The complexity of time

The Dancers at the End of Time - Michael Moorcock

Personally, I can't remember much about this book except that when I read it I felt that it was a little strange and could not really get into it all that much. Okay, there are probably people out there that will jump down my throat in writing a review of a book I can't remember (as well as reading 20 years agon) but my response to them is – BITE ME.


Anyway, as I said, what I can remember was that this book did not thrill me all that much, but maybe because the setting itself was rather strange, that being the end of time. From what I can remember Moorcock's vision of the end of time was some sort of Victorian (period, not Australian state) far future setting. Also, while there may have been a plot, it was not something that I could remember all that much, though I do believe that it did involve the eternal champion in one of its many incarnations (I suspect it was a woman in this book, though I am not quite sure). However, glancing over the Goodreads comments I do notice the words Eternal Champion and Steampunk make an appearance, so I am probably correct on that part.

Writing stuff at the end of time I find a little be odd, but that is probably because we are caught within time and cannot understand how reality can exist without or outside of time. It is not just that our bodies age and we feel that age, but there are aspects around us constantly that tell us that time is moving. It is not simply the alarm clock, our smart phone, or the schedule that we must keep, but it is also the fact that the Earth rotates giving us night and day as well as changing seasons. All around us, both natural and artificial, are things that remind us that time is forever marching on.

So, how can we imagine the end of time. In a way it is impossible because if we go right to the point were time is supposed to end and wait one milli-second, we suddenly discover that time in fact has not ended. It is like numbers. If we think of the biggest number than we could possibly imagine and add one, well, we have a bigger number. Moreso with our advanced mathematics we can theoretically go backwards, into the negative, to infinity, and we can halve things to infinity (though if you dig a hole and fill half of it in, you don't have half a hole).

The bible talks about the end of time, and it is interesting that it suggests that there is no night and that there are no seasons. Look, eternity is one of those funny things that we, who live a limited lifespan with the effects of time wearing us down, find difficult to comprehend. For instance if our perception of time slowed down to a millionth, suddenly it would seem like eternity to us, despite the fact that in the real world only a milli-second has passed. That is what some people see eternal life as, that that last milli-second of our life never actually ends because our perception of time has changed.

Take dreams for instance. The REM period of our sleep apparently lasts a really short time, yet we might have dreams that seem to last hours or even days, though they tend to vanish pretty quickly afterwards. Once again it is the perception that is more important than the reality, because the perceived time in our dreams is quite different to the real time that marches on around us. However, in the end, the whole idea of what happens at the end of time, if time can come to an end, is going to rest purely upon speculation.