Back to the beginning.

My two influential authors are Clive Barker, and Michael Moorcock. Of those, Barker had a bigger effect on roleplaying, first with Call of Cthulhu and then with the World of Darkness.

I didn’t think of applying Moorcock to fantasy gaming until later, but I was influenced in more subtle ways; the idea of an eternal champion, of avatars adopting the same roles in multiple realities, and of bloodlines that fed into significant cosmic events throughout time and space… that was always my jam.

The first Moorcock I read was Hawkmoon, in the gorgeous oversize Millennium edition from the early 90s. I took that as my reading list — I was cash poor at the time so where I couldn’t buy the new imprint heavily discounted I found previous editions in libraries and remaindered bookshops. I read Corum in the Grafton editions from the mid 1980s, including this omnibus edition of the first trilogy:

So by frugal purchasing and borrowing I read pretty much all of the 14 volumes; but never in the order in which they were published. Which is where this series comes in.

This podcast has become a little serious. It’s always worked around themes, based on the games I fancy running or designing at the time, or the topics I need to discuss. But I feel the need to step back a bit and reflect.

This is what I’m going to do. Having now closed the remaining gaps in my Millenium Moorcock editions (thanks to certain online 2nd hand sellers) I’m going to read them in sequence, and do a ‘cast about each one.

This won’t follow the usual format… with 14 volumes, each with at least 3 novels this would take too long and no doubt I would run out of steam. So this is the proposed format for this occasional series:

  • in the first part, I’ll summarise each novel on an index card to encourage brevity. This will form an overview, rather than a detailed synopsis
  • in the second part, I’ll pick out key scenes or chapters that are worthy of note
  • and finally in the third part, I’ll discuss how each book in the sequence contributes to the overall arc of the Eternal Champion, starting with Von Bek and concluding with Count Brass.

There will be other episodes. But I wanted to write this as a way to commit to the project. Do these novels still capture my imagination nearly 30 years on?

This won’t be the only thing I read — I intend to pace myself and read other books in between each volume. All told this is going to take a year at least, quite probably two.

Let me know what you think, and if you have a similar relationship with Moorcock.

OK, that’s it. Speak soon.

4 thoughts on “Back to the beginning.

    • Thanks for the encouragement! I’m still only on the Warhound and the World’s Pain, but hopefully I’ll fit in a volume a month (among other reading)

      Revenge of the Rose will be a good while coming though, as it’s in volume 12. I’m looking forward to reading those volumes as well since they’re in the canonical chronological order so they jump back and forth over nearly 30 years in Moorcock’s bibliography

  1. Excited about this too as I’ve been contemplating getting back into the Tragic Millennium as an RPG setting — I ran a campaign in it years ago. So this is really perfect. I look forward to your insights and comments, on it and the rest.

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