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The Winds of Limbo by Michael Moorcock

Book name: The Winds of Limbo

Author: Michael Moorcock

Publisher: Compact

Format: ebook

Genre: Science fiction

Publication Date: 1965 as The Fireclown

Star Rating: 4/5


The original title for The Winds of Limbo was The Fireclown. In some ways, I think I prefer that.


Michael Moorcock is known for both being an exceptionally prolific writer, with around fifty novels published plus innumerable short stories to his name, but also for the variety of genres in which he wrote.


The Winds of Limbo is science fantasy.


In the distant future, people survive by living in underground cities (most of which are under Switzerland) run by a World Government. Humanity has long since colonised other planets.


The main driving force behind these developments was a previous nuclear war. Alan Powys is a civil servant. He longs to be his own man but exists under the shadow of his grandfather’s political power and influence.


His cousin Helen, also his ex-girlfriend, has ambitions in politics and takes after their shared grandfather.


Everything in thee bizarre world of The Winds of Limbo is thrown up in the air courtesy of the rise of the Fireclown, a charlatan figure of uncertain origin who amasses a huge popular following. When a fire breaks out in the lower levels of the immense underground city the government uses that as a convenient excuse to go after the Fireclown, who flees.


They then claim to have found material for a terror attack. Both Alan and Helen reject the government line that the Fireclown is a terrorist, and they search for the strange figure hoping to rescue him by means of a flight into space. After he evades them, they follow him into space hoping for an audience that will make clear whether he is a saviour, a deadly threat to humanity or a fraud.


The Winds of Limbo was snappy. The pace rolled along, and just around the time the action in the lower levels of the city began to tire a little, Helen and Alan were off on their space race.


I didn’t feel the fantasy element so much but the science fiction feel was clear from the start. This was a cracking tale, with strong characters and plenty of action.


Thank you for reading my review of The Winds of Limbo by Michael Moorcock. I'll be back on Friday. In the meantime, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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If you’ve enjoyed this review, you might be interested reading in my review of The Day of the Triffids.


Or you might like to take a look at my review of Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov.


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