First; thank you for reading this far. As of this date, Time and Peter Joyce is the longest His Dark Materials fic on this site. I never expected it to turn out to be so long, but a story has its own needs and imperatives and it is the duty of the writer to do what his characters tell him to do. I appreciate that this story has reflected my own interests and concerns far more than those of the typical His Dark Materials reader and that, the appearance of Lyra and Gracious Wings apart, it has very little in common with HDM apart from being set in (some of) the same worlds.


Ah yes, Lyra's world. If you have read the other stories which feature Peter Joyce and Lyra's Oxford, The Clockmaker's Boy and A Gift of Love, you may be a little puzzled by an apparent shift in geography. In the earlier stories, one end of Shoe Lane - the Talbot Inn end - connected with the High Street. In this one, it comes out in Cornmarket Street. What's going on?

The answer is simple, and nothing to do with Peter Joyce's feelings of dislocation. When I wrote the earlier tales, I invented Shoe Lane and named it after the Shoe Lane which is near Fleet Street, in London. It suited me to locate it on the south side of Oxford's High Street, more or less opposite the Covered Market. Then, when I was writing Dearer Than Eyesight I needed to get the narrator from Bodley's Libary to Jericho so I got hold of a street map of Oxford so that I could plot his course accurately. To my horror, I discovered that Oxford already has a Shoe Lane, behind the Clarendon Centre (a shopping mall of quite astounding hideousness).

Faced with the choice between perpetuating my previous error, or moving Shoe Lane (and maybe fixing the earlier stories at some time in the future) I chose geographical exactitude. Of course, if I ever do get round to repairing TCB and AGoL all this will be perfectly meaningless to you :).

Tall Stories

At the beginning of chapter twenty of this yarn, Peter found himself briefly inhabiting a number of fictional worlds. Some of them were more obscure than others. Here is the complete list:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - JK Rowling
The Return of the King - JRR Tolkien
The Last Battle - CS Lewis
The City and the Stars - Arthur C Clarke
Beyond The Fields We Know - Peter Kendell
The Shadow of the Torturer - Gene Wolfe

Well done if you identified all of them!

Other Worlds

The inter-world cultural cross-pollination that was caused by John Parry's gifts to Peter Joyce continued to have an effect in Lyra's world, as shown in some of my other stories; specifically Dearer Than Eyesight and His Day's Work. You can track them down most easily by visiting my sitelet at While you are there, you might like to check out the other story that Peter Joyce read in his little brown book - The Man and His Gods.

There's More

This is not the end of Peter Joyce's story. He reappears in The Clockmaker's Girl, also on this site.

A Debt of Gratitude

Last, but emphatically not least, I would like to thank Enitharmon for the generous support and guidance she gave me throughout the writing of this tale. All the blunders are still my fault, though.