Where should some one start and how should someone proceed with reading Michael Moorcock? Elric? Nowhere specific? A very specific order?

I am asking because there are stories with different characters in different times/universes.

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    I'm pretty sure Moorcock would disapprove of any idea of a 'proper' order to read his books. He seems to dislike anything that might imply order or sense in the universe. May 5, 2011 at 21:06
  • @DJClayworth - Are you saying Moorcock is Joker? Jan 31, 2012 at 19:40
  • Elric is the only hero worth reading. The rest are shallow imitations. ;) May 11, 2012 at 15:06

4 Answers 4


Years ago as a teenager I managed to meet Mr Moorcock face to face at a book signing in Hollywood, CA. Naturally I showed up with all my Moorcock books for him to sign (around 30-40 total) which got a grin and a laugh out of him - very nice fellow. He asked that we only get a few books signed each time we got back in line, and that each time we approached he would answer a different question for we obviously hardcore fanboys. I happened to ask him almost this exact question amongst others: "Why do all your heroes seem to have the same name or a variation [and other overlapping aspects]?" MM: "I just wanted to link all the universes together into a kind of giant story." "Which hero comes first?" MM: "Thats the point - they all sort of exist simultaneously."

I am guessing this answers the question? Having personally read almost everything he ever penned, I think a good answer would be to follow the age of the Old Gods (i.e. Arioch) as they seemed "younger" in the Corum series than in Elric. But by Moorcock's own words, it really doesn't matter. To quote Dr Who, "its all that Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey...Stuff."

Hope that helps. Enjoy the books - they are legendary. My favorites were The Dancers At The End of Time (genius IMO), The Blood Red Game (a bit obscure), Rituals of Infinity (loved the concept), and the Corum Series. But they are all pretty excellent. Even Time of the Hawklords was good fun. :)

p.s. Dancers At The End of Time was one of the last things he wrote, and its a beautiful "End Note" to his whole universe, though admittedly not at all like his sword & sorcery stuff. Brilliantly conceived nonetheless.

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    When I asked this question, ages ago, while reading "Dancers at the end of time", I wished to get an answer in those lines. Author's feedback is the best source, worth waiting one year to read this. May 11, 2012 at 13:32

See A Moorcock Reading Order, by David Mosley, on the Moorcock's Miscellany:

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    Thanks for the copy and paste. My rationale when posting this is to ask as well for someone to provide some additional info such as... Can you start with "The End of Time" or not, Moorcocks work is set in parallel universes so... does it matter? Jan 30, 2011 at 1:55
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    Please not not use URL shorteners or lmgify on Stack Exchange. Also, it's not clear to me whether copying this content is permitted by its author (I'm giving you the benefit of doubt here); in any case, copying without attribution is both unethical and illegal unless the author has given explicit consent (has he?).
    – user56
    Jan 30, 2011 at 22:59
  • @Gilles: i did provide a link to the original content. in the future i will just link to it and not copy it all.
    – benstraw
    Jan 31, 2011 at 1:00
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    @dimitris, this isn't a discussion site, and you shouldn't be asking questions in the hope of starting a discussion. If you have a specific question, such as "Can I start reading Moorcock with the Dancers at the End of Time series?", then you should be asking that question and not complaining when someone provides an answer to the question you asked.
    – Mike Scott
    Jan 31, 2011 at 9:04
  • @Mike I did not want to start a discussion. My question was in the lines of "How can someone start reading Moorcock" is there one way or more? The question rises from the nature of his work, since we are in parallel time lines and universes. Reading my comment now seems like a complaint but it's not (actually I read all of it and liked it) Jan 31, 2011 at 11:18

Regardless of author, I generally go with copyright order, unless an author has deliberately done something unusual. This lets you follow their thought process. (Although some authors don't refer back to previous stories very well.)

  • Very good approach which I have generally semi-adopted. There are some times where the author has improved a lot in time and if you start with their first works you might be dissapointed Oct 2, 2020 at 14:46
  • That is often the case :-( but That can be interesting in itself.
    – FlaStorm32
    Oct 3, 2020 at 0:11

The Elric novella "Elric at the End of Time" crosses over with the Dancers series so, if anything, it would make most sense to read the Elric stories first. I would also familiarize yourself with the Decadent artistic movement, since this influenced the attitudes Moorcock speaks of in the Dancers series. Moorcock also gained inspiration from a Victorian writer George Meredith and in particular, Meredith's novel The Amazing Marriage. How, specifically, I don't know.

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