The Hollow Lands

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The second novel in The Dancers at the End of Time trilogy.

Publishing History (UK)

  • Hardcover, Hart-Davis MacGibbon, 180pp., ISBN: 0-246-10876-2, 1975, Cover by Jill Riches
  • Mass Market Paperback, Mayflower, 160pp., ISBN: 0-583-12104-7, 23 Dec 1975, Cover by Bob Haberfield
  • Mass Market Paperback, Granada, 160pp., ISBN: 0-583-12104-7, 1982, Cover by Bob Haberfield
  • Mass Market Paperback, Grafton, 160pp., ISBN: 0-586-21175-6, April 1990, Cover by Bob Haberfield

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Omnibus Publication

  • The Dancers at the End of Time, Granada, 1981 (hc)
  • The Dancers at the End of Time, Granada, 1983 (pb)
  • The Dancers at the End of Time, Millennium, 1993 (hc/tp)
  • The Dancers at the End of Time, Gollancz, 1996 (pb)
  • The Dancers at the End of Time, Gollancz, 2003 (pb)
  • The Dancers at the End of Time, Gollancz, 2014 (pb)

Publishing History (US)

  • Hardcover, Harper & Row, ISBN: 0-06-013002-4, 1974
  • Mass Market Paperback, Avon Books, ISBN: 0-380-01794-6, Nov 1977
  • Mass Market Paperback, Ace, 160pp., ISBN-10: 0-441-13661-3, Oct 1987, Cover by Robert Gould

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Omnibus Publication

Synopsis

Reunited at the End of Time, Jherek Carnelian and the other inhabitants have returned to their preferred amusements of parties and games. They are interrupted by a ship of alien musician/pirates, the Lat. Hunted by the Lat, Jherek stumbles into a subterranean Nursery built centuries ago to protect the last children of that era from the tyrant director Pecking Pa the Eighth (a reference to Sam Peckinpah). The time in the Nursery is constantly recycled by a robot Nurse so old she has started to break down, and as a result is recycling the same week repeatedly. The teacher-robot mistakes Jherek for one of her children as she has forgotten that there is anything outside her school, and keeps him. When she realizes her mistake, she agrees to send him back to 1896; her ability to recycle time means that she can function as a time machine.

Returned to the 19th century, Jherek heads for Bromley, where Mrs Amelia Underwood lives. On the way, Jherek meets H.G. Wells and explains that he is a time traveller, but is met only with Wells's ironic disbelief. Jherek is finally reunited with Mrs Underwood but also forced to confront her husband Mr Underwood. Mr. Underwood is so suspicious of their story that a reluctant Mrs Underwood runs away with Jherek. Chased by the police, the two are rescued by a journalist, Mr Jackson who, like Judge Jagger, bears a strong resemblance to Lord Jagged.

The police catch up with the fleeing couple, but are interrupted in their attempted arrest by the appearance of the Lat, the Iron Orchid and a number of other residents of the End of Time. Chaos ensues as the police and the Lat start fighting, and the fabric of time itself begins disintegrating. The time travellers start vanishing, and Jackson, who finally reveals himself to be Lord Jagged (also Judge Jagger), takes Jherek and Mrs Underwood to a time machine that will take them to the End of Time. The machine appears to malfunction; instead of delivering them to the End of Time, it maroons them in what appears to be the Lower Devonian period.

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