Saturday, November 21, 2009

More Moorcock and The Doctor

Nice essay by Michael Moorcock in the Guardian. He's appropriately humble and provides the perfect answer to my snit about sequels and derivative movies:

......the vast potential of what I can write is beginning to dawn on me. Far from thinking in terms of fun I've become a little scared. All time and space is open to me. I have to mix comedy and melodrama while telling an epic adventure story featuring a complex protagonist capable of ranging across the entire multiverse. I'm increasingly overawed as I consider what I must live up to. Hardcore fans are already questioning my qualifications. I can only hope I'm equal to the job.

He's also working on an autobiographical trilogy, picking up some themes oft discussed here:

I have begun a series of autobiographical novellas and novels in which I examine my taste for romance and fantasy: my characters are thinly disguised versions of writers and others associated with New Worlds magazine in the days when we tried to find new approaches to literary novels by using the methods and ideas of science fiction. This trilogy of books, featuring a version of myself in a somewhat re-invented London, is intended to examine the appeal of fantastic adventure stories of the kind inhabited by my most popular character, the albino sorcerer-prince Elric of Melniboné. Elric is my Sherlock Holmes Рa protagonist better remembered than most of my others, but in my case not the burden Conan Doyle felt Holmes to be. I'm very grateful that Elric continues to keep me in my old age


Christian Lindke said...

Ah...more of his Metaphysical Detective stories. I cannot wait.

Tulkinghorn said...

I think that's Metatemporal..

Your apparent dread at having the somewhat incoherent concepts of late-period Moorcock dumped on the poor Doctor is shared by many.

Which is why I recanted somewhat my stand against adaptations... If working with the Doctor makes Moorcock nervous -- a feeling that never kept him from excess regarding the M.D. -- the discipline of the existing framework will be a good thing.

Christian Lindke said...

What is remarkable is that Dan Abnett, who we both enjoy as a prolific writer, incites no controversy when he tackles the Doctor, but Moorcock does.

It speaks to how large Moorcock's iconoclast image looms over SF/F.

I would also argue that Abnett's prolific, and enjoyable, career is testimony to the genuine entertainment value of derivative works.

Tulkinghorn said...

Abnett is an interesting case: literate, cool, with a light touch, reads like a dream, good plotter, but with almost no authorial personality.

He'd be the guy I'd hire to continue any series (apart from the fact that he writes much better than, say, James Patterson or Michael Crichton - which would be a bit embarrassing.)

Moorcock is the opposite: a giant ego who is capable of either making a considerable mess or elevating standard elements into a kind of genius.