The Whispering Swarm, by Michael Moorcock

Paperback review

Sat, Dec 19, 2015, 00:43

   
 

Book Title:
The Whispering Swarm

ISBN-13:
9781473213326

Author:
Michael Moorcock

Publisher:
Gollancz

Guideline Price:
£25.00

At the age of 17 or thereabouts Michael Moorcock, already a contributor to various “pulp” magazines and the editor of Tarzan Adventures, discovered a secret, time-shifting zone in London called The Alsacia, populated by highwaymen, cavaliers, Roundheads and monks. In this memoir/ fantasy/ boys’ adventure story, Moorcock mixes an account of his early life with a swashbuckling tale of idealism and romance wherein the author rubs shoulders with figures from history and popular fiction such as Claude Duval, Dick Turpin, and the Three Musketeers. It’s a suitable bit of genre-mixing from a figure who was instrumental in blurring the lines between popular and literary fiction. The author’s adventures in The Alsacia are presented as being just as true as his account of family and social life in swinging London. When you are living in, and making a living from, your imagination, how is it any less real than your non-imaginary life? The book is a paean to the London of his youth, and the pulp fiction that first captured his imagination.