cover image Goldfish


Michael Moorcock, Brian Michael Bendis. Mojo Press, $20.95 (250pp) ISBN 978-1-885418-17-3

This engrossing miscellany of essays, reviews and short stories abounds with fascinating commentaries on popular culture, and with incongruities not unlike those that distinguish Moorcock's fantasy fiction (Blood, the Elric saga). Chief among the latter is the fact that the author, a British expatriate living in Texas, has nutured a lifelong love of westerns. In the memoirs ""How Tom Mix Saved My Life"" and ""My Comic Life,"" he recounts the appeal that fiction and films of cowboys riding to the rescue held for a young boy growing up in wartime England. This childhood enchantment eventually led him to write ""Johnny Lonesome Comes to Town"" (included here) and other wild west campfire tales for juvenile periodicals in the 1950s. ""The Ghost Warriors!,"" a postmodern pulp-western story set in the layer cake of parallel alternate worlds Moorcock calls ""the multiverse,"" shows how the fancies of youth continue to inform his writing today. Moorcock's later interest in Sherlock Holmes, the Arabian Nights, the sword-and-sorcery tales of Fritz Leiber and graphic novels are all represented here and can all be understood as outgrowths of his early fondness for tall tales and larger-than-life characters. ""Sir Milk-and-Blood,"" which pits his sword-wielding Eternal Champion against modern IRA terrorists, makes a fitting conclusion to the volume. It's a synthesis of elements Moorcock has mined from his many influences into an imaginative alloy that, like the book's other selections, both entertains and edifies. (Oct.)