Fantasy Masterworks: Elric
This Fantasy Masterworks series compiles five short stories and a book. The short stories are 'The Dreaming City', 'While the Gods Laugh', 'The Stealer of Souls', 'Kings in Darkness', 'The Caravan of Forgotten Dreams'. The book is 'Stormbringer'.
The collection rightfully starts of with the short stories and has trouble holding my attention. Particularly because I was also reading Philip Jose Farmer's 'The Magic Labyrinth' beside which the Elric short stories suffer in the comparison. But as we go deeper into the stories and specially the book 'Stormbringer' Moorcock steadily increases the potency of his work. By the time I ended Stormbringer I was smiling and deemed Elric truly worthy of his substantial reputation. What started out as a character sketch was enriched with history and substance. I understand that there are more Elric stories than the ones in this collection but I was very impressed with the effectiveness of this Masterworks compilation. Let me say that the ending is particularly satisfying.
While reading Elric I couldn't help comparing him to Conan. Elric is good but Conan is still the best. The Hyborian worlds trumps the various lands in Elric's Age of the Young Kingdom's - they are alike in one way, they are both precursors of our current age. Elric is more powerful than Conan but the latter is the more engaging character. Rightfully so, since Elric is not quite human.
I don't particularly appreciate Moorcock's disparaging comments about what I consider the nadir of Fantasy: Tolkein's Lord of the Rings, but I cannot deny that Elric secures him an immortal and well deserved place in the list of fantasy greats.
Posted: September 15, 2007