Shells Chats with author Michael Moorcock

What do you feel is the most important thing about writing fiction?

That it should confront, in some way, the contemporary world.

What do you feel is your greatest achievement as an author?

Probably just the number of ideas, terms and analyses I've put out there.

The Elric series is considered a cult classic and a favorite amongst readers still today, how do you feel about the series now compared to when you first started it?

Elric always reflected the person I was and still does. When I started it was all new and I had no idea how it would go down with the public. Now I see so many clones it's a bit weird. I doubt very much I would be writing fantasy if I was, say, 20 today. I wouldn't change anything, though. I still like Elric, still enjoy writing Elric stories, especially since I found a way to bring him into conflict with my real world. Some of my own ways of plotting and so on have become such standard tropes, even cliches, in modern fantasy that it's a lot harder to do something new, which is why I write comparatively few new stories, these days. I found one solution by collaborating, in France, with a friend there, and the first of those novels will be appearing this year -- Les Buveurs D'Ames -- from my regular Elric publisher Fleuve Noir in Paris -- with Fabrice Colin.

Elric: Swords and Roses was recently released, can you tell us a bit about that?

It's the final volume in a series which not only collects the 'classic' series and arranges them in the order in which they were written but includes all kinds of uncollected material, fiction and non-fiction, including artwork from the very first magazine stories and so on. This last version includes a film script and, among other things, a tribute to Jim Cawthorn, who was the first Elric illustrator. The core of the book is the long (for Elric books) novel The Revenge of the Rose. The Rose is a character who has appeared in other novels, including my War Amongst the Angels sequence, the Multiverse comic and others.

Are there any projects you are working on now that you can tell us a bit about?

I'm working on the first of a new sequence about a mysterious, enduring part of London known as Alsatia or The Sactuary, using a great deal of material which is pretty straightforward autobiography. I have various short stories in the works, including a new Jerry Cornelius story Walking the Hog, another Elric novella, a novella featuring M. Zenith (who is a sort of Elric in the 20th century) called Curare! set in the 1930s, various autobiographical pieces like the one which appeared recently in the Stories anthology, an album of Cajun/Zydaco influenced music called Live from the Terminal Cafe (with Martin Stone, Pete Pavli and others) and a few reviews and introductions for various newspapers, books etc.

I'm chronically short of time!

What advice based on your experience would you tell a person just starting to write?

If you want to write detective fiction, read everything BUT detective fiction. If you want to write fantasy -- the same -- stop reading fantasy and read everything else, especially literary fiction.

What is the one thing you would want readers to remember the most about you?

Maybe that I started a lot of stuff that's so familiar they think it's always been there. If it's my books, Mother London and the Pyat sequence are the books I'm proudest of.

You can find out more about Michael Moorcock at his website:


  1. Wow, this book looks really interesting. I'm slightly upset that I'm just now discovering it, at a time when I probably won't be able to get a hold of a book unless it's given to me. >.<

    Walter, how ever do you get such wonderful authors to appear on your blog on a regular basis?

  2. All the credit goes to Shells Walter, she's been doing a great job tracking these writers down! I'm just promoting which is awesome!

  3. Wow; that's really cool, how she's able to do that! While it's also helpful for the authors who appear here, it's beneficial for her and you.

  4. Thanks so much for that! I have always loved the work of M. Moorcock, and this was a rare and precious interview. Sublime!