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Michael Moorcock’s Elric Appreciation

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Elric a dark fantasy series that influenced works such as George RR Martian’s A Song Of Ice & Fire, The Witcher,Drizzt, Warhammer, and Legacy Of Kain.

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I remember reading these books about 20 years ago. I still have them somewhere. 
 

I really loved the concept, and the idea of Stormbringer really caught my imagination.. and clearly that of a lot of other people given how often it is used. 
 

I have to say I never really enjoyed the books however. Parts of it felt VERY 60s fantasy, and I could help but imagine people in bright cheaply made costumes out of a Star Trek episode. And the stories didn’t really grab me as much as I wanted them too either, it took me years to get through many of them.

So yeah, loved the ideas and the concept, didn’t really enjoy the actual books so much.

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9 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

I remember reading these books about 20 years ago. I still have them somewhere. 
 

I really loved the concept, and the idea of Stormbringer really caught my imagination.. and clearly that of a lot of other people given how often it is used. 
 

I have to say I never really enjoyed the books however. Parts of it felt VERY 60s fantasy, and I could help but imagine people in bright cheaply made costumes out of a Star Trek episode. And the stories didn’t really grab me as much as I wanted them too either, it took me years to get through many of them.

So yeah, loved the ideas and the concept, didn’t really enjoy the actual books so much.

Elric is Dark Fantasy.

If you are curious. Here is a link to philosophy of Elric Of Melnibone.

Elric Of Melnibone’s Philosophy

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Posted (edited)

They're very pulp, some of the Elric stories, but Moorcock has a way of conveying weird, fantastical landscapes. I was always dubious of attempts to adapt them to live action, as here. I think animated adaptations, along the lines of Warren Ellis's Castlevania for Netflix, or Batman Ninja -- both which are steeped in Japanese anime visual language, which seems to me like it really suits -- would be fruitful. 

In fact, the comics medium has worked pretty well with Moorcock. P. Craig Russell's done some gorgeous work with Elric, Mike Mignola's distinctive, angular art suited Corum really well... And for illustration, Yoshitaka Amano has done some spectacular work, which has even been translated into the 3D medium via model kits that are just jaw-dropping to me.

Elric holds a special place, but I think the Corum stories are my favorite Eternal Champion tales in general, and in particular the Ulrich von Bek novel The War Hound and the World's Pain -- with its harrowing, apocalyptic depiction of the Thirty Years' War, as well as its pulling in some Arthuriana -- may be my favorite novel of his.

Honorable mention to the Bastable steampunk novels, with their sharp, incisive political and social critique.

Edited by Ran

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1 hour ago, Ran said:

And for illustration, Yoshitaka Amano has done some spectacular work, which has even been translated into the 3D medium via model kits that are just jaw-dropping to me.

Love the Amano Elric. I used to own the silver cover Elric books with art by Robert Gould that I was fond of even though his Elric can sometimes be a bit too beefy for my taste. 

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2 hours ago, Ran said:

They're very pulp, some of the Elric stories, but Moorcock has a way of conveying weird, fantastical landscapes. I was always dubious of attempts to adapt them to live action, as here. I think animated adaptations, along the lines of Warren Ellis's Castlevania for Netflix, or Batman Ninja -- both which are steeped in Japanese anime visual language, which seems to me like it really suits -- would be fruitful. 

In fact, the comics medium has worked pretty well with Moorcock. P. Craig Russell's done some gorgeous work with Elric, Mike Mignola's distinctive, angular art suited Corum really well... And for illustration, Yoshitaka Amano has done some spectacular work, which has even been translated into the 3D medium via model kits that are just jaw-dropping to me.

Elric holds a special place, but I think the Corum stories are my favorite Eternal Champion tales in general, and in particular the Ulrich von Bek novel The War Hound and the World's Pain -- with its harrowing, apocalyptic depiction of the Thirty Years' War, as well as its pulling in some Arthuriana -- may be my favorite novel of his.

Honorable mention to the Bastable steampunk novels, with their sharp, incisive political and social critique.

A tv series is being developed. I do agree with your observation.

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4 hours ago, Ran said:

They're very pulp, some of the Elric stories, but Moorcock has a way of conveying weird, fantastical landscapes. I was always dubious of attempts to adapt them to live action, as here. I think animated adaptations, along the lines of Warren Ellis's Castlevania for Netflix, or Batman Ninja -- both which are steeped in Japanese anime visual language, which seems to me like it really suits -- would be fruitful. 

In fact, the comics medium has worked pretty well with Moorcock. P. Craig Russell's done some gorgeous work with Elric, Mike Mignola's distinctive, angular art suited Corum really well... And for illustration, Yoshitaka Amano has done some spectacular work, which has even been translated into the 3D medium via model kits that are just jaw-dropping to me.

Elric holds a special place, but I think the Corum stories are my favorite Eternal Champion tales in general, and in particular the Ulrich von Bek novel The War Hound and the World's Pain -- with its harrowing, apocalyptic depiction of the Thirty Years' War, as well as its pulling in some Arthuriana -- may be my favorite novel of his.

Honorable mention to the Bastable steampunk novels, with their sharp, incisive political and social critique.

I’m actually reading a couple of histories on the 30 years war right now.

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@Ser Scot A Ellison

The first line of the novel is:

Quote

It was in that year when the fashion in cruelty demanded not only the crucifixion of peasant children, but a similar fate for their pets, that I first met Lucifer and was transported into Hell; for the Prince of Darkness wished to strike a bargain with me.

There's a cheap Kindle edition if anyone wants to check it out, with a foreword by John Clute and a second foreword by Moorcock providing some historical context.

5 minutes ago, polishgenius said:

Poor man's Anomander Rake.

Erikson really likes Elric, doesn't he? Rake, Osseric, and Silchas Ruin are all basically homages to him.

Steven Brust is another who I think fairly clearly loved the idea of Stormbringer, at least, with his black, sometimes-sentient, soul-eating Morganti swords.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/29/2020 at 8:49 PM, Ran said:

They're very pulp, some of the Elric stories, but Moorcock has a way of conveying weird, fantastical landscapes. I was always dubious of attempts to adapt them to live action, as here. I think animated adaptations, along the lines of Warren Ellis's Castlevania for Netflix, or Batman Ninja -- both which are steeped in Japanese anime visual language, which seems to me like it really suits -- would be fruitful. 

In fact, the comics medium has worked pretty well with Moorcock. P. Craig Russell's done some gorgeous work with Elric, Mike Mignola's distinctive, angular art suited Corum really well... And for illustration, Yoshitaka Amano has done some spectacular work, which has even been translated into the 3D medium via model kits that are just jaw-dropping to me.

Elric holds a special place, but I think the Corum stories are my favorite Eternal Champion tales in general, and in particular the Ulrich von Bek novel The War Hound and the World's Pain -- with its harrowing, apocalyptic depiction of the Thirty Years' War, as well as its pulling in some Arthuriana -- may be my favorite novel of his.

Honorable mention to the Bastable steampunk novels, with their sharp, incisive political and social critique.

The Warhound and the World's Pain - at least the first half - is truly magnificent. I thought the second half was a bit weaker, sadly. And The City in the Autumn Stars was weaker still.

Bastable also suffers a bit from uneven quality: the first book is great, but the second is average, and the third commits the unforgivable sin of messing up a story with Giant Robo-Stalins. Honestly, how can one take a concept as awesome as Giant Robo-Stalins, and somehow make it a terrible story?

The first Corum trilogy is poor (a real case of a wasted concept), but the second trilogy is some of the best sword and sorcery Moorcock's produced outside Elric and the first Erekose.

Hawkmoon is another wasted concept. The Dark Empire is so much more fun than anything else in the books, and Dorian Hawkmoon is as generic a protagonist as they come. 

Edited by The Marquis de Leech

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Anyway, as for Elric himself, the initial concept was compelling. Kalevala* and Gormenghast-inspired pulp fantasy, which consciously inverts Howard's Conan. What's not to love?

*Note that Tolkien's Turin and Moorcock's Elric were developed independently... tapping into shared source material. The Silmarillion had not been published when Elric first appeared.

The biggest problem is that Moorcock is the sort of author where you can really tell when his heart isn't in it. 1960s Elric is a genre classic, but honestly, from the mid-1970s onwards, Moorcock clearly wanted to write about other things.

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On 7/29/2020 at 8:44 PM, BloodyJollyRoger said:

Elric is Dark Fantasy.

If you are curious. Here is a link to philosophy of Elric Of Melnibone.

Elric Of Melnibone’s Philosophy

Yeah, that's an excessively simplistic analysis.

(1) Elric is *not* Good. Objective Good and Evil does not exist in his world (in fact, as per When the Gods Laugh, it's an Existentialist world). He also does various terrible things, entirely of his own volition.

(2) Yes, Moorcock has his protagonists fight for Balance against Law and Chaos (invariably against Chaos, since the negative aspects of Law are very rarely shown on-screen). But Moorcock also invariably ends with the Smashing of the Balance, because he's very big on the rejection of traditional moral authority. 

(3) The setting of Melnibone... an Empire that once ruled the world, reduced to its home island, with an uncertain future? Recall when and where Moorcock was writing.

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Elric and the whole setting were always far, far better to me conceptually than in actual practice.  Which is actually the same sort of thing that happens with Warhammer 40k's setting (which borrows some from Elric), where the conceptual framework is very good, but the exposition is generally very poor.

It seems like a toss-up how the show might turn out.  They could (relatively) easily craft something visually compelling and an interesting, nuanced story from it all.  Or, maybe even more easily make some generic, bland-looking fantasy slop, with an equally uninteresting story.

And I agree with Marquis de Leech, Elric is not "made" to be a "good guy."  The sort of fight between Law and Choas is not about good versus evil, as far as makes sense to me.

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Folks, accusing one another of being trolls or bots or what have you is not appropriate or civil. Cut it out.

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