A Long-Overdue Retrospective: The Best of Michael Moorcock

A Long-Overdue Retrospective: The Best of Michael Moorcock

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Tachyon Publications released The Best of Michael Moorcock, edited by John Davey and Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, back in 2009, and I finally bought a copy last month. I don’t know what took me so long.

Moorcock has an enormous back catalog of fantasy; so vast I’ll never be able to read even a fraction of it. But this book finally gives me the opportunity I’ve wanted for years: to sample the full range of Moorcock’s storytelling craft in one compact volume, with some of his most famous stories — including his famous 1968 Nebula Award winning novella “Behold the Man,” the Elric tale “A Portrait in Ivory,” and the Jerry Cornelius story “The Visible Men.”

The book received rave notices when it first appeared. Bookgasm says it “Serves as a superb introduction to the boundless imagination of this unique and fascinating author,” and The Guardian calls it “A long-overdue retrospective.” And Booklist says it’s “A wild, fascinating batch of stories fairly balancing the fantastic and the nearly ordinary, and showcasing Moorcock’s talent very well.”

Here’s the complete Table of Contents.

Introduction by John Davey
“A Portrait in Ivory” (Logorrhea: Good Words Make Good Stories, May 2007)
“The Visible Men” (Nature, May 18, 2006)
“A Dead Singer” (Factions, 1974)
“Lunching With the Antichrist” (Fabulous Harbours, 1995)
“The Opium General” (The Opium General, Dec 1984)
“Behold the Man” (New Worlds SF, September 1966)
“A Winter Admiral” (Lunching with the Antichrist: A Family History: 1925-2015)
“London Bone” (New Worlds, 1997)
“Colour” (New Worlds 1, Sep 1991)
My Experiences in the Third World War:
-Going to Canada (My Experiences in the Third World War, September 1980)
-Leaving Pasadena (My Experiences in the Third World War, September 1980)
-Crossing Into Cambodia (Twenty Houses of the Zodiac, July 1979)
“Doves in the Circle” (The Time Out Book of New York Short Stories, November 1997)
“The Deep Fix” (Science Fantasy #64, April 1964)
“The Birds of the Moon” (The Birds of the Moon: A Travellers’ Tale, July 1995)
“The Cairene Purse” (Zenith 2, July 1990)
“A Slow Saturday Night at the Surrealist Sporting Club” (Redshift: Extreme Visions of Speculative Fiction, December 2001)
Afterword by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

The Best of Michael Moorcock was published by Tachyon Publications on May 1, 2009. It is 403 pages, priced at $14.95 in trade paperback. There is no digital edition.

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James McGlothlin

Does this volume contain the whole novella of Behold the Man?

James McGlothlin

Given the size of the book, I thought Behold might take up too much room to include the whole thing.

James McGlothlin

I don’t have my paperbacks of Behold in front of me (I have an American and a British version of the novella), but I know both are longer than 50 pages. I would guess they’re both around 120 pages. Maybe that’s why I was wondering if the whole text was in this Tachyon volume.

Thomas Parker

Behold the Man is 160 pages in my Avon “Equinox/SF Rediscovery” oversized paperback. (I love those editions, by the way. Some John or other should do a piece on them one day…)

James McGlothlin

My Mayflower edition (Granada Publishing in England) has 142 pages. I also have the Avon edition that John has pictured.

I’m sure the Tachyon edition puts a lot more words per page to get this down to 49 pages.

James McGlothlin

Got it—finally.

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