The Best of Michael Moorcock: Excellent short stories

fantasy book reviews Michael Moorcock The Best of Michael MoorcockThe Best of Michael Moorcock by Michael Moorcock

The Best of Michael Moorcock is a collection of the legendary author’s best short fiction, containing several of his classic stories, as well as one previously unreleased story.

The collection, lovingly edited by John Davey with Jeff and Ann VanderMeer, is nothing short of excellent. There are really no bad stories here, and some that are simply stunning. As someone who has read many of Michael Moorcock‘s novels but barely any of his shorter work, I was amazed at how well the author’s skill — so much better known for the long, sweeping epic — translates into the much more concentrated short form.

Also amazing is the ease with which Moorcock switches tones and styles, from the light-hearted to the overwhelmingly deep, from fantasy to SF to non-genre fiction, from the joking staccato prose of “London Bone” to the lyrical sadness of the Elric story “A Portrait In Ivory.” It’s easy to see why this man is a legend.

One of my favorite aspects of this book are the subtle typographical touches added to each story’s title — e.g. the words “Behold the Man” are placed in the shape of a cross, and “London Bone” looks like a tube sign. Every one is different and somehow relevant to the story, and they give the book an old-fashioned — in a good way! — and playful air.

SF and fantasy fans have been lucky recently, with two excellent best-of short story collections: Tor released a brilliant Gene Wolfe collection and then there’s this Tachyon Publications Michael Moorcock collection. If, like me, you weren’t very familiar with these authors’ short works yet, getting these books is practically a must.

The Best of Michael Moorcock — (2009) Publisher: From the legendary author of the Elric sagas, this definitive collection captures the incomparable short fiction of one of science fiction and literature’s most important contemporary writers. These exceptional stories range effortlessly from the genre tales that continue to define heroic fantasy to the author’s critically acclaimed mainstream works. Classic offerings include “The Visible Men,” the trilogy “My Experiences in the Third World War,” “A Portrait in Ivory,” and the Nebula award-winning novella “Behold the Man.” With all of his finest stories finally collected in one volume, this is a long-overdue tribute to an extraordinarily gifted, versatile, and much-beloved author.

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STEFAN RAETS reads and reviews science fiction and fantasy whenever he isn’t distracted by less important things like eating and sleeping. In February 2012, he retired from FanLit to focus on his blog Far Beyond Reality.

View all posts by Stefan Raets (retired)

One comment

  1. I read tons of his novels in my teens and loved them. I shall look out for this. Thanks.

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