“I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.”
― Ray Bradbury,
Science fiction has always held a special place in my heart. One of my favorite sci-fi books is This Perfect Day by Ira Levin; it left me changed in way that only a good book can.
Reading The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume Three, I encountered a short story with such delicious language I told my husband he had to read it. He was not enthusiastic. So I read it aloud to him, with different voices for each of the characters, and by the end, he was enjoying himself. At least, he hasn’t had me committed to a mental institution yet.
The story is entitled, “Repent, Harlequin!” Said the Ticktockman by Harlan Ellison. It is ten and a half well crafted pages about a society where time is king, right down to the microsecond. Late ten minutes to work? Your life is docked ten minutes. If you are tardy too often, you are “turned off” by the all-powerful Ticktockman.
The Harlequin seeks to change this slavish devotion to time. He disrupts the schedule by seven whole minutes with-
Ah, but you’ll have to read the story to find out.That is, if you have the time.