Thursday, February 02, 2023

The Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock - Definitive Edition from Saga Press

Michael Moorcock is one of the towering giants of Speculative Fiction, he’s been writing and publishing stories and novels since the 1950s, both of his own creation and as an editor. His most famous creation, Elric of Melniboné first appeared in a story called “The Dreaming City” in 1961. Since then Elric has appeared across the course of 11 novels and many stories. Those novels have been reprinted several times in several single novel editions as well as collected/omnibus editions. 

I first discovered Elric through the artwork of legendary artist Michael Whelan and first read Elric of Melniboné in the Ace paperback published in 1987 with the Robert Gould cover art. Elric didn’t’ click with me initially, so I set the book aside until one of the many times I joined the Science Fiction Book Club and I got one of their omnibus editions. When White Wolf books reissued all of Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion novels in omnibus editions - including two editions featuring Elric Song of the Black Sword and Stealer of Souls - I “got it” and enjoyed the stories immensely. Other publishes have put together omnibus editions since.

That is all preamble for the main subject of this post: the new, gorgeous editions of the Elric Saga from Saga Press. Three books contain the Elric stories in chronological order, in Moorcock’s preferred order and preferred text. 

These books are gorgeous and are worthy editions to showcase Moorcock’s iconic creation. The omnibus/collections feature gorgeous artwork from the likes Brom, Robert Gould, and John Picacio among others.

The maps on the endpapers by John Collier are full color and some black and white images are included throughout each omnibus. Each book contains a readers guide and as well as a a foreword/introduction by genre giants Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman, and Alan Moore.

In chronological order, the omnibus editions are: Elric of Melniboné with cover art by Brom, Stormbringer with Michael Whelan’s iconic original DAW Books Stormbringer cover being re-used, and The White Wolf sporting Robert Gould’s cover from The Dreamthief’s Daughter.

Joe Monte is the editorial director of Saga Press and this republication comes across like a passion project. There is clearly a great amount of care and attention to detail with these books, to say they are anything less than “the definitive editions” of the Elric stories is underselling these tomes.

These editions commemorate the sixtieth year since Elric was unleashed into the world from Moorcock’s mind. Along with the three omnibus editions from Saga Press, there’s an entirely new Elric novel, The Citadel of Forgotten Myths, which my SFFWorld colleaue Mark Yon has reviewed and heaped with high praise: "a glorious return to one of Fantasy’s greatest characters that I stayed up reading much more than I should have, It does not pander, yet enhances what has gone before, adding a technicolor vividness to the complex multiverse of Elric."

It has been over 20 years since I read Moorcock’s Elric novels so I’m due to revisit the last emperor of Melniboné. I’d been considering diving back into the world and now that I have these lavish, books-as-art on my shelves, I am far more inclined to revisit.

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