Review: “The Whispering Swarm” by Michael Moorcock

whispering swarmThe Whispering Swarm
Michael Moorcock
Tor, 2015.

Michael Moorcock is one of the formative writers of my youth, I spent my teens curled up with dog-eared copies of his novels, drinking in the exploits of the eternal champion in all his incarnations: Elric, Corum and Hawkmoon. Especially Elric.

So I was stoked to see he had a new series coming, his first new independent work in nine years, and jumped at the opportunity to review it.

Sadly, The Whispering Swarm didn’t thrill me like his previous works. But not for lack of trying.

The novel starts as autobiography, Moorcock recounting his early life growing up in post-war London, entering the publishing business, starting a family and engaging in swashbuckling adventures with legendary characters in a hidden part of London where time does not change.

Wait, wut?

Yep, Moorcock pulls a nice switch, transforming his stream of consciousness biography into a tale of high adventure filled with such larger than life literary figures as the Three Musketeers as well as historical figures like Andrew Marvell.

As he writes:

“… magic was real? The prospect scared me, plain and simple. Writing that stuff was one thing. It offered great images, metaphors, symbols, narrative devices of all kinds. But in no way did I believe in it…. Logically, distant worlds, somehow parallel to our own, were fiction. Nothing else. I made my living writing that stuff. I never believed it. I knew how easy it was to invent. Not anymore.”

It is an intriguing conceit, which sadly he doesn’t completely pull off to my tastes. For my full review, visit WSFA’s “The Nameless Zine”.

—Michael Senft

Buy The Whispering Swarm

About Michael Senft

I am a freelance writer and critic from Phoenix Arizona. I spent 10 years covering music, the arts and pop culture for the “Arizona Republic” before life circumstances took me away from newspaper. But I never lost my joy at writing. Or reading.
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1 Response to Review: “The Whispering Swarm” by Michael Moorcock

  1. This was a tough one to read. It’s my first experience with Moorcock, wish I’d started with some of his older, more pulpish work as I hear this one is a big departure from his usual stuff.


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