Thursday, January 14, 2010
The year is 1975. Riding high on the success of their monumental double live LP Space Ritual (left), British psychedelic cult hippie rockers Hawkwind (who count among their members Dave Brock, Simon King, and some guy named Lemmy who would eventually fade into utter oblivion) were adrift on a magical cloud of good vibes, awesome drugs, and unkempt, unshaven groupies galore.
All was well in the world of Hawkwind. How could things possibly get any better?
Enter science fiction author Michael Moorcock (right). Moorcock was no stranger to the London psych-rock scene and had, in fact, helped Hawkwind with lyrics for a couple of their songs. But it was time for something BIGGER. Something IMMENSE.
Teaming up with fellow sci-fi author Michael Butterworth (below, left), Moorcock set pen to paper to create the most vast and far-reaching fantasy-sci-fi-psychedelic-rock epic mankind had ever known (or at least since The Illuminatus! Trilogy). In the spirit of absolute Broness, Moorcock and Butterworth decide the the protagonists of their tome will be none other than HAWKWIND themselves.
In 1976, the two Michaels unveil their masterpiece, a frolicking, tripped-out tale called The Time of the Hawklords.
As you can see in the image at the top of this post, Hawklords' tagline said it all: "A DEVASTATED EARTH VIBRATES TO THE SOUND OF THE LAST GREAT ROCK CONCERT ON EARTH. IS IT THE MUSIC OF LIFE - OR DEATH?!?!?" The science fiction community quaked with anticipation.
As far as pulp sci-fi goes, Hawklords is a pretty decent read. There's obviously a little hero-worship in there, and the plot does bear a striking resemblance to that of the aforementioned Illuminatus! Trilogy, but all in all it's an amusing story incorporating disparate elements from the realms of real-world rock and roll, outer space, and the hallucinogenic domains within the human mind. Lemmy and the boys encounter some amazing adventures in their quest to save the denizens of a post-apocalyptic Earth society, and the epic consumption of Lysergic acid diethylamide in and around the Hawkwind "scene" is readily apparent from the first page to the last.
Below: Hawkwind, right before embarking on their mission to destroy the Death Generator in the middle of the Earth with their magical Orgone Accumulator.
The story goes something like this (I'll try to keep it relatively spoiler-free for those of you who plan on reading it):
Space aliens, thousands and thousands of years ago, planted a device called the Death Generator at the center of our planet. After a massive atomic (or maybe nuclear, I can't remember) holocaust, the Generator has sprung back to life. The surviving portion of the human race has only one hope to stave off their total extinction... You guessed it -- It's HAWKWIND!
By travelling around and gathering "good vibes" ("orgones") through their music, the fellows in Hawkwind represent humankind's last chance against the aliens, and evntually we find that Hawkwind themselves are something of a reincarnation of an even more antediluvian race: The Hawklords.
At this point, I must add one more thing. Each of the members of Hawkwind are armed with a musical instrument that doubles as a weapon (in the book, that is). Awesome enough already, sure, but consider this: Lemmy's bass (which is known by its ancient name "BONESHIVERER") produces ultra-low tones which can immobilize his enemies and sometimes even make them -- wait for it.... SHIT THEIR PANTS.
I'm not even kidding.
You can get relatively cheap copies of Time of the Hawklords here or here.
The lads in Hawkwind were so fond of the Hawklords mystique that they used the name repeatedly in songs and on live albums, and in the late 70's Dave Brock even went so far as to name his band The Hawklords after Hawkwind broke up (above).
In 1977, Butterworth and Moorcock followed up Time of the Hawklords with a second installment, entitled Queens of Deliria. And even though I've never actually had the honor of reading it, I'm still going to give it a good review, since I enjoy doing that kind of stuff.
Get a copy of Queens of Deliria here.
Posted by Shelby Cobras at 10:50 AM