The Tale of the Eternal Champion

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The Tale of the Eternal Champion is a fourteen volume set of omnibuses that present a considerable number of Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion novels and stories in a 'recommended reading order'. It was originally published by Millennium/Orion in hardcover and trade paperback editions between 1992 and 1993, and then in mass-market paperback editions between 1995 and 1998. The series was jointly edited by Moorcock and John Davey, and presented Moorcock with an opportunity to make a number of revisions to the texts to give a more uniform feel to the Tale. Each omnibus also contained a new Introduction by Moorcock.

List of Volumes

Series Publication

The original publication of the Millennium hardcover and trade paperback volumes took place over a relatively short period, with the first four volumes published on 12th November, 1992 and the final fourteenth volume published by 14th December, 1993. As such, with the exception of volumes like A Nomad of the Time Streams and Stormbringer, each volume simply used the most definitive texts available at the time. However, because Moorcock doesn't tend to re-read anything once its been published, the "most definitive texts available at that time" had never been thoroughly re-copy-edited, certainly not for cross-title uniformity. With volumes coming out at roughly one per month from Millennium, there was little time for any major editing, and proof-reading tended to only deal with fixing typographical errors and the like. Additionally, there was little reason to assume that there was anything substantially wrong with the existing texts.

Whereas the entire Millennium series was published in 13 months, with the White Wolf volumes there was a more relaxed publication schedule with the first volume (The Eternal Champion) published in September 1994 and the final fifteenth volume in March 2000. This five-and-a-half year process gave Moorcock and Davey ample opportunity to ensure the White Wolf texts were as 'definitive' as they could possibly be. However, the early White Wolf volumes were rather error-strewn, mainly with typographical errors - Davey had little involvement in The Eternal Champion volume, for instance - but publication of the trade paperbacks for volumes 1-12 between February 1996 and July 2001 provided the opportunity to correct most - if not all - of these errors.

The Millennium/Orion mass-market paperbacks were published from June 1995 through to September 1998, and as such some (though not all) of these editions were able to take advantage of some (but not all) of the White Wolf revisions and corrections.[1]

Textual Revisions

According to John Davey, Moorcock's co-editor on the series:

"Generally, speaking, the White Wolf editions have the more definitive texts, having (in most instances) received an additional and thorough copy-edit. The W.W. trade-sized paperbacks are also very slightly more definitive than the hardcovers, having allowed correction of anything erroneous occurring first time 'round. (This is only approaching substantial in 'Hawkmoon', where the hardcover had a few layout problems.) Also, the 'Stormbringer' novel, in 'Elric: The Stealer Of Souls', was fairly substantially worked on, to ensure inclusion of the best of all previous versions.[2]

See List of revisions in the Tale of the Eternal Champion series for further details.

Mike Says

  • "The reason I put the omnibus series together with John Davey was exactly in order, initially, to give readers an idea of where and when to start the EC series. They were slightly different in the UK and US, as it happened, for logistic reasons and the fact that the Michael Kane books weren't then available to include in the UK series. I would now prefer it if the books just went back to their ordinary individual volumes..."[3]

See Also