The Whispering Sw arm Going Home
Ielements drawn directly from the author’s own early life in London, but Michael Moorcock’s new book, The Whispering Swarm, isn’t an autobiography. Rather, Moorcock tells Red Alert, it’s both a “mix of true fiction and fictitious truth”, the first part of a trilogy and a book planned to be “difficult technically” as a way to keep its ever- restless creator from getting bored.
“The sequence is about the nature of perception, I suppose,” he says. “About fantasy and my own life. About self- deception and ego. Taking disparate genres and seeing what can be made to work from them – or not!”
For all that sections of the book take place in a fantastic realm, the sanctuary of Alsacia, it’s a book steeped in the stories that swirl around London. It’s tempting to think it’s no coincidence that, having lived as an émigré in Texas and Paris in recent years, Moorcock is considering returning home.
“These are the years of looking back and taking assessment,” says a man who turned 75 last year. “I very much want to have a home in England again.”
Ahead of any move, which may or may not happen, Moorcock continues to be far busier than the long gap between his last original novel, the final offering in the Pyat sequence ( The Vengeance Of Rome, 2006), and the new book suggests. For a start, he’s working on two sequels to The Whispering Swarm. “The next part has a different biography – which is true? – and will be very exotic,” Moorcock says. Expect it to be set partly in Paris and the Maghreb. The third volume will again be set largely in London.
He’s also been busy working on a new album, Live From The Terminal Café, with his friend Martin Stone, a near- legendary “bookscout” whose musical CV includes a stint in cult 1960s band The Action. (“People like it so far.”) Elric has been optioned for TV; there have been various comics projects, including a forthcoming “graphic novel about Rasputin and a she- bear with [ French illustrator] Robin Recht”; he’s happy that Gollancz is reissuing so many of his novels in a uniform edition.
Taken together, Moorcock says, this activity feels like it constitutes “a new phase” in his odyssey. “I did say that when I got to 65 I’d retire,” he deadpans. “I didn’t mean that, of course, but I have been trying to diversify a bit.” The Whispering Swarm: Book One Of The Sanctuary Of The White Friars is published on Thursday 16 July.
Dominion season two starts on 15 July on Syfy.
“Do your woodland walks always involve heavy weaponry?”