Saturday, 14 March 2015

Book Review - My Experiences in the Third World War and Other Stories by Michael Moorcock

When I think about Michael Moorcock many things cross my mind. Legend, trailblazer, and prolific. He is one of the few writers who has literally changed the speculative fiction landscape with their work. The anti-Tolkien (as he was termed), a revolutionary who challenged and changed literary conventions whose work to this day remains telling and incredibly fascinating. When I heard that Hachette was rereleasing all of his best work in new editions I was over the moon. I am the proud owner of battered books that chronicle the adventures of his antihero Elric, but I never really explored any of his other work. So I was delighted to have the opportunity to dive into this book, and in doing so I rediscovered my love for short stories and realised just how diverse and talented a writer Moorcock really is. 

My Experiences in the Third World War and Other Stories is a cracking anthology filled with mind blowing concepts and rollicking tales that stunned me. Moorcock defies all literary barriers and pushes boundaries with every story and novella in this collection. I adored the novella The Cairene Purse and how it took me to a post oil Egypt in the future and explored the relationship between materialism, faith, and alien abduction. I was also blown away by The Frozen Cardinal, a bizarre yet vivid tale of a Cardinal found frozen in a block of ice on top of a mountain. The Deep Fix was an entertaining tale of drug experimentation and another world, and The Pleasure Garden of Felipe Sagittarius introduced me to a world of weird investigation and alternate history. The chapters that make up My Experiences in the Third World War were also brilliant, blending a mix of alternative history alongside themes of war and religion. It was strange yet incredibly compelling reading, especially when Angkor Wat was hit with a nuclear weapon.

What was stunning to me in reading this anthology was how rich and original each novella and story was. Moorcock arguably paved the way for thousands of writers who have followed in his steps, and he laid the foundations for a lot of modern speculative fiction with his work. I can see, upon reading this boo, his heavy influence on many modern day authors whose work that I love and cherish. His ideas, characterisation, and execution are amazing, and I was floored by how undated his work still is. His characters and protagonists are all interesting, strange, and unique, and I found myself shocked by some of the revelations and twists as each story unravelled at breakneck speed. I struggle to think of any other writer's whose work still remains as telling as Moorcock's decades after being published. 

All in all this first volume of Moorcock's best short stories is an amazing collection of riveting, weird, and fascinating tales. If you haven't read any of Moorcock's then I suggest you snap to and get a hold of a copy of this book. It serves as a wonderful introduction to his shorter works, and is a cracking read that will keep you enthralled late into the night. 

5 out of 5 stars!

A review copy was provided. 

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