|Cover art by John Coulthart|
A prominent inclusion in Iain Sinclair’s 2006 anthology London: City of Disappearances, Alan Moore’s biographical piece ‘Unearthing’ detailed the life of his friend and mentor Steve Moore, including the circumstances surrounding the writing of Steve’s debut novel, Somnium. A jewelled whirlpool of a tale, Somnium - a 288 page book which includes an afterword by Alan Moore, wrapped in a glorious cover by John Coulthart - is described as a richly poetic pagan fantasy, a narrative of shifting levels presented in a dazzling array of styles, ranging from that of the mediæval romance through Elizabethan tragedy to the Gothic novel and the sublime madness of the Decadents.
With its delirious and heartbroken text spiralling out from the classical myth of Endymion and the Greek lunar goddess Selene, we're told Somnium "is an extraordinary odyssey through love and loss and lunacy, illuminated by the silvery moonlight of its exquisite language."
The book will be available in two editions: the standard book for £20, and an edition of 250 numbered books, signed by both Steve and Alan, which will cost £30, the latter only from Strange Attractor Press, shipping in the first week of November.
Steve Moore has written comic strips for 2000AD, Marvel Comics, Radical and other publishers in the UK and US, authoring innumerable characters including Doctor Who (most famously creating Abslom Daak, Dalek Killer), Dan Dare and Hercules in a career lasting 40 years. He also wrote the novelisation based on the movie V for Vendetta and had a long-standing editorial connection with Fortean Studies and Fortean Times, to which he has been a frequent contributor since its inception.
Alan Moore biographer and friend Pádraig Ó Méalóid is enthusiastic about Somnium's release, urging purchase in part because "Steve Moore is Alan Moore’s closest friend. They’ve known one another since they met in the early days of British comics’ fandom, back in the 1970s, when Alan was about fourteen, and Steve about seventeen. He’s also said to be the person who taught Alan how to write comics.
"On top of that, they have also been magical partners for a long time. In both cases, Steve was the Teacher, and Alan the Neophyte... If there is one person on this Earth that Alan Moore looks up to, it’s Steve Moore. Which is very nearly a good enough reason for buying this book in itself. If Alan likes it, that’s good enough for me."
He's in good company. "This book speaks for itself. It is a unique work by a unique genius," says Michael Moorcock. "Moore has an understanding of the occult peculiar to a very few and it always gives me the shivers; the shivers which say ‘authenticity’. The way their glorious predecessors said it. Maturin, James, Hodgson, Dunsany, Lovecraft, Lindsay, Williams, Peake appeal to a certain reader and have a sensibility in common. It fascinates you and puts you in thrall to a Romantic sensibility which refuses to be checked, hard as you try. Moore’s a proper dream merchant."
Alan’s Moore's biography of Steve Moore, 'Unearthing', is available as an audio recording and a forthcoming book from Lex Records, and will shortly be released in app form, illustrated by photographer Mitch Jenkins.
• Somnium is available exclusively from www.strangeattractor.co.uk in limited signed and unsigned editions. With an Afterword by Alan Moore Somnium is published by Somnium Press, with Strange Attractor Press 288pp, A5 HB, £20/£30 ISBN: 978-1-907222-06-1
• Order Somnium form the http://strangeattractor.co.uk/shoppe/somnium
• Pádraig Ó Méalóid on why you should buy Somnium: http://glycon.livejournal.com/14556.html
• Steve Moore on Wikipedia