Mon
Feb 22 2010 12:04pm

I’m mostly your fault, Michael Moorcock

Dear Mike,

I started reading your work thirty years ago. I was nine, and the book was Stormbringer.

At the time it was a little like having the top of my head ripped off and magnificent multicoloured ideas poured in.

I read everything I could find you’d written as it was published—several feet of books rapidly appearing on my bookshelves over the next couple of years. I even read everything I could find by people you mentioned, discovering authors like Mervyn Peake in the process.

I took it for granted that a good author could and should be able to write anything and write anything well in any genre or way, and bend and break genres and rules at will—after all, you did it.

Looking back now, the things that stick are the strange ones that don’t fit, from the Sex Pistols’ novel-newspaper (Irene Handl as Mrs Cornelius?) to the mysterious newspaper-wrapped packages of The Chinese Agent

You’ve been an inspiration. Or to put it another way, I’m probably mostly your fault.

It’s good finally to have someone to blame—

Neil Gaiman

23 comments
james loyd
1. gaijin
I'm mostly your fault, Neil Gaiman.

(Just in case I'm ever published.)
Teresa Jusino
3. TeresaJusino
This is probably the best fan letter ever! :) And I've never read Moorcock, but you've now made me want to. See how that works?

Also, I'm only partly your fault, Neil. You share blame with George Orwell, Jhumpa Lahiri, Paul Cornell, Joss Whedon, and Jane Espenson. Not bad company to be in, though. You all should be very proud! :)
John Ginsberg-Stevens
5. eruditeogre
I blame both Mr. Moorcock and Mr. Gaiman for what I am currently working on, as both have pushed the boundaries of fantasy and made me think hard about what is possible in fiction.
Raphael Ferrari
6. Raphael Ferrari
Nice Words...

But what I've learned in my poor 20 years of reading, or so, is....
It is NOT hard to imagine what's possible in fiction, magic or - even - reallity. The trully challange is to dream about what can't be done with papper and pen.
Sure, you prove that what i'm saying is true.
Raphael Ferrari
7. Chastity West
I am likewise mostly your fault, Neil Gaiman. Just, as gaijin said above, in case I'm ever published.
Raphael Ferrari
8. authorsomeday
The greatest fan letter ever for definite.Neil Gaiman, i am mostly your fault- along with Terry Pratchett.i haven't read Moorcock yet- but intend to. look out for the name Scarlett Blades in 10 years time...either as an author or a journalist, or both!
Raphael Ferrari
9. Kimberly Unger
Sorry, Neil :) I'm not your fault. A true fan, absolutely, but like you I'm a bas***d child of Moorcock and his contemporaries :D Nice to see his name being bandied about again!
Steven Brust
10. skzb
Well said, Neil. Me too. Although in my case, it was mostly the tropes. And, having less shame than you, I simply walked in, stuffed them in my bag, got them home, and have been using them ever since.
Raphael Ferrari
11. mundens
I agree with Neil, Moorcock took me from juveniles (the Hawkmoon series) to puberty with Jerry Cornelius and Hawkwind, and beyond.

I got into trouble for discussing "Behold the Man" in school (along with Heinlein's "Stranger In A Strange Land") and that I could get into trouble for ideas and stories shaped my attitude to authority ever since.
Raphael Ferrari
12. tiberius
Er, Neil... really thirty years ago, when you were nine? Must be the scantily clad singing young ladies that make you feel younger :-)
Raphael Ferrari
13. rgilchrist
I always pull out the works of Mr. Moorcock whenever people talk of swords and sorcery. The entire champion eternal universe has always been a bit of a touchstone for me. It's so good to see one of my favorite "new" authors paying homage to one of my most revered ones. Kudos to you Mr. Gaiman.
Raphael Ferrari
14. JamesBailey
Just read "The Warhound and the World's Pain".
Raphael Ferrari
15. lapis
Originally written for a festschrift in honor of M. Moorcock's 60th birthday, entitled Moorcock@60.com, in 1999. Apparently age and mathematics made more sense in the last (tragic) millennium.
CE Petit
16. Jaws
As 15: lapis notes, this is a reprint from ten years ago... at which time the svelt and youthful-appearing Mr Gaiman really would have been 39.

Either that, or Mr Gaiman has been kidnapped by the ghost of Jack Benny.
Grant Stone
17. grant_stone
Me too, although I didn't read Moorcock early, but found him through the mentions by Neil and Tad Williams. Which, given Neil's comments about Peake, seems entirely appropriate and pleasingly symmetrical.

I only have 2ft of Moorcock books on my shelves, but the collection's still growing.
Raphael Ferrari
18. Neil Gaiman Himself
(I thought I'd posted something like this last night, but it seemed to have evaporated. Trying again...)

Yes, it was originally written for a celebration of Mike Moorcock exactly a decade ago, when the numbers worked.

I sometimes forget to mention how big an influence on me Michael Moorcock was (and is) probably for the same reason that people at the top of the Empire State Building might not, if asked where they were, mention America. It's too big and too obvious.

It's as true now as it was then.

Neil
Raphael Ferrari
19. Isabel (@TypeRtist)
First of all, on the 1st two sentences there's laughter in my head ;)

AWESOME letter!

We all may forget things, but never those who have inspired us. You're an inspiration along with your friend Geoff.
:-)
Isabel
(in short aka "Is")
Raphael Ferrari
20. Marc Jacobs
Interesting! I was at WFC2009, and I was surprised by how few people mentioned Moorcock or Robert E Howard.

I, too, read lots and lots of Moorcock, much of it when I was in high school. Loved the Champion Eternal, especially Corum. Read the Mabinogion in the Penguin edition because of Corum.

That Mr Moorcock also wrote songs for Hawkwind was an added bonus. That he wrote (bad) songs for BOC was not. Even found a copy of "New World's Fair" on vinyl, and kept it after I sold ALL my other LPs.
Raphael Ferrari
21. bridout
As a young boy my parents and teachers could never get me interested in reading no matter what they tried. Then my cousin introduced me to my first Michael Moorcock novel and I was hooked. It opened up a whole new world to me and I am happy to say that over 35 years later I am still an avid reader.

Thank You Michael.
Raphael Ferrari
22. Edward Oleander
I also began reading Moorcock at age 9, also with Stormbringer. Unlike Neil, it was then a few years before I realized, to my utter delight, that it was part of a greater whole. If this pattern holds, then it means that, adjusted for aging, I should publish my first book in 2032!

ps to Marc: If you are including "Blade Blade" in the Bad category (switching to best Chekov imitation), I shall have to stun you.
Raphael Ferrari
23. Wereviking
Please don't mention Joss Whedon in the same frigging sentence as Michael Moorcock again.

W

Zephyr -- a superhero webcomic in prose
http://wereviking.wordpress.com

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