British Fiction Focus

Moorcock Gets Meta

Monday morning got off to a cracking start thanks to Gollancz, which—in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek press release—announced its acquisition of three new books by Michael Moorcock starring a character any and all fantasy fans will be familiar with.

No, not Elric of Melniboné. Better! And markedly more meta…

The author’s “first full novel” in nearly ten years—excepting Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles, then—is set in “post-Second World War London, in a city desperately trying to get back on its feet, [it] follows a young man called Michael Moorcock.” It’s called The Whispering Swarm, and it’s coming this summer—with two sequels to follow in the next three years.

Moorcock means to mix in “elements of his real life—his first job on Fleet Street, and the initial stirrings of his interest in writing—with adventures in parallel universes peopled with highwaywomen, musketeers and magicians” in The Whispering Swarm and its sequels. And on a neat newsy note:

In a remarkable coincidence, a number of scenes in The Whispering Swarm take place around Carmelite House on the Victoria Embankment; the very building that will become the head offices for Gollancz and the rest of the Hachette Group in 2015.

Commissioning Editor Marcus Gipps is over the moon in light of this exciting acquisition:

The Whispering Swarm is a delight, merging elements of Mike’s life with his traditional brilliant fantasy. He’s the most influential fantasy writer alive, and this is one of his best. We’ve been thrilled to republish 31 books of Mike’s remarkable backlist over the past few years. Now that Gollancz’s Michael Moorcock Collection is complete, it’s brilliant to be publishing a dazzling, mercurial new series that will introduce new readers to the life and works of a legendary figure.”

“Dazzling”? “Mercurial”? Oh my. Methinks you can count me in.

Assuming you’re based in the UK, The Whispering Swarm is coming your way on July 16.

The Whispering Swarm is available now in the US from Tor Books.
Read an excerpt here on

Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative ScotsmanStrange Horizons, and He’s been known to tweet, twoo.


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