodes (although I’m in the middle of the SGA marathon on SciFi right now and am enjoying Whispers again), so I mainly buy the DVD’s for the extras – the BTS stuff and the commentaries.
    I wish, on the Season 5 DVD’s they’d managed to find someone, anyone to comment on a few of the eps, as an example, The Shrine had no commentary.
    (Even if it was just the janitor talking about the trash he had to pick up after filming, it would be better than nothing!)
    I always enjoy the little insights.

  27. Cap’n Mallozzi, bless yer heart. Thanks for the chance to talk with our dear Scottish/Canadian/Californian.

    Pauly, darlin,’
    God love ya fer takin’ the time to visit with us. Aye, it’s only been since January, but already we’re missin’ ya somethin’ terrible. (Thank goodness for recent roles to tide us over.) 🙂

    Catch us up on what’s new with you:

    1. It sounds like yer Atlantis family has moved camp to California. Joe, Jason, Jewel, and Rachel have homes there, and David is squiring house inspectors this week.

    Have ya bought a house yet?
    How often do Atlantis family/friends get together?
    What do ya do?
    What’s the latest prank you’ve played on someone?

    2. SO loved the cheeky snarking at each other between David Hewlett and yourself in “Outsiders!” What are we gonna do with that hilarious Mr. Hewlett, now? He kissed ya (Duet), he killed ya (A Dog’s Breakfast), and he made ya dress in drag (ADB). I figger he owes ya big tame! 😀

    So, will we be seein’ ya in “A Dog’s Dinner?” (a sequel) Or “Starcrossed?”

    If you could write the perfect role for yourself, what would it look like?

    3. In January, a couple somebodies we know celebrated their bairthdays. 😉 Whisht now, Love, don’t fret. Occasions like those give folks a wee chance ta spoil ya. And yer still a mere babe compared to Mr. Flanigan. (And a handsome-looking one!) T’were kind of a big birthday, weren’t it?

    How did you celebrate it? How many tames did the family and friends make you celebrate it? (LOL)

    What was the best present ya got?

    What things did that birthday make ya want ta do in the future, that ya haven’t done already?

    Our Thanks… Ya once said that the doctor from Atlantis wore his heart on his sleeve. Your open, honest, loving interview comments and many of your roles tell us that you do, too. And you’ve gone and made the lot of us in SciFi land love ya for it.

    It’s tha heart of ya and who ya are that makes ya sa guid at what you do. We’ve seen a mon tried and tested through the long hours, new seasons, the abrupt end, tears, and heart-rending goodbye, countless interviews, the welcome back, reunion epi’s with cast and crew (fog? *cough!*) in “Whispers,” and the courageous, defiant performance in “Outsiders.” The result? Nary a complaint or a negative waird. Only graciousness, gratitude, and a willingness to wairk harder. Oi! And those devastatingly funny ad libs at the ends of scenes! 😀

    We luv Carson Beckett, whose comic wit, loving heart, and quick thinking improve – or save – everyone’s life. It’s aisy ta do b’cause we’ve grown ta luv Paul McGillion, the mon behind it all. The one who demonstrates love, loyalty, and friendship. The one who not only helps improve other actors, but by his example he improves us. How in the wairld can ya thank someone for that? Nevertheless, thank you.

    Sending an i.o.u. for a warm hug
    from a Midwestern lass,

    ~ for the love of Beckett

  28. Thanks again for the great Q&A Mike, and thanks Joe for picking him. Still one of my All Time Faves!!

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