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The Dancers at the End of Time (1981)

de Michael Moorcock

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

Séries: The Dancers at the End of Time (1-3), The End of Time (Omnibus 1-3), The Eternal Champion (The End of Time books 1-3)

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8831224,923 (3.84)29
Enter a decaying far, far future society, a time when anything and everything is possible, where words like ¿conscience¿ and ¿morality¿ are meaningless, and where heartfelt love blossoms mysteriously between Mrs Amelia Underwood, an unwilling time traveller, and Jherek Carnelian, a bemused denizen of the End of Time. The Dancers at the End of Time, containing the novels An Alien Heat, The Hollow Lands and The End of All Songs, is a brilliant homage to the 1890s of Wilde, Beardsley and the fin de siècle decadents, satire at its sharpest and most colourful.… (mais)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 12 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Story: 7 / 10
Characters: 8
Setting: 10
Prose: 8

An absolutely fantastic adventure during the last few years of Earth's life. Thus, probably the book that looks furthest into the future of all science-fiction (on par with Stapledon's Star Maker). The world at that time is a veritable paradise and technology enables the few people left to live as gods. While not as hilarious as The Hitchhiker's Guide, the story is hilarious.

Highly recommended, even the time travel sections (for their genre innovations). ( )
  MXMLLN | Jan 12, 2024 |
Poor hedonist Jherek Carnelian, forced to travel back and forth in time to woo his beloved and prim Mrs. Underwood. All this as a backdrop to allow Michael Moorcock's characters to philosophize about everything from architecture to parenting. I wanted to like this book so much more than I actually did. An Alien Heat and The Hollow Lands were marvelous, great characters, nice paradox. But then the End of All Songs was about 100 pages too long. Once the sexual tension between Amelia and Jherek was released, the book sort of "jumped the shark" for me. It turned into a way too goofy Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Although it did manage to have a nice end tacked on.

It did have a lovely dust jacket by Thomas Canty.

I can't believe others would place this before Hawkmoon, Elric, the Steampunk novels, or my personal favorite, Von Bek. ( )
  Gumbywan | Jun 24, 2022 |
My reaction to reading this omnibus in 1999. Spoilers follow.

“Introduction” -- An interesting introduction in which Moorcock talks about the fin-de-siècle writers that influenced him and how this series is different from others in the Eternal Champion canon. It is a comedy (though Moorcock takes pain to emphasize it is not a satirization of the other, tragic and romantic, Eternal Champion stories). The fight here tends to be against Law rather than Chaos, and the plot features Jherek Carnelian who is not in any way, physical, mental, or emotional, maimed. He has no grand obsessions. He just wants to be around a woman.

An Alien Heat -- I wasn’t looking forward to reading this series, but I was very pleasantly surprised. This, next to the Elric series, is the best Moorcock I’ve read. It was witty and funny and very engrossing. The society at the End of Time is one ruled solely by aesthetics. Conventional morality has appallingly fallen away in a society where the humans have god-like powers of life and resurrection, body sculpting of the most extreme sort, menageries of time travelers (not so much captured as too befuddled to explore this world on their own), casual rearrangement of the sun’s position and the land itself (including producing miniature solar systems just to recreate historical battles in miniature), and casual and sometimes bizarre sexual unions in various permutations. Fashion and politeness are the guiding mores as befits a series influenced by fiń-dé-siecle 19th century novels. Emotions are comically affected (all emotions, even the ones we consider undesirable) and some people have dourness and grimness and despair as their emotional trademark. It’s a decadent world (and time traveler Li Pao wastes no opportunity to tell its inhabitants this) but a pleasant one. As the Prologue notes, the world has “rivalry without jealousy, affection without lust, malice without rage, kindness without pity.” The hero Jherak Carnelian has, like some of his cohorts, a fascination for historical recreation. (His classic misunderstandings of Victorian society provide much of the humor of the book along with his naiveté and ingeniousness which Amelia Underwood eventually finds charming. This type of humor is the sort usually found in humorous time travel stories, and it is very well done here, and Moorcock proves surprisingly adept at wit and humor. Jherak eventually develops a fascination for Amelia Underwood, an unwitting time traveler of mysterious means of transport. Carnelian eventually becomes fascinated with the Victorian Underwood (the 19th Century fascinates him) and resolves to develop the affection of love. He shocks her in funny ways like his slow realization that she actually requires a bathroom or when he tries to put her at ease by appearing to her in what he thinks are period clothes but really garish drag. After more humor during a trip back to 19th Century England in pursuit of his love, Underwood hints that she has sincerely grown to care for the charmingly sincere and naïve Carnelian just before he’s hung and transported back to his world. (Carnelian also has the distinction of being one of only two End of the Worlders naturally conceived.)

The Hollow Lands -- This novel, the second part of the charming trilogy, continues some of the ideas and comical themes of An Alien Heat. Jherek Carnelian is again reunited with Mrs. Underwood. And it is Mrs. Underwood. No matter her attraction to Carnelian, she will not give into it or give Jherek any encouragement despite the fact that Mr. Underwood will have nothing more to do with her after Carnelian shows up at their house. He, as in the first book, is totally baffled by many of the concepts of Victorian England – for instance the idea of virtues (as the still lecturing Li Pao notes) and “self-denial and hopes that Amelia will educate him. There is a great deal of humor involving garbled notions of history as in the first book and a comedy of manners when Carnelian meets the Underwoods and a bit of slapstick when the phlegmatic Inspector Springer and Captain Mubbers and his annoying fellow alien “brigand musicians” and Mrs. Underwood and Jherek all meet at the Café Royale. Of course, as it is to be expected in a science fiction novel set partly during late Victorian times, H. G. Wells puts in an appearance and is a bit miffed that Carnelian finds the ideas in The Time Machine pretty ordinary. I liked the bit set in the nursery of perennially arrested children (they live in a time loop maintained by a somewhat senile nanny robot). Here, in one of his splendid snatches of a future history, Moorcock talks about Peking Pa and the age of the Tryant Producers who marshaled entire societies to film their epics. It’s also in this novel we begin to suspect Lord Jagged is more than he seems. There is something very charming about a science fiction novel set in the distant future (and near past and distant past, at novel’s end) where the main plot conflict centers around Carnelian’s desire to marry (though he certainly has a different understanding of the word than does Amelia) and the very old fashioned question as to whether Carnelian and Amelia will kiss.

The End of All Songs -- This was a charming ending to a charming series. It’s also much more serious than the preceding books. Not only are details of the multiverse and Carnelian's position as Champion Eternal revealed, but the book is does a realistic job of delving into the psychological difficulties of Amelia Underwood’s adjustment to the world at the End of Time (and, as Moorcock intended, these troubles serve as commentaries on our society and Amelia’s). She eventually comes to realize how cramped in space, time, and morality that her world in Bromley was. It is not so much that she suffers future shock at the End of Time. In fact, trying to fit in, she throws a splendid party talked about by all and learns how to use the instrumentality at the End of Time. But, rather like a person leaving an old religion they intellectually know to be wrong, she feels guilty about her attachment to Carnelian and refuses to have sex with him until she is divorced. When, after a meeting with Mr. Underwood, she considers her marriage bond dissolved, she still has trouble resolving her old morality with the society at the End of Time with its casual sex in many forms, luxury, immortality, and lack of struggle even if she knows she is irrational. Her party does not truly satisfy her and makes Jherek uneasy and he comes to realize that it is – he tells her that he does not wish to destroy her “old-fashioned notions”, that they are part, essential, to the character he loves. Yet Amelia says she irrationally feels Carnelian’s world is a “travesty, artificially maintained, denying mortality.” In discussion with Lord Jagged and Li Pao, she (and Li Pao) confess that they are used, unlike Jherek and his peers, of living in a world where destruction is possible, always feared, and life is a race with death. Li Pao admits his talk of decadence may be the product of trying to persuade others to have a sense of urgency and that only conflict and misery lead to truth. Underwood feels similarly. Jherek and his cohorts regard the prophecies of cosmic doom by the alien Yusharisp with aplomb. They will not side with those who hate the thought of possible destruction so much that they want the certainty. Still, Amelia desires a purpose and gets it at novel’s end. When Lord Jagged reveals his scheme to push them forward in time to the beginning of the cycle where, in prehistory, mortal and without their very advanced tech, Amelia and Jherek can repopulate the Earth. At novel’s end, Lord Jagged reveals himself to be the arch mover and schemer of the book. Originally, a time traveler from the 21st century, he found a way of avoiding the Morphail Effect which states that, because of paradox generation, a time traveler can not return to the past or, once going into the future, can not return. He spends a great deal of time in the 19th Century where he is careful to avoid paradoxes by living a low key life that does not affect his future. He also develops the knack of traveling in time without a time machine and kidnaps Amelia as part of a program to breed her with Jherek (his son), and he is the first to put the idea of pursing a romance with Amelia in Jherek’s head. (He also speculates their children may establish a world where time is redefined.) He also saves the world at the End of Time by putting it into a permanent time loop which is fine for most of its citizens like the Iron Orchid though Jagged, after marrying her, (the novel ends with a whole raft of marriages, many absurd, and concludes with Amelia and Jherek’s announced marriage and their kiss – not the first), decides he won’t stay at the End of Time but will travel history while Jherek and Amelia will also leave. Oswald Bastable and Una Persson, from Moorcock’s A Nomad of the Time Streams, show up in the distant past (a time centre the Paleozoic where time and “time vessels” are monitored. They help Amelia and Jherek return to the End of Time (more talk is also made of the Guild of Temporal Adventures), and they also show up to watch Jagged save the End of Time with his time loop. The comedy is still here like the first two books. The comically annoying Lat (the strange, sentient cities may have been influenced by Philip K. Dick’s sometimes berserk automata) and Inspector Spinger are here. . ( )
1 vote RandyStafford | Oct 7, 2013 |
An Alien Heat: http://www.librarything.com/review/88467496
The Hollow Lands: http://www.librarything.com/review/88467750
The End of All Songs: http://www.librarything.com/review/26051858

I was very excited by the first book, but the third book left me a little drained and yearning for something a little more substantial. ( )
  helver | Aug 5, 2012 |
Have you ever wondered who came up with the idea of Second Life? It's basically a world in which you can make what you want or do what you like. Your only limits are those of your imagination.

I'm sure that the creators of this virtual world may have found a copy of Michael Moorcock's End of Time books, in which the inhabitants live in a world that is entirely their own. Clothes are made with the twist of a ring. Homes are put together with the wave of a hand. Life is as they make it, complete with parties, servants, and elaborate meals.

Jherek Carnelian is an odd sort of character dancing at the end of time. He is one of two inhabitants there (other than the occasional time traveler who gets stuck there) who was born. His mother, the Iron Orchid, thought it would be amusing to have a child the natural way. Those who were not born were either created by others (as was Sweet Orb Mace) or just came into being.

It is at a party at the Duke of Queen's home that Jherek discovers a time traveler quite different than the others. This traveler, Mrs. Amelia Underwood, a woman from the Victorian age, catches Jherek's heart in a way that no other creature was able to in the past. Distracted by a doomsaying alien, Jherek loses sight of Mrs. Underwood, and embarks on a quest to find her and win her love.

Jherek travels across time and space to win the heart of Mrs. Underwood, and gets help from very unlikely places along the way. Additionally, some Moorcock favorites make cameo appearances both and the End and Beginning of Time.

If you're a fan of Moorcock's Eternal Champion series (essentially, his entire corpus), then this volume of the tales of Carnelian are a must-have. Highly recommended! ( )
1 vote aethercowboy | Aug 24, 2009 |
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Michael Moorcockautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Canty, ThomasArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Stone, SteveArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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The silver lips of lilies virginal,

The full deep bosom of the enchanted rose

Please less than flowers glass-hid from frosts and snows

For whom an alien heat makes festival.

Theodore Wratislaw

Hothouse Flowers

Let us go hence—the night is now at hand;

The day is overworn, the birds all flow;

   And we have reaped the crops the gods have sown,

Despair and death; deep darkness o'er the land,

Broods like and owl; we cannot understand

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   Surpassing vanity: vain things alone

Have drive our perverse and aimless band.

Ket us go hence, somewhither strange and cold,

   To Hollow Lands where just ment and unjust

   Find end of labour, where's rest for the old,

Freedom to all from love and fear and lust.

Twin our torn hands! O pray the earth unfold

Our life-sick hearts and turn them into dust

Ernest Dowson

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The fire is out, and spent the warmth thereof,

(This is the end of every song man sings!)

The golden win is drunk, the dregs remain,

Bitter as wormwood and as salt as pain;

And health and hope have gone the way of love

Into the drear oblivion of lost things.

Ghosts go along with us until the end;

This was a mistress, this, perhaps, a friend.

With pale, indifferent eyes, we sit and wait

For the dropt curtain and the closing gate:

This is the end of all the songs man sings.

Ernest Dowson


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For Nik Turner, Dave Brock, Bob Calvert, DikMik, Del Dettmar, Terry Ollis, Simon King, Lemmy and Ronald Firbank
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Enter a decaying far, far future society, a time when anything and everything is possible, where words like ¿conscience¿ and ¿morality¿ are meaningless, and where heartfelt love blossoms mysteriously between Mrs Amelia Underwood, an unwilling time traveller, and Jherek Carnelian, a bemused denizen of the End of Time. The Dancers at the End of Time, containing the novels An Alien Heat, The Hollow Lands and The End of All Songs, is a brilliant homage to the 1890s of Wilde, Beardsley and the fin de siècle decadents, satire at its sharpest and most colourful.

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