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Authors: Michael Moorcock

The Sleeping Sorceress

BOOK: The Sleeping Sorceress
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CONTENTS

Title Page

Foreword by Holly Black

Introduction

THE SLEEPING SORCERESS

BOOK ONE

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

BOOK TWO

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

BOOK THREE

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

AND SO THE GREAT EMPEROR RECEIVED HIS EDUCATION

ELRIC OF MELNIBONÉ

Prologue

BOOK ONE

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

BOOK TWO

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

BOOK THREE

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Epilogue

ASPECTS OF FANTASY (1)

Introduction

ELRIC OF MELNIBONÉ: INTRODUCTION TO THE GRAPHIC ADAPTATION

Introduction

EL CID AND ELRIC: UNDER THE INFLUENCE!

ORIGINS

About the Author

Also by Michael Moorcock

Copyright

If there’s a Valhalla, where you’ll find old editors who died in harness, I hope Ted Carnell, Larry Shaw, Don Wollheim, Michael Dempsey, and John Blackwell are having a very good time there. They are a few of the great editors who have helped me in my career.

ELRIC
T
HE
S
LEEPING
S
ORCERESS

FOREWORD

by Holly Black

A boyfriend in high school recommended the Elric books to me. He was in a private school about an hour away, and we were doing that thing where you judge the entire future of the relationship by one single representative book choice.

I remember opening the books for the first time (they were the fat Science Fiction Book Club editions with the gorgeous Robert Gould covers) and poring over the pages as if hypnotized. Before Elric, my idea of a fantasy-novel hero was a strapping fellow who rose from simple circumstances to lofty heights. Elric was decadent, sickly, and doomed. I loved him instantly. I loved that Elric suffered, loved his milk-white hair and moody crimson eyes, loved that he was probably a bad boyfriend but a good king. He was tragic and I was hungry for tragedy.

The images that affected me the most deeply were Moorcock’s descriptions of the Melnibonéan court in decline. There, in the dreaming city of Imrryr, are singers whose throats have been tortured so that each may produce one perfect haunting note. This told me something about Melniboné, something that I knew in my bones was true of Elfland and all worthy fantasy places, that their beauty entices you into terrible danger. And it told me everything about Melnibonéan culture—that a moment of perfection was worth any amount of cruelty. Just as the black blade Stormbringer told me something true about how the very thing that gives you strength and power may eat you away from the inside.

Those were good things for me to think about as a young writer.

When I met Michael and his charming wife, Linda, at a fantasy convention in Austin, Texas, we sat at a table in the bar, and Michael cheerfully recounted a horrific toe surgery. He is as skilled a raconteur as he is a writer, and soon more and more people crowded around, drawn in by the tale. When Michael and his wife left, we authors clutched each other’s arms.
That was Michael Moorcock
, we said to one another, grinning like fools.

I envy you who are about to read these books for the first time. Not only did they change the genre, they influenced a generation of dreamers.

As for the high school boyfriend I was judging based on his book recommendation? What else could I do? Reader, I married him.

ELRIC
T
HE
S
LEEPING
S
ORCERESS

INTRODUCTION

By 1970 the Elric stories had become so popular that I was under considerable pressure from publishers to produce more. Given that I had killed Elric off in
Stormbringer,
all I could do was offer the public a prequel or two, drawing on events preceding the first magazine story (“The Dreaming City”) or taking place between events published in
The Stealer of Souls
.

The first of these, “The Singing Citadel,” was done for L. Sprague de Camp’s
The Fantastic Swordsmen
anthology, and when my good friend Kenneth Bulmer, himself a fine writer of fantasy and science fiction, was asked to edit a new magazine called
Sword and Sorcery
the first thing he thought to do was phone me and ask if I could write a new Elric series. I sketched out an idea for three long linked novellas that would take place between early events in the series. He liked the idea, and I had completed the first and begun work on the second when the publisher, who had second thoughts about backing a fantasy magazine, canceled on him, leaving Ken with an inventory and no magazine.

To be honest, since I had publishers very keen to get new Elric stories from me, I was not especially put out by the news, but I felt very sorry for Ken, who had high hopes of producing a magazine in the literary tradition of the U.S.
Weird Tales
or U.K.
Science Fantasy,
where the Elric stories had first appeared. I think he would have done a first-class job, given the authors and illustrators he had lined up. His time had been wasted, and I completed the project as a novel, filling in some of the events between the stories.

Elric of Melniboné
followed very shortly afterward. In writing
The Sleeping Sorceress
I had begun to think about Elric’s early life and what old Melniboné might have been like, so I was ready to do this book. This was the first time I had written directly for book publication and

had not been commissioned by a magazine editor. I wrote it for a publisher that had no previous policy of doing heroic fantasy, Hutchinson, but that had had some success with a series by Jane Gaskell and approached me for a novel.

Thus
Elric of Melniboné
came out only a year after
The Sleeping Sorceress
. I think this was the closest together any of the Elric books were published. I sent it to my old paperback publisher in the U.S., Lancer Books, since I felt I owed them a certain loyalty (they had published all the Elric and Hawkmoon books up to that time), but it was with some hesitation, since by then I was already being offered much larger advances elsewhere. I rather regretted it when they altered the early chapters and changed the title from
Elric of Melniboné
to, of all things,
The Dreaming City
. This seemed to show a singular stupidity, since, of course, the first published story in
The Stealer of Souls
had appeared under that title.

As soon as I could I got the rights back from Lancer (who in the meantime had gone bankrupt, taking most of my early titles with them), and when eventually Don Wollheim of DAW Books suggested reprinting the whole series with some brilliant new covers, I was at last able to publish the book as was originally intended. These are the books that most of my early readers from the 1970s remember best, with the matching Michael Whelan covers and matching type designs. I wrote a novella for my friend Bill Butler’s Unicorn Books (
The Jade Man’s Eyes
), which became part of a further addition to the series for DAW,
The Sailor on the Seas of Fate
.
The Sleeping Sorceress
was also at that time retitled as
The Vanishing Tower
.

These books went through many editions, establishing the chronology of the series, until Berkley Books made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, together with the chance to use the work of Robert Gould on the covers, which is how those books and their later sequels appeared through the 1980s, again going into many editions. I wrote two new novels for Berkley. In the 1990s I again rearranged the sequence for the uniform omnibus editions of the Eternal Champion stories I published with Orion in the U.K. and White Wolf in the U.S., once more with some outstanding new covers. With the collapse of White Wolf’s publishing program, I decided to “rest” my Eternal Champion books, including Elric, in the U.S. for a while and made no attempt to republish the books until Del Rey’s publication of the Robert E. Howard titles inspired the present editions, published in the order the stories were originally done. As stated before, these, with their beautiful illustrations, are the definitive editions of the stories. One of the reasons I responded to Ken Bulmer’s request for some new Elric adventures years ago was because he planned to ask Jim Cawthorn, with whom I had worked since the 1950s, to illustrate them. The chance of having these stories illustrated as I originally meant them to appear was too good to pass up! This will be the first time I have worked with Steve Ellis, a fine illustrator.

Some of the other pieces in this volume are collected in book form for the first time. The essay on Elric and El Cid, the great legendary champion of Spain, was done to celebrate the publication of the Elric series in Argentina. I have been especially fortunate over the years in having fine Spanish editions published. The original essay from my series Aspects of Fantasy is included because it appeared at the same time as the first Elric stories in
Science Fantasy
magazine and gives some idea of my attitudes toward fantasy at the time. A slightly more sophisticated version appeared as part of
Wizardry and Wild Romance,
my examination of heroic fantasy that was originally published in England by Victor Gollancz and in a revised edition by MonkeyBrain Press in 2004. These pieces were originally commissioned by John Carnell. The new introduction to the AudioRealms spoken-word edition of
Elric of Melniboné
, slightly changed from the original, is included here for obvious reasons, as is my introduction to the First Comics adaptation of the book. I am glad to say that the splendid Elric graphic versions drawn by P. Craig Russell and adapted by Roy Thomas will be appearing again soon from Dark Horse, who also, of course, does those great Conan graphic novels, reprinted the original Barry Windsor-Smith story in which Conan and Elric meet, and recently published the nonfiction
Conan: The Phenomenon,
for which I was privileged to write the introduction. Like it or not, the scowling barbarian and the mournful prince of a decadent nation are bound together by a destiny bigger than both of them! I hope you enjoy the stories here and that the additional material, carefully compiled by editor John Davey, will give you some idea of the excitement we felt when they were first exposed to the light of day!

Michael Moorcock
The Old Circle Squared, Lost Pines, Texas
September 2007

BOOK: The Sleeping Sorceress
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