28 August 2011

[sf] Reexamine Harlequin, Said The Ticktockman

2676.One of the most famous short stories out there, and one of the most reprinted, is Harlan Ellison's "Repent Harlequin, Said The Ticktockman", a short story first published in Galaxy Science Fiction in 1965. A satirical rock-and-roll meditation on regimentation and control and conformity, it seems to use nonlinear story structure to make a statement that tight control is … bad? Good? Simply is? Plants a seed of chaos? Depends on your point of view.

The conventional wisdom seems to hold that this is a sort of screed against the stifling of society by excessive control, and it's valid to look at it that way, however, this essay which reinterprets it in the terms of the concepts of equality, unity, and the way it subverts its own message to make a deeper point about individuality


Just read it. I'll read this again and approach the story again with fresh eyes, which is a liberation.

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