Michael Moorcock

On Tuesday the 8th of February 1994 the group was extra specially privileged to welcome Michael Moorcock as a guest. Colin Greenland, compiler of MICHAEL MOORCOCK: DEATH IS NO OBSTACLE was also there to conduct an interview with Mr. Moorcock.

THE BEGINNING

 

Michael Moorcock has always been driven to write. While still at school he produced a hand-made magazine called Outlaw's Own. He continued with similar fanzine titles for some time. When he left school he professionally contributed to Tarzan Adventures and in 1958 he ended up edited it. It was here that the first Moorcock Sword and Sorcery series was published. Moorcock wrote scripts for some IPC comics, wrote pulp crime fiction and even sang as a blues singer in night clubs. All the while he contributed stories to magazines like SF Adventures and Science Fantasy. His first novel, The Sundered Worlds (later renamed The Blood Red Game), was a fixup of a series which had appeared in SF Adventures.

NEW WORLDS

 

One of the magazines he contributed to was New Worlds which was edited by Carnell. This published straight forward SF stories like all the other magazines. However, Moorcock had always had literary ambitions. he produced fast pulp stories to pay the bills but his love of fiction came from the past innovators in fiction; Dickens especially, but also H.G. Wells, Conrad and from nearer home Alfred Bester.
The structure and balance of a story was vital, however this did not always mean the linear structure with a beginning, middle and end. There were writers experimenting with new concepts in writing and Moorcock was one of the first. When he became editor of New Worlds, in 1964, the safe and unsatisfying stories accepted by Carnell were rejected in favour of the radical and experimental.

`Some people think those of us involved with New Worlds had called ourselves "New Wave", an we never did.' Moorcock says. `We were not proscribing what it should be, we were proscribing what it shouldn't be. That's all New Worlds had a policy of never telling you what it was. We didn't want old fashioned Carnell type science fiction, I must admit, but there were plenty of markets for that anyway, so we weren't trying to take the bread out of anybody's mouth. We were just saying "Look, if you're an eccentric or an individual and you want to try something out, this is the place for you, and you're welcome to use it." That's why we had a lot of editors running, who would buy stories on their own independent decision. The decision didn't rest with me. I knew I didn't have a broad enough appreciation of certain kinds of fiction to be able to select it. But as far as general decisions were concerned, it still had to have an essentially loony dictator, which is what I was.'

Moorcock came in for some pretty severe abuse for turning the magazine around, both from critics and fans. At the time in the sixties and early seventies sf fans in London met at The Globe pub, and here Moorcock in his beige suit, paisley tie and floppy hat met with depression the rabble of fans who bemoaned the passing of the "Golden Age" of SF pulp.
NEW WORLDS was a very influential magazine, under Moorcock's editorship, and was the only market for unconventional science fiction. Stories by Ballard, Disch, Sladek, Delany and Aldiss were welcomed with open arms.

The magazine was supported by an Arts Council grant for a time due to the help of Brian Aldiss. Mike was grateful to Brian for organising the cash but would never have asked them himself. Only one person on the Arts Council committee had ever heard of Michael Moorcock or NEW WORLDS; Angus Wilson had once read Behold the Man in it!
They expected Moorcock to use the money to make the magazine more glossy and respectable, and friction occurred between them and Moorcock who had no intention of allowing it to become respectable.

Another method of raising money for the magazine was Moorcock's Sword and Sorcery novels. He would bang out novels at a great speed, although the preparation for the three days writing ran into months. He would get the plot and characters straight and draw a map of the land. Then when he could not put it off any longer he wrote the novel in a white heat of concentration. These dedicated novels complimented the fix-ups of series from magazines and in total Moorcock's output became legendary.
Moorcock ran New Worlds until 1970, just before its demise in 1971.

THE MULTIVERSE

 

Moorcock developed a "Multiverse" which allowed him to use a set of characters which were essentially the same but lived in different universes. Elric of Melnebone, Jerry Cornelius, Corum, Von Bek, Hawkmoon and the Warlord of Mars were all THE ETERNAL CHAMPION in their different worlds. This reuse of a basic set of characters for different plots may be an early reflection of Moorcock's interest in early European theatre of Commedia dell'Arte where Pierrot, Scaramouche, Columbine, Harlequin and Pantaloon performed different plays but retaining the same personalities but with different names. However later on he was to make more obvious use of the Commedia dell'Arte characters.

Although Sword and Sorcery novels were satisfying to the reader they gave only limited pleasure to their author. He longed to be able to take the time to develop other, non-linear, novel structures. To investigate character, psychology and place. This was the reasoning behind the creation of his most famous character Jerry Cornelius.

ROCK'N'ROLL

 

The creation of Jerry Cornelius coincided with Moorcock's observation on the emotional power of Rock and Roll. He thought that the combination of SF and music could provide the medium for a powerful voice for the comments he wanted to make. To amplify this voice as much as possiblehe let comic creators and other authors use the character as they wanted, expanding the myth and the Cornelius name. However, the vitality of the mix was not as influential as Moorcock had hoped and after The Final Programme he turned to other carrier-waves in the next three books in the Cornelius set.

NON-LINEAR FICTION

 

The final book of the Cornelius series, The Condition of Musak, won the Guardian Fiction prize and is the most successful in terms of structure. They all try for a complicated non-linear structure, with the climax in the middle of the book rather than the end. John Clute has written an illuminating introduction to the American collection of all the Cornelius books.

MOTHER LONDON

 

London has always been more than a just a city to Moorcock. It is full of resonances with the past. In his book MOTHER LONDON, he tries to relate these resonances with place and person in a timeless setting. Again the structure in non-linear and was called Moorcock's 'finest single novel' by John Clute.

`I started Mother London,' he says, `with a wish to write about my own experience of the world in my own city, and I wanted it to be a celebration of that city.'

So it comes with a shock to hear of his imminent move to America. Whatever his reasons the Group wishes him all the best for the future.


MICHAEL MOORCOCK

In Conversation With Colin Greenland and the Preston SF Group

CG: There is this compulsion to read a Michael Moorcock book to see a character continue, to see what happens, but also your writing is so prolific it is possible to take a slice. It’s possible to just read the Dancers at the End Of Time stories or just the Elric stories for instance. Do you have an image of how a reader will read your books?
MM: What I’ve said once the book is published and once a person has bought it or stolen it or whatever they’ve done, but once it’s there, whatever use they want to make of it it’s up to them. It never occurs to me that people ought to read in any particular way, that’s not on.
CG: Who's your most popular character?
MM: Elric. I mean in terms of most saleable character.
CG: Strange isn’t it. I mean how does it feel that the character that you decisively killed off in your very first novel has had all those books written about him?
MM: I have, after all, sort of helped it along a bit by writing about him! But he IS my most favorite fantasy or genre character, you know. I still like him. I find I can still use things with his kind of ambiguity.
CG: Power and vulnerability?
MM: Yes, somebody is frequently torn between one or other. He is probably the character who I still identify with inside the genre. I still have a lot of affection for him.
CG: Do you have any idea why it would be Elric rather than say Dorian Hawkmoon?
MM: Yes, because Dorian Hawkmoon spawned from the success of Elric. Hawkmoon I don’t think a very good character at all. The other characters are more interesting like Count Brass, (Flana?). I mean various other characters, whereas Hawkmoon didn’t really figure as a character in fullness, you know.
CG: Never shaped space.
MM: Whereas most of the other characters were to me more interesting. It’s one of those things where you actually produce an innovation and people like it. Then they ask you for something else, and you sort of imitate youself. It’s not deliberate. Readers have their favorites and usually they’re all like baby ducks. It’s sort of the first thing they see. Frequently, what I’ve discovered is if say they like Corum books they read Corum books first.
CG: That’s funny. I read Dorian Hawkmoon first and that’s the first one that occurs to me.
MM: And that’s really what it usually is. Then they tell you after months that other characters should be more like them.
CG: I like your Elric but why doesn’t he have one of those jewels in his head. Now,your next book -? Am I to understand that it is being touted by the publishers as your return to science fiction?
MM: Well HE’s saying that but it isn’t SF, it is Science Fantasy.
CG: But that’s not a marketing term Smiths will understand.
MM: Science Fantasy has more mysticism in it and it works really nicely I think.
CG: More science than science fiction.
MM: Well it’s funny - more science. The weird thing is it’s got a lot of chaos theory. I was talking to Barry Bayley the other day. Barry really likes it and Barry is one of the few people who know enough about chaos theory to relish it in a way. It’s really odd. In America there are a couple of stories being drifted around because New Worlds folded. The stories I wrote for New Worlds are kind of in the open - you know, pottering around to editors. I’m not sending them, they get sent from one to another. It’s very clear to me that they don’t know what the hell it’s about. They think it’s some kind of satire or parody on E.E Smith. I mean that’s the only way they can relate to it - it’s very bizarre, and all it is is it just takes the logic of chaos theory and expands on this using metaphors and stuff.
CG: This has been important to you - chaos theory...
MM: Yes very much so.
CG: Somebody who has been writing about order versus chaos since day one; now you have a system.
MM: Well it’s formalised it. It’s what, you kind of, trusted as instinct - now there’s a formula that you can identify. Then the moment you did that you had a tool you could expand on because you had a logic system as well. And therefore you had all this stuff like the multiverse, and all those ideas I’d already written about. This enabled you to develop techneques to take you further and deal with other things and ideas. And it also it is amazing to me, it gave me an instant access to any kind of fiction I wanted to write using the same characters. I can write a realistic story here, I can write a pure fantasy story there if necessary and there’s no incoherence - it’s all coherent. And that’s what’s incredible. In a way this prefigures what I’m doing now which is rather more ambitious than that. And it’s actually possible to plan and work with a structure of all this stuff.
CG: Those plans must look very strange indeed. Is there a technique that you employ or is this something which triggers a response in you.
MM: As I say it’s given me a logic system, like music which means you can work and develop out from it. You know you have the system running, then you can play with the system if you want. I haven’t quite got a handle on it because it started happening naturally.At the moment I’m writing a whole lot of stories around the same characters. Some of them are just pure straight realistic stories about character and atmosphere and, dare I say it, almost post modern. I mean really weird in that they are playing with the idea of story. I mean they’re still basically a rollicking good read that’s what I’m aiming for and then another story will shift again. And then you can go to novels, you can go to short stories. You can do almost anything. And the other thing I’ve done is that I’ve invented a whole lot of different areas which I’m writing about. I’ve got areas in Paris and New York, all of which are invented but very much based on places I know very well. So one invented street is next to a non-invented street. But it gives me that ability to use as much or as little fantasy in a story as I want to and still have no lack of coherence to the whole. It’s only just happened. That’s what chaos theory did for me Colin.
CG: There’s a lot of talk around these days about revivals like 60’s, 70’s revivals. If Michael Moorcock had the 60’s and that part of the 60’s which actually took place in the 70’s to do over again would you do it differently.
MM: No, in a sense, because I’d be just as out of my head. You can’t take part of the equation away really.
CG: No, I just thought if you could go back knowing what was coming after would you do the same?
MM: No, because I did what I did. I did what I felt I had to do and what was the situation was was the situation then. We didn’t have any sense of prescription where things ought or be going or ought to be said.
CG: I just wondered that maybe that was bad.
MM: No, I don’t think so. What else could you have done? Offer a prescription, do a John W. Campbell turn everything into one kind of stuff, I mean that’s crap. That would have been the death of what we were trying to do. So essentially it was a situation of the moment of ime. Which was a very good time to be alive indeed. Probably the best time ever the world has known in the last 10 years really. Great times - of course not for everybody, but certainly for me. And you can’t separate them. I don’t have any thoughts of that sort at all - none. I’ve been lucky. Why should I have regrets. I haven’t got very much to regret. All I did was offer a platform for idiosyncratic people but I wanted it to be more - I wanted this stuff to be as angry as I was I suppose. So I tended to favour stuff which was attacking hypocrosy. I don’t really remember an awful lot of it.
CG:You’re moving to America, now?
MM:Actually I’m being pursued by a lunatic tax man who believes somewhere that I’m a millionaire. He’s convinced of it, he’s read my books, it’s awful. he thinks I’ve got this money hidden away somewhere. Still it’s over now. I’m not given to keeping secrets much. I feel uncomfortable, so I was quite happy really. There’s also been so many stories there’s no point in hiding anything some are true and some are false.
CG:You’ve lived in the States before?
MM:Yes.
CG:So this is not a move you view with any great trepidation.
MM:The part of Texas I’m moving to is more like California, it’s full of old hippies and mad computer people. In fact our entire estate is run by old hippies. All of them are lunitics, sort of rolling up joints and telling you how they dug New Worlds in the 60’s. I mean it’s amazing to me. I find the people who are most interested - they got it from the SF and they’re trying to make it real that’s what interests me. There’s a story that the Americans never quite got the space ship they wanted right because they were trying to make it look like a Buck Roger’s space ship. Which I believe because that’s how a space ship should look.
CG:So science fiction does predict the future?
MM:No, it creates it which is slightly different. It’s full of loony SF fans. When I went up to see 2001, 2001 ways to fall asleep!, and the NASA people were out there and this is probably what was wrong with the film - the NASA people were out there and they were deeply interested in the science, as if they would really land a space ship on Jupiter. I can’t do with all that.
CG:Does anyone else out there have a question?
PSFG:In the early days you used to do a lot of stuff with certain bands, like Hawkwind and Blue Oyster Cult. How did that come about?
MM:It just happened
PSFG:So did they like approach you or did you go there or what?
MM:Hawkwind based their title on the Hawkmoon books that was the start of it and I didn’t meet them for the first few months. I lived in Ladbroke Grove, everything happened in Ladbroke Grove in the sixties and seventies. I mean it was just nice and I happened to live in Ladbroke Grove and it all happened around me. You couldn’t actually move for bloody Rock and Roll bands.
PSFG: What about Blue Oyster Cult being a Canadian band -
MM:They’re not Cannadian, they’re from Long Island. Every one of them are nice Long Island jewish boys - very neat and tidy.
PSFG:So how did you get in with them? MM:Eric Bloom got in touch with me and I happened to write some songs for him. It quite often happened that Rock and Roll people would get in touch with me. And mostly I couldn’t think of anything much to do. But Eric liked the things I was doing at that time. For instance Mark Bolan - now dead - was really keen to work with me and I really didn’t want to work with Mark Bolan. He even actually pursued me down Ladbroke Grove in his white Rolls-Royce. I knew him and Steve Took from earlier days, and I disapproved of Mark dropping all his mates. Well it’s not so much that, except ten minutes before he was saying he’d never do anything like that - and it took NOTHING to make him dump everybody. Goodbye twenty years, it’s all over. So I didn’t like him much, I thought he was a wanker. He used to follow me down Ladbroke Grove shouting ‘Michael, Michael’ and I’d be riding along pretending I couldn’t hear him. I mean if you were where I lived at that time it was where all the underground magazines, newspapers, all those sort of people - everything was happening in the sixties and seventies was happening there and so it just happens.
CG:I remember you saying at one time that it was attractive to work in sf because there was nobody looking over your shoulder. And the same thing being true in comics but also Rock and Roll,
MM:Yes, that was when I started, by the time we’re talking about things like Blue Oyster Cult, that was when the whole thing was up and running. And I had just been doing Rock and Roll. I had been doing Rock and Roll all the time ever since I was a kid. I had been in and out of bands, it was not particularly difficult for me to do that.
PSFG:There seems to be a lot of follow up from that. There are very few authors who are able to get games written about their books. You’ve got two games based based on your boosk that I know of; Hawkmoon and Stormbringer.
MM:Yes, at least two. There’s all sorts of spin offs and things. Actually they come and go. There are more than that; Frank Herbert’s DUNE for example.
PSFG:Did you have much input with Greg Stapleton?
MM:No, none at all.
PSFG:It was just a case of licensing it.
MM:Yea. I mean licensing it to the right people, is what it boils down to. I don’t just licence it. It’s usually enthusiasts - then of course they don’t pay you.
CG:Enthusiasm or more money.
MM:It never seems to be both, or very rarely- occasionally.
CG:Another question?
PSFG: Which came first your techniques of chaos theory or the Pyat books.
MM:The Pyat books. They started before Mandlebrot really published anything. That’s all there is to say about it really. Why do you ask the question, I’m just curious?
PSFG:Well I initially came into your writing through Hawkmoon, Elric and so on, and Pyat is set in real events. Virtually everything before that started out or transferred into the fantasy world. I wondered why you chose to stay in the reality.
MM:Demands of the material. That’s what it always is for me. Depends how best to handle material, and something like Pyat which is about the holocaust, you can’t afford to introduce fantasy. You’ve got to be able to distinguish the hard realities very very carefully and in solid detail because you’re dealing with a real and in my view holy event it’s so monumentally part of us, or at least myself, that you can’t afford to muddy that water at all. You can’t be self indulgent. You can use fantasy techniques but you can’t actually make it seem like a fantasy. Several people have remarked that in some ways Pyat is a kind of science fiction fan. I mean a lot of the stuff you can pick up in fanzines is primitive political ideas - a lot of Utopiaism. You know, a lot of stuff. And he was to some extent based on Aurthur Clarke - without any malice. Because of Aurthur going on and on about his bloody communications sallilite. Arthur has always got these things you know. ‘I invented this, I invented that.’ And I wanted to deal with mechanistic attitudes of the world which leads you to solve things mechanically - solve social problems mechanically or whatever it is. So you’ve got a lot of that in the sort of personality. Because I happen to believe that that type of mechanical solution is an absolute disaster in real life. So I picked someone like Arthur in a way, as I say without any malice - but Arthur’s like that. Arthur’s ambition is to be a robot - that’s what he told me - I’m not being cynical.
CG:He doesn’t mean that like Andy Warhol?
MM:No, he means he wants to live in a sphere with all this, his impressions and things coming through screens.
CG:That’s funny because my impression of Arthur is that he already lives in a sphere. The whole universe is mirroring back on Arthur.
MM:That’s very much what it is. He’s always been the same. To be fair to him he’ll never never change.
CG:It’s very adolescent.
MM:He’s very likable as a result. I mean the perfect example is that with Aurthur you can never insult him actually. I went to see 2001 - with Arthur. Arthur, of course, had seen it three million times and thought every inch of it was marvelous. He said to me afterwards ‘What did you think of it?’ I said, quite frankly actually; ‘I thought it was a load of crap!’ I thought Planet of the Apes was a much better film. This is true, shortly after that screening of 2001, I was sitting in the dark with Graham Ball in the Odeon Leicester Square, watching Planet of the Apes, saying to Graham Ball that this is a much better film than 2001 and he was agreeing. There’s only two other people in the top bit of the cinema. When the lights go on it turns out to be Brian and Margaret Aldiss and Brian said ‘Wow! That’s a much better film than 2001!’ Anyway I said this to Aurthur. I said what I thought of it amiably enough. He just laughed and said it’s made how many million it had made in a couple of days. But he wasn’t hurt by what I said he just thought I was nuts. I’d probably come round later.
CG:Waiting for you to change your mind. Another question.
BT:In Behold the Man you had a controversial view of Jesus. Did you have any backlash?
MM:Well yes I did. I was thinking just recently someone asked me this question at a convention in Texas last year. They asked me if I had death threats. I said yes, but only from Texas, which is true. Then I suddenly thought. ‘What am I doing? I’m moving somewhere they send me death threats!’ But by enlarge most theological critics of that book like in the Tablet or the Jewish Chroniclel, whatever, it has been reviewed in sort of religious publications they all saw what the book was about. I never intended it to be particularly controversial. Tom Disch, an ex-catholic, thought the book was a bit ‘Aye, Aye,’, you know, that I’d have a bit of trouble there. But other than that I didn’t get much. I got mostly understanding reviews, and I don’t think the book was in any way anti-religious - it wasn’t intended to. I think it is seen as a reasonable debate about doubt. I’m still afraid I’ll be lynched sometime but that’ll just be bad luck.
CG:How do you cope with controversy and scandal.
MM:Every scandel I’ve ever been in I’ve settled with drugs.
CG:How did you survive? Die, so everyone can say Phew - now we can praise him without any fear that he’s going to embarass us.
MM:Once I’m dead I’m theirs. In your coffin they’ve got you the bastards, there’s no way out of it. I had a quarrel with a bloke who writes the Times Obituary column. He wrote a really bad obituary, so I had this argument with him. He was a wanker, an absolute idiot. He used to be a theatre critic, now he writes obituaries. I had this quarrel with him and in the end I said to him, ‘I hope I don’t die before you!’. Because if I do he’s won. He’s got control of the whole thing.
CG:Another question.
PSFG:With these stories about your writing trilogies at weekends. What’s the fastest time you ever did write a novel?
MM:The usual time for writing a novel was three days. I grew up in a school of journalism where nothing took longer than a week, and a week was a very long time for anything. A day for a short story and three days for a novel. I was just used to writing at that speed. I was used to getting things in on deadlines - daily deadlines. So there is a whole sort of natural expectation. I didn’t know any better. I actually didn’t know you were supposed to take longer than a week.
CG:Also a novel was shorter in those days.
MM:That’s true. The Hawkmoon novels are all very short. They are only about 50,000 words. So that only took three days. 1000,000 words could take a week. Gloriana only took three weeks.
PSFG:How long did you spend on the actual research on say Gloriana?
MM:I don’t know. There’s a lot of thinking involved in all of this. The actual act of writing is the least part of it. A lot of it is actually sitting around thinking and then it sort of gelled and you know more or less you’re ready to go.
BT:So really it didn’t take three weeks.
MM:That’s right, and what you’re working out as well as subjects is the structure. The whole secret of writing rapidly, or doing anything rapidly like music, is that you have a natural grasp of the structure. You can actually understand almost immediately what the novel is doing whether it’s Smollett or Henry James or whatever it is. You’ve got the the underlying bones of it. It’s good if you’ve worked that out. So what you’ve got then is this sort of formalising ability and that is what gives you the facility for working rapidly. This is probably true of about every prodigy, generally speaking. It could be Edgar Wallace, it could be anyone. The techniques are all worked out before you actually begin. It’s not so much a matter of working out the details of the book or what’s going to happen in it or even the characters in it, it’s working out the bones of the structure. Once you’ve got that as absolutely tight as you can possibly make it, and it can be a very complicated structure, it’s got to be rock solid. Once you have done that you can actually work very rapidly because you’ve got the techniques to hand to deal with whatever problem you come across as you write.You have to pick the specific kind of form you’re using. For Gloriana it was a four part seasonal, Elizabethan sort of idea, very much. That was another reason for doing it, because that type of symmetry they liked to produce runs through Gloriana in all sorts of ways. It’s all about symmetry, about balance, it’s very much an Elizabethan notion which is why I refer to Spencer. That’s whats being debated the whole notion of symetry, there’s all sorts of stuff like that for what it’s worth. You can work out everything like that and then you find the form’s apt, then you can go . Not everyone can do this type of story that I was doing. I thought it was just a matter of teaching it and everyone can do it. I now know there aren’t that many people wo can do it. It happens to be a gift, it’s just one of those things you can do.
CG:You take a lot from classic works from the past?
MM:I sometimes think I was actually asset-stripping novels I admire; going through them with no interest in anything in them at all except discovering the bones of them. Working out the actual dynamics of it. Spielberg is actually similar to me. There is a lot of similar characteristics, a lot of similar attitudes, similar facilities that populate his stuff. That’s exactly where Spielberg’s impressive. He sits down and sees exactly where he can shave off a day or two here before they start, which is the secret of good film making I might add. If you can get everything sorted out ahead of time which they very rarely do, and that’s what brings success. I mean people who actually know every damn shot before it actually comes out, it sounds mechanistic, but it allows you to expand within that.
CG:Have you any film projects on at the moment?
MM:No I’ve just pulled out to politely coin a phrase.
CG:That must be Warlord of the Air.
MM:Well his version of Warlord of the Air.
CG:How did you find it?
MM:This is my constant experience with film makers so far; they’re all sexist bastards - they don’t know they are, they claim they’re not. Particularly dealing with film stars like Richard Drafuss, who I like very much. It’s when you’re talking about the dynamic female character and he says well my character’s going to have to cut her down to size. And that’s actually when I walked out on the whole thing and that’s the story of my life so far, it goes on and on. they tell you what they want to do. They describe to you their ideals. They describe what they would like to be able to achieve. And you say great idea let’s go for it and bit by bit, within days they hammer away with anything which is a bit untoward or a little but hard, whatever it is. They’re forever spouting this liberal crap and basically producing faciest muck and they’re not even stupid. I think it’s a shame, they’re not even stupid fascists.
PSFG:In The Retreat from Liberty you chart the rise of reactionary ideology over here. Is that one of teh reasons you moved to America?
MM:No, I havn’t got any specific reason for moving to America. I have a lot of reasons for it seeming like a good idea at the moment. One of the reasons was that enough people voted for Clinton. I’m not saying I think Clinton was a grat Saviour. It was just that the electorate was willing to vote for an unknown factor. It was just after that that Major got re-elected in. I was abroad at the time and I went to a lot of trouble to get my vote in too. Which I didn’t think was going to be wasted. Then tuning in to the World Service, I just couldn’t believe it. At that point I thought I’m not going back. I am political and I do need to feel that I’m effective in politics. It’s more optimistic there. There’s weird things happening and there’s lot’s of stuff which is positive. And I think there’s a lot of interesting ideas in politics at the moment in the South and the West. Whereas here it just doesn’t feel we’re getting anywhere. You can’t keep on sort of singing a happy song and everyone going around saying "No good will come of that mate!" I just can’t stand it. I just want to see smiling faces. People with some sort of positive outlook.
PSFG:If you had to go back to basics what would your basics be?
MM:I don’t have any basics I’m a situationalist.
BT:Another question.
PSFG:What period of time in London would be the one you would most like to visit and why?
MM:The 60s. There was no better time that the 60s and early seventies. It was agolden age, it certainly was. There was no better time. It was phenomenal - it was a coming together of certain factors that made life in the west for people of my age - early twenties, teens, whatever it was - my age. It made life- there was a lot of money about, there was a lot of optimism about, there was a lot of drugs about, there wasn’t alot of oppressive stuff, there was but it wasn’t affecting us much. There was an enormous amount of optimism - there were a lot of interesting things going on, all sorts of things, and we were actually central to our culture. What’s happened through the Thatcher period is that me and people like me have been marginalised increasingly. I mean it’s a real noticible change. I’m talking about an entire, as it were, what you might call vaguely left culture that was cultuarly dominant during the 60s. We had the edge on everything. When we spoke we spoke with moral authority because we were speaking the language of the day - we were creating the language of the day. Thatcher came along and changed the language. Once you change the retoric you also cahnge the whole way in which people have to address issues. So you become defensive. If they success in winning, which is what happened. They decided to change the terms , all sorts of terms, took on different meanings. ‘Citizenship’ meaning rate-payers, as it were, people who have paid in. These words took on totally different meanings to the meanings I grew up with. When I grew up in the first world labour government which was very idealistic. I grew up in idealistic times and the 60s were very much a result of that idealistic coming to fruition. There was a distinct ongoing sense of real progress. That there were things to be done and we were going to do them. We were going to address the problems of poverty and all the other things. It wasn’t a perfect world by a long shot but there was a sense that we could do something about it and should do something about it. And the logic was changed. The logic was changed to a brute stupid logic of a low grade fascist nature. You only have to research, as I’ve done, Mussolini and research Thatcher and you find correspondences - I’m not talking about their effect, I’m not suggesting Thatcher caused the death of anybody- although she may well have done. But the same logic and the same methods and even the same results, and that’s the amazing thing, you actually see it every time, exactly the same bloody results. What we’re getting now is the results of Thatcherism. No question of it. You can see exactly the same as Mussolini - Mussolini is less dramatic in a lot of ways from say Hitler or Franco, although Franco is interesting because that again is sort of different but close to Margaret Thatcher. But when they change the language you’re lost. You’re speaking a marginalised patois essentially. What I have to say in my language - which I will not change. I will not sort of move towards the language of Thatcherism, because I don’t believe it works. I think it’s stupid and dumb. So deeply crazy that I don’t even want to even begin to start to use that language. ‘Monetary Disciplines’. I mean there’s all sorts of stuff which is absolutely meaningless, absolutely tosh and people are going on television and speaking it because it sounds authoritative. Because they’ve actually produced a language which sounds authoritatative but it doesn’t actually describe anything. That’s the amazing thing, it’s not describing anything to any of us going about our daily life.
PSFG:Thank’s very much.


MICHAEL MOORCOCK BIBLIOGRAPHY


Many of these novels and collections started out in magazines, and many have changed names. If you need a full and detailed bibliography look in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction by Clute and Nicholls.
  • Outlaw's Own (1950)
  • The Golden Barge (1958)
  • Caribbean Crisis -Sexton Blake (1962)
  • The Stealer of Souls (1963)
  • The Sundered Worlds (1965)
  • Stormbringer (1965)
  • The Fireclown (1965)
  • Warriors of Mars (1965)
  • Blades of Mars (1965)
  • Barbarians of Mars (1965)
  • The twilight Man (1966)
  • The LSD Dossier (1966)
  • Somewhere in the night (1966)
  • The Printer's Devil (1966)
  • Wrecks of Time (1967)
  • The Jewel in the Skull (1967)
  • Sorcerer's Amulet (1968)
  • Sword of Dawn (1968)
  • The Final Programme (1968)
  • The Black Corridor (1969)
  • The Secret of the Runestaff (1969)
  • The Ice Schooner (1969)
  • Behold The Man (1969)
  • The Eternal Champion (1970)
  • The Blood Red Games (1970)
  • The Singing Citadel (1970)
  • Pheonix in Obsidian (1970)
  • The Sleeping Sorceress (1971)
  • The Knight of Swords (1971)
  • The Queen of Swords (1971)
  • The King of Swords (1971)
  • A Cure for Cancer (1971)
  • The Warlord of the Air (1971)
  • The English Assassin (1972)
  • Breakfast in the Ruins (1972)
  • Elric of Melnibon√© (1972)
  • An Alien Heat (1972)
  • The Bull and the Spear (1973)
  • The Oak and the Ram (1973)
  • Count Brass (1973)
  • The Champion of Garathorm (1973)
  • The Sailor on the Seas of Fate (1973)
  • The Hollow Lands (1974)
  • The Sword and the Stallion (1974)
  • The Land Leviathan (1974)
  • The Distant Suns (1975)
  • The Quest for Tanelorn (1975)
  • The End of All Songs (1976)
  • The Weird White Wolf (1976)
  • Moorcock's Book of Martyrs (1976)
  • Legends from the End of Time (1976)
  • The Bane of the Black Sword (1977)
  • The Condition of Muzak (1977)
  • Queens of Deliria (1977)
  • The Transformation of Miss Mavis Ming (1977)
  • Gloriana, or The Unfulfill'd Queen: Being a Romance (1978)
  • The Swords of Heaven,the Flowers of Hell (1979)
  • The Dancers at the End of Time (1980)
  • The Great Rock'n'Roll Swindle (1980)
  • My Experiences in the Third World War (1980)
  • The Steel Tsar (1981)
  • Byzantium Endures (1981)
  • The War Hound and the World's Pain (1981)
  • The Brothel in Rosenstrasse (1982)
  • The Laughter of Carthage (1984)
  • Letters From Hollywood (1986)
  • The Dragon in the Sword (1986)
  • The City in the Autumn Stars (1986)
  • Wizardry and Wild Romance (1987)
  • Fantasy: The Hundred Best Books (1988)
  • Mother London (1988)
  • The Fortress of the Pearl (1989)
  • The Revenge of the Rose (1991)
  • Jerusalem Commands (1992)