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Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Books


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Author: Anthony Earnshaw
Eric Thacker
Publisher: Grove Press, 1969
Jonathan Cape, 1968

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Book Type: Novel
Genre: Fantasy
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Musrum is the name and the story of the creation of Musrum's kingdom is the unlikely invention of a Leeds art teacher and a Methodist minister from a town outside Rotherham. They put the whole thing together in letters to each other.

The clergyman, the Rev. Eric Thacker, did most of the writing, an amalgam of myth, folklore, Lear nonsense and religionese. Tony Earnshaw, who teaches at Bradford College of Art, did the drawings, innocent-looking picture-book outlines of rather violent subjects, gnawing wolves, sawing saws, poised guillotine blades and a recurring skull-and-crossbone motif.

"It's a surrealist story," Eric Thacker told Michael Bateman. "It wasn't entirely deliberate. We set out to write a humorous fantasy and these other things emerged. Musrum is a demi-God who is King of Intersol. He has a Garden of Eden and a Tree of Life and there is an Adversary called the Weedking, who naturally covets it. There's a Creation, a Death and a Resurrection, a Holy War, a Messianic Banquet. Tony thinks it's highly Biblical, but it just shows he's never read the Bible.

The narrative, like the Bible, is sprinkled with observations and sayings. They have coined a word to cover this, a tenset, because they were conceived in sets of ten. "Animal-loving Musrum stroked a dog until it bled." "After reading the works of de Sade he went out and whipped a tree to death." "Sudden prayers make God jump."


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