A Cure for Cancer: The Cornelius Quartet 2 (The Eternal Champion) Paperback – March 1, 2016
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Social satire? Sure. Interesting sci-fi vignettes? Absolutely. Incisive glances at the sounds, styles, and feel of a parallel world subjectively based on a late-1960s London? You bet. But be warned that if you're looking for more than the faintest shred of plot to capture your interest, look elsewhere in the Eternal Champion multiverse. Perhaps ACFC is Moorcock's idea of what happens to a novel dipped in the primordial Chaos described in his other works.
I can appreciate what Moorcock is trying to get across. I even get a kick out of the *idea* of the novel's structure, in theory, anyway. However, it's difficult to actually enjoy a work in which a) every stitch of dialogue is so vague that, if you had no grasp of Moorcock's other works, the book would seem a nearly interminable string of highly stylish non sequiturs, and b) characters that live and (suddenly) die so guided by random chance and urges from the id that the joke pales early on. The chapter headlines culled from sensational tabloids did give me a chuckle, though.
It's certainly possible that you may find great enjoyment and provocative thoughts aplenty in ACFC. You certainly will in other Moorcock novels. And if you're looking for the pinnacle of social satire in an "unconventional" novel, check out the far superior "Catch-22" by Joe Heller. But unless you're the type who relishes flipping through TV channels for hours on end in an altered state of consciousness, or tends to convince yourself after reading a work such as ACFC that your time was well spent and the emperor is indeed wearing clothes, don't waste your time. This patient is terminal.
This book, though often humourous, has a far more serious tone than its predecessor, and some very harsh satire. Targets include the irrelevence of the popular press and corruption within the Catholic Church.
The title refers to both a literal cure (as described in the section headings), and more importantly, to "Social Cancer" which is cured by Ethnic Cleansing. The image of hoardes of NATO helicopters napalming London, screaming "BURN OUT THE CANCER" will stay with you a long time.
Some people are certainly going to find it too weird, or too impenetrable to enjoy, I think, as it is by no means straightforward, but this is part of JC's appeal.