Time-travel. Aliens. Menageries. Virtue. Love.
An Alien Heat by Michael Moorcock is a short, quirky novel that was written in the early 1970’s. The novel is set in the distant future. Bored earth inhabitants continuously create and recreate their surroundings and bodies in ways that amuse them. Often they will base their creations on what they know —however accurate or inaccurate—of different historical periods. Many of the inhabitants also have menageries filled with people from different time periods, animals, and aliens.
At yet another boring party, an alien announces that the Universe is near the end of time. Instead of paying attention to his warning, the inhabitants put the alien into a menagerie. Also at the party is a woman from 1896. Jherek is determined to experience love with her. First, he acquires her from someone else’s menagerie. He then attempts to win her love. When she suddenly disappears, he pursues her back to her own time period.
I found the novel mildly amusing and a tiny bit thought provoking. When I first began the novel, I was bored by the bored characters. But I slowly found Jherek endearing in his own misguided way. This is the first book in The Dancers at the End of Time series and the novel left me curious about the other books.