|It's not just about cash and it's not just about kudos. There's something else there as well|
Oh definitely yeah, and I'll admit to being somewhat absurdly judgemental when it comes to sci-fi/fantasy in general ( as well as a bit over-refreshed while writing the above post, hence it's rather, er, didactic tone, ) but, while I'm no position to comment on how anyone should or shouldn't be conducting their literary career ( and really wouldn't want to be either, in my defence, ) I still can't help wishing Moorcock had spent less of his time on the pulp side of his work, and more, for want of a better word, on the 'serious' end of things. Famously, a lot of the novels in the Eternal Champion cycle took a couple of weeks to write, and while there's nothing wrong with that ( I wish I could do it myself, ) he does seem to be a bit better, IMVHO, when he sits down and concentrates. Mother London ( and I'm sorry to go on about this, ) while it seems on the one hand to have been a deliberate attempt to prove to the Booker Prize crowd that he could 'do' mainstream literature if he so chose, actually almost succeeds too well for it's own good, insofar as it did win a prize ( The Whitbread I think, ) and was easily the equal of anything Amis, Rushdie etc was doing that year. So while who got what on the Eng lit piss-up circuit back then doesn't particularly matter in the broader scheme of things, you're kind of left wondering why he hasn't attempted this kind of thing more often. JG Ballard, who started out from much the same position as Moorcock, and at roughly the same time, has arguably anyway had a major impact on not just sci-fi or mainstream novels, but UK culture in general, whereas Moorcock seems like someone who's likely to be remembered, if at all, as a novelist whose characters people like to dress up as at fantasy conventions.
And while I completely agree with the above as regards his sub-cult agenda, it still seems to come across better in Mother London, and to lesser extent King Of The City, than in the aspects of his work where the characters are fighting order gods with magic swords, or ( *shudder,* though I've not read it, and I dare say it's probably a laff, and either way no offence intended, ) being in Hawkwind.
I just feel Moorcock's aggressive, class-based, and totally understandable, retreat from Booker prize UK lit was a bit too extreme in the end, or that he read the odds wrong about the way things were likely to develop or some such ( and he can be a bit bullish about his reputation/standing etc - I read an article not so long ago where he tore into Ballard and others as inferior writers to his good self, which is fine in an interview, but possibly less so when you're meant to be reviewing an anthology with your own stuff in it, ) and also, I suppose, that the Cornelius novels are a bit patchy after the first one. Basically, that he's good, but that he could have been great, if he hadn't got so preoccupied with pulp and pastiche.