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You can find all the posts in the series here. Today we get to the big one: Stormbringer. At the time Science Fantasythe magazine that had been publishing the Elric stories, was about to fold. But that meant reading the stories in the original publication order. As well, certain ideas that might otherwise be tantalizingly numinous in Stormbringer have already been visited. For instance, that Elric is but one manifestation of the archetype known as the Eternal Champion, doomed to fight for Law or for Chaos in battle after battle across the Multiverse, has been spelled out in The Sailor on the Seas of Fate and The Sleeping Sorceress.

The Cosmic Balance for which Elric unknowingly fights, and of which he sees a vision as he dies, is spoken of Stormbringer (novel) in The Revenge of the Rose and other novels. But it is, nevertheless, still a solidly-crafted fantasy adventure, and the bleakness of it is still capable of taking your breath away. Notwithstanding a few small subsequent victories, there is nowhere for Elric to go from here but down.

Everything he has ever known—his fallen empire, the Young Kingdoms, the most beautiful things and the most corrupt, all his losses, all his victories, all his friends and enemies and loves—all will be wiped away completely to make way for a new Earth. So fate Stormbringer (novel) Elric a martyr that Law might rule the world. It gives him a sword of ugly evil that destroys friends and enemies alike and sucks their soul-stuff out to feed him the strength he needs.

It binds me to evil and to Chaos, in order that I may destroy evil and Chaos—but it does not make me some senseless dolt easily convinced and a willing sacrifice. The audacity of Stormbringer lies not in the plotting, which is straightforward plot-coupon collection, nor in the writing, nor simply in the final death of its anti-hero.

Still, saving the world by chucking the magic ring in the volcano this is not. But once the deaths start piling up in the second half, the grimness becomes absolutely relentless.

The stormbringer

Not a single Young Kingdom can resist the conquest of Chaos and each is absorbed into its terrifying, seething mass. Why there must always be a champion to fight such battles? There seems to be an infinity of space and time and possibilities. There may be an infinite of beings, one above the other, who see the final purpose, though in infinity, there can be no final purpose.

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Perhaps all is cyclic and this same event will occur again and again until the universe is run down and fades away as the world we knew has faded. Meaning, Elric?

Do not seek that, for madness lies in such a course. Perhaps the logic will control the newcomers, perhaps a factor will occur to destroy that logic. The gods experiment, the Cosmic Balance guides the destiny of the Earth, men struggle and credit the gods with knowing why they struggle—but do the gods know? Elric is, ultimately, subject to an existential paradox—one which is really a heightened and rather pessimistic version of the human condition.

Stormbringer (novel)

His purpose is that of a chess-piece in the struggle between Law and Chaos, but what that purpose means within the larger cosmic scheme is forever a mystery to him, and even to the forces he serves and fights. Law and Chaos in the Moorcock cosmology—something he continues to explore with increasing nuance in future novels—move through history in a constant give-and-take, sweeping up mortals in their currents, and they may or may not be subject to something greater.

Elric may as well be acting in the service of a hurricane. Well, not really. Stormbringer was then published as a single novel in the US and UK. Earlier editions were trimmed for length:. Karin Kross lives and writes in Austin, TX. She can be found elsewhere on Tumblr and Twitter. Our Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices. Then why have I suffered all this?

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Included in Stealer of Soulsvol. To be included in the Gollancz collection Stormbringer! The Elric Reread on Tor. More Comments Check for New Comments. Latest Posts S.

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A fix-up Elric novel, originally published in Science Fantasy magazine in the United Kingdom in


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From World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award winner Michael Moorcock comes the second installment in is famous Elric of Melnibone series, brought to vivid new life with stunning illustrations.