Repent, Harlequin Said the Ticktockman


E’s are good, e’s are good; he’s ebenezer good !

Well not quite, but he is Harlan Ellison, the very best of ‘E’ in our SF Blog of Fame.

Harlan Ellison has had a distinguished career in science fiction. He’s acted as advisor on series like Babylon 5 , and written seminal episodes of Star Trek and The Twilight Zone . His two anthologies Dangerous Visions and Again, Dangerous Visions were vastly influential to the American New Wave by providing a market in which it was possible to say radically deranged things about sex and politics that could not be said in the SF magazines of the 1960s.

Ellison’s own esoteric short stories are true to these same aesthetic values dealing with themes such as an insane AI that tortures throughout eternity the last survivors of humanity ’I have no mouth and I must scream’ (read it here !) or dystopic visions like ’Repent, Harlequin, said the Ticktock Man’.

This parable of individual freedom versus social control is one of Ellison’s most famous stories, and indeed one of the most famous and anthologised of sf stories ever. Everett C. Marm, a nobody who dubs himself the Harlequin (the resemblance to the author’s name is entirely intentional), is perpetually late, or heedless of the necessity for being on time, in a society where timeliness has become an absolute value. He is in rebellion against the office of the Master Timekeeper, also known as the Ticktockman, who possesses the ability to subtract hours, days, and years from the Harlequin’s life if the Ticktockman’s minions can identify and capture him.


    Fran Friel

    April 21, 2005

    Excellent info about Harlan Ellison and very good links. Thanks for your efforts to create a fine database of info. Looks good, too!

    Fran Friel
    Writer from the Eastern US

    Jeff Yost

    April 21, 2005

    Do You pick your nose at me?
    I do pick your nose….

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