Tag Archives: Michael Moorcock

Game of Shout-outs

Game of Thrones is a class act. Yes, the show is so eager to display the naked female form engaged in sexual acts whenever possible that I sometimes think Paul Verhoeven took over the camera to make a medieval version of Showgirls. Yes, the previous season’s depiction of how Theon was transformed into Reek (which took place mostly offstage in the novels) played like outtakes from Salo.

But in the second episode of the new season, King Joffrey (aka Caligula Bieber) brandished his new sword and wondered aloud what to name it. “Stormbringer!” someone shouted off camera. “Terminus Est!” someone else shouted, just as another called out the name used in George R. R. Martin’s novel — Widow’s Wail.

The plot rolled on and I rolled with it, but not before I had my little glow of appreciation for the shout-outs to Michael Moorcock and Gene Wolfe. What is turning out to be the greatest fantasy series ever made for television took time to give props to two other fantasy greats. Terminus Est is the massive sword used by Severian, the apprentice torturer in Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun.  Stormbringer is the soul-devouring weapon featured in Moorcock’s long-running series about Elric, the semi-human albino who needs the sword to keep himelf alive.  So — a class act.

If someone had also called out “Graywand” or “Scalpel,” thus referencing Fritz Lieber’s classic Lankhmar stories, the episode would have scored my personal heroic fantasy trifecta. Maybe another episode. I’m sure they’ll get around to it. This show is, after all, a class act.

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Friday finds

Today would have been film critic Pauline Kael’s 90th birthday, and to mark the occasion film blogger Jason Bellamy has turned his site The Cooler into a clearing house for arguments about all things Kael. The clip above is from a four-part 1982 interview on the occasion of her book 5001 Nights at the Movies, and if you like it you can watch parts two, three and four.  

Pauline Kael. She’s never said a good thing about me yet. That dirty old broad. But she’s probably the most qualified critic in the world. Cause she cares about film and those who are involved in it. I wish I could really rap her. But I can’t. Cause she’s very very competent. She’s knows what she’s talking about.”

Of trains, Secaucus Junction, William Carlos Williams and Paterson, N.J.

What did you do for Bloomsday?

Time to catch up on John O’Hara.

Call me crazy, but the time to stop your boss from trying to murder your only son with electric bolts is before he starts, not several minutes in when your kid is smoking like a grill full of baby back ribs.”

Learn more about Anna Julia Cooper and why she belongs on that stamp.

A chat with Michael Moorcock.

What were people reading during the Depression? Take a stroll through back issues of Publishers Weekly to learn who was “the best paid author in the world” in 1933, and to find ads for Mein Kampf (a “stirring autobiography [in which] you will find Hitler’s own story of his meteoric rise from obscurity to world-wide fame”).

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Topics for further study

Teilhard de Chardin plus “convergence” equals Flannery O’Connor?

Albert Camus plus Conan the Barbarian equals Elric of Melnibone?

Review and discuss.

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Ballard bundle

I see that The Complete Stories of J.G. Ballard is finally going to get a U.S. edition: 1,200-plus pages encompassing 92 stories. Meanwhile, the jg-ballardexemplary fan site Ballardian has links to obituaries and appreciations, as well as reactions from Ballard’s friends, admirers and colleagues, including Michael Moorcock, Christopher Priest and Toby Litt. And in this interview, Ballard talks about his admiration for William S. Burroughs. Curious to think that Ballard and Burroughs each saw their most infamous novels — Burroughs’ Naked Lunch and Ballard’s Crash — turned into David Cronenberg films that were ultimately best remembered for their outrageously creative soundtrack music by Howard Shore. And here’s a list of Ballard novels that almost but never quite became movies, including an adaptation of The Unlimited Dream Company that would have starred Richard Gere, and a list of pop and rock groups that cite Ballard’s work as an inspiration.

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