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Alan Moore.

This morning I read Rich Johnston's article on Alan Moore, but since then I've reread bits of it a couple of times as it is pimped around the blog community at large. After about the sixth time, I figured I should join the linking parade, but mostly because I want to recommend Moore's novel, Voice of the Fire, which is one of my favourite things written.

The reason I'm bringing this up is because Johnston's article mentions that Moore's next novel will be Jerusalem,  "a follow up to the recently reprinted Voice Of The Fire. Voice told stories set in Alan Moore's home town of Northampton, over 10,000 years. He mockingly told me, "I feel it was a little too cosmopolitan. So my next novel is set in just three or four blocks in Northampton, where I grew up. It's the most important historical area anywhere anyway.""

It's not the first time I've heard it mentioned, but since Moore makes mention that he is drawing the cover, the implication is that it is finished and will see print sooner, rather than later. Which is excellent news.

Voice of the Fire is the kind of book a lot of people wouldn't like because it begins with a cave boy with a limited vocabulary. The first line of the novel is, in fact, "A-hind of hill, ways off to sun-set-down, is sky come like as fire, and walk I up in way of this, all hard of breath, where grass colding on I's feet and wetting they." It's beautiful and demanding and I have nothing but respect for it as many authors would not begin a novel (much less a first novel) with such a difficult narrator. After the cave boy, it follows ten different narrators in different times, their stories connected by being set in Northampton, with the tenth narrator being Moore himself.

I'm not going to describe any more of the book, because I think you should read it. If my recommendations on this blog have ever directed you to something you haven't tried, now is the time to show some trust and go there. If your only experience of Moore's work is From Hell and Watchmen or one of his other graphic novels, then you're missing one of his few works where you, the reader, experience Moore's intricate and layered authorial voice without an artist interpreting it for you. Understand me, this is not a comment upon the quality of his graphic novels, for the majority of them are fine things and worth your money and time... but not one of them is like Voice of the Fire.

It will never be a movie, for which I am eternally thankful.

Comments

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alasdair
May. 24th, 2005 01:39 pm (UTC)
It's a fucking brilliant book - that and his CDs are my favourite of his works. I don't recall pimping the book at my LJ friends list thoguh, so I think I might have to do the same later. I think I shall steal your idea of quoting the first line, because it will save me from having to be clever for myself.
benpeek
May. 24th, 2005 11:22 pm (UTC)
steal away.

i like his cds, too, though i've only got two. i really should pick up the others, if i still can. i loved the grand egyptian theatre one.
strangedave
May. 24th, 2005 02:31 pm (UTC)
Voices of the Fire is a brilliant book, one that I felt didn't get the attention it deserved.
I have felt for a long time that Moore is not just the worlds best comics writer, but one of the better writers we have in any medium.
benpeek
May. 24th, 2005 11:26 pm (UTC)
yeah, i agree that moore is one of the better writers of any medium. there are few who come close to him. it's interesting to watch his progress through his previous work up till now, though, and see the minor things his put out while doing impressive work.

i'm with you on LOST GIRLS.
strangedave
May. 24th, 2005 02:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, and can't tell you with what embarrasing anticipation I await Lost Girls. Alan Moore porn, years in the making, painted by his girlfriend....
thehornedgod
May. 25th, 2005 12:55 am (UTC)
Oh yes, that's been buried in my to-read stacks for a while now. I love Alan's comics but was reading Maureen Duffy's Capital when I found Voice second-hand and I didn't want to follow one with the other. My limited knowledge of Voice suggests that Capital's the Voice of London; something that Capital Radio have been coining jingles to convince me of for years. Anyway, Capital's good too, it's one of those obsessive London novels and it casts warm urine from a great height over most of the Iain Sinclair I've read.

And, by the way, hello. Heh.
benpeek
May. 25th, 2005 01:38 am (UTC)
hello.

*waves*

anyhow, i quite like sinclair's stuff. his prose styling really works for me. still, i've never heard of capital--though it's caught a bit of my attention. still in print, you think?
thehornedgod
May. 25th, 2005 04:28 am (UTC)
I reckon. It was reprinted a while back in what I think was a range of London writers (forewords by Moorcock and the other usual suspects? maybe) though I don't have a copy to hand or dunno where it is if I do. Do report back if you find it.

It was refreshing reading the comparatively lucid London Orbital, which I concede is a book of supreme aceness, but Downriver pissed me off. Annoyingly the library claim I still have it, which I don't. I do still have London Orbital though.
benpeek
May. 25th, 2005 07:34 am (UTC)
i've got a copy of london orbital, but i haven't read it yet. i actually think downriver is one of the book of his i have read. heh. figures. but i love WHITE CHAPPELL, SCARLET TRACINGS.
thehornedgod
May. 25th, 2005 09:00 am (UTC)
I didn't, but I think the bundled edition of Lud Heat/Suicide Bridge which I did like works up to it thematically. Lud Heat has his intense prose (unlike London Orbital) but he sticks to riffing on intriguing ideas; it's where Ackroyd nicked the Hawksmoor stuff from. Writing this I've realised it's probably just Sinclair's novels I don't like.
angriest
May. 25th, 2005 01:29 am (UTC)
Voice of the Fire was one of those novels I could appreciate without ever really growing to love - you can see obvious genius and talent at work, it just refused to engage with me.

That was a few years ago though, when I had just moved into the house of one of Perth's most dedicated Alan Moore fans. I should probably give it another go some time.
benpeek
May. 25th, 2005 01:43 am (UTC)
you know, i feel much the way about FROM HELL. i admire it, i can see the genius behind it, but i just didn't engage in it beyond an intellectual level. so, you know,i'm not that surprised with your reaction to VOICE OF THE FIRE, since i think you can make links between the two works.

the recent reprint by top comix is a really beautiful book, though. lovely art by jose v. (i won't butcher the spelling of his last name.)
ex_benpayne119
May. 25th, 2005 04:40 am (UTC)
I've just started reading Watchmen for the first time... the prose sections in this are pretty good...

will keep an eye out for the novel...

benpeek
May. 25th, 2005 07:36 am (UTC)
WATCHMEN is pretty cool. they'r releasing a hardcover 20th anniversery edition soon, i think (or some such edition). part of me thinks i should tell people not to buy it so that it goes out of print, and moore and gibbons get the rights back, but that'd probably be more damaging than helpful.

you should also check out LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN. i think it'll appeal to you.
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