Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman by Harlan Ellison – Dystopian Books Review

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Review, Synopsis, and Summary of The Science Fiction Short Story Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman

Harlan Ellison published his science fiction short story titled “Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” in the year 1965. In 1966, this book won the Hugo Award. He received a nomination for the Nebula award in 1965.

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Author: Harlan Ellison

Genre: Science Fiction

Pages: 48

Good reads rating: 4.20 of 5

My Rating: 8.4 of 10

Published: December 1965

Publisher: Galaxy Science Fiction

Language: English

For The Latest Price: Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman

Review and Summary of The Science Fiction Short Story Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman

***Warning Spoilers Below This Point***

Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman

The story begins with Henry David Thoreau’s passage from Civil Disobedience and bears a satirical nature. The author set it in a dystopian future, the time where time becomes strictly controlled.

They follow a tight time schedule, and everybody performs the tasks according to this. Being late is only an inconvenience and they consider it as a crime and there is a very large penalty for this.

Sometimes, a man gives his life as a penalty too. The final consequence of failing to manage time is running out of time and getting switched off. There is a Master Timekeeper known as the Ticktockman. This man possesses a cardio plate which is a device used to stop the heart of a person if his time has run out.

The main protagonist of the story is Everett C. Marm and disguised as an anarchical Harlequin. He gets rebellious against Ticktockman. In the book, Everett has a relationship with a girl named Pretty Alice. Alice becomes worried because Everett never follows time. He uses different methods to keep society and people from following time and distracts the factory workers. He gives them different tasks and encourages them to ignore their schedules.

Ticktockman pulls people off from their jobs to find Everett. A time comes when they capture him. The time master told him that his girlfriend betrayed him, and she wants him to be punctual. The ticktockman gives minimal punishment to Harlequin and allow his heart to proceed to work.

Everett is sent to Coventry, which is a place where they can convert him. Everett returns to society. He apologises to the public because he realises that being on time is a good thing. The book ends with one subordinate of Ticktockman telling him that Ticktockman himself is three minutes late.

Final Say on The Science Fiction Short Story Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman

This story is about a Harlequin and a Ticktockman, in which in trying to convert Harlequin to follow time, Ticktockman loses his own punctuality. This book is a satirical form of a dystopian future, where everyone is a slave of time, and well written. It receives my ratings of 8.4 out of 10. Would I re-read this book? Yes. Am I glad I read it? Yes.

For The Latest Price: Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman

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Max Atlas
Max Atlas
I am Max Atlas; my only mission is to raise awareness of Dystopian fiction and share in a collective awakening. Together we will explore not only the best Dystopian Novels ever written but also new and upcoming Authors, giving future greats a platform to share their Dystopian Worlds.