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My Old, Sweet, Darling Mob

Iain Sinclair: Michael Moorcock, 30 November 2000

King of the City 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 421 pp., £9.99, May 2000, 0 684 86140 2
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Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 496 pp., £6.99, May 2000, 0 684 86141 0
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... had been got up to look like a charity case, or a Wanted poster. Dead or alive. ‘Vote Michael Moorcock’, it said. ‘King of the City’. King of the City, a hefty London novel, character-packed, busy with competing narratives (confessing, denouncing, celebrating, plea-bargaining for its own sanity), was being punted by its publicists as ...

At the Beverly Wilshire

Ric Burns, 8 January 1987

Hollywood Husbands 
by Jackie Collins.
Heinemann, 508 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 434 14090 2
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Letters from Hollywood 
by Michael Moorcock.
Harrap, 232 pp., £10.95, August 1986, 0 245 54379 1
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Rain or Shine: A Family Memoir 
by Cyra McFadden.
Secker, 178 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 436 27580 5
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... there is no greater ambition than to live and die in Santa Monica. ‘If I ever get the choice,’ Michael Moorcock declares, ‘that’s where I would cheerfully end my days.’ This is simply the most recent turn in what has proved to be one of the greatest tragic-comic intercontinental love stories of all time. Not too long ago lucred Yankee ...

At the Gay Hussar

John Sutherland, 20 August 1981

One and Last Love 
by John Braine.
Eyre Methuen, 175 pp., £6.50, June 1981, 0 413 47990 0
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Sweetsir 
by Helen Yglesias.
Hodder, 332 pp., £6.95, August 1981, 9780340270424
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On the Yankee Station 
by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 184 pp., £7.95, July 1981, 0 241 10426 2
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Byzantium endures 
by Michael Moorcock.
Secker, 404 pp., £6.95, June 1981, 0 436 28458 8
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Heavy Sand 
by Anatoli Rybakov, translated by Harold Shuckman.
Allen Lane, 380 pp., £7.95, June 1981, 0 7139 1343 6
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... But there is, apparently, more competition for the honour than up the road at Bertorelli’s. Michael Foot passes by and nods, albeit ‘briefly’. Marcia Williams sweeps in: expect no nods from her. She comes under the novelist’s scalpel: ‘She’s an attractive woman, her face has a good bone structure, but there’s something curiously unreal about ...

Back to the future

Julian Symons, 10 September 1992

The Children of Men 
by P.D. James.
Faber, 239 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 571 16741 1
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A Philosophical Investigation 
by Philip Kerr.
Chatto, 336 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 7011 4553 6
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Spoilt 
by Georgina Hammick.
Chatto, 212 pp., £13.99, August 1992, 0 7011 4133 6
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The Death of the Author 
by Gilbert Adair.
Heinemann, 135 pp., £13.99, August 1992, 0 434 00623 8
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Jerusalem Commands 
by Michael Moorcock.
Cape, 577 pp., £15.99, July 1992, 0 224 03074 4
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... the plan doesn’t succeed and that the whole story is told, one might say, from Sunset Boulevard. Michael Moorcock’s Jerusalem Commands comes along with paperback editions of two earlier volumes in the series, Byzantium en-dures and The Laughter of Carthage. A stranger to these works and indeed to any ...

Flights from the Asylum

John Sutherland, 1 September 1988

Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Secker, 496 pp., £9.95, June 1988, 0 436 28461 8
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The Comforts of Madness 
by Paul Sayer.
Constable, 128 pp., £9.95, July 1988, 0 09 468480 4
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Sweet Desserts 
by Lucy Ellmann.
Virago, 154 pp., £10.95, August 1988, 9780860688471
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Happiness 
by Theodore Zeldin.
Collins Harvill, 320 pp., £11.95, September 1988, 0 00 271302 0
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... Michael Moorcock’s novel honours the loonies of London. It seems there are more of them every year, especially since – by one of the more perverse acts of enlightenment – the asylums were emptied in the Seventies. One sees the London mad everywhere in the streets and parks: ranters, mutterers, arm-wavers ...

Melbourne’s Middle Future

Tom Shippey, 7 January 1988

The Sea and Summer 
by George Turner.
Faber, 318 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 571 14846 8
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The Dragon in the Sword 
by Michael Moorcock.
Grafton, 283 pp., £10.95, July 1987, 0 246 13129 2
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Fiasco 
by Stanislaw Lem, translated by Michael Kandel.
Deutsch, 322 pp., £11.95, August 1987, 0 233 98141 1
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... than just passively ‘reflecting’. The centre of Turner’s book is a cry for more information. Michael Moorcock’s The Dragon in the Sword has nothing at all to do with any of these concerns, and on the face of it, it is hard to see how the two books could belong in the same genre. Perhaps Moorcock’s should be ...

Diary

Robert Walshe: Bumping into Beckett, 7 November 1985

... as quickly as I managed to get a foot inside the door, I was sent a copy of Byzantium endures – Michael Moorcock. That one, icons iconing, balalaikas balalaikaing, kept me up nights marking pages, memorising passages, and dreaming dreams of a vividness and thrust that I hadn’t experienced since I was in the Army. My well-intentioned friends in Poland ...

Yesterday

Frank Kermode, 27 July 1989

The Pleasures of Peace: Art and Imagination in Post-War Britain 
by Bryan Appleyard.
Faber, 367 pp., £12.99, June 1989, 0 571 13722 9
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... to be related to everything else that is going on, however sour. Appleyard also has good words for Michael Moorcock and J.G. Ballard, for Peter Greenaway’s The Draughtsman’s Contract and Denis Potter’s The Singing Detective, as well as for Richard Rogers and Will Allsop – indeed for all who demonstrate what is rather vaguely called ‘the ...
Canteen Culture 
by Ike Eze-anyika.
Faber, 295 pp., £9.99, March 2000, 0 571 20079 6
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Charlieunclenorfolktango 
by Tony White.
Codex, 158 pp., £7.95, December 1999, 1 899598 13 8
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Filth 
by Irvine Welsh.
Vintage, 392 pp., £5.99, August 1999, 0 09 959111 1
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... is a bizarre, depressing and unreadable book which comes with an endorsement from Michael Moorcock (‘Tony White reports from the margins, the way all our best writers do’) and an optimistic but inaccurate billing as ‘the bastard offspring of Starsky and Hutch and The X-Files’. The gimmick is that the book is a monologue narrated ...

Paradise Lost

Stephen Bann, 17 March 1983

Deadeye Dick 
by Kurt Vonnegut.
Cape, 224 pp., £7.50, February 1983, 0 224 02945 2
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Bluebeard 
by Max Frisch, translated by Geoffrey Skelton.
Methuen, 142 pp., £5.95, February 1983, 0 413 51750 0
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The Entropy Exhibition: Michael Moorcock and the British ‘New Wave’ in Science Fiction 
by Colin Greenland.
Routledge, 244 pp., £11.95, March 1983, 0 7100 9310 1
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More Tales of Pirx the Pilot 
by Stanislaw Lem, translated by Louis Iribarne, Magdalena Majcherczyk and Michael Kandel.
Secker, 220 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 9780436244117
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Yesterday’s Men 
by George Turner.
Faber, 234 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 571 11857 7
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Rebel in Time 
by Harry Harrison.
Granada, 272 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 246 11766 4
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Three Six Seven: Memoirs of a Very Important Man 
by Peter Vansittart.
Peter Owen, 236 pp., £8.95, February 1983, 0 7206 0602 0
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... creating an emergency in which his true ‘nature’ will reveal itself. It is worth saying (and Michael Moorcock, the chief focus of Greenland’s study, was evidently never tired of saying it) that Science Fiction hoists itself up from the general mass of popular literature only by a positive effort of style. Beside Stanislaw Lem, an Old Master in ...

Hopi Mean Time

Iain Sinclair: Jim Sallis, 18 March 1999

Eye of the Cricket 
by James Sallis.
No Exit, 190 pp., £6.99, April 1998, 1 874061 77 7
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... old man mumbled something unconvincing about property prices. Why did the quintessentially English Michael Moorcock nominate the second Confederate governor of Texas’s mansion in Bastrop, thirty miles out of Austin, as a suitable estate for his tax exile? Only the cats know. Spooky, over-refined Egyptian beasts who are let out on a leash while the dew ...

Customising Biography

Iain Sinclair, 22 February 1996

Blake 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 399 pp., £20, September 1995, 1 85619 278 4
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol I: Jerusalem 
editor David Bindman, edited by Morton D. Paley.
Tate Gallery, 304 pp., £48, August 1991, 1 85437 066 9
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. II: Songs of Innocence and Experience 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Andrew Lincoln.
Tate Gallery, 210 pp., £39.50, August 1991, 1 85437 068 5
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol III: The Early Illuminated Books 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Morris Eaves, Robert Essick and Joseph Viscomi.
Tate Gallery, 288 pp., £48, August 1993, 1 85437 119 3
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. IV: The Continental Prophecies: America, Europe, The Song of Los 
editor David Bindman, edited by D.W. Dörbecker.
Tate Gallery, 368 pp., £50, May 1995, 1 85437 154 1
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. V: Milton, a Poem 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Robert Essick and Joseph Viscomi.
Tate Gallery, 224 pp., £48, November 1993, 1 85437 121 5
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. VI: The Urizen Books 
 editor David Bindman, edited by David Worrall.
Tate Gallery, 232 pp., £39.50, May 1995, 9781854371553
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... live among them, had the definite ring of an oxymoron. The vitality of Ackroyd (as of his friend Michael Moorcock) is on a 19th-century scale. He has made respectable the concept of the man of letters. And, much more than that, he has made it pay. Ackroyd also customised his own biography. We know what we are allowed to know and what we can learn, by ...

The Last London

Iain Sinclair, 30 March 2017

... Ford and Lewis, to the drowned worlds of J.G. Ballard and Will Self, the dystopian multiverses of Michael Moorcock and China Miéville. Fredric Jameson, considering postmodernism, talks about the ‘hysterical sublime’: a sort of Gothic rapture in contemplation of lastness, the voluntary abdication of power to superior aliens. This was heady stuff for ...

Into the Underworld

Iain Sinclair: The Hackney Underworld, 22 January 2015

... perpetual burrowing reminded me of the fractal architecture of the Elizabethan palace contrived by Michael Moorcock for his Spenserian 1978 novel, Gloriana, or The Unfulfill’d Queen. Moorcock, in his turn, was paying his respects to Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast. Being outside the literary mainstream, and seeing the ...

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