Jherek Carnelian is a member of a society of humans living on Earth near the very end of time itself. Here, people live uncaring, hedonistic lifestyles, with the power to change their environment and themselves at will, using the energy from ancient 'cities'. At a party, Jherek meets Mrs Amelia Underwood, who has been mysteriously abducted from the 19th century and brought to the far future. Jherek's friend, Lord Jagged of Canaria, suggests to him that it would amuse them all if Jherek were to fall in love with Amelia. In the far future passionate emotions have been completely forgotten, and everyone regards 'falling in love' as nothing more than a game.
Jherek sets to wooing Amelia at once, but Amelia is horrified at the decadence of his society and Jherek's seeming amorality. Through persistence, however, Jherek eventually seems to make a breakthrough, but at that moment Amelia is returned to the 19th century. Desperate to find her, Jherek is supplied a time machine by the End of Time's resident scientist, Brannart Morphail, and sets off back to the 19th century.
Unfortunately, Jherek is unaccustomed to life in the late 19th century, being totally naive, trusting and innocent. He is tricked into taking part in a robbery and then arrested, but manages to escape back to the far future before he can be hanged. On his second trip back in time, he manages to reach Amelia, but she explains to him that since she is married she cannot go with him. But her husband discovers them and, convinced they are having an affair, cast them out. Now Jherek and Amelia must escape the police, who believe Jherek is a criminal, and find their way back to the far future. Even there, however, Amelia faces a dilemma. Can her ingrained 19th century mentality allow her to live such a decadent, amoral existence in the future?
This report prepared by Max Russell