Monday, October 27, 2008
Michael Moorcock's doomed albino sorcerer, Elric VIII of Melniboné, made his first appearance in the novella "The Dreaming City," published in Science Fantasy magazine in June 1961. Moorcock was only 22 years old when he created his "anti-Conan" and the character -- and its take on fantasy -- has been influential ever since. Moorcock provided many with an alternative to J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, as well as the prototype for the many antiheroes that came to dominate fantasy in the 60s and 70s.
I don't always agree with everything Moorcock has said, least of all about Tolkien, but the man definitely knows the history of fantasy, so he's earned my respect. I still have very mixed feelings about the Elric stories, but it's impossible to deny their importance. D&D owes a lot to them, so anyone interested in the history of the hobby ought to read at least a couple of them to see what all the fuss is about.