Eric's Reviews > "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman

"Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman by Harlan Ellison
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Dec 09, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: short-stories, science-fiction, dystopian
Recommended for: Everyone -- it's short enough that if you didn't like it, I wouldn't feel bad having recommended it
Read on December 09, 2011 , read count: Once

I hunted this down after learning the Justin Timberlake sci-fi movie In Time was loosely based on this short story.

Two quick points before my review of the short story:

1) After reading this and seeing the trailer to In Time, I can't see how they are related at all, other than that their themes both involve the concept of time as it is related to people. It seems to be a stretch, but hey, whatever.

2) I say "I hunted this down" because this book is out-of-print and not available digitally (how the publisher did not release this as a Kindle book to coincide with the movie's release is beyond me). So, I found the entire short story on this website, which I don't really feel guilty about, as I tried to buy it -- physically and digitally -- first.

As for the short story, it's really great. It is an extremely stylized look at some 60's counter-culture talking points, but also works as a great sci-fi/dystopian story, and somehow also manages to have a steam-punk flavor to it. With tips of the hat to Henry David Thoreau, Robin Hood and 1984, it knows exactly what it wants to be, and manages to get there in around ten pages, despite having a long quote from Civil Disobedience and a lengthy run-on paragraph describing in great existential detail the experience of tons of jelly beans raining down from the sky.
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