Saturday, 24 February 2001

Michael Moorcock: The End of All Songs (1976)

Edition: Granada, 1981
Review number: 765

The conclusion of The Dancers at the End of Time trilogy opens at almost the opposite point in the earth's history, with Jherek Carnelian and Amelia Underwood marooned in the distant past, in the Devonian period with a broken time machine. They are eventually rescued, and return to the end of time, depicted more sombrely than before, to witness the end of the universe that had been predicted by aliens, seeking to warn pleasure loving earth dwellers that their massive consumption would bring the end much sooner.

The way in which this points a finger at our society is if anything more obvious than it was a quarter of a century ago. The whole of the series is a commentary on the present, as much of science fiction is designed to be; this is a particularly successful example.

This third in the trilogy is much darker than the first two, and the description of the earth as the end approaches and things begin to fail is quite chilling. While pessimistic, the novel does have positive moments. All in all, it is a satisfying ending to one of the best trilogies in science fiction.

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