cover image Lunching with the Antichrist: A Family History: 1925-2015

Lunching with the Antichrist: A Family History: 1925-2015

Michael Moorcock. Mark V. Ziesing, $25 (216pp) ISBN 978-0-929480-46-6

These seven stories from Nebula winner Moorcock's (Mother London) Von Bek series are linked through what the author, in his introduction, says is his narrator's elegiac but ``cautiously optimistic'' need to believe in a world in which people can look for ``some kind of resolution or meaning to their lives."" As the narrator of the book's centerpiece, ``The Cairene Purse,'' notes, ``We could not bring back the Golden Age. Indeed we were now paying the price of having enjoyed one.'' Potential avenues of hope, recounted in the other selections, prove ineffective: Tarot (``Wheel of Fortune''), rock music (``Dead Singers''), drugs (``The Opium General'') and military force (``Crossing into Cambodia''). And ``The Cairene Purse'' itself dismisses the possibilities both of technological solutions and salvation by space aliens. The tone here is ultimately more that of a Kaddish than of Revelations. The human spirit lives on, even though little fruit comes of anyone's labors. Just as the narrator of ``Crossing into Cambodia'' survives its concluding atomic explosion, Moorcock plainly hopes-but may not expect-that humanity will endure. His characters persevere, and their fulfilling tales of strife and survival prove ultimately engaging, even in their most morose moments. (Feb.)