Michael Moorcock
Blood Cover

Blood: A Southern Fantasy


As with the Owen Bastable time travel series, Moorcock positions Blood as a manuscript he has edited from papers he has inherited, this time from the estate of Edwin Begg, the famous Clapham Antichrist. He writes that he found the papers initially unintelligible, but that eventually a pattern and a narrative emerged. We are in an alternate version of the American South, where the landscape has been altered by the catastrophic efforts to mine "color," a recently discovered power source whose disruption unfortunately rips a hole in the fabric of the universe. The rip creates the Biloxi Fault, in which the kaleidoscopic layers of the multiverse tempt adventurers and madmen to enter. The fault has destroyed electrical power, giving the novel a nineteenth century feel with steamboats, horses, and pirogues. This is also a world where African and Middle Eastern races dominate whites who take service positions except up north and in the Western Free States. Our heroes are jugadores, master gamblers who play high-stake games that involve role- playing, improvisation, and a working knowledge of chaos theory. The term "jugadores" epitomizes the language games Moorcock plays in this novel. Jugadores is Spanish for "players," but you are on your own with the machinoix .There is much French crossed with Spanish, perhaps to create his own form of Creole, along with bits of German and Latin thrown in. You may be able to either read or work out most of this. Some may keep Google Translate open while they read. Or you could just let it slide by.

And I should come out and say that the novel is almost impossible to follow. Although for the last third I felt that I more or less knew what was going on, I might have been kidding myself. Moorcock must keep in his head all the complexities, all the crossed destinies, and all the fantastic physics of the multiverse that run through his novels. One sign of his excellent storytelling is that he often appears to be making it up as he goes along. But it's fun, and Moorcock's inventiveness is at times dazzling. I still wondered, however, if he was not possibly having more fun than his readers.