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1 May, 2008

Eternal champion

Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite authors, and I agree with much of what he says in his blog, but this time he's speaking for me:

"Mike Moorcock changed the inside of my head. I read 'Stormbringer' when I was nine, and that was pretty much that. My pocket money went on Moorcock books – which were gloriously being issued and reissued back then – and I read them and took what I could from them. It's not long until you have a multiverse in your twelve-year-old mind, and you learn that every hero is the Eternal Champion, and suddenly you're puzzling over Jerry Cornelius stories, with your head going places it hasn't gone before.

When people ask me about my influences, I tend to forget Mike, much in the way that people listing the things that were important to them growing up, fail to list the earth, the air, and sunlight. He taught me that high culture and low culture were simply points of view, and that what mattered was the writing. His influence as an editor still reverberates today. We're lucky to have him."

Exactly. Moorcock's influence on me was so fundamental I'm barely aware of it, but without him I wouldn't have the breadth of interests I do now, and certainly wouldn't have any patience with the 'fantasy' genre (bugger Tolkien; Moorcock's the real thing). I doubt I'd have discovered Neil G, for example.

I've said that I don't 'comfort read' (reread particular books frequently, as 'old friends'), but that's not strictly true. I'm not sure how many times I've returned to 'The Brothel in Rosenstrasse' over the past two decades. Okay; I doubt it's more than five, but that's probably more often than I've reread any other book.

I think I'll make it six this evening.

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