Friday, August 26, 2011

Michael Moorcock's gilded, jaded age

cover art by Robert Gould
An Alien Heat
by Michael Moorcock
Ace Books/Harper Collins, depending on what version you can find.

(I purchased my copy a long time ago locally at the now-closed Just Books used bookstore in Tampa).

In Michael Moorcock’s 1972 futuristic novel, An Alien Heat, the Grand Master fantasy author introduced a vision of America at the end of history. Set a million or so years in the future, the story’s hero, Jherek Carnliean, and his people have become so complacent and decadent, caring only about their own comfort, that they have no interest when a traveler comes from the future to tell them their world is about to end. Indeed, Jherek is more interested in recreating the Victorian age, a past so distant, there are few extent records concerning the era. So when, alongside this traveler from the future, a young woman from the Victorian age enters the party—a Ms. Amelia Underwood, Jherek’s curiosity is piqued. He goes even further by telling his amused mother and friends that he intends to study this strange phenomena called love, by, you guessed it, wooing the lovely Ms. Amelia Underwood. However, Jherek has a rival who, just for fun, imprisons Ms. Amelia Underwood; Jherek takes up the scheme to save her, thinking she’ll be grateful and fall at his feet, as the few poems seem to indicate should happen.


Oh ho, not so my friends! Not by a long shot!


Despite Jherek’s best efforts, Amelia wants only to get home—to her husband. The chase lands Jherek in 19th century London, and in more trouble than he’s bargained for.


Unlike most of Moorcock’s Eternal Champion titles, An Alien Heat has an altogether different feel, and while it has moments of suspense, is really very funny in spots. Baroque and fantastic, and absurd, its neo-Victorian feel at least should appeal to Steampunk fans, even Douglas Adams fans might enjoy this.

Unfortunately, it has been out of print for quite a while, though White Wolf re-released it in a Dancers at the End of Time anthology in 1994. However, I don’t know, at this time, if it will be re-released, as Del Rey seems to be doing with the rest of the Eternal Champion novels thus far. One can only hope!


If you’d like to give this one a try, check online at Amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com, which might have access to a used copy of An Alien Heat, either standalone or in the anthology. For the ebook fans, sorry to say, this one hasn’t been released in Kindle or Nook yet. if you can find a copy, though, as ever, it's no secret that I absolutely adore/worship Michael Moorcock's work, so yet again, I recommend recommend it, and recommend An Alien Heat.
;) So my rating should come as no shock:

No. Let's be honest. The hightest, biggest, best rating one can give a book in the whole world. ;) Told you I was a fangirl.

Disclaimer: If you care to know this, there are some explicit sexual scenes in this novel, so if that's not your thing, do be aware of it. But I can assure you, they don't overwhelm the story.

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