I remember finding my first Michael Moorcock books at a used bookstore in downtown Palo Alto back in the early 70s. I was very young, of course. (So was Michael, I’m sure—a precocious youth. None of us wants to be reminded how long we’ve been writing.)
I don’t remember if the Hawkmoon books were the first or the second thing of his I read. I know that I went through the Elric, Corum, and Hawkmoon books all in short order after I discovered them, and then began systematically tracking down everything else of Moorcock’s I could find, occasionally even splurging on a new paperback instead of waiting for one to show up pre-owned. That was the mark of true love.
What I do remember, however, is falling into Moorcock’s Multiverse in the most complete sort of way. I was enthralled with scope of it and amused by its funhouse mirror aspects, the way characters who were obviously different versions of each other kept showing up and the funny ways in which they were related. This was the Eternal Champion mythology, part of which is center stage in The Jewel in the Skull and its successors in the person of Dorian Hawkmoon, who is an incarnation (for lack of a better word) of Moorcock’s metaversally recycled Champion. But it was also the way Moorcock’s minor characters and locations kept popping up too in different form that charmed me from the first. In fact, this fascination with refracted characters and situations has become a major part of my own work, and whether I use it because Moorcock influenced me so deeply or he influenced me because I was already so attracted to these kind of ideas is truly moot: his work blew my teenage mind and it has never been unblown.