The Warlord of the Air

The Warlord of the Air
The Warlord of the Air

This is not a review. If you want to read a review, go to Goodreads, there are plenty of reviews and ratings, giving testimony to the quality of this book.

Instead, I want to tell you a number of other reasons why you should get your hands on a copy of this new and slightly altered edition of Michael Moorcock’s classic.

First of all, it is one of the first true steampunk works.

First published in 1971, it has all the elements of steampunk while predating the coining of the term by sixteen years.

Second, it is very political and very harsh in its criticism of colonialism. Moorcock does not pull any punches here. The Warlord of the Air is a pretty dark tale in full sunklight. It is not post-apocalyptic, not at all. It is a steampunk metaphor of the world Moorcock lived in in 1971. It contrasts the First and the Third World of the 1970s in an alternative setting of the then-present.

This, of course, were and still are difficult topics, but Moorcock manages to point them out without spoiling the fun of the read.

Which brings me to the third point why you should get this book: the new edition weaves this tale (and the other two in the A Nomad of the Time Streams trilogy) into the greater Eternal Champion setting, Moorock’s magnum opus. So if you are into role-playing and/or fan fiction, you now have an official gateway to bring your airship to Tanelorn and the court of Elric of Melniboné!

In conclusion: The Warlord of the Air is a novel no steampunk worth his weight in coal should miss in their collection. It is a wonderful tale, a great read, has more depth than most people would expect from fantastic literature and it expands the steampunk universe by a complete and well-established multiverse.

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