The Dancers at the End of Time
The Dancers at the End of Time is a series of science fiction novels and short stories written by Michael Moorcock, the setting of which is the End of Time, an era "where entropy is king and the universe has begun collapsing upon itself". The inhabitants of this era are immortal decadents, who create flights of fancy via the use of power rings that draw on energy devised and stored by their ancestors millions of years prior. Time travel is possible, and throughout the series various points in time are visited and revisited. Space travellers are also common, but most residents of the End of Time find leaving the planet distasteful and clichéd. The title of the series is itself taken from a poem by a fictitious 19th-century poet, Ernest Wheldrake, which Mrs. Amelia Underwood quotes in The End of All Songs. "Ernest Wheldrake" had been a pseudonym used by Algernon Charles Swinburne.The original trilogy (An Alien Heat, The Hollow Lands, and The End of All Songs) was published between 1972 and 1976. The trilogy purports to tell the last love story in human history. Other stories in this sequence include The Transformation of Miss Mavis Ming (also known as A Messiah at the End of Time) which is a rewrite of the novella Constant Fire. Several short stories, some of which were included in the collection Legends from the End of Time, were published in New Worlds 7–10 (the paperback revival of the magazine). Short stories featuring Elric ("Elric at the End of Time"), and Jerry Cornelius ("The Murderer's Song") also feature characters and places from the End of Time.
Main characters in the series include Jherek Carnelian, one of the few humans at the End of Time to have been born naturally, rather than created; Mrs Amelia Underwood, a time traveller from the late 19th century; the enigmatic Lord Jagged; and Miss Mavis Ming in the eponymous The Transformation of Miss Mavis Ming, which also features the Fireclown. The 1993 Millennium omnibus edition of Legends from the End of Time ostensibly assembles all the stories and The Transformation of Miss Mavis Ming – under the title Constant Fire – but was affected by severe printing errors and omits the final six lines of Elric at the End of Time and all but the final chapter of Constant Fire. These were corrected for the 1997 Orion edition.
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date of publication: 1972
genre: dark fantasy