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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What all science fantasy should be doing, 12 Jan. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The War Amongst The Angels (Paperback)
This is first class literary, experimental work with a wild cast of characters, an obsession with popular English culture from highwaymen and rural romance to urban adventure and rock and roll. The richness of this stew might not appeal to the usual sci-fi fan, but if you want something as gorgeous as the finest Medici masque and as intelligent as the smartest modern philosophers, with the most knowing and ebullient use of Chaos Theory you've ever experienced, look no further. But mostly this is a warm, engaging and totally original novel of ideas. Moorcock has made the English novel of ideas his own for forty years and we still don't realise what a national treasure we have!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mandelbrot made even cooler, 22 Jun. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: The War Amongst The Angels (Paperback)
I just watched a documentary on Benoit Mandelbrot and Chaos Theory and it gave me a really mind-bending understanding of what Michael Moorcock is up to in this book, which I reread recently.
His ideas of alternative worlds, each subtly different from the next, separated by scale rather than 'dimensions' is a very sophisticated bringing together of two current ideas in modern physics -- Chaos Theory on the one hand and the idea of alternative reality or 'branes' on the other. How much Moorcock took from Mandelbrot and how much the scientific community has taken from Moorcock is a subject I've discussed a fair bit with my friends. It wasn't a surprise to learn that he anticipated Black Holes and various other ideas which scientists came up with years later and yet he has never, as far as I know, claimed to be a 'science' science fiction writer, being more interested in the humanities and how science acts on character or society. This really is a stimulating boom, purporting to be Moorcock's autobiography, yet being the alleged autobiography of his alter ego Rose Moorcock (aka Rose von Bek) the heroine of both fantasy novels like Revenge of the Rose, science fiction novels like this one and 'straight' novels like King of the City, moving through a series of realities, just as he moves his Jerry Cornelius cast (see The Cornelius Chronicles and the Nature of the Catastrophe) through different realities -- often to show how circumstances work differently on individuals, how in one situation we can be, if you like, heroic, and in another something else. Because of the depth and expanse of his imagination it's sometimes hard to get your head round his best books at first reading, but every time you re-read one something new is revealed. War Amongst The Angels is a very rich book, with a very ambitious level of language as well as ideas. It takes a bit of following, but it is in now way incoherent. Different 'branches' of realities are shifted between sometimes between one paragraph and another and he throws away ideas in a line which most writers would give their right arms for -- and would make whole novels out of. This is our Modern Prometheus, a story teller who is often the equal of Dickens and a thousand times better than your average Booker
contender. You can start this series with the middle book Fabulous Harbours and continue either with War Amongst The Angels or Blood, it doesn't really matter. The cadences of Southern US language inform much of the writing, with a mixture of Latin and Anglo-Saxon which you only hear in places like New Orleans and the stories are both moving and inspiring. The end of this book has distinct and deliberate echoes of the literary novel King of the City, both of which have slightly sardonic utopian conclusions. Not all Moorcock's books are tragedies, even though some of them seem to be. The comic apocalypse of his earlier Jerry Cornelius books is echoed here, but for my money the Rose
von Bek stories are emotionally and even politically more mature.
Whether you are a sci-fi buff or love modern literary fiction, this book is for you!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As always -- at least ten years ahead of its time, 10 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The War Amongst The Angels (Paperback)
Moorcock is incredible. This is his take on Chaos Mathematics -- not a few half-digested notions about butterflies' wings -- but full strength riffs on Mandelbrot. It's some of the most profound science fiction you'll ever read, but it is totally outside of genre -- or incorporating all genres -- whatever -- it is crowded with ideas, images, stories, characters. I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy and I can't for the life of me understand why this hasn't been heralded by all SF people as the masterpiece it is. Hard to precis -- lady highway robbers stopping Leeds-bound trams on the Yorkshire moors and a plane that flies between the different worlds of the multiverse. This goes together with the Multiverse comic (which has more explanation) Blood (the first book in the sequence) and Fabulous Harbours, which, like Tales from the Texas Woods, is a wonderful mixture of nostalgia for pulp genres of all kinds and a commentary on the times which spawned them. This is like super-technicolour, super-DVD, super-sound -- everything turned up to 11 -- but under superb control. This is a man who truly deserves his Grand Master award -- he is a master in every old sense of the world -- with an extraordinary range of styles, tone and subject -- yet bringing it all together in one glorious whole! If you believe sf is all StarTrek and silly monsters, read this book and you will know that the spirit of Verne and Wells and Philip K. Dick is not dead.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars COMPLEX, SUBTLE, STUNNING -- Why hasn't this won the Booker, 20 Nov. 2000
By A Customer
This is a book so rich you can taste it and feel it. It's like handling a beautiful, heavy tapestry which ripples with a thousand tales. Moorcock's stated intention, together with others of the New Worlds group, was to tell as many stories as possible in a single narrative, using poetic as well as fictive methods. This is the third novel of a set which begins with Blood: A Southern Fantasy, which again is highly complex, deeply enjoyable and full of philosophical and scientific ideas. People don't mention Moorcock's extraordinary grasp of modern physics, which has informed his books since the first crude attempt in THE SUNDERED WORLDS. He has been a hasty writer in his time, though rarely a lazy one, and his reputation has possibly suffered from that, but at his best -- and he is so often at his best -- he is the best writer we have alive in English! Sometimes I suspect he's just too damned good for the average reader who seems to be dumbing down by the day. I've nothing against Welsh and the rest, but they are scarcely novelists in the old sense -- what Henry James called a novelist. The rest he called tale-tellers. Moorcock is a novelist, sophisticated, intelligent and astonishingly accurate.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant New Weird, 6 Jan. 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The War Amongst The Angels (Paperback)
China Mieville is calling the new imaginative fiction 'the New Weird' and by that he means, as I understand it, material which has a novel, individual take on sf and fantasy. Does this mean that Michael Moorcock, who has been doing new, individual stuff for over forty years now, is 'Old Weird', 'New Weird' or merely
'Forever Weird'. For this is a very weird book indeed, described by its author as an autobiography, set partly in London, partly in Yorkshire and partly in Texas (all familiar Moorcock stamping grounds I gather) and like no other book I have ever read, including Joyce, Cendrars, Woolf or Vian, to name a few. Its language is very eloquent and its imagery is poetic in the extreme. In fact I was reminded more of poetry than of fiction much of the time, though the book has an ongoing narrative which takes you from A to B (or does it take you from G to D) and shifts you through a dozen versions of reality sometimes in as many pages. It is downright brilliant and there's no real point in trying to work it all out first time around. A second read begins to make it much more coherent and a third really does benefit you. I came across all sorts of new angles I hadn't noticed originally. This isn't a book for the readers of fat fantasy trilogies and I doubt very much if Tolkien fans will enjoy it, but if you like T.S.Eliot, Ezra Pound, Ted Hughes and maybe Ford Madox Ford all together coupled with the 'Moorcock touch' which is entirely his own, then this is for you. I'm beginning to suspect that Moorcock, with J.G.Ballard, M.John Harrison and one or two others, really is producing the definitive fiction of the 21st century. Read The War Amongst the Angels and see what I mean. It might be worth reading the prequel Blood first and maybe the bridging short story collection Fabulous Harbours, but if you thought Jerry Cornelius was weird, this is weirder yet! Exhilarating, but weird.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As always -- at least ten years ahead of its time, 10 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The War Amongst The Angels (Paperback)
Moorcock is incredible. This is his take on Chaos Mathematics -- not a few half-digested notions about butterflies' wings -- but full strength riffs on Mandelbrot. It's some of the most profound science fiction you'll ever read, but it is totally outside of genre -- or incorporating all genres -- whatever -- it is crowded with ideas, images, stories, characters. I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy and I can't for the life of me understand why this hasn't been heralded by all SF people as the masterpiece it is. Hard to precis -- lady highway robbers stopping Leeds-bound trams on the Yorkshire moors and a plane that flies between the different worlds of the multiverse. This goes together with the Multiverse comic (which has more explanation) Blood (the first book in the sequence) and Fabulous Harbours, which, like Tales from the Texas Woods, is a wonderful mixture of nostalgia for pulp genres of all kinds and a commentary on the times which spawned them. This is like super-technicolour, super-DVD, super-sound -- everything turned up to 11 -- but under superb control. This is a man who truly deserves his Grand Master award -- he is a master in every old sense of the world -- with an extraordinary range of styles, tone and subject -- yet bringing it all together in one glorious whole! If you believe sf is all StarTrek and silly monsters, read this book and you will know that the spirit of Verne and Wells and Philip K. Dick is not dead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars M.J.Moorcock and M.J.Harrison are the tops, 1 April 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: The War Amongst The Angels (Paperback)
With M.John Harrison's Light, this book is the best science fiction novel written in the last ten years. It combines brilliant ideas (Chaos Theory and so on) with superb literary
style, humour, marvellous characters and an extraordinary plot which ends with an ironic Utopian-socialist resolution. Read the two books together and you will be reading state of the art
sf -- the form has come of age with a vengeance. There is nothing as good as this in the mainstream.
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5.0 out of 5 stars reasonable price & in good condition. Thanks, 29 Aug. 2014
By 
H. Golder - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The War Amongst The Angels (Paperback)
Prompt delivery, reasonable price & in good condition. Thanks.
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