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Michael Moorcock – London BoneIt’s Michael Moorcock, Captain, but not as we know him! Here are a few words, written quite a while ago, on the topic of London Bone, a collection of short stories and novellas by Michael Moorcock; a book utterly devoid of any Space Opera, and with no Sword’n’Sorcery anywhere to be found…

OK, firstly – yes, this is THE Michael Moorcock of Jerry Cornelius, Elric of Melnibone/Eternal Champion etc fame (he’s got nearly 100 books to his name meanwhile!), and no, this is NOT Fantasy or SF or Swords’n’Sorcery… instead we’re looking at a fabulous collection of short speculative fiction (for lack of a better term) stories and novellas written over a longer time frame, some of them already published in magazines or other collections before.

The stories cover a wide range of topics, from the classic ‘London Bone’, a haunting tale of the trade in bones from black death mass graves; through the story of the ‘Clapham Antichrist’ and a hidden square in SW London; to a story of an Archaeological dig in Egypt which is visited by Aliens that look a lot like the pictures of less human-like Egyptian Gods the old Egyptians left behind.

The latter story includes an excellent description of a future, post-eco-disaster Egypt, some kind of lo-tech Arab steampunk world, worth the book alone.
Most of the stories are told from the point of the protagonist, and in a highly enjoyable laid back and uninvolved voice, allowing for a relaxed and well-flowing reading of even the most exiting events.
As mentioned before there is no ‘overt’ SF or Fantasy in these stories (save the Alien Spaceship that appears in a story within one of the stories), but every story in the book has some kind of ‘supernatural’ event at its core – apparitions, sprits of the original Celtic settlers in America, the spaceship, …
Most of the stories also have a sexual (and frequently abuse) element – again not explicitly, but as some kind of murky undertow under the surface.
The protagonists in the stories are well drawn and developed, through their stories. Their (inner) world is colourful and interesting.

Is it worth reading? Absolutely, this is one of the best books I’ve come across this year, and one of the few I won’t sell/hand on, but keep for a re-read… a rare case!
The short story format provides one with bite sized, engrossing reading bits; it’s quite hard to put the book down while you’re stuck in a story (so make sure you do so between stories, or you'll miss your stop, again! ;-).
A classic of urban/post-urban storytelling.

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Title: London Bone
Author: Michael Moorcock
Reviewer: Markus
Reviewer URL:
Publisher:  Scribner
Publication Date: 2001
Review Date: Dec 19 2006
ISBN: 0684861429
Price: £9.99
Pages: 245
Format: Paperback
Topic: Fantasy
Topic: SF
Topic: Horror


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