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Michael Moorcock Biography

(1939– ), New Worlds, Behold the Man, The Final Programme, A Cure for Cancer, The English Assassin

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British writer and editor, born in Mitcham, Surrey. Having published several ‘sword-and-sorcery’ tales he first came to notice as one of the most prominent of the ‘New Wave’ science fiction writers when he was editor of New Worlds from 1964 to 1971; others, including B. Aldiss, J. G. Ballard, M. John Harrison, Thomas M. Disch, Keith Roberts, and John Sladek, published their experimental work in the magazine. He firmly established himself with Behold the Man (1969) and with four linked novels, The Final Programme (1968), A Cure for Cancer (1971), The English Assassin (1972), and The Condition of Muzak (1977), which described the adventures of Jerry Cornelius, the ravaged 1960s hero and Moorcock's most famous character; the series was described by Aldiss as a meeting point of ‘the worlds of Ronald Firbank and Ian Fleming’. Other novels include An Alien Heat (1972), the first volume of a fantasy trilogy entitled ‘The Dancers at the End of Time’, the other volumes of which are The Hollow Lands (1974) and The End of All Songs (1976); Breakfast in the Ruins (1972); and The Entropy Tango (1981). A graver note could be heard in novels such as Gloriana: Or, The Unfulfill'd Queen (1979), an intricate alternate-world vision of the first Queen Elizabeth. The Brothel in Rosenstrasse (1982) was a lament on the perils of romantic obsession. In the 1980s, having written more than sixty genre books, Moorcock increasingly turned to ambitious novels which rarely contained elements of fantasy. Byzantium Endures (1981) and The Laughter of Carthage (1984) shared in Colonel Pyat a protagonist whose reminiscences of life in Russia, Europe, and America were a litany of the twentieth century's self-inflicted ills. Mother London (1988) was both a paean to the vanishing metropolis and an imaginative reconstruction of the ideal City.

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