Archives for posts with tag: Michael Moorcock

The Entropy Tango, 2012

This was taken on Kingsway, London, UK.

The Entropy Tango  is a novel or a collection of five novellas by Michael Moorcock. It was published in 1981.

There’s a slight link to the post before last here. The Entropy Tango is one of four books that expanded on the world(s) of Jerry Cornelius – another that was published the year before was The Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle, in which the Sex Pistols appeared as themselves and characters from the Cornelius novels.

Any road up, The Entropy Tango was originally planned as an LP-sized book with colour illustrations and an LP of the songs, which introduce each novella. But the money wasn’t available, so it became a paperback with B&W illustrations. The novel is told in a series of short sections which may not necessarily relate to the previous section, or indeed any other story. It’s another chaotic whirl of a book – stomping through history to make its points (and like catnip to the likes of me who love this stuff). I won’t try to summarize the plot.

Here’s the first paragraph and a bit:

“I still breed and buy a little, but I rarely, these days, kill.” Balancing a pink gin in his thin hand Major Nye settled into the light-blue plush and pulled a photograph from his top pocket. Behind him was a wide observation window. He turned to glance through the clouds at what could be Transcarpathia below. There were only four passengers in the airship’s lounge and two of them spoke no language known to him, so he was anxious to keep Mrs Persson nearby. As she approached, he said: “What do you make of this couple?”

It was too hot. Una Persson regretted her Aran turtleneck, and she tugged a little at the top so that her pearls clicked.

In our house, this book can be found: dining room, left-hand bookshelves, first shelf down.

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Thank as always,  John and Deanne and Terry for title shenanigans and Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator. Check Richard’s blog for our latest!

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The Dancers At The End of Time, 2012

This was taken on Neal Street, London, UK.

The Dancers At The End of Time  is a novel by Michael Moorcock. Or rather, three novels from the mid-Seventies (An Alien Heat, The Hollow Lands, and The End of All Songs), collected in a single volume. The collection was published in 1981.

The books are set in a far future society, underpinned by a wild decadence, and where anything  is possible (the denizens of The End of Time possess the power to shape matter to their wills). And ideas like morality no longer have a meaning. The only problem is that for some people it’s all a bit boring. Jherek Carnelian being chief among them. For the Hell of it, he travels back in time to Victorian London. And promptly falls in love with a very proper young woman, Mrs Amelia Underwood, who sets about teaching him some morals.

It’s an hilarious, if slightly dated, flight of fantasy – good for reading in Winter with a big glass of red wine.

Here’s the first paragraph:

Dressed in various shades of light brown, the Iron Orchid and her son sat upon a cream-coloured beach of crushed bone. Some distance off a white sea sparkled and whispered. It was the afternoon.

In our house, the book can be found: sitting room, right-hand bookshelves, first shelf down.

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A recommendation: J.E. Lattimer (excellent former collaborator) has three fascinating and original blogs – you should check them out! For starters you could try Arcane Arrangements.

My usual thanks to John and Deanne, who got me a-titlin’. Extra thanks to Deanne for  tag ideas etc (and for bitter-sweet and brilliant posts every day – check out the Gallery for the real lump in the throat experience!). Ta too to Terry for sending me bookshelfwards in search of ideas, and of course to Richard at CK Ponderings for being a super-cool collaborator. The next is on Sunday. So stay tuned!

Call to arm Syrian rebel fighters

The exiled opposition Syrian National Council calls for foreign states to arm rebel fighters, as government troops continue their assault on Aleppo. (BBC news website, 29.07.12)

The Final Programme, 2012

The Final Programme is the first novel in Michael Moorcock’s Cornelius Quartet. It was published in 1969 and was the first to feature the character, Jerry Cornelius. The book is a fairly straightforward SF adventure story with a  conventional episodic structure. Jerry Cornelius, a physicist and hip secret agent, attempts to subvert a plot by his (drug-addled and generally disreputable) brother Frank and a Miss Brunner (who has a vampiric appetite for young flesh) to build a super computer for nefarious ends. There’s also the little matter of rescuing his sister Catherine from their clutches.

In 1973 the book was adapted for cinema by Robert Fuest, who also directed. But Moorcock was quick to distance himself from the film when it was released.

Locog vows to solve empty seats problem

‘Olympic family’ areas stand empty as 500 places unoccupied at Phelps v Lochte swimming heats and more than 1,000 at gymnastics. (The Guardian, 29.07.12)

A Cure for Cancer, 2012

A Cure for Cancer was published in 1971, and is described in the original book’s blurb thus: “Up from the ocean depths comes the jet-black caucasian transvestite champion. Resplendant in warpaint, wampum beads and silk suit by Cardin, armed only with a tomahawk and vibragun, he returns to the napalmed ruins of London to resurrect his sister and wrest from the disgusting Bishop Beesley and his formidable henchwomen the black box which has diffracted the cosmos and set the world spinning at super-speed towards its own final solution. Lock up your daughters, hide your stash, keep to the shadows.”

The book has an unconventional structure, Moorcock claiming that it follows a kind of wave form, which dictates that the climax to the book comes right slap-bang in the middle. It’s my personal favourite – I just love the exhilerating chaos and disorientation of it. But if you’re planning to read the quartet, I wouldn’t start here.

“It was a bit of a laugh”: The Queen tells of her delight after acting debut alongside Daniel Craig. (The Mirror, 29.07.12)

The English Assassin, 2012

The English Assassin was published in 1972, and finds Jerry Cornelius comatose in a coffin for most of the book. The book posits eight alternative apocalypses and progresses in predictable unpredictability. The world is coming apart at the seams – time has broken down – the cossacks are crossing Europe. London is near to collapse. Jerry finds himself at the center of events, still able to stir things up – valuable but also dangerous to those who employ him.

It’s an odd novel – there are so many strands to it and Jerry seems to have ceded the spotlight to another character, Una Persson. What could be going on?

The sections of the book are prefaced by brief newspaper reports of generally horrific crimes. Jerry’s adventures may often seem shocking, but they pale against reports from the real world.

Rain causes floods and landslip

Scores of homes are flooded in North Somerset following heavy rain, which also caused a landslip. (BBC news website, 05.08.12)

The Condition of Muzak, 2012

The Condition of Muzak was published in 1977. And things have fractured and dissipated further – Europe is nothing but a collection of tiny principalities, of burning city states, of chaotic gestures. And Jerry’s not up to much – he’s withdrawn and sulky, busy transforming himself from one character type to another. Specifically Harlequin to Pierrot, for we are seeing a world refracted through the lens of the Italian Commedia dell’arte. (Wikipedia: The characters of the commedia usually represent fixed social types, stock characters, such as foolish old men, devious servants, or military officers full of false bravado). All the characters from the previous novels are back to reprise their roles in this new theatre of the catastrophe. While civilisation burns Jerry/ Pierrot slinks off to leave them to it, in search of his dead sister, Catherine.

The Quartet is a genre all of its own – by the fourth book, Moorcock has turned the SF novel inside out – narrative threads are (untangled and) resolved, but only according to the Quartet’s internal logic. Character, plot, narrative structure have all appear to have been disolved.

What I love about Jerry Cornelius is that he always asks more questions than he answers.

You can read more about the Cornelius Quartet, including Michael Moorcock’s take on it here. Michael Moorcock’s website (a must if you’re in any way interested in his work, and he can often be found on its message boards) is here.

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This is the final post in my Science Fiction “fortnight” (probably about three weeks) – I was going to make a joke about time machines, but in the end I couldn’t be bothered. The second hand on my watch appears to be coming to a halt…

Huge thanks to John Pindar and Deanne who set this whole titling thing in motion. And to my collaborator and all-round cool dude, Richard over at CK Ponderings, who has just finished using classic Dr. Who serials as titles for his work – check his blog out now. And to a more recent collaborator, J.E. Lattimer, who is doing really interesting things with text and image over at Arcane Arrangements.

You’d be a fool not to visit Theodora Brack’s blog, People, Places and Bling, Cheryl Moore’s Unbound Boxes Limping Gods, and Stevie Gill’s Killing Time With A Camera.  And if you fancy listening to some mighty fine songs, try Cathryn Stone, whose White Sun Dark Moon has been a soundtrack to a lot of my recent shots.

Next week, Medical Romances…

The Ash Circus, 2012

The Ash Circus is a short story by M. John Harrison. It was published in 1970 as part of a short story collection called The Nature of the Catastrophe. The book collected all of Michael Moorcock’s stories about Jerry Cornelius, along with several by other authors.

I’ll be writing more about Jerry Cornelius soon, but in short he is a postmodern confection – an aspiring musician and accomplished assassin, (as well as being a Pierrot figure). Jerry is amoral – he is sexually and in every other way ambiguous.

When he was editing New Worlds magazine, Moorcock invented Jerry Cornelius as both a character and a method of writing – the idea was to expand SF’s horizons to include experimental writing and hold a mirror up to the society of the sixties and early seventies. He also made the character available for other writers to interpret. Moorcock has since said he thinks M. John Harrison’s Jerry stories were the best.

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Well now, for the last “fortnight” I have been naming my posts and photographs after Science Fiction novels, stories and anthologies.

Thanks to John Pindar and Deanne who set this whole titling thing in motion. And to my collaborator and all-round cool dude, Richard over at CK Ponderings, who is using classic Dr. Who serials as titles for his work – check them out now.

I also highly recommend you visit Theodora Brack’s blog, People, Places and Bling, Cheryl Moore’s Unbound Boxes Limping Gods, Stevie Gill’s Killing Time With A Camera and J.E. Lattimer’s Arcane Arrangements. There’s a cool collaboration with J.E. two posts ago…and another thank you to Cathryn Stone, whose White Sun Dark Moon has been a soundtrack to quite a lot of these recent shots.

Breakfast In The Ruins, 2012

Breakfast In The Ruins is a novel by Michael Moorcock, published in 1972. I haven’t read this one, but the title was dying to be used.

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For the next “fortnight” I will be naming my posts and photographs after Science Fiction novels.

As always thanks to John Pindar and Deanne who set this whole titling thing in motion. And to my collaborator and all-round cool dude, Richard over at CK Ponderings, who is naming his photographs after Dr. Who serials – some great work over there already.

I also highly recommend you visit Theodora Brack’s blog, People, Places and Bling, because it’s fantastic!! (and for her suggestion that we start a book club based on these posts). And you have to see Cheryl Moore’s Unbound Boxes Limping Gods for no other reason than it is unique and brilliant (and in some ways fits in with the current SF theme on here).

King of the City (for Cath Rennie), 2012

King of the City is a novel by Michael Moorcok, published in 2000. According to Wikipedia it is: “a satire on modern London and its literary scene…Narrated by celebrity photographer and erstwhile rock star Dennis Dover, it charts a chaotic ride through London from the sixties to the end of the century.” While the SF elements are not overt for much of the book, they inform the book’s denouement. Siouxsie Sioux and John Lydon amongst others pop up in support roles and the whole thing is strongly reminiscent one of Moorcock’s other characters/ strategies, Jerry Cornelius (more on him later). All of which are very good things in my book.

The photograph above really needs to be reunited with its original audience, so here they are:

King of the City (II) (Audience), 2012

And just to round this section of the post off, in recognition of Denny Dover’s job as a celebrity photographer, here’s a picture of a celebrity:

King of the City (III) (Celebrity), 2012

Rick Wakeman is a rock musician. His distinctive keyboard/ piano playing can be heard on works by David Bowie (Hunky Dory), Black Sabbath, T Rex, and Elton John to name a few.

Probably best known for his work with the prog rock group, Yes, he appeared on Fragile, Close To The Edge and Tales from Topographic Oceans. He’s now a bit of a celeb, cropping up on Grumpy Old Men on TV and up until 2010 had his own radio show on digital channel Planet Rock.

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For the next fortnight I will be naming my posts and photographs after Science Fiction novels.

As always thanks to John Pindar and Deanne who set this whole titling thing in motion. And to my collaborator and all-round cool dude, Richard over at CK Ponderings, who is no longer naming his photographs after Pet Shop Boys songs, but has another project in the pipeline.

I also highly recommend you visit Theodora Brack’s blog, People, Places and Bling, because it’s fantastic!! (and for her suggestion that we start a book club based on these posts). And you have to see Cheryl Moore’s Unbound Boxes Limping Gods for no other reason than it is unique and brilliant.