Book info

The Final Programme (1976)

The Final Programme (1976)
Rating
3.61 of 5 Votes: 4
ISBN
0839823355 (ISBN13: 9780839823353)
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English
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publisher
gregg press
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The Final Programme (1976)
The Final Programme (1976)

About book: Originally published on my blog here in September 1999.The Final Programme must have seemed, in the mid sixties, to be the epitome of British New Wave chic. Yet, unlike so much of the literature of the period, it and its sequels have not dated. Like the TV series The Avengers, it contains a distinct vein of self parody, paving the way for Moorcock's attacks on the book in the later Jerry Cornelius novels.The best cult sixties TV series - The Saint and The Prisoner are other examples - are in fact what come to mind most readily when reading The Final Programme. That is perhaps fitting, since one of Moorcock's aims in the book seems to be to explore the boundaries between high art and popular culture. He picks up ideas and atmosphere from sources like TV and meshes them into structures from the important literature of the century (though this becomes more obvious in the later books in the series).The background to The Final Programme is the bitter enmity between debonair dilettante man of action Jerry Cornelius and his brother Frank, drug crazed despoiler of their inheritance, an immense French château filled with booby traps by their father. Here drug culture references come into the story, as he was an expert in hallucination, working with drugs and "hallucinomats", hypnotic machines. (Remember how important both these ideas were in The Avengers.)Frank has barred Jerry from the château, and imprisoned their sister Catherine, for whom Jerry has an incestuous passion. Joining with the mercenary Una Persson, who aims to get her hands on their father's secrets and use them to take over the world, Jerry attacks the castle.

One of my all time favourite reads. Essentially a rewite of an early Elric tale reconvigured as a Pop-Art nightmare explosion. Hugely influential at the time, at least in "underground" circles, it still retains a mythical power. The plot concerns the creation of the new messiah - a pressing question in the sixties, if you consider the rise of alternative political and religious organisations throughout that epoch. While fairly simplistic and straight forward it is carried off with such energy and humour that makes it a craking read. The characters are not fully developed in the way that we no have come to expect from novels - it doesn't deal with questions of individual psychology - rather they are ciphers, or archetypes. The pace and the themes give the whole novel a mythic quality with out the need to descend into the simply epic and over blown. The Final Programme was the first novel in the Cornelius Quartet and it is the best place to start having a straight forward narrative structure that gets successively broken don over the course of the series.
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Reviews
Dan
Although the claim is that the four books of Moorcock's Jerry Cornelius tetralogy can be read in any order, in fact it may be easiest for readers to read the books in order. This, the first of the four books, introduces a number of the main characters, employs a linear plot, and conventional cause and effect. I started with the third, and then the fourth of the books, and found them difficult. After reading this book, however, I am now interested in reading the second part, and then re-reading the third and fourth books.
Nate D
In the apocalyptic end-point of swinging-60s London, the universe parties and pleasure-seeks itself into oblivion as an eternally bored hipster and amoral vampiric scientist set in motion the renewal and continuance of human existence. With its offhandedly-cursory-yet-pretentious philosophizing, horrendously uneven wobbling between bizarre action set piece and graspings at significance, weird jokiness hiding its overearnestness, and and rather unlikeable super-cool protagonist, this one earns a deserved fair share of detractors. In many ways, it's dreadful. And yet there's something so weird, and so desperate to touch the real that lies far outside any shred of conventional character, progression, or resolution, that it's also kind of remarkable. It's almost a kind of psychedelic outsider religion with no care for reader identification, or really even human life in the overarching and inescapable cosmic cycle of destruction and renewal. Its casual incompetence belies a brutal and fine-honed urgency, of a kind. Easy to write off as terrible, but more ambiguous than that, really.This also became an equally uneven, but perhaps more concisely entertaining movie, which preserves many of its more expectation-confusing qualities.
Tanabrus
Di Moorcock conoscevo solo Elric, il principe albino. L’antieroe per eccellenza, il prode imperatore che provocò la distruzione del suo stesso popolo e dell’intero mondo nel tentativo di non essere come lo avrebbe voluto la sua natura. Il campione eterno.Mi è finito invece tra le mani questo libro. Fantascienza, verrebbe da dire dopo averlo letto.Inghilterra degli anni ’60, un eccentrico e ricchissimo Jerry Cornelius si destreggia tra complotti e omicidi con lo scopo di distruggere il castello d
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