Post by fritzmaitland on Mar 26, 2010 21:36:38 GMT
The Black Corridor - Michael Moorcock. Mayflower 1969. Reprinted 1973, 1974.
Shoot up The Black Corridor with Moorcock to Munich 15040.
The world is sick. The Forces of Chaos have energised the planet. Leaders, fuhrers, duces, prophets, visionaries, gurus and politicians are all at each others' throats. And Chaos leers over the broken body of Order.
So Ryan freezes his family into suspended animation and sets of for the planet Munich 15040, five years distant. There he will re-establish Order in a New World - and create a happier, healthier, saner and more decent society with the ones he loves.
But they are suspended. And they cannot talk. And he is alone in space. And he has been travelling for three years. And he will be travelling two years hence, and he cannot see his destination, and he is ALONE and LOST and CRACKING UP...
Unfortunately no cover artist given, and this one's a doozy. Pulp with thought and heart. If sci-fi is to be set in outer space in the future, but to comment on (then) contemporary issues and explore inner space, then this is a near-perfect example.
And the late great Bob Calvert recites the opening passage during Hawkwind's finest moment - Space Ritual.
Paranoia, alienation and.....well.....horror. All in 126 pages - and many of them are experiments in typeface (like All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy in The Shining)
I read a lot of Moorcock when I was young, both his fantasy and SF. Looking back I'm inclined to prefer his SF - the memories left by The Fireclown or The Blood-Red Game are more lively than those made by the fantasies. All is a question of taste
Regarding Black Corridor: I first read it in translation in the mid-70's, and I did not like it at all. I reread it 15 years later and found it more impressive, in fact I rather liked it.
Oddly enough I'm re-reading the Eternal Champion series now - I've started with Corum (Vols 4 and 10) and the Ice Schooner / Black Corridor etc etc is next , probably followed by Earl Aubec. I read them years ago but it's great to read them again now I've read many of the authors he was influenced by (Poul Anderson, E R Eddison, etc), Brilliant stuff with plenty going on that you can lose yourself in.
Reading this for the first time in (ulp) 30 years... Yes, the Bester influenced experiments are also very reminiscent of what he was doing at the same time in A Cure For Cancer, and a lot of the content reminds me of JG Ballard (he even mentions Shepperton). I like it, and found I hadn't remembered an awful lot of it. What strikes me most is that Moorcock at this time was writing so much that was in a pulp vein that when he tried to write seriously there was a superficial edge that didn't suit the intent here, whereas this paradoxically served the deeper intent of the Cornelius books very well (presumably because JC is a reflection of a shallow and disintegrating age at this point, whereas the Dickensian hues of The Condition Of Muzak reflect a greater depth in both prose style and intent). He achieved a greater depth and meaning to his 'serious' work such as Mother London, the Pyatt books, King Of the City and The Gathering Swarm simply by having more words - keeping the narrative to a short pulp length seems to suit his superficial style, but he actually needs a greater length to get into his subjects and unravel more of the story. I suspect that for a pulp writer of note in that period, he was actually suited to being more long-winded when he had something he needed to say. The narrative is actually too lean for his intent.
Having said that, I've enjoyed it immensely.
And the narrative voice in my head is Bob Calvert...
For a long time I want to read Moorcock's sf in its chronological sequence, especially after closing some gaps in my collection. I tried to start the Cornelious books a few times, just like the Pyat books, but always got stuck. Especially the last ones is not something you can just easily consume. I know something about the background and the time Cornelious was written, but I fear that a lot of it just escapes my understanding. Which makes this both a challenge and kind of work. Some friends who were major Moorcock fans nowadays finds him near unreadable, especially the early fantasy. I also have to constantly reminding myself that the first Elric stories were written nearly 60 years ago. The constant revising of the material didn't help either.
I actually started with The Fireclown last year which was a kind of difficult beginning as I thought it tedious and never finished it.