by James Lovegrove
The Financial Times
May 23 2011
Jerry Cornelius is the time-travelling hipster spy hero who has played a significant role in Michael Moorcock’s fiction since the late 1960s. A protean figure, he comes in many guises – moulded by his creator to fit any context. He even featured in Moorcock’s recent Doctor Who novel, The Coming of The Terraphiles, which is as idiosyncratic as anything this prolific author has written.
In Modem Times 2.0, part of PM Press’s Outspoken Authors series, Cornelius provides the constant in a shifting narrative landscape. Through him we experience a series of vignettes that flicker between past and present and from one reality to another. The novella sets up tragic echoes between the optimism of London in the post-austerity period and today’s apocalyptic cynicism.
It’s a disorientating work, full of puns, allusions, quotations and parodies, with cameos from several of Moorcock’s other characters. Imprecise connections and breakneck scene changes evoke a dreamlike sensation of both nostalgia and dread.