32 Down, 20 Left (52 Weeks, 52 Books)

Amidst all the Tolkien worship in the mainstream fantasy camp, Michael Moorcock is often overlooked even though he’s probably responsible for creating the archetype for the fantasy anti-hero – clad in black, given to murderous rage, possessed of a sentient weapon with an eternal thirst for blood – as opposed to Frodo and his sickly, saccharine sweetness along with the multi-racial harmony public service announcement that is the Fellowship of the Ring. No, sometimes, you want just a little darker. I mean, Vader vs Luke, no contest, right?

In the The Skrayling Tree, Moorcock’s concept of the multiverse is under threat from the forces of Limbo, and Elric, Emperor Sorceror of Melnibone, his daughter Oona, and her husband, Count Ulric von Bek, must traverse 3 separate universes to meet at the Skrayling Tree, symbolic centre of the Multiverse.

Weaving together threads of myth and history – Native American and Norse legends, World War II, alternate universes and time-space paradoxes – Moorcock’s lyricality keeps the tale from descending into the fantasy-lite we’ve come to expect from the likes of Robert Jordan and the D&D catalogue. The thing with Moorcock is that he’s really a literary force who just happens to write a lot of fantasy, so really what you get is something a little more contemplative and intelligent than the usual swords and magic fare.

The only fantasy I’ve been able to swallow since growing out of puberty (arguable, I know) has really only been Terry Prachett. Discovering Moorcock in recent years has been quite something of a revelation. Moreover, I think people like China Miéville owe him a greater debt than Tolkien.

The Skrayling Tree
(ISBN No: 0446613401) Check NLB Catalogue for item availability.

My next book will be Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories. It is the Hungry Ghosts’ Festival after all.

On a side note: 100th post! Woot!

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7 Responses to “32 Down, 20 Left (52 Weeks, 52 Books)”


  1. 1 vk August 12, 2006 at 19:21

    the author has an insteresting name

  2. 2 Josh August 12, 2006 at 22:01

    Your post reminded me of something that happened to me (or rather, some of my books) a few years ago.

    I had the first 3 books in the Elric series. I was in the middle of reading the first one. And then, one day I got up out of bed, and they were all gone. Not moved; not put away; simply gone. I’ve kept my eyes open for them ever since. They’re not anywhere in the house, unless they learned to walk (and climb) and are now residing in the chimney.

    It really is baffling. No one had been here except me and family. I’m fairly confident (99.999999etc%) that a burglar didn’t get into the house during the night. And if he had.. well, why would he only steal 3 fantasy books?

    Sorry, I seem to have hijacked your comment area. :X

  3. 3 billy August 13, 2006 at 0:48

    vk: i just knew you wouldn’t let that one pass…

    josh: i’d make a crack about them books dreaming themselves into another branch of the multiverse, but that’d be both lame and obvious.

    thanks for dropping by though.

  4. 4 airhole August 13, 2006 at 13:19

    finally! someone who reads Moorcock!

    yes, i say he is good. u want more books from him? haha

  5. 5 billy August 13, 2006 at 20:55

    airhole: cool, i just bought ‘blood’ by him at the NLB book fair. i let u know if i can’t find more at the library.

  6. 6 Lounge Lizard August 15, 2006 at 13:34

    Can anyone lend me some books? Hurhurhur ~

  7. 7 zedd August 18, 2006 at 9:28

    You should try Terry Goodkind books, his books are also good and I think you will like it as it has a good philosophy behind it


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