The third and final volume of Michael Moorcock's collected stories about Jerry Cornelius and his associates. Published in the US by Avon Books (1984).

Vol. III contains two stories, The Adventures of Una Persson and Catherine Cornelius in the Twentieth Century (1976, first published on its own by Quartet Books Ltd. in the UK) and The Alchemist's Question (1984, originally appeared in the anthology The Opium General and Other Stories, published in the UK by Harrap Ltd.). There is also a good introduction by the author which provides some background information on the alternate realities against which the Cornelius Chronicles take place.

Both stories follow Moorcock's disjointed, almost chaotic style of depicting a band of time travellers jumping through time and space, often unwillingly. Each chapter has the feel of having been written as a short vignette on its own.

The Adventures of Una Persson and Catherine Cornelius is a romp through most of Moorcock's alternate 20th century, following the two heroines, up until now peripheral players in previous Chronicles. While Una Persson fights for lost causes (in a dizzying array of conflicts, starting with the losing side of the Bolshevik revolution, an alternate England torn apart by civil war, across a Europe collapsing into anarchy) Catherine Cornelius (Jerry Cornelius' sister) comes back home to London to live with her dear old mum for a while (through the Blitz, the Battle of Britain, various romantic interludes, up to the rock and roll era, until her safe, quiet home life is disrupted by the increasing tide of entropy).

Ironically, they find both their roles reversed at their reunion at the end, with Una coming home to St. Petersburg, and Catherine leading a lost band of guerrillas in the Urals.

The Alchemist's Question (written much later than most of the Chronicles) seems to have been written as a climactic end to the entire series, involving the entire cast of time travelers. The Time Center has gone dead, a new fascist order led by Miss Brunner is threatening an end to the increasing entropy by stopping Time itself, and most of the heroes are demoralized and scattered across the world.

A titanic conflict then erupts, as Una Persson and Catherine Cornelius recruit the survivors of the takeover. While they struggle to build a new Time Center somewhere in the Malay jungles of 1933, the fight boils down to alchemy and witchcraft versus the tanks, aircraft, and armies of Miss Brunner and her allies, dead set on starting WW III and plunging the world into an instant nuclear winter.

Recommended for fans of both science fiction and alternate histories, similar to Harry Turtledove's fiction.

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