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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So many books. Such high quality, 1 Feb. 2001
By A Customer
There's a tendency, I think, to take Moorcock for granted because he has produced so much. 'Too much' as people say who mean they can't imagine reading it all. Yet what is unique about Moorcock is not his phenomenal output (Edgar Wallace and Barbara Cartland both easily break his record) but the extraordinary quality most of it retains. When you think of what he has turned out in the past few years, apart from Gloriana, you realise it includes some of the best books you have read in the past couple of decades! This book won the World Fantasy Award when that award was worth winning and it deserves all the awards and praise. Peter Ackroyd was a great enthusiast for the book and his own fiction carries odd echoes of Gloriana, not least a Platonic London and Judge Dee. For me this is the only peer to Peake and it seems to have been dedicated to Peake, so obviously Moorcock was writing a conscious tribute. Quire in his own way is as good and as complex a villain as Steerpike and Gloriana is a wonderful heroine, symbol of Britain (Albion) on one hand and complex, yearning woman on the other. There isn't a character who isn't fully drawn or a scene which doesn't have the richness and atmosphere of an Old Master. This book wasn't originally published in the fantasy genre and I think like Peake and T.H.White it belongs outside the general run. Moorcock's chief influences are German Romantics and French Existentialists, rather than genre writers, and these are enjoyed at their best in this gripping tale of blood, hate and high ideals. This should be the BBC's next epic. It's very sexy, too, in places! Feel the quality, feel the width. This is a gripping tale told on a rich and complex tapestry.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best in the series yet, 5 Nov. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Gloriana; or, The Unfulfill'd Queen (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
This is top quality stuff. Well up there with Peake, to whom it's dedicated. A queen whose lack of orgasm reflects her failure to find individual identity while she represents the State. Hers is a culture on the edge of enlightenment. Doctor Dee is here, as well as a Platonic London, and many other elements later found in Peter Ackroyd, a great admirer of this novel. It's well up to the best in the series so far, and a long way from Moorcock's hasty sword and sorcery epics.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Darkly, decadently hoping a Queen and Country will survive, 7 Sept. 2000
By A Customer
In a world which might seem to be Elizabethan England the whole country holds it's breath in the hope that Gloriana their Queen will attain fulfillment. Born of rape and murder into a dark world she is the Light and Hope of every subject in the realm. Her wellbeing is the wellbeing of the land. When she encounters Captain Quires it is though she has lost her heart whereas she has lost her health. As she wanes the realm wanes with her. Can Albion be saved from the Queen's malaise? Will Gloriana ever be fulfilled? Dark, hedonistic, fatalistic and maybe even ultimately triumphant, this novel will ensure you are riveted to Moorcock's every word
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as Gormenghast, 7 July 2001
By A Customer
This is dedicated to Mervyn Peake and is in some ways an homage. It rises above its own ambitions to stand as one of the very finest fantasy novels of our time. It won the World Fantasy Award and the John W. Campbell Award, among others, and is everything you could desire in a grown-up fantasy novel -- a rich Jacobean tragi-comedy! Oh, and sexy, too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Unfilfill'd Master, 18 Oct. 2008
Yet another epic contribution to the world of speculative fiction from the modern master. Although not quite as perfect as some of his other works, this surprises for Moorcock's remarkable aptitude for adopting an entirely fresh voice as well as for his rich eye for story. Here his style pays tribute most obviously to Mervyn Peake, although thankfully somewhat crisper. Gloriana is a fantastic creation, straddling the sexual and the political (as it were), and Captain Quire and the cast of ancient retainers similarly impress.

If there is to be a criticism it is that the pace and thrills sag somewhat towards the middle passages and cannot capture the joy of the opening and closing chapters. But, even here, much is made up for by a particular skill for narrative description and the gentle subversion of well-worn tropes.

Great.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Voluptuous, 20 Oct. 2005
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G Talboys - See all my reviews
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Despite the re-writes, this remains a beautifully realized vision replete with wonderful and believable characters (even the grotesques) that inhabit a universe somewhat at angles to our own and out there on the edge of the multiverse. Moorcock always was an excellent writer, this has to be one of his master works.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book that can be enjoyed by anyone, 24 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Gloriana; or, The Unfulfill'd Queen (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
When lending somebody a Moorcock book, the first one I turn to is always Gloriana. Why?

Like almost any Moorcock novel it can be read as a high-paced roller-coaster ride jam packed with plot ideas that twist with a life of their own and characters that demand your attention; your sympathy; your concern; your disgust. But the same could be said for Elric (as recently republished in a sumptuous set by Del Rey) or that poor excuse for a human being, Maxim Pyat. So why Gloriana?

Let's start with length. While Pyat's 'Between the Wars' quartet is likely Moorcock's best writing to date, the page count is daunting. Gloriana is that rare thing: a book that is just as long as it needs to be: no more, no less.

Then there's subject matter. Let's face it, regardless of the invention and creativity of Elric, your female friends will give take more than a distasteful glance at the cover of any Elric book before ignoring it (not even those covers of Gould or Picacio for shame!), much as many a lad wouldn't be seen dead holding some pastel chick-lit. While this is surely a weakness in ourselves rather than the books, practicality wins and thus so does Gloriana. Who doesn't want to read of court intrigue vs. personal truth; dastardly deeds vs. romance; nobles' pageantry vs. beggars' opera; revolution; murder; slaughter and redemption?

The story is set in a world dominated by the court of Albion and its Queen, Gloriana. Built from the bones Spencer's Faerie Queen and Peake's Gormenghast, the world of Albion is beautifully realised in its Elizabethan charm, its calm acceptance of 'righteous Empire' and the gritty sordid underbelly that supports these grandiose notions. Gloriana declares herself to *be* Albion and it is this notion of union that forms the basis for the book: the battle for Albion - both as a nation and as a person.

Under the book's surface of royal glamour and lowlife scum, Moorcock explores both the myths that underpin our concepts of society and the fictions we tell ourselves (or have created for us should we lack the will) to bind ourselves into the world. In the struggle for the soul of Albion, Moorcock questions if our concepts of national identity are little more than a set of convenient lies. What if they were to change: would we?

It's all to play for as Monfallcon and his web of spies plot to protect the realm - at any cost.
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5.0 out of 5 stars After the Dark, 6 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Gloriana; or, The Unfulfill'd Queen (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
I am going to take a different look at this book. To get it out of the way, I agree with the other reviewers here that this is a great book, one of Michael Moorcock's best and as a stand alone you don't have to be well versed in all the permutations of the multiverse to enjoy it.

Now this is where my alternative take comes in. In some ways, Gloriana could be the unofficial (and superior) sequel to the original History of the Runestaff books with Hawkmoon.

Bear with me. Gloriana is the daughter of Flana. In the Hawkmoon stories, Queen Flana took over ruling Granbretan when the Dark Empire fell, and worked to tear down what was left of the old regime. In Gloriana, England is recovering from the tyranny of King Hern, and Gloriana and her supports are desperate that the dark days do not come back.

On top of that, the whole atmosphere is just how I imagined Granbretan would be - refined decadence and sudden brutality, intrigue and sensuality all bound together.

Now Gloriana is a standalone novel, and my interpretation is more a piece of fun than something that should be taken entirely seriously. But I am sure that the correspondences I have outlined were intentional. After all, history mirrors itself across the planes in the multiverse, and anything is possible, right?

It added a level of enjoyment to an already excellent book. Whether you agree with my alternative view of Gloriana or not, you won't regret reading it
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An allegory of social responsibility, 5 Jan. 2003
This review is from: Gloriana; or, The Unfulfill'd Queen (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Unable to express her own passions, weighed down by her sense of duty, the sense that she embodies a virtuous State, Gloriana is unable to reach orgasm. Through the sinister and immoral Captain Quire, hired by her own chancellor to maintain the appearance of Albion's justice and gravitas, she learns that the State is not nearly as virtuous as she's been told and she finds fulfilment at last! Moorcock does a reverse on Spenser, whom he acknowledges in the front of the novel and whom he also parodies in the text, but this is not about Elizabeth so much as about England. A fine novel, which produces a perfect allegory without once pushing the themes down your throat. Like Philip Pullman, Moorcock is able to produce un-Christian parables, challenging the likes of C.S.Lewis without attitudinising or offering blatant arguments.
Written in the 1970s, winner of a couple of awards, short-listed for a Booker, this is a fine novel and one of the few outstaandingly literate works in this series. It ranks with Peake and is considerably subtler than Tolkien. The characters are delicious, the scenery gorgeous and the morality sharp as an assassin's dagger. Moorcock is a sophisticated moralist as well as a first-rate entertainer.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting phenomenon, 21 Dec. 2001
This review is from: Gloriana; or, The Unfulfill'd Queen (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)
Moorcock has talked about this phenomenon in an interview. Apparently the difference between the 1978 and the 1990 edition of Gloriana is a matter of a few lines in the penultimate chapter. THERE ARE OTHERWISE NO CHANGES TO THE TEXT. John Clute began this bizarre myth of a rewritten novel in his Fantasy Encyclopaedia and Moorcock has consistently accused Clute of introducing his own prejudices into this entry. ...The only minor change is in the rape scene where Moorcock was concerned it would justify rape and altered it slightly to change the emphasis but not the point of the scene. ...John Davey, Moorcock's editor on the new editions, notes only minor revisions. The accusation that such changes damage the book are a pure example of the kind of raving hatred Moorcock's friendship with Dworkin engenders....
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Gloriana; or, The Unfulfill'd Queen (FANTASY MASTERWORKS)
Gloriana; or, The Unfulfill'd Queen (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) by Michael Moorcock (Paperback - 18 Oct. 2001)
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