Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Legends from the End of Time

legends from the end of time
Michael Moorcock

A few months ago I revisited a book I had first read in my teens that I'd enjoyed but not fully 'got'.  'The Dancers at the End of Time' was Moorcock's tribute to the decadents of the closing years of the 19th century such as Wilde, Beardsley and George Meredith.  It told the story of the inhabitants who lived lives of blissful, artistic anarchy in a world reshaped to their every whim at the very end of everything.

Whereas I'd enjoyed the novelty of it as a young man I adored the very heart of it as an older one.  It's a beautiful book and I didn't want it to end.  So, imagine my joy when a few months later I discovered that in some ways it hadn't.  Here, in this companion volume we have several extra little stories involving many of the supporting characters and vistas of the main story arc.  We have stories of time travellers and champions, of visitors and residents, of restraint and abundance, of foolishness, of grace and of beauty.

It's too disjointed to be entirely engrossing and the individual stories exist sideways to what we know which robs them of some of their power but Moorcock is a writer who makes words dance and from whom ideas pour and who can, I think, be summed up - at least a little - in this speech by Lord Jagged of Canaria...

'Explore all attitudes my dear.  Honour them, every one, but be slippery - never let them hold you, else you fail to enjoy the benefits and be saddled only with the liabilities.  It's true that canvas against the skin can be as sensual as silk, and milk a sweeter drink than wine, but feel everything, taste everything, for it's own sake, and for your own sake, then no one thing shall be judged better or worse than another , no person shall be so judged and nothing can ensnare you.'


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  1. Likewise. I loved the Dancers at the end of time. The end of all songs is a fav round here. I also always drift back to The Chronicles of Castle Brass. :)

    1. Hi Keith
      I've not read the Castle Brass books. I've recently been rereading the Elric books and thoroughly enjoying them.