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Episode 02 – The Jewel in the Skull Book One

Natasha and I discuss Book One of The Jewel in the Skull. It’s got it all!

Moorcock discussion?   Check!

Moorcroft?   Sure, why not!

Bagging small English towns?   Check!

Dogs wagging tails?   Check and check!

NOW IN THC SOUND!

Thanks are once again due to Neil for his ace moral and technical support.

Note: The bulk of this was recorded before Episode One, so we’re already entering into the true spirit of Moorcock by complicating our own internal chronology.

Baron Meliadus of Kroiden?
1977 Mayflower edition

Breakfast in the Ruins read along – Elric of Melnibon√©

In 8 days time I’ll be joining Loz once again in Derry and Tom’s to eat some cake, drink some fine wines (or perhaps just dirty beer) and pick up the tale of Elric by jumping forward 11 years to 1972’s Elric of Melnibon√©.

Naturally, because we’re talking Elric, this also means we’re in fact leaping backwards to the chronological beginning of the saga as we find out a few more details behind his decision to dress outrageously and sack the Dreaming City.

Read along with us and be sure to send your thoughts, if you have any, on book one (ie up to page 62 in the Grafton/Panther editions). DM me on twitter @breakfastruins or email the show at breakfastruins@outlook.com with your thoughts.

See you on the moonbeam roads.

Elric of Melniboné РGrafton Books 1989

Moorcock Shelfies 03 – @lapsedgamer

OK ok… More of a deskie this one, but still happy that @lapsedgamer shared his collection. Hopefully just a starting point.

Incidentally this is the same edition I started Phil on 14 or so years ago. It collects the first half of the Elric saga in chronological rather than publication order. It’s a bit of a beast and not really a pillow book but Millennium did a great job keeping MM in print at the time and these editions can still be had at pretty decent prices. Beautiful Robert Gould covers too.

My Experiences in the Third World War

Phil and I have just returned home from the SFW Weekender (see previous post). Always great to get back to the den after a few days away, and even better when postie has left treasure on the door mat. I’ve been looking forward to hearing the new(ish), live recording by Michael Moorcock & The Deep Fix so I’ll be getting that up in me ears later.

The second delivery was the recent Gollancz reissue of My Experiences in the Third World War (in this edition, subtitled The Best Short Fiction of Michael Moorcock vol 1). I’ve been picking these editions up as reading copies to protect some of my older treasures that are getting increasingly fragile. As usual with Moorcock reprints and collections separated by the years, there is a big contents difference between this book and my old Savoy edition from 1980. The core story, comprising the first 60 odd pages, is common to each but otherwise the contents are entirely different.

The 1980 Savoy edition was the first Moorcock book I picked up independently of my Grandad. I found it in a cheap books/tat store on Chanterlands Avenue in Hull, a couple of doors from the library. It was one of three books I bought, probably with birthday money, from bargain bins.

The first was The Illustrated Hitler Diaries, published before the fakery was revealed.

The second was the Dick Emery Cook Book. I still use Dick’s recipes for fish pie and bean and frank pot to this day.

The third was My Experiences in the Third World War by Moorcock. I’d read Stormbringer and Warlord of the Air by this point, but nothing else and my 10 or 11 year old head found it baffling to say the least.

My Experiences in the Third World War – Savoy 1980

But the cover… Oh that cover. I was drawn in.

The title story is a perfect example of what Moorcock was toying with increasingly in his Jerry Cornelius novels back then. Alternate histories of 60s and 70s cold and hot wars from the perspective of burned out spies, assassins and writers. The remainder of the tales were an early Jerry Cornelius short first published in a magazine called SPECULATION and a handful of other shorts, mostly early MM SF, from other magazines that had never seen book print at the time.

Sandwiched between all of that though was my first introduction to Jerry Cornelius in the form of a 15 page comic strip written by Moorcock and M John Harrison and deliriously illustrated by Mal Dean & R Glyn Jones. It introduced me to the entire Cornelius clan and Miss Brunner, had a tiny cameo from Elric, and was saucy, psychedelic and completely unlike anything I was reading in 2000ad at the time (which itself was pretty out there in the early 80s).

I remember taking it to school to show my mates. They didn’t have a clue what they were looking at but it had boobs and bombers so it struck a chord. Miss Minette-Sandern was less than impressed however and confiscated it, only allowing me to have it back on the promise it would remain outside of school grounds. I’m still amused by that to this day, but mostly because it just reminds me that an elegant teacher called Miss Minette-Sandern somehow had ended up teaching at an inner city junior school in Hull.

My Experiences in the Third World War (the Savoy edition) remains one of my most treasured Moorcock books. I wish I’d been of an age to get, or ‘grog’, it back then but I returned to it numerous times as I grew older and those ‘what if’ stories get better with age, even more so now I can web search some of the more obscure (in today’s terms) references to hotspots and flashpoints that were in the sidebars of the broadsheet newspapers regularly when these stories were written.

Jerry is out of his depth
Christmas at the Cornelius House

We will definitely be covering the Savoy edition on a future episode when, through sheer laziness, I’ll probably just read the above as the intro.

See you in Cambodia.

BitR at SFW Weekender X

Tonight is our third night of geeky, nerdy shenanigans with a few hundred like-minded folks. This is the 7th (or maybe 8th) time we’ve attended and, as I get older, three day benders do get slightly harder but the pay-off is the opportunity to meet some of our idols.

For many in attendance this may be one of the living Doctor Who actors like Sylvester McCoy, or to have the opportunity to see Gil Gerard (80s TV’s Buck Rogers) being slightly uncomfortable and creepy with a much younger woman. That’s not really my jam, although I confess I did geek out slightly earlier this year at the previous event when meeting Flash Gordon and Voltan in the flesh.

This year however was a great opportunity to sling some cards around to promote the podcast and do my standard thing – gassing with comic book artists and perhaps commission a sketch or two. In previous years I’ve had Conan and Solomon Kane by the likes of Boo Cook and Will Simpson, Slough Feg by Glenn Fabry and East Meg One’s own Marshall Kazan by the mighty and now sadly departed Carlos Ezquerra.

This year however my standard thing had a specific focus. Find an artist with a similar love for Moorcock. Some years back Clint Langley, well known in the comics world for his work on The ABC Warriors and in the RPG world for cover art on a number of W40k games including the Dark Heresy core rulebook, delivered to me a rather marvellous Torquemada (see 2000ad’s Nemesis the Warlock) and I hoped that he would be present as his art style would be perfect for an Elric commission.

I was not disappointed.

It turns out Clint is a longstanding Moorcock fan and even confessed to reading some Elric stories to his kids! His detailed, moody and baroque art style delivered the goods.

Elric by Clint Langley 2019

Not only will this join the array of great art I’ve picked up over the years, but it will now take pride of place!

Thanks Clint.

Slough Feg by Glenn Fabry 2018
Marshall Kazan by Carlos Ezquerra (RIP) 2015
Torquemada by Clint Langley 2016
Solomon Kane by Will Simpson 2016
Conan by Boo Cook 2016

Next week – BITR at Thought Bubble