When Moorcock was offered editorship of New Worlds he was already a successful writer with the Elric character, his most famous creation, under his belt. He took New Worlds, a traditional SF magazine filled with space ships and sword fights, and turned it into a vehicle for the '60's alternative culture as well as paving the way for modern contemporary fiction. Publishing authors such as JG Ballard and Brian Aldiss who went on to further mainstream success.
During the New Worlds period, Moorcock created one of his most interesting and enigmatic characters, Jerry Cornelius. He became a modern myth figure, mirroring the culture that produced him, a messiah for the technological age. The New Worlds authors at the time, including Aldiss, M. John Harrison, Norman Spinrad & others, wrote a series of stories based on this character which were released in the anthology The Nature of the Catastrophe. Moorcock then used characters from these stories when he went on to create the other Jerry Cornelius novels, but taking the character to even greater heights, along with the great supporting cast.
This lead to a period during the 1980's where Moorcock concentrated on more literary works and less on the more fantastic novels. That is not to say that he ignored fantasy altogether, with brilliant works such as The War Hound and the World's Pain. He wrote The Brothel in Rosenstrasse, a novel of erotomania, and then plunged into the Between the Wars sequence of novels, a series set in the earlier parts of this century looking at the events that lead to the Holocaust, following the adventures of an unreliable and untrustworthy Russian emigrate who stumbles from situation to situation in an increasingly disturbing world.
Recently, while creating the final volume of the "Between the Wars" sequence, Moorcock has returned to writing more fantastic works, including two new Elric volumes and the brilliant Second Ether trilogy, which combines both a fantastic literary vision and a firm grasp of Chaos Theory.
©N.Richards - 02/2011