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Elric of Melniboné (1972)

by Michael Moorcock

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Elric Saga (1), Elric (1), The Eternal Champion (Elric novel 1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,263555,283 (3.68)76
It is the colour of a bleached skull, his flesh; and the long hair that flows below his shoulders is milk-white. From the tapering, beautiful head stare two slanting eyes, crimson and moody. He is Elric, Emperor of Melnibon, cursed with a keen and cynical intelligence, schooled in the art of sorcery -- the hero of Michael Moorcock's remarkable epic of conflict and adventure at the dawn of human history. Included is a dramatic introduction read by Michael Moorcock over 10 mins in length.… (more)
  1. 30
    Swords and Deviltry by Fritz Leiber Jr. (Patangel)
  2. 30
    Conan by Robert E. Howard (Patangel)
  3. 10
    Jirel of Joiry by C. L. Moore (thesmellofbooks)
    thesmellofbooks: Two unusual heroes. Elric, an albino, Jirel, a woman. Lively and exciting tales of sword and sorcery.
  4. 10
    The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (artturnerjr)
  5. 10
    The Complete Book of Swords by Fred Saberhagen (MyriadBooks)
  6. 00
    Night's Master by Tanith Lee (andomck)
  7. 00
    Rocannon's World by Ursula K. Le Guin (andomck)
    andomck: Sword and sorcery meets sword and planet.
  8. 00
    The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin (andomck)
    andomck: Brooding,introspective sci fi/fantasy
  9. 11
    A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (artturnerjr)
  10. 01
    The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: Spinrad takes the deliberately exaggerated phallic symbolism of the Elric stories to extremes that Moorcock never dreamed of.
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» See also 76 mentions

English (50)  French (2)  Hungarian (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
It's probably been close to forty years since I read the Elric novels and, though I have a vague memory of kinda sorta digging them, I could remember very little of them.

But lately, I've picked up a couple of Elric graphic novels that I enjoyed, and I've been listening to a lot of Blue Öyster Cult, who has several songs inspired by Elric. So, I went searching for my paperbacks to reread them...and I obviously lent them to some asshole who never got around to returning them. Likely the reason I run a strict policy of never lending any books anymore.

Anyway, by good fortune, while on vacation, I indulged in one of my favourite pastimes, visiting little hole-in-the-wall bookshops in small towns. And there, on the top shelf of the fantasy section, were the first six novels (handy, since I still have the seventh and last one, which I'm loathe to read because I distinctly remember hating it).

I snagged them all, and I'm going through the books again.

And while the plot of the first one seemed to meander a fair amount, I have to say, I enjoyed the hell out of it.

I mean, there's a certain amount of brain-checking at the door required, and you have to accept the 1970s standards of comic book typecasting: The brooding hero, the hero's hot girlfriend who's willing to wait however long it takes to be with him, and also conveniently acts as the standard woman-who-needs-saving occasionally, and finally, the villain who's a villain just because.

So, wrap your head around that, and the rest of the stuff is gravy.

Gotta say, while almost fifty years later, the fantasy genre has a much more seen-it-all done-it-all feel, back then, I have a feeling that Elric was truly something different. Yes, there was magic and gods, sword and sorcery, but it had never been stuffed together quite this way before. It wasn't Tolkien, and it was Robert E. Howard, but it was a pretty solid mash up of the two, with some bonus stuff thrown in for good measure.

Really looking forward to book two. ( )
1 vote TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
As a wee lad I tended to mark passages I enjoyed in my books and so lending them could be rather embarrassing. I remember someone asking me why I'd underlined all the sex scenes in "Rosemary's Baby".... Turns out I was a monster back then. Fortunately I mended my ways. Our home office walls are layered in bookshelves, so loaded they go up to the ceiling. So many books to love, so many books to lose. Back then as I was lending books left and right, every year a few got plucked off the shelves, maybe our guests/friends likely gauging they would never be missed, however, they are still very much missed, as I only keep our favourites (is it our fault the number runs so high?). Me as “home chief librarian” knows every book, where I put it, where it should be. At one time I even though of staunching the loss by turning our library into a lending one (we used to clutch every book tightly, like a favoured child), but some still drift away. The worst thing is: Every guest is a dear friend. We were being thieved by our beloveds. No more! If you’re prone to commit acts of sacrilege like writing in book pages, lend someone a book that you care about getting back - write your name on the inside covers. They have no excuse then for "not knowing who they borrowed it from" and they can't pass it on as a gift! I'm a bit of a bibliophile, even if I only own about 5,000 physical books (don’t how how many electronic ones I’ve got). I had to make a principle decision: I don't borrow books anymore, because they never come back, but my friends can come to my place to read on appointment. Of course in this day and age where people only read food labels in the supermarket, how many ‘friends’ are round at my place, by appointment, reading books from my humble 5000 strong collection on any given decade…?

Note to any fucking thief chum reading this: Bring back my beloved “Elric of Melnibone” copy from the 80s, you frigging sod! Because of this I had to make do with an electronic version for this re-read... ( )
1 vote antao | Jul 26, 2021 |
3.5 - I wanted some classic high fantasy and this sated that craving perfectly. Listened on audio. ( )
  MagpieBricolage | Jul 17, 2021 |
Excellent book. The whole anti-hero idea is done exceptionally well with the writing walking a fine line between the archaic and the modern which in this instance worked, managing to deliver the story very well, which I'm not sure would have been the case with every author.

A very short novel, almost a novella in fact, and therefore a quick read but still, there are many more in the series yet.

Very good. Highly recommended. ( )
  SFGale | Mar 23, 2021 |
People who find Witcher somehow derivative of this are being silly. Witcher subverts tropes and has characters who act naturally and are in a way modern in their thinking. This fully embraces all the fantasy tropes and characters are clichés who act out their roles with appropriate pathos and speak in "high fantasy English". ( )
  Paul_S | Dec 23, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Moorcockprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gould, RobertCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hurtig, LouiseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sabaté, HernánTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, JeffNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Poul Anderson for "The Broken Sword" and "Three Hearts and Three Lions". To the late Fletcher Pratt for "The Well of the Unicorn". To the late Bertolt Brecht for "The Threepenny Opera" which, for obscure reasons, I link with the other books as being one of the chief influences on the first Elric series.
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It is the colour of a bleached skull, his flesh; and the long hair which flows below his shoulders is milk-white.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This "Elric of Melniboné" contains one novel (of that title), do NOT combine with the omnibus titled "Elric of Melniboné" which has been published under the ISBNs 1857980379, 1565041801, 156504195X and 1857983343, as those also includes other novels ("The Fortress of the Pearl" and "The Sailor on the Seas of Fate").
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Wikipedia in English (2)

It is the colour of a bleached skull, his flesh; and the long hair that flows below his shoulders is milk-white. From the tapering, beautiful head stare two slanting eyes, crimson and moody. He is Elric, Emperor of Melnibon, cursed with a keen and cynical intelligence, schooled in the art of sorcery -- the hero of Michael Moorcock's remarkable epic of conflict and adventure at the dawn of human history. Included is a dramatic introduction read by Michael Moorcock over 10 mins in length.

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Book description
The first book in the Elric sequence (by its internal chronology). (Not to be confused with the Millennium omnibus of the same name!)
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Average: (3.68)
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