Wednesday, 11 April 2001
Michael Moorcock: The Transformation of Miss Mavis Ming (1977)
Review number: 798
Alternative title: A Messiah at the End of Time
The second title of this novel, used for the American edition (which is actually the one I read), is in fact rather better than the original one; it is much more apposite, and concerns the main interest of the novel. It begins with a short editorial explanation, detailing the way it fits into Moorcock's other novels; it draws on several scenarios, but the one series which really should be read before The Transformation of Miss Mavis Ming is The Dancers at the End of Time.
Mavis Ming is one of the many time travellers stranded at the end of time; overweight and not terribly bright, she isn't exactly one of the stars of that superficial society. But then the Fireclown, prophet from the past, arrives to judge the End of Time, and he chooses the unwilling Mavis Ming to be his great love.
The idea of confronting the hedonism of the End of Time with religious fanaticism is interesting, but Moorcock for once executes it poorly. The Fireclown is not one of his more convincing characters, and Mavis Ming is (deliberately) a dull one. In the end, the novel is a poor relation of the trilogy.