Elric: Where to start?

suupaabaka

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I've been looking at the various Elric titles and am now slightly confused. I've been considering purchasing the Elric Fantasy Masterworks title, but I'm not positive that that's the best place to start.

Any advice is appreciated.
 

j d worthington

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I've been looking at the various Elric titles and am now slightly confused. I've been considering purchasing the Elric Fantasy Masterworks title, but I'm not positive that that's the best place to start.

Any advice is appreciated.

Okay... the order of the Elric stories within the series is as follows:

Elric of Melniboné:

Elric of Melniboné
The Fortress of the Pearl
The Sailor on the Seas of Fate
"The Dreaming City" (incl. in Weird of the White Wolf )
"While the Gods Laugh" (incl. in Weird of the White Wolf)
"The Singing Citadel" (incl. in Weird of the White Wolf)
The Vanishing Tower (a.k.a. The Sleeping Sorceress)
The Revenge of the Rose
"The Stealer of Souls" (incl. in The Bane of the Black Sword )
"Kings in Darkness" (incl. in The Bane of the Black Sword)
"The Flamebringers" ("The Caravan of Forgotten Dreams") (incl. in The Bane of the Black Sword)
"The Last Enchantment" (incl. in Elric at the End of Time )
"To Rescue Tanelorn..." (incl. in The Bane of the Black Sword)
Stormbringer!

Elric also appears in various other volumes, sometimes in a subsidiary role, sometimes as a major character. There are three volumes which have been published as Elric novels which are actually more closely allied to the Von Bek series, but where Elric plays a very major role:

The Dreamthief's Daughter
The Skrayling Tree
The White Wolf's Son

They are not, however, part of the actual Elric series.
 

suupaabaka

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The edition in the Fantasy Masterworks series claims to have "Stealer of Souls" and "Stormbringer" within it. From what I can gather, Stealer of Souls is in fact part of a collection called The Bane of the Black Sword... which is to say that the Masterworks edition does not in fact contain the first Elric story, but one of a collection plus the final episode in the Elric saga?

Your answer will decide my course of action, o j.d! ;)
 

j d worthington

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I think what they're referring to are the collection Stealer of Souls and the novel Stormbringer -- which were the first two Elric books published, back in 1963 and 1965, respectively. The first contains the stories "The Dreaming City", "While the Gods Laugh", "The Stealer of Souls", "Kings in Darkness", and "The Flame Bringers"; while Stormbringer -- if it follows the original book edition -- is a cut version (almost a quarter cut) of the full novel later released in full by DAW and since included in the Elric uniform series.
 

suupaabaka

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Ah, thanks for the clarification, mate. Do you recommend I read the series according to internal chronology or in the order in which they were published?
 

j d worthington

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Ah, thanks for the clarification, mate. Do you recommend I read the series according to internal chronology or in the order in which they were published?

Personally, I think internal chronology is much better; Moorcock kept that in mind when adding new pieces, and he sometimes revised some of the work somewhat for the later editions (though usually only slightly) -- and it gives a more rounded feel to the character and his world, as well. Read as they came out, you can see the growth of Moorcock as a writer, but you miss some of the subtle interplay of themes, characters, and milieu....
 

suupaabaka

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Thanks again for your help, j.d. I think I'll get the Millenium edition of Elric. It's part of the "Tale of the Eternal Champion" set, so I guess I'll have to pick up the other two while I'm at it! Never heard of von Beck til now, but that sounds interesting as well.
 

j d worthington

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Thanks again for your help, j.d. I think I'll get the Millenium edition of Elric. It's part of the "Tale of the Eternal Champion" set, so I guess I'll have to pick up the other two while I'm at it! Never heard of von Beck til now, but that sounds interesting as well.

Well, the books in that Von Bek volume aren't the ones mentioned above. They are (if I remember correctly) The War Hound and the World's Pain, The City in the Autumn Stars, and The Dragon in the Sword... the last of which is also the third novel of John Daker/Erekosë, the first two being The Eternal Champion and Phoenix in Obsidian (a.k.a. The Silver Warriors). But, as they're all interconnected, you may also find these to your taste. (Interconnected, but not necessary to enjoy the stories of one particular aspect of the Champion.)
 

Jack

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As mush as I hate flattering JD’s ego :D – He is probably the best source for this type of info – Just don’t get him started on Lovecraft whatever you do. :rolleyes:
 

Connavar

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I wonder if its alright to read Corum chronicles i saw in SF masterworks series without having read anything else of the eternal champions.

Is it okay to read it first ?

His many stories and characters seem to be connected which is why i wonder.
 

j d worthington

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I wonder if its alright to read Corum chronicles i saw in SF masterworks series without having read anything else of the eternal champions.

Is it okay to read it first ?

His many stories and characters seem to be connected which is why i wonder.

Just about everything he wrote is connected, yes, but each series (and frequently each novel, though the Corum set was written as two trilogies, so this forms an exception) can be read independently of the others. If you read the entirety of the Champion cycle, or for that matter all of his fiction (and some of his non-fiction is also related to the cycle in one way or another), then you end up with a much larger and more complex and fascinating picture; but the separate series were nonetheless written to be read either way....
 

Connavar

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Ah good to know.

I saw someone giving away the first trilogy of Corum in a certain site.

  • Elric of Melniboné
  • The Sailor on the Seas of Fate
  • The Weird of the White Wolf
  • The Sleeping Sorceress
  • The Bane of the Black Sword
  • Stormbringer
Did i get the early Elric stories in the correct order chronowise?

Doesnt matter if its a novel or collection.
 

j d worthington

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Ah good to know.

I saw someone giving away the first trilogy of Corum in a certain site.
  • Elric of Melniboné
  • The Sailor on the Seas of Fate
  • The Weird of the White Wolf
  • The Sleeping Sorceress
  • The Bane of the Black Sword
  • Stormbringer
Did i get the early Elric stories in the correct order chronowise?

If you mean chronologically within the series, then the answer is "almost". The Fortress of the Pearl comes between Elric of Melniboné and The Sailor on the Seas of Fate, and The Revenge of the Rose comes between The Vanishing Tower (a.k.a. The Sleeping Sorceress) and Bane of the Black Sword. "The Last Enchantment" comes just before "To Rescue Tanelorn" (in Bane). ("Elric at the End of Time" can be seen as either part of the Elric series or --more logically, I think -- as part of the Dancers at the End of Time sequence.)

If you mean "chronologically" as far as publication... hoo, boy!:rolleyes: That's an entirely different thread, as these stories have been (like Howard's Conan tales) written completely out of order as concerns Elric's life....
 

Connavar

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Does that mean i can read Elric like i read Conan ?

Publishing orderwise where a story is about an older king Conan and next is 20 years back to a young mercenary Conan and so on.


For me it doesnt matter, just want to know which reading order hurt the stories.


Man Moorcock's work is too confusing to get hold. It would be nice to have a link with all the short stories and which collections etc

Wiki doesnt make it sense for him.

Hope Fantasticfiction has better control on his things.
 

j d worthington

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Does that mean i can read Elric like i read Conan ?

Publishing orderwise where a story is about an older king Conan and next is 20 years back to a young mercenary Conan and so on.


For me it doesnt matter, just want to know which reading order hurt the stories.


Man Moorcock's work is too confusing to get hold. It would be nice to have a link with all the short stories and which collections etc

Wiki doesnt make it sense for him.

Hope Fantasticfiction has better control on his things.

Somewhere (buried in the boxes of papers in storage) I have a chronology of his fiction I drew up some years ago. While it wouldn't cover the works published in the last 10 years or so, that wouldn't take long to catch up on, actually, as the bulk of that has been novels (not all, of course, but most).

At any rate, I'll see what I can do to help with this over the next few days. Suffice to say that The Golden Barge was perhaps the earliest (surviving) example of his fiction, though it was edited (for consistency and to clean it up a bit) when it was published in 1978 (IIRC). The next notable set would be his Sojan stories, which (unless you're a die-hard Moorcockian) aren't really worth looking into -- very early work, and more interesting for the faint signs of the writer to come, and for indications of his early development.

If you're only intersted in the Elric tales, then the first of the series is "The Dreaming City" (s.s., not the novel, which was a retitling -- without Moorcock's permission, as I understand it -- of Elric of Melniboné); then came "While the Gods Laugh", "The Stealer of Souls", "Kings in Darkness", and "The Flame Bringers" (all collected together in the collection The Stealer of Souls). Then came the four pieces that made up Stormbringer!: "Dead God's Homecoming", "Black Sword's Brothers", "Sad Giant's Shield", and "Doomed Lord's Passing". However, you may not want to read these until the end, as it does tell you of Elric's ultimate fate (this was originally where Moorcock intended to leave the series, and did until several years later).... At any rate, let me know if it's just the Elric stories you're interested in at this point, as this would simplify things considerably.....:rolleyes:
 

Connavar

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Im interested only in Elric saga. Corum i want to read too but i already know how to read him.


Dreaming City (EM)
While the Gods Laugh(EM
The Stealer of Souls
The Fortress of the Pearl ( EM)
The Sailor on the Seas of Fate(EM)

EM is i found in fantasticfiction that those stories are collected in EM collection.


Is my order a good start?

Also when you make a list, can make difference beteween novels,collections and short stories. Good to know what you are getting.
 

j d worthington

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Okay, Connavar, get ready for a very convoluted ride.....:p

First, yes, reading that collection would be fine, as it contains the earliest published Elric tales. But, as I said, you'll probably want to avoid the stories that make up Stormbringer! until you've read the rest of the series (at least, that would be my judgment, given comments in some of your other posts elsewhere).

Here's the list (first publication dates only given; if a story has been revised, that's noted, but not the date):

"The Dreaming City" (ss) -- Science Fantasy (June 1961)
"While the Gods Laugh" (ss) -- Science Fantasy (October 1961)
"The Stealer of Souls" (ss) -- Science Fantasy (February 1962)
"Kings in Darkness" (ss) -- Science Fantasy (August 1962)
"The Flame Bringers" (ss) -- Science Fantasy (October, 1962) (later retitled "The Caravan of Forgotten Dreams" for inclusion in the latest edition of the Eternal Champion cycle)
"To Rescue Tanelorn" (ss) -- Science Fantasy (December 1962)
"The Last Enchantment" (ss) -- Ariel, the Book of Fantasy vol. 3 (1978) (while not published until this date, the story was apparently written at the same time as the ones listed above; it was later retitled "Jesting with Chaos" for inclusion in the most recent edition of the Eternal Champion cycle)
"Dead God's Homecoming" (ss) -- Science Fantasy (June 1963)
"Black Sword's Brothers" (ss) -- Science Fantasy (October 1963)
"Sad Giant's Shield" (ss) -- Science Fantasy (February 1964)
"Doomed Lord's Passing" (ss) -- Science Fantasy (April 1964)
"Master of Chaos" (ss) -- Fantastic (May 1964) (retitled "The Dream of Earl Aubec" for later printings)
"The Singing Citadel" (ss) -- The Fantastic Swordsmen (anthology) (1967)
The Sleeping Sorceress (novel) -- (1971) (later retitled The Vanishing Tower)
"The Sleeping Sorceress" (ss version of novel) -- Fantastic (February 1972)
Elric of Melniboné (novel) -- (1972)
"The Jade Man's Eyes" (ss) -- Flashing Swords! #2 (anthology) (1973)
"The Lands Beyond the World" -- Flashing Swords! #4 (anthology) (1977)
"Elric at the End of Time" (ss) -- Elsewhere (anthology), 1981
The Fortress of the Pearl (novel) -- (1989)
The Revenge of the Rose (novel) -- (1991)
"The White Wolf's Song" (ss) -- Tales of the White Wolf (anthology) (1994)

Okay? Wait... the fun's only just beginning.... In the late 1970s, Moorcock did some revisions (sometimes light, sometimes heavy) to all the Elric tales published up to that point, to reconcile inconsistencies, to bring them into line with his growing conception of the multiverse and the cycle as a whole, and to alter emphasis philosophically. This set was the 6-volume set that was so long the standard edition of the Elric series (until the introduction of Fortress in the late 1980s), even though they left out "The Last Enchantment":

Elric of Melniboné (October, 1976)
The Sailor on the Seas of Fate (December, 1976)
The Weird of the White Wolf (March, 1977)
The Vanishing Tower (June, 1977)
The Bane of the Black Sword (August, 1977)
Stormbringer! (November, 1977) (this edition restores nearly a quarter of the work from the original serial, which had been cut when it was first published as a novel)

Thereare, so far as I know, no substantial changes between these and later editions, save that the newer work is now included... except that now, there's a new edition of Elric coming out next year, I hear, which (iirc) brings in some new material he's written since....

Del Rey Online | Elric The Stealer of Souls by Michael Moorcock

And then there's the two Elric scripts that he wrote for Marvel's Conan the Barbarian (issues #14 and 15) which come between The Sailor on the Seas of Fate and The Weird of the White Wolf....

Personally, my suggestion (if you can afford/find it) is to read the two-volume edition of the Elric tales from the Millennium/White Wolf set: Elric of Melniboné (Am. ed.: Elric: Song of the Black Sword) and Stormbringer (Am. ed.: Elric: The Stealer of Souls), which includes all but the newest of the material in the Elric series proper.

And we're not finished yet, as Elric makes appearances in both the Corum, Hawkmoon, and Dancers at the End of Time series (as well as occasionally, in a lighter vein, in the Cornelius tales); under different names in much of Moorcock's later fiction (such as Fabulous Harbours), and in an important capacity in three relatively new novels: The Dreamthief's Daughter (an odd sort-of sequel to Fortress of the Pearl), The Skrayling Tree, and White Wolf's Son. These are more closely connected to the von Bek books than the Elric series, but he does play a major role in them; so much so that they are often considered a new (but separate) Elric series....
 
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Connavar

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Thanks J.D for this and the pms i finaly understand.


Elric of Melniboné and Stormbringer collectionsfrom Millennium i will get.
 

kaelcarp

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I'm glad I found this thread. I've been wanting to get into Moorecock's stuff, particularly Elric, for a long time, but I am kind of intimidated by the sheer amount of it and the lack of any real good guide to it (at least that I've found).
 

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