Jerry Cornelius – English assassin, physicist, rock star, messiah to the Age of Science – is one of fantastic literature's greatest creations. Acclaimed by Moorcock's readers, critics, and peers from Mick Jagger to J. G. Ballard, Cornelius is the ultimate postmodern antihero, more Borgesian than Asimovian. Three of the stories in this collection are here anthologized for the first time: "The Spencer Inheritance," which enmeshes Jerry with Princess Di; "Cheering for the Rockets," involving an attack on a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant; and "Firing the Cathedral," a novella based on 9/11 and its aftermath.
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Jerry Cornelius, Moorcock's notorious antihero, navigates the time streams with sometimes cheerless abandon in 11 stories that range from '60s Britain to the post-9/11 world. Whether channeling the politics and entropy of the Vietnam era or reflecting on the environmental hazards of taking a shower in a far future Austin, Tex., Moorcock (The Skrayling Tree) manages to insert a dizzy abundance of bleak imagery and quotes that may disconcert newcomers to his fiction. He's at his best in the more recent, less depressing stories that lack the many Beatles references of earlier tales. In "Firing the Cathedral," Cornelius expresses the medium in Moorcock's message: "Anarchism in action. Green solutions... Call me a radical. Call me a visionary. But the way I see it, if you get a grip on the future, you might as well bring it along as quickly as possible." Also impressive is "The Spencer Inheritance," which includes a satirical take on what might happen to Lady Diana's bones. The nastiness of such early pieces as "The Delhi Division," in which Cornelius discovers the "exact difference between synthesis and sensationalism" and goes on killing anyway, might be a poor introduction to the former rock star/assassin and psychedelic guru. Moorcock rejects formulaic constructions and demands that his readers read between the lines. Some may not want to, especially SF fans who prefer traditional structure.
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