Read The Black Corridor by Michael Moorcock Online


The Black Corridor is a science fiction novel by Michael Moorcock, published in 1969, first by Ace Books in the USA, as part of their Ace Science Fiction Specials series, and later by Mayflower Books in the UK. It is essentially a novel about the decay of society and the deep personal and social isolation this has caused, and tells of a man fleeing through interstellar spaThe Black Corridor is a science fiction novel by Michael Moorcock, published in 1969, first by Ace Books in the USA, as part of their Ace Science Fiction Specials series, and later by Mayflower Books in the UK. It is essentially a novel about the decay of society and the deep personal and social isolation this has caused, and tells of a man fleeing through interstellar space from Earth, where civilisation is collapsing into anarchy and wars. The author uses techniques ranging from straight narrative to entries in the spaceship's log, dream sequences and sixties-style computer printouts....

Title : The Black Corridor
Author :
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ISBN : 9780583116404
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 126 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Black Corridor Reviews

  • Nate D
    2019-03-07 04:22

    How many books did Michael Moorcock write in 1969? I've only read three of his and they're all from that year. The haphazard psychedelic/apocalyptic 60s spy meltdown The Final Programme (not so great), his set of psychotropic stories The TIme Dweller (decent), and now, at last, this actually quite fantastic paranoiac look at the twin dissolutions of order in world in and self.The elegant parallel structure follows two time-lines. First the descent of England into xenophobia, racism, and paranoiac self-destruction, as people run out of scapegoats for world problems and turn on eachother. A dominant thread here seems to be that amid millennial overcrowding, essentially no one can bear the presence of anyone else, and the merest brush with a neighbor can prove disastrously disturbing. Juxtaposed, the utter isolation, loneliness, and creeping madness of a space mission attempting to escape from this scenario, from the perspective of the sole man awake and attending to 12 hibernating friends and family on a 5 year mission.This is my hope for lost new wave sci-fi oddities like this -- at best they're an excellently compelling vehicle for both social commentary and formal experimentation. And at last Moorcock seems to be proving to have been worth my interest by delivering both of these in an eerie evocation of internal and external collapse, the maddening vast emptiness of space, the haunted unease of dreams, unreliable narration, inventive typography, unstable narrative -- basically all the things that drive my reading. All, of course, behind an utterly ludicrous pulp cover, which could be seen as the icing on the hidden depth of the experience.

  • Timothy Mayer
    2019-03-03 01:53

    A strange and short little book, Black Corridor is one of the best examples I can find of New Wave science fiction. Although the late writer Thomas Disch dismissed a lot of the New Wave as the triumph of style over substance, this particular school of SF literature did blow the cobwebs out of the older forms, obsessed with aliens and blasters. And the New Wave writers actually talked about sex, something difficult to find in much SF before 1964.Written with his wife Hilary Bailer, Moorcock's novel concerns the trials of Ryan, a British businessman who has managed to place his family and himself on the sole starship to leave Earth. Ryan is the only person awake for the journey to a planet in another solar system which may be habitable. The other crew members, mostly his family and relatives, are in suspended animation for the duration of the trip. But Ryan is starting to have problems with the isolation and loneliness. He's beginning to hallucinate. He's also having nightmares about the Earth they left behind.And the Earth left behind is not a pretty place. Ryan had been a successful toy manufacturer there, but shortly before the events in the novel, Earth began going insane. Mass paranoia began breaking out everywhere, infecting the population at large. Large rallies take place in the streets by a group called The Patriots, who want all aliens forced out of the country. By aliens, the Patriots mean the non-English kind, but some of them believe nonhuman aliens are in our midst. Eventually the world breaks down into a variety of mini-states, with different parts of England bombing each other.Considering when the book was published, the terrestrial portions of The Black Corridor seem to reflect the current racial tensions which raged through parts of England at the time. Immigrants from the Caribbean were appearing n substantial numbers. Racial riots broke out in several major cities. Politician Enoch Powell had already made his infamous "Rivers Of Blood" speech. I can't help but wonder if these parts were penned in reaction.Much of the book is also written in a stream-of-consciousness format. Ryan isn't sure if he's back on Earth or if he's having another nightmare. Many of the pages are written in typographical art, which can be a little bit confusing if you're used to everything being created with a word processor.

  • Gardy (Elisa G)
    2019-02-24 03:15

    Un libro dagli inaspettati picchi horror.pagina 15 - "e fingi di niente"pagina 29 - "adesso che la droga (drug!) cominciava a fare effetto"pagina 76 - "cerca di fare all'amore con lei"pagine 93 - "la sagoma aggobbita della moglie"pagina 112 - "non ha proprio nessuna voglia di pigliare quella droga (drug in inglese)"pagina 113 - "i rumori negli orecchi continuano"pagina 158 - "me non mi hai presa"Oltre ai raggelanti picchi della traduzione di Gabriele Tamburini, troverete uno dei primi esempi di romanzo breve incentrato sugli effetti deleteri che la solitudine e la vastità dello spazio possono avere su un essere umano. Aspettate poi di vedere quelli provocati da una traduzione così irritante da leggere…

  • David Sodergren - paperbacksandpugs
    2019-03-19 04:56

    I only read this book because I felt like a quick and easy read, not realising what a powerful, scary and provocative story it was going to be!In the 40 years since it was written, The Black Corridor's seemingly far fetched science fiction has edged ever closer to chilling reality, with a hopeless dystopia of riots, desperate violence and the rise of extremism.Meanwhile, this is intercut with what I can only describe as The Shining in space, as one man grapples with isolation and possible madness.It's a stunning book.

  • Jonathan Norton
    2019-03-06 09:04

    Preposterous slice of 70s apocalyptic psychosis, notable for being written in 1969, before the calamities of the Heath government. In this disintegrating world Britain is divided into warring city-states, Balham is an anti-feminist enclave, the French are dropping H-bombs on us and our top politician thinks there are alien infiltrators everywhere. A demented small businessman decides the only rational course of action is to seize the interstellar spaceship built in Siberia and fly to another planet with his in-laws. It doesn't go very well.With hindsight we can now see this as a prophecy about Brexit.

  • Jim Jones
    2019-03-03 01:58

    Moorcock gets about half of the future right in this 1970 novel set in 2005. What struck me as most prophetic was that people hole up in their apartments with wall-sized screen TV's while the world outside slowly disintegrates. The world has caught some kind of paranoid virus which makes everyone suspicious of other people, other cultures, and other ways of thinking. Society is quickly unraveling. A small group of family and friends try to escape to a new planet. While everyone else is in stasis, the main character flashes back to his life on Earth and the events that have led him on this trip. He is an untrustworthy character, however, and his increasingly paranoid delusions force us to wonder what is real and what is in his mind. Character development is a bit weak and motives are not always clear. Otherwise this is a fine dystopian look at our limitations as humans. This book was very influential to the band Hawkwind and their Space Ritual LP uses parts of this book for inspiration.

  • Ben
    2019-02-27 04:01

    How misanthropic. I can't say that I liked reading this book, since everyone in it was very unpleasant. But I'll bet you a dollar this gets made into a movie in the next few years; xenophobia and paranoia are the creeping horrors du jour. We're all monsters, really, and if monstrous behavior starts being encouraged rather than censured, it's a very quick slide down to nightmare-land.

  • Amanda Nuchols
    2019-03-12 04:11

    Predictable and depressing, but interesting and well-written for the vein of dated sci-fi that it falls under.

  • Newton Falkner
    2019-03-22 07:11

    Found this book a bit dissapointing at the end, but like all Moorcock's books it's still a great read.

  • James
    2019-03-16 05:23

    I was looking for a little escape in the year of our lord 2017, and then dropped into this fresh hell of all our fears made real. Which isn't to say I didn't like it.The Black Corridor, not to spoil too much, is the chronicle of the world's descent into madness, mirrored in the experience of one man. The entire world is swept by a wave of racism and paranoia and proceeds to tear itself apart, leading one small band of refugees to flee to outer space. Have they really escaped, or have they been followed by the madness destroying the Earth?The most intriguing part of the story is why? The story leaves it ambiguous. There is an uptick in UFO sightings and rumors of aliens at work in human culture, it's left unresolved whether aliens are too blame or it's just another delusion suddenly gripping human society. It's not at all important to the story, but I thought a lot about it.All in all it's a fairly chilling look at a human society that goes all in on xenophobia, racism and paranoia. Some lovely light reading!

  • Christopher Roberts
    2019-02-23 06:58

    I really like Michael Moorcock's Behold The Man, so this has me coming back to him. So far, however, I have found most of his writing to be heavy-handed and cynical. This is no exception. The story is about some people trying to escape a dystopian earth into space and basically bringing the terribleness of humanity with them. Its short, and kind of a breezy read, but I got very little out of it. I have more Moorcock books on my shelf though, so I will trudge forward.

  • Stephen Case
    2019-03-03 03:12

    The name Michael Moorcock has been on my list of authors to read for so long that I can’t remember why or when he ended up there. I also can’t quite figure out why he’s so well-known or what kind of writer he is, exactly, and reading several entries on him in various fantasy and science fictions encyclopedias hasn’t helped much. Suffice to say he’s British, he was influential in the New Wave, and his writings are extensive and pretty hard to pigeon-hole.I grabbed The Black Corridor from the science fiction section of my local library, the last of my Christmas break reading that included Benford, Swanwick, and Reynolds. I can’t remember if there were other Moorcock books there and I grabbed this one because it was short and because the cover was obviously by the same artist who did the cover of my edition of Lafferty’s Nine Hundred Grandmothers or because it was the only one they had. Either way, the description intrigued me.This was an easy read, but it felt dated. The story is about a single human aboard the first colonizing craft traveling to an Earth-like planet around a (relatively) nearby star. Part of it is a psychological exploration of the emptiness of space, of the long, lonely passage (the corridor of the title) to the first habitable worlds. The environment of the ship is sterile, empty technology, a backdrop upon which the single inhabitant is struggling against loneliness and a self-conscious slide into madness. His only defense is a retreat into routine and rationalism.Yet this isolated existence, we learn through a long series of flashbacks, is only the culmination of a larger slide into madness. The single ship’s inhabitant is actually the only waking member of a crew (the rest are in hibernation) composed of his family and small group of friends who fled a disintegrating Earth. The end-of-times scenario outlined here is a fractious, nationalistic British apocalypse descending into chaos like in Children of Men. In the midst of this, the main character—who built his fortune as a toy manufacturer—sees himself as an isolated island of rationality against this moral and social decay. Together with his companions, they see stealing the only UN ship capable of interplanetary flight and setting off from Earth in the face of and in spite of a nationalistic, atomic holocaust their effort to save not only themselves but the best of humanity.Two main trends take place over the course of the novel. The first is the narrator’s constant battle against paranoia and loneliness and his gradual descent into possible insanity. Has he woken the other crew members up? Is he having hallucinations because of his sensory isolation or because of the emotionally-stabilizing drugs he feels forced to take? The second is the gradual revelations of what he had to do to secure the crew’s escape from Earth, what he felt justified to do to get them off the planet. There are interesting developments throughout in what is largely a psychological thriller, but some of the most intriguing take place in the final few pages of the book, when we’re forced to ask the question of why he’s the only one awake on the ship in the first place.In all, there are lots of subtle and troubling themes touched on here but not explored. Parts of the novel make it seem as though we’re dealing with themes of overpopulation or ecological disaster, but these are never front and center. Technology is not a major motivation here, just a sterile backdrop against which the events play out. Mainly The Black Corridor offers a surprisingly troubling treatment of the inevitably isolating results of a self-justifying rationalism.

  • Traummachine
    2019-02-27 08:58

    This was pretty classic 1960s sci-fi with a psychological horror element, but it's also more than that. It was also pretty unusual among the Moorcock I've read. For one thing, it really doesn't seem to tie in to the Eternal Champion sequence, or even to the first book in the Sailing To Utopia omnibus.This is about a very long voyage to distant stars, with most of the crew sleeping in stasis. The man on duty (Ryan) starts to notice little things around the ship that are off, and things spin out of control from there. Moorcock does a good job of keeping the mystery alive here, as Ryan second-guesses himself but also thinks he's being tricked. Is he paranoid, or is there a larger conspiracy at work? What elevates this above the mystery is the backdrop that Moorcock has included as a series of flashbacks. Our crew is fleeing an Earth descended into bigotry, guerrilla warfare, and paranoia toward immigrants. These racial tensions and mistrust result in the crew having to deal with their own contention en route to the ship. They might be "family and friends" but the flashbacks show that they're far from a close-knit group. These flashbacks are interspersed with Ryan's growing unease, and the result is a story that reveals layers very quickly.Don't look for deep background-driven character motivations here, this is about the journey. The whole thing has a kind of Twilight Zone feel to it, which will appeal to some but turn others off. I'm definitely looking forward to more sci-fi by Moorcock.

  • Simon Mcleish
    2019-03-25 03:06

    Originally published on my blog here in December 2001.The wonderfully atmospheric first few paragraphs of The Black Corridor immediately make it clear what the purpose of the novel is to be. Science fiction of the fifties and sixties in particular treat space travel as a glorious adventure, mankind (almost always male) against the stars. Here, though, the pioneer is a selfish, paranoid man who wants to save himself from the worldwide descent into 1984-style dystopian states.Ryan is the only member of his family not in hibernation as the ship travels to Earth-like planets around Barnard's Star; he carries out the checks needed by the ship's systems during travel. In the meantime, he experiences nightmares about the past, to the extent that the reader begins to doubt whether the spaceship is real or the hallucination of a lunatic in an asylum.The Black Corridor is a clever psychological study, told in the form of a classic science fiction story like those which Robert Heinlein specialised in at the time. By the way it is written, it exposes the limited assumptions about people that such stories made (though that was not their purpose - their authors sought to share their enthusiasm about space travel).

  • Gary
    2019-02-23 01:08

    The Black Corridor by Michael Moorcock [Review]While this story was originally written in the late sixties, Michael Moorcock captures a society that has become increasingly removed from one another, and prone to all manner of neuroses such that their lives have become filled with such a gripping paranoia that any difference, however minute, grounds for suspicion if not outright violence, and as meaningful a statement now as it was then. Predominately written as a series of log entries and flashbacks our protagonist – a toy company owner turned spaceship captain – leads a small assortment of friends and family into space for a distant star where they will establish their own commune. However with the decision for Ryan to command the ship while the others enter hibernation until their arrival, the Black Corridor becomes an examination of how far a man might go to accomplish all this revealed to the reader as they undergo the stress of severe isolation. The subject matter is pretty grim and at a couple of points even a little graphic, and would be better classified as science fiction horror than straight sci-fi. Certainly stands out from Moorcock’s writing, and worth the read if just for that.http://www.cultureaddicthistorynerd.c...

  • Marina
    2019-03-13 08:58

    Закончила книгу давненько, а слов так и не нашла. С одной стороны - это прекрасная антиутопия, которая, знаете, пугает не эфемерным Братом, а тем, что вот выгляни в окно и увидишь все то же, что и в книге. Страшно? Да не особо. И как-то проходит мимо тебя.Эта часть книги, когда описывается мир вокруг - она прекрасна в своей трагичности осознания, что ничего исправить не возможно, хотя еще можно было несколько лет назад - но или люди или не замечали этого, или просто ничего не делали,но вот или я не поняла мысли автора, или он специально не заострил на этом внимание, потому что хотел сосредоточится на части, где главный герой, угнав космический корабль (хотя звучит очень нелепо, по сюжету как раз очень логично выходит, но долго пересказывать), остается один одинешенек после ввода своей семьи и семьи брата в анабиоз. Тут вот появляется первая крупная непонятка - зачем было "капитану" оставаться в сознании, если ИИ вполне сам справлялся, только отвлекаясь на контроль за "капитаном"? Сам капитан толком ничем помочь не мог - он не техник, не астрофизик, он - предприниматель. Вот на это, в принципе, любопытно взглянуть - как человек пытается совладать с одиночеством и как это у него, что очевидно, не получается. Не новая идея, но описано любопытно. Но все равно впечатления от книги больше в сторону негативных и однозначно перечитывать не буду, как и советовать кому-то.

  • Paulo
    2019-03-24 04:55

    So a Moocock book. After reading the review at Graeme's Fantasy Book Review I decided to buy and read it. In my opinion the book was not as good as he portrayed it. The book is divided in two parts... the first part is the ramblings of Ryan (our main protagonist) as he travels into another galaxy to settle there with his family. Inbetween chapters we learn about their society and why they must do the voyage. The book is quite easy to read but there are a lot of references of Moorcock own political ideology. That put me off my interest. I must say that I am most displease with all the authors out there simple minded that can don't know anything else than write novels that are more than propaganda fiction. Ken Macleod is another example. It just upsets me. I try to read them but they are so single-minded in their own convictions that they made an image than everything else is just stupid. Bah.Returning to this novel the ending was quite interesting... It makes you think what a heck happen? Were the pods with only corpses? Weren't there any bodies at all? Was this all the fruit of his own imagination? I think that was the best part of the novel.In the end I was not displease with everything but those "teachings" he gave about society was excusable.

  • Empress
    2019-03-13 06:14

    In a world where people indulge in every paranoid thought and act on it, where everyone medicates to cut off the anxieties the society brings, the privacy has become a synonym for happiness and sleeping pills and antidepressants are the means to this end. And one rational man tries to escape this nightmare by trying to colonize and create a new and better life on a new world. Alone in his spaceship, Ryan observes the ship's functioning and the hibernation pods where his family and friends sleep. During these long lonely hours of most strict regime he will find out if he is as rational as he things.Overall it's a short easy and enjoyable read, for some reason compared to 1984. I'd say it's far from it. In "The Black Corridor", although there is government the public is left to their own ideas and they are the ones that bring severe punishments. I wouldn't say it is a Dystopian peace of literature as much as psychological fiction. A note on the writing: The book is written mostly in 3rd person, and the first half the chapters jump from the present of Ryan while he is on the spaceship, to his retrospection of the past.

  • Geoff Hyatt
    2019-03-25 03:18

    "Space is infinite. It is dark."With these first lines, Moorcock sets about destroying the tropes of wide-eyed, gee-whiz spaceship adventures with a disorienting and oppressive story of crushing isolation and encroaching madness. In a future where overpopulation and violent xenophobia has created a global holocaust, Ryan and twelve others escape Earth on a spacecraft in search of a new world. Three years later, as the sole crew member overseeing the ship and its pod-slumbering crew, Ryan faces paranoia, hallucination, depression, and memory loss. It becomes unclear if Ryan is the crew's steward or their warden. Whether the ship has a destination, or a living crew at all, is called into question. Ryan's tormenting nightmares and growing insanity offer truly unsettling moments in a science fiction setting without introducing any monsters and technological horrors other than those found in the human mind and heart. In the end, things remain unclear. All we know for sure is this: "Space is the absence of time and of matter. It is neutral. And it is infinite."

  • Harry
    2019-02-22 08:08

    Read in one sitting in the garden at Dudmaston Hall in Shropshire after my wife bought it for me in the National Trust second hand book shop. What a lovely way to read a book and what a lovely way to spend an afternoon. This seems a little rushed compared to some of Moorcock's works but he was very prolific at this time. A story of a man travelling to a new life on another planet after the breakdown of civilisation on Earth and his own personal breakdown during the flight as he ponders his relationships with the rest of the crew who are in stasis. If you can put to one side the plausibility of a small group of non astronauts in England stealing a spaceship in Siberia which is conveniently sitting there waiting for take off then it's not a bad story. Shades of 2001 A Space Odyssey in the human/computer relationship.

  • Rob Woodard
    2019-03-21 06:11

    Dark minimalist scifi about a small group of people in a stolen spaceship who are fleeing an earth that is collapsing socially and ecologically and all the horrible things they (and especially their leader) do to survive. Bleak stuff about depressing series of events. At first I didn't care for this book much at all. About halfway thru its 180-odd pages, though, it coalesced into something worthwhile, mainly because Moorcock does a masterful job of showing how the actions of the book's "hero," which seem laudable in isolation, when viewed as a whole, actually reveal him to be a profoundly cowardly selfish man. Not a great book, but worth reading for fans of this kind of stuff and those looking to explore Moorcock's earlier works.

  • JustinK. Rivers
    2019-03-08 04:53

    A mundanely pessimistic vision of the future, but with the social catastrophe a backdrop for the psychological unhinging of the main character en route to colonize a new planet. Perhaps a more artful prose stylist (like Bradbury) could elevate the material. The novel starts off exceedingly slow and only becomes truly surprising towards the very end. It would've made a better Twilight Zone episode rather than a novel, the narrative is slim and lacks deep insight. Moorcock does get points, however, for the complexity and moral ambiguity of his main character.

  • Nick
    2019-03-21 02:06

    A tiresome novella about a man who has to stay awake while his family sleeps in cryogenic storage during a spaceflight.I picked it up when I was thirteen years old, shortly after finishing the Elric saga, and was unprepared for the book's starkness. The portrait of an unreliable narrator has been done in much more interesting ways, including in Moorcock's other novels. Nothing about this book redeems its plodding narrative and general misanthropy.

  • Vladimir Ivanov
    2019-03-07 06:00

    Прекрасный образец НФ "новой волны". Крайне мизантропичная, крайне мрачная повесть про одиночество в космосе и про одиночество среди людей. И про безумие. Безумны политики, нагнетающие националистическую паранойю, безумны толпы, линчующие всех попавшихся под руку, безумны простые обыватели, задумавшие угнать прототип первого в мире звездолета и сбежать с гибнущей Земли на звезду Барнарда, безумен рассказчик. Особенно рассказчик. Муркок at his best.

  • Dean Parker
    2019-03-19 09:18

    Somewhat mundane in parts. A complex story of depression and paranoia. Frustrating to determine what is happening for real, sometimes. Do not like dream sequences. Ending seemed too obscure, or more probably, i just didn't get it.

  • Shannon Appelcline
    2019-02-22 01:05

    More a vignette than a novel, but it's one that is very well-presented. There's a ton of tension thanks to the unreliable narrator, and there are also some really eerie visions. Though there's not a lot of depth to this book, it's still quite interesting to read.

  • Zantaeus Glom
    2019-03-23 06:20

    A wildly entertaining variant on the classic lone madman in deep space trope. (the dystopian UK is oddly prescient; especially with all the UKIP/EU palaver at the moment!)

  • Joseph
    2019-03-08 01:53

    A decent look at Inner Space. Very familiar though.

  • Steve
    2019-03-25 06:21

    Moorcock, as always, is a very cerebral read

  • Elspeth
    2019-03-17 02:01

    Disturbingly creepy and on the verge of madness... or...Psycho Sci Fi!