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Book Title: The Sailor on the Seas of Fate|
The author of the book: Michael Moorcock
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 4.51 MB
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Reader ratings: 4.9
Date of issue: April 12th 1989
ISBN 13: 9780586208779
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Holy crap! I, Mark Lawrence, have read an entire book in 4 hours!
Admittedly I picked it up after discovering that it was only 24,000 words long, or 1/2oth of a George Martin epic.
EDIT: over the long grind of this summer holiday I've been writing a "short" story that I'm being paid to write to inspire an Xbox game. It's nearing the end and has just passed 40,000 words :o
Somebody stop me!
Still, the copy I have is a hardback, 40 years old, and at 169 pages, not an exceptionally slim novel. Admittedly the font is HUGE!
I gave this a 3* from memory and now I'm revising it down to a 2*. It's OK. There are good things in it, and bad things.
The 33 Moorcock books on my fantasy shelf speak to the love I had for his work 30-40 years ago. I've been having trouble recapturing it on recent reads though. I have been avoiding my favourites ... so that might be it.
Anyway, good and bad.
Most of the good things are an irrepressible imagination and Stormbringer.
The bad things ... are many. It's not much longer than a short story and even so is divided in to THREE books. The whole thing has a dreamy misty feel to it (and is literally described in those terms). It's full of people making vague doom-laden statements and refusing to explain anything "until the time is right". Everything is pre-ordained / fated, and it's basically three short stories with no connection, all of which are really about fights and magic rather than having anything to say.
In the first story four aspects of the eternal champion are brought together, Elric, Corum, Hawkmoon, and Erekose. This proves to be bad idea as it leads you to suspect that the eternal champion is a handy excuse for writing the same character over and over, with the suspicion being that Moorcock is just better at weird fantasy stuff than characters...
My son saw me picking the book up and said something along the lines of
"But that's old, why are you bothering?"
To which I responded with exasperation, "Fantasy doesn't have a sell by date! What ... are the swords going to be old fashioned? Will the enchantments be dated? Will the demons be wearing period dress?"
And he said, "If you pick up any old book you'll find it's rubbish. The writing style has changed. They're too slow. The characters don't feel real."
"Nonsense!" I said wittily, and walked off with my 40 year old book.
But the thing is. He was right, a bit. Every Moorcock book I've tried in the past few years has seemed terribly dated. The characters really don't feel real. The conversations are always overly pompous/grand or just turning the handle on the plot.
The only thing that struck me as quite 'modern' was the level of visceral violence on display. I don't think today's books that are accused of grimdark have any more blood or guts splattering the page than Moorcock did in the 70s.
The other two stories were ... OK but really didn't shine, and over all I was disappointed.
On the flip side, it's not a Moorcock book that I have fond memories of, so perhaps it was only ever OK and my fanboying was all from the individual Elric, Corum, and Hawkmoon tales.
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Read information about the authorMichael John Moorcock is an English writer primarily of science fiction and fantasy who has also published a number of literary novels.
Moorcock has mentioned The Gods of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Apple Cart by George Bernard Shaw and The Constable of St. Nicholas by Edward Lester Arnold as the first three books which captured his imagination. He became editor of Tarzan Adventures in 1956, at the age of sixteen, and later moved on to edit Sexton Blake Library. As editor of the controversial British science fiction magazine New Worlds, from May 1964 until March 1971 and then again from 1976 to 1996, Moorcock fostered the development of the science fiction "New Wave" in the UK and indirectly in the United States. His serialization of Norman Spinrad's Bug Jack Barron was notorious for causing British MPs to condemn in Parliament the Arts Council's funding of the magazine.
During this time, he occasionally wrote under the pseudonym of "James Colvin," a "house pseudonym" used by other critics on New Worlds. A spoof obituary of Colvin appeared in New Worlds #197 (January 1970), written by "William Barclay" (another Moorcock pseudonym). Moorcock, indeed, makes much use of the initials "JC", and not entirely coincidentally these are also the initials of Jesus Christ, the subject of his 1967 Nebula award-winning novella Behold the Man, which tells the story of Karl Glogauer, a time-traveller who takes on the role of Christ. They are also the initials of various "Eternal Champion" Moorcock characters such as Jerry Cornelius, Jerry Cornell and Jherek Carnelian. In more recent years, Moorcock has taken to using "Warwick Colvin, Jr." as yet another pseudonym, particularly in his "Second Ether" fiction.
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