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The Eternal Champion: The Eternal Champion Sequence 1 Kindle Edition
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Moorcock wrote this story in less than a week when he was seventeen and it is the only one by him written in first person (at least that I know of). The story is simple: A man called to champion the human race in a war against the evil Eldrin finds that the Eldrin are not evil at all; that the evil is all a projection of humanity's own shortcomings. The hero then betrays humankind and champions the Eldrin. In the Eldrin he finds kindness, dignity, restraint, spirituality, and beauty (all the things seventeen year old men want, but lack in adolescence). In the end the very qualities of humanity he detests (anger, revenge, myopia, self interest) overtake him and he launches a genocide against mankind.
The story is told in broad strokes, and the writing is inconsistent; weak at times, strong at others. But the magic of this story is seeing how Moorcock's young mind is trying to come to grips with powerful ideas. Most of the struggles in our life are actually quite simple: who am I; what do I believe; to whom am I loyal and why; how do I reconcile what I want be with who I actually am; what does my choice of enemies say about me; how well do I really understand my enemies; etc... In the end the hero is not Eldrin (whom he admires), he is human (what he detests),and so he ends up all alone in the middle (again an adolescent fantasy: I refuse to be like the world, but I fail to be what I want, and therefore I am nowhere and all alone...).
This may all sound simple, but compared to much of the sci-fi/fantasy claptrap out there this is Dostoyevsky by comparison. And Moorcock is brilliant at filling in a fantasy world, and keeping the narration at high speed. This is a sparse tale; not a lot of wasted words here. What is left unsaid is equally important as what is said. This book is not a complex masterpiece. It is a simple, yet competent work by a young brilliant author just realizing his skill in story telling and thought. In the end the simplicity is betrayed by an honest existential sadness.
I first read this book in sixth grade twenty years ago and have read it several times since. Each time I like this tale more. Great short read. Enjoy.