(urth) completed version - Donaldson, Moorcock etc

Sergei SOLOVIEV soloviev at irit.fr
Mon Aug 8 10:11:34 PDT 2011

(by error I have sent unfinished message)
This is the completed version -

Dear Jeff,

I didn' t write that the heroes (or anti-heroes) - Covenant and Elric -
were repulsive to me. I wrote
that the books were (their authors writing style). I don't remember to
be shocked by the "rape
scene" from Donaldson (I was not a teen), but I remember an intense
dislike of how the
book was written.

I glanced at the "Elric". I have to admit that this time (after many
years) my dislike
was much less, I was just bored.

I'll try to explain. There is no doubt that Moorcock is quite an
erudite. But I don't like
how he uses his erudition. To me it is like a badly done theatric
background - the pieces
of this and that squeezed into some rough picture.

It is told that Elrik is in some way antagonist to the heroes of
Tolkien. To Conan, that
you mention, as well.

But Tolkien used his knowledge of history, folklore, languages to create
depth, what is most impressive in his "Lord of the Rings" is more than 
10000  years of history subtly influencing the present.

Howard was young and while his knowledge of history, geography etc
is sometimes ridiculous, his books thrive with vital energy,
that is completely absent in Moorcock's...

My impression was that Moorcock simply borrows the elements
for his story.

- Melnibone looks (from the point of view of history
and background) as Numenor in the "Lord of the Rings".

- Its labirynth is borrowed from the stories about Atlantis.

- Master torturer in Elric story - hybrid of torture device
from "In the penal colony" by Kafka:
> an elaborate torture and 
execution device that carves the sentence of the condemned prisoner on his
skin in a script before letting him die (Wiki)
and some stories about Chinese torture.

- The idea that the (future) villain is an Albino is also an n-th reuse
of similar ideas (great literary villain - Uriah Heep by Dickens, there 
were many  villains of that type afterwards - recent - Malfoys in Potter 

- It seems that he uses some provocative symbolism without any real need
(his "pulsing cavern" reminds very much an anatomic description of
human or animal colon), I think it is also borrowed from medieval
symbolism (bowels of the devil), but used clumsily.

- Gold-plated ships - it is just not practical.

Of course my remarks are subjective, I think it is bad (artless) use of
interesting sources - that his sources are more interesting than the

All the best

Sergei Soloviev

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