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Modern Times 2.0 by Michael Moorcock

01/11/2011. Contributed by Eamonn Murphy

Buy Modern Times 2.0 in the USA - or Buy Modern Times 2.0 in the UK

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pub: PM Press. 122 page small enlarged paperback. Price: GBP 8.99 (UK), $12.00 (US). ISBN: 978-1-60486-308-6).

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This odd little book from PM Press has three items within: 'Modem Times 2.0' is a Jerry Cornelius themed ride of virtuoso verbiage; 'My Londons' is a short essay about the various places in London Moorcock inhabited in the dim and distant past; 'Get The Music Right' is an interview with the writer by Terry Bisson.

I refer to 'Modem Times 2.0' as a themed ride of virtuoso verbiage because I can't really call it a story, even though it is subtitled 'A Jerry Cornelius Story'. In page long bursts of prose with subtitles such as 'The Wanton Of Argos', 'Ecce Rumpo' and 'Guns Is Guns' Jerry encounters various characters in various places around the globe and holds lively conversations with them. He seems to be in search of something, his past perhaps. The conversations are usually interesting, sometimes witty and frequently political in nature. Thatcher, Blair and Bush get a bashing. Each section is preceded by a quote from a newspaper or magazine, like the chapter headings in 'Stranger In A Strange Land' though they were fictional and Moorcock's appear to be real. It was kind of fun but it wasn't a story or if it was, I didn't get it.

'My Londons' did not especially appeal to me since I don't live in the capital and have little interest in it. Londoners, like Parisians and New Yorkers, I think, believe that their hometown is the greatest place on Earth and that everyone else in the universe is simply jealous that they were not born there. Everyone else in the universe has a different point of view but arguing with them is useless. There is a short story by Gordon R. Dickson entitled 'Lulungomeena' which nicely sums up the correct attitude. Moorcock might know of it because it was published in ‘Galaxy Magazine’, about the only American SF magazine of the 1950s he found at all readable, according to the interview.

In the interview, he says all the usual things about the New Wave, American SF, Tolkien, his own work and so forth. When a major artist has been around a long time and been interviewed so often you can hardly expect him to say anything startling. McCartney has his Beatles stories down pat long since. Moorcock's views on things have not changed noticeably. The interview is interesting, as ever, because he is an articulate man with a vivid past to chat about but it's nothing new to old fans like me.

'Modem Times 2.0' is a lively rant and the other two parts are not without interest. A good buy for fans of the great man and I am one, but it might leave others cold or baffled.

Eamonn Murphy

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This book has 79 votes in the sci-fi charts

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