No mortal nightmare could encompass such a terrible vision . . . Every so often, the ground heaved and erupted and any human beings unfortunate enough to be in the area were either engulfed and totally transformed or had their bodies warped in indescribable ways. The noise was dreadful, a blending of human voices and roaring Chaos sounds, devil’s wailing laughter, and quite often, the tortured scream of a human soul who had perhaps relented his choice of loyalty and now suffered madness. – Michael Moorcock, Stormbringer (1965)
The fictional universes created by Games Workshop are pretty amazing beasts. They have grown from the quaint open settings of the 1970s and 80s to the unique visions people all over the world enjoy today. It would be fair to say that the GW universes now have a strong influence on new fantasy and sci-fi, particularly the latter. It is quite common to hear the sentiment that the best thing about the GW games is their rich and unique backgrounds.
In this new series of articles I’m going to briefly shed some light on some of the lesser known early influences that have helped to make GW’s lore so rich and diverse. Of course, all creative work is informed by earlier stuff. No-one creates in a vacuum and anyone who claims to have told a story that has never been told before is either naive or a liar. I’m not accusing GW of being unoriginal, or suggesting that these works were the first of their kind and were somehow stolen – I just think it’s important to know where you’re coming from.
So, with the intro out of the way, let’s start with one of the most iconic of GW’s factions, the warriors of Chaos! In Today’s Unseen Influences we are going to look at the early work of the British fantasy author Michael Moorcock. Continue reading