The End of All Songs

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

Publishing History (UK)

  • Hardcover, Hart-Davis MacGibbon, 336pp., ISBN: 0-246-10942-4, 29 Nov 1976, Cover by Rodney Matthews
  • Periodical, Vortex #1-4, Jan-April 1977
  • Mass Market Paperback, Granada, 320pp., ISBN: 0-583-12105-5, 1 Sep 1977, Cover by Rodney Matthews
  • Mass Market Paperback, Granada, 320pp., ISBN: 0-583-12105-5, 1980, Cover by Rodney Matthews

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Omnibus Publication (UK)

  • The Dancers at the End of Time, Granada, 1981 (hc), 1983 (pb)
  • The Dancers at the End of Time, Millennium, 1993 (hc/tp), 1996 (pb)
  • The Dancers at the End of Time, Gollancz, 2003 (B format pb)
  • The Dancers at the End of Time, Gollancz, 2013 (pb)

Publishing History (US)

  • Hardcover, Harper & Row, 271pp., ISBN: 0-06-012999-9, Jun 1976, Cover by Randall Richmond
  • Mass Market Paperback, Avon, ISBN: 0-380-01964-7, Jun 1978, Cover by Stanislaw Fernandes
  • Mass Market Paperback, Ace, ISBN: 0-441-13662-1, Feb 1988, Cover by Robert Gould

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Omnibus Publication (US)


Jherek Carnelian and Mrs Amelia Underwood, after spending some time alone in the Devonian, meet Una Persson and Captain Oswald Bastable, who introduce themselves as members of the Guild of Temporal Adventurers. They explain the notion of the multiverse as the combination of all simultaneously existing realities before sending Jherek and Amelia back to the End of Time. There, Jherek finds all his friends who had vanished from 1896 alive and well, except for Lord Jagged who has yet to return. Amelia is now more tolerant towards the people of the End of Time, though still occasionally revolted by their lack of morals. She and Jherek resume the life they led in An Alien Heat, which is interrupted by the sudden arrival of a shell shocked, crazed Mr Underwood, Inspector Springer and a dozen policemen, and the Lat.

Jherek, the Duke of Queens, the policemen, Amelia and Mr Underwood seek refuge from the Lat in one of the Lost Cities, which hold the energy used by the people of the End of Time to alter matter through their rings, and are surprised to find it crumbling, and the sun gone. They are joined by Yusharisp and the end-of-time resident Lord Mongrove, a manic-depressive giant who explains that the apocalypse has begun, and that they are the sole survivors. The group realizes with horror that their energy rings are no longer working. In light of their impending doom, Amelia finally admits that her love for Jherek is more important to her than morals or convention.

The Iron Orchid and Lord Jagged, by now assumed to be dead, appear. Lord Jagged reveals himself to be Jherek's father, and a time traveller from the 21st century. After learning of the Earth's impending destruction, he sought to preserve humanity by sending a "new Adam and Eve" to the beginning of time, thus creating a loop which would prevent humanity from spending thousands of years relearning the basics of civilization. For genetic reasons, he chose Jherek and Amelia and orchestrated their meeting. Amelia and Jherek's marooning in the Devonian was not part of the plan; they did not, in fact, travel back in time, but too far into the future, past the end of the world in which they were currently residing. Upon realizing this, Jagged understood that time is circular, not linear as was previously assumed, and devised a new plan. While his friends are devastated, he shows unwavering optimism and surprises everyone by creating a new sun with his energy ring. He proceeds to explain that energy can be drawn from any existing reality within the multiverse; this, combined with the technology that "recycled" time in the underground Nursery, can be used to sustain the Earth forever.

Now reassured that the Earth is safe in a time loop and provided with a new source of energy, the End of Timers resurrect their friends who died in the aborted apocalypse, and rebuild their world. Amelia, now comfortable at the End of Time, becomes popular. During a visit to Mr Underwood in the Lost City, she is faced with his conviction that she is damned when she tells him of her belief that God is dead. While she struggles with her conscience and her newfound atheism, her husband travels back to the 19th century and she decides to marry Jherek. When Lord Jagged offers to send both her and Jherek into the future, out of the time loop and after the end of the world to start a new civilization, they accept.


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