The Time Traveler’s Almanac: Pale Roses by Michael Moorcock


Pale Roses by Michael Moorcock

Section: Experiments

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 Rating

Extremely strange, yet, fascinating; stretched my imagination

About the author:

Michael Moorcock is an English writer currently living in the United States. Although primarily known for his science fiction and fantasy works, he has also published literary novels. He was the New Wave literary style in science fiction. Although his Nebula Award–winning novella “Behold the Man” is often thought to be his most famous time travel story, Moorcock does not consider the tale to include any time travel. “Pale Rose,” included herein, is one of Moorcock’s favorites of his own stories and is both ribald and complex. It was first published in New Worlds Quarterly in 1976.

Please excuse the briefness of this review. I just got back home and settled from a Brandon Sanderson signing, and it is 12:02 am, so I am rather tired.

Moorcock’s prose and wiring styles – I LOVED them. All I could think was, “this is how I like my epic fantasy written!” Granted this is science fiction – because of time-travel and the other technology present – but it still felt very fantasy to me. And I think was because of what some of this tech could do.

There are these rings things, and I’m not exactly sure how they work, but each person with them, can kind of create their own environment and scene. And with Moorcock’s writing – whose prose I LOVE – it felt like I was reading a fantasy.

All of the events and scenes and pictures he described really stretched my imagination. It was not that weird almost incomprehensible stuff like Mieville; it’s all believable, but you have to almost close your eyes, at times, to picture it right – which I enjoyed.

One thing I had problems grasping was this world we are in. It was extremely confusing at first trying to figure out where/when, and what laws of this place where, but I did figure it out eventually. Apparently this is a location where time-travelers all come to when they can’t go back to the past(present)? Or it’s just a time people happened to all travel to? I’m not sure. The way time-travel works here is once you go to the future, you can only go to the past for a brief around of time, before you are forced to leave. By coming back for these little amounts of time though, people of the present – like scientists – are able to gain a little bit of information about the future to try to help prepare for it. And it is apparently thought these accounts of time-travelers, that we get the story Werther.

The story is broken up into 6 parts with part 2 revealing this information. This is where a time travel auditor explains all this. Personally, I thought the story could have done just fine without it. Wether or not I knew this story was being told by someone who pieced it together from multiple sources or if it was told be some random narrator – wouldn’t have mattered. After that part 2, the auditor never even talks about himself again.

Spolierific Speculations: (Highlight to read)



If your comments contains a spoiler, please type “SPOILER:” at the start of your comment to alert fellow readers and comments. Thanks!

My review isn’t doing much justice to the story — as I now realize I left the plot out… Oops! Basically Werther is upset because of this world they live in now, its hard for anyone to fell regret or suffer, because they can always make things right. Oh! And everyone talks in the super high nobel style with a hint of that classic tragedy (O me miserum!). It’s good stuff. Very good story. Did I say how much I liked Moorcock’s prose and writing style yet? 😛

Be sure to check out my fellow time-travelers’ reviews!

Alesha Escobar
H.M. Jones
Preston Leigh’s Leighgendarium
Timothy C. Ward

4/5 Rating



Follow along on Twitter with #TimeTravelThursday

To see a full list of The Time Traveler’s Almanac reviews and reading schedule, visit The Time Traveler’s Almanac Page

Feel free to join in any join time! Just leave a comment down below 🙂

See you next Thursday for The Gernsback Continuum by William Gibson

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13 thoughts on “The Time Traveler’s Almanac: Pale Roses by Michael Moorcock

  1. Tim Ward says:

    I’m glad you liked it! Call me Scrooge, I guess. I couldn’t get into the story or the prose or the characters. Glad to hear you got to go to a Sanderson signing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not all. I have a feeling I’m going be the minority this week. That first part with the Mistress made no sense, and I’m still not sure why he told us about the auditor… to be honest, not even sure why time travel was even mentioned in the story.

      I find prose to be a very subjective to each individual so I can easily see some one not being a big fan these – but I loved them. And the characters were strange (did you notice how all the female character’s names started with a “C” and were almost identical”), but Werther’s character reminded me off many characters I used to read in ancient Latin poetry – with that over the top nobility and that “Oh woe is me” stuff”.

      And that Sanderson signing was amazing! There was over 100 people!!! He gave a talk in theater before the signing, and actually singing must have lasted 4+ hours. It started at 7:15, and line was around the corner!!! I left to get dinner with a friend, came back about 9, and walked in the store to wait, and still didn’t my books signed almost 10! In his talk, he said signing had all gone to about midnight on his tour so far. Crazy, that he sits that whole time signing books for fan.


  2. Tammy says:

    I read Behold the Man years ago and loved it. This short story sounds really good too. I guess it’s time to read Moorcock again:-)


    • I would say proceed with caution to this story. The other ratings are a 1 and 2 so far :/ If you have read Moorcock before then maybe you can expect this strangeness? I had a high school teacher tell me that I needed to check out his Elric series because of how strange everything was, and now that I have finally read something by him, I really want to read that series!


  3. […] Source: The Time Traveler’s Almanac: Pale Roses by Michael Moorcock […]


  4. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it. But I did like the fantastical elements of it. It read like a fantasy, which I enjoyed. I didn’t like the auditor, the opening scene nor the people who inhabited the world, but I was still drawn to read it because of the descriptions. It was an okay read for me, but I’m looking forward to something a bit more straightforward. lol


  5. I read a book by Moorcock earlier this year, his newest novel (The Whispering Swarm, I believe it was). I’m interested to read more by him, since that one was apparently quite a departure from his usual stuff, so I didn’t get the “real Moorcock experience”! Would love to try some of his pulpier works! A short story might be just the thing 🙂

    And, eeee, Brandon Sanderson signing!


    • This was my first Moorcock, so, I don’t what the “Moorcock experience” is. But, if it’s anything like this story, then I will be extremely interested to read more of him! A high school teacher told me before that I should check out his Elric series.

      Yeah, the Sanderson signing was amazing! I went to his talk first – at a theater across these street – and when that got out, there was already a line going around the block! I grabbed dinner with my friend little about 7:30, got back to the bookstore around 9, and still had to wait about 45 mins in line!!


  6. @lynnsbooks says:

    Well, it’s official, I’m useless. I keep saying I will join in with these and then just don’t! 0 of 5 stars to me!! Glad you enjoyed this. I have read no Moorcock at all. Perhaps I should start somewhere though although this maybe might not be the best starting place?
    I will get to this eventually.
    Lynn 😀 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • From what I understand, Moorcock is known for weirdness and metaphysical. But is the prose and wiring style I read here what to expect elsewhere? I have no idea. This was my first Moorcock story. Personally, I hope the prose and weirdness are like this is his other stories!

      Best I can tell, a good starting point for Moorcock, would be his Elric series. Which was actually where I had been told to start when first introduced to him.

      You should try and join the read along for next week! We are reading The Gernsback Continuum by William Gibson (I think it’s only 8 pages or so?). One of our members had to withdraw from the read along recently, so getting a new reader in group would be amazing 🙂


  7. aleshaescobar says:

    I’m afraid I’ll have to Scrooge with Tim, though I will say DJ, that the prose was well done. I just wished it was a bit more relatable/understandable for me.


  8. […] Altered Carbon Novel Links: The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch (PKD), A Scanner Darkly (PKD), THE TIME TRAVELER’S ALMANAC: PALE ROSES […]


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