Friday Reads: Elric of Melniboné
Tags: centipede press
Robert E. Howard’s Conan of Cimmeria is generally credited with starting the boom in heroic fantasy that began in the late 1920s and has been with us ever since. He spawned lots of imitators, lots and lots of imitators…
In any event, after thirty years of Thongors, Elaks, Kyriks, Duars, Donters, Braks, Whacks, Thugs and Thwacks, readers were sick of it. Somewhere along the way the writers (with the exception of the redoubtable Fritz Leiber) had forgotten all about the sorcery part of the equation, leaving the basic plot being the lumbering oaf facing off against the frail but far smarter and more powerful sorcerer, who in some act of hubris would manage to screw everything up and wind up with his head in a bag.
To save us all, a young man from England arrived on the scene in the rather unlikely place of the pages of John Carnell’s Science Fantasy. Michael Moorcock wrote stories about a character that, without his soul-drinking sword, was too weak to raise himself off the couch. Readers had never seen anything quite like the albino prince before and initially weren’t sure what to make of him. Playing on the theme of the Ultimate Outsider, Moorcock’s protagonist wasn’t even human in the strictest sense. By the time the second novella saw print the readership had made up their minds: they loved Elric!
Lancer Books brought out a two-volume set of Elric stories in 1967. One featured the novel Stormbringer, and the other book, Stealer of Souls, gathered up the short stories. More Elric work followed, such as The Sleeping Sorceress, The Weird of the White Wolf, and numerous other short stories, novellas and novels.
Now, for the first time, the titles, contents, and order of the Elric stories appear exactly as Michael Moorcock has long intended, making the Centipede Press editions (ultimately 9 volumes, with a tenth volume of archival artwork) the most definitive sets of these books ever made available.
These are archival editions, with gorgeous illustrations and featuring guest introductions from some of the top writers in the field. Elric of Melniboné includes the novel of the same name and two short stories: “Master of Chaos” and “And So the Great Emperor Received His Education.” It also has an introduction by Holly Black and new artwork by Piotr Jablonski
Signed edition is limited to 300 copies, each signed by Michael Moorcock, Piotr Jablonski, and Holly Black.Source: Centipede Press
Bound in full black cloth, stamped in three colors.
Color illustrations hand-tipped into the book with translucent overlays.
Introduction by Holly Black.
Oversize at 6½ × 9½ inches.
Head and tail bands, ribbon marker.