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The Dancers At The End Of Time

Second paragraph of third chapter:
‘Dear friends, you have doubtless already guess that this party has a theme. That theme, needless to say, is “Disaster”.’
This reached the top of my pile of unread sf books as recommended by you, without my realising that I had in fact read it in 2005. My review from then is posted below; nothing in the first 50 pages made me think I would change my mind this time (though there are two nice introductions by John Clute and bythe author himself), so I am moving on to something else. Next in that particular pile is The Past Through Tomorrow, by Robert A. Heinlein, which was already high up the list.

Originally posted by nwhyte at May Books 1) The Dancers At The End Of Time
1) The Dancers At The End Of Time, by Michael Moorcock

Edition uniting An Alien Heat, The Hollow Lands, and The End of All Songs. A bit of a one-joke book, this: hero from sexually liberated culture falls in love with woman from a much more repressed culture; this basic plot is the making of many stirring love stories, but here it is played for laughs, the repressed culture being late nineteenth-century London. The anarchic, pansexual, abundant society at the End of Time perhaps inspired Iain M. Banks a little, but Banks carries it off much better. Comic policemen and small furry (but vicious) aliens caper rather pointlessly through the timewarps, as do in-joke characters from Moorcock's other books and from elsewhere. The end of the universe happens but doesn't seem to make much difference.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 3rd, 2017 09:13 pm (UTC)
Sorry - I think I may have recommended that! I just loved the end of time society, and the outrageous names and behaviour!
Oct. 4th, 2017 06:16 am (UTC)
Don't worry, I think I'm just old and jaded!
Oct. 4th, 2017 10:55 am (UTC)
I rather liked the idea. There are some good comic incidents, the theme is serious yet treated as frivolous. I think of this as his finest moment: Wodehouse with ideas, farce based upon deep truths.

I'm trying to think of a "two-joke" book that isn't just a collection of quick-fire gags. Douglas Adams, bless him, springs to mind.

Banks's culture is Aeons away from DATEOT. Effectively Moorcock turns the adage about sufficiently advanced science appearing to be magic and turns it up to eleven. It is similar to Wodehouse in that it is idyllic in an Edwardian sense, which is why, I suppose Moorcock makes his heroine an 1890's 'modernist', with ranting Methody tendencies.

I think of it as a neglected classic. Don't get me wrong. I love Banks, and he deals with big issues in an often pleasingly dense narrative. But Dancers has a lightness of touch, a simplicity of prose that is journalistic, if not verging on a perfect example of Orwell's common English, and humour.

You've never supported the Lat on tour. Drawn from life, that one.
Oct. 5th, 2017 08:45 am (UTC)
In a moment of confusion, I thought you were reviewing The Dancer From Atlantis, by Poul Anderson.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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