1965 - 'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman

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Rob Ewen
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Postby Rob Ewen » Sat Jan 22, 2005 4:24 am

I couldn't let this discussion go by without mentioning the appearance of the story in THE ILLUSTRATED HARLAN ELLISON. It was probably the first Ellison book I ever picked up back in 1978 in London's only (at the time) fantasy bookshop, DARK THEY WERE AND GOLDEN-EYED.

Steranko's 3-D illustrations for REPENT sent me half-blind trying to look at them through the blue/red glasses that came with the book - so much so that I could barely read the story after viewing the pictures!

Still worth having, though, if you can find a copy..... 8)

Thanks
Rob

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Ben
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Postby Ben » Mon Jul 18, 2005 2:12 pm

Are we free to discuss our own "dream cast/not-so-subtle recommendations" for the upcoming adaptation of REPENT, HARLEQUIN on Masters of Sci-Fi? Or is such 'fanboy' conversation strictly prohibited?

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Ben
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Postby Ben » Tue Jul 19, 2005 2:42 pm

OK, then, may I put forward my personal choices of Crispin Glover as Everett C., and Christopher Lee or Brian Cox as the Ticktockman? Lee, in my mind, would have every aspect of TTM down pat, from the officious air of intimidation in the confrontation with Harlequin to the bizarre moment of embarrasment in the story's final scene. Cox, on the other hand, would carry over his charming yet subtly brutish presence which he nailed so brilliantly in ADAPTATION to the role.

I can't think of any other alternative to the Harlequin than Glover. I'm simply not that creative.

On second thought, Eddie Izzard might make for an interesting Harlequin...

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Ezra Lb.
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Postby Ezra Lb. » Tue Jul 19, 2005 4:07 pm

Jim Carrey or Will Farrell as the Harlequin.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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P.A. Berman
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Postby P.A. Berman » Tue Jul 19, 2005 7:52 pm

Ezra Lb. wrote:Jim Carrey or Will Farrell as the Harlequin.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

It's Will Ferrell. What's with you guys and spelling people's names wrong? :wink: Anyway, Will would be a bit over the top, and Jim Carrey... what's weird is that was my first thought too. I hope they don't go that way.

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Yelena Virago
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What is This, the S.P.I.D.E.R. Casting Couch Now? ;)

Postby Yelena Virago » Wed Jul 20, 2005 5:19 pm

What the hell are you people smoking?! ;) Johnny Depp. Johnny Depp, or...wait, there is no one else. Johnny Depp. Without question. Directed by Tim Burton, of course. Or even the Hughes Brothers. But I've been delving through the From Hell DVDs a lot lately, so I may be biased.

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Forget Casting --

Postby Adam-Troy » Wed Aug 03, 2005 12:01 pm

From time to time, in my musings on how REPENT HARLEQUIN could be adapted to film, I've considered that the real problem was not casting but dramatization. Because, really, a faithful adaptation of the story's plot would be hard to distinguish from a superhero piece, which it most definitely is not -- in large part because the protagonist is ground down by the system along the way. How to make that work, how to dramatize his lingering triumph?

As a script, one way to do it would be to have the Harlequin encounter a person, midway through, who has completely capitulated to the system; to have him urge rebellion on that person, only to be rebuffed; to then be destroyed himself; and to then have that person engage in a small act of defiance that brings home the fact that the Harlequin's influence still lives.

Not incredibly satisfactory, but the best I could come up with, until the solution hit me like a beam of shimmering light.

Harlequin would probably make a very indistinguished big-budget movie. Not because the story sucks, but because the mere act of translating his activities into action sequences would render him indistinguishable from most superheroes.

But, it occurred to me...

...and, no, I'm not kidding...

...it would make a KILLER stage musical...!

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Subey2
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Postby Subey2 » Mon Sep 12, 2005 6:20 am

We have a story in which the primary girl is named Alice. And the conclusion is someone being Late.
Check your watch

Is the TickTockMan Alice's White Rabbit? Yet the only person I know who delivers jelly beans is the Easter Bunny.

But I guess the thing that is most interesting to me is the final exchange between the Harlequin and The TickTockMan:

T: I'm going to turn you off
H: Then do it already, and stop arguing with me
T: I'm NOT going to turn you off

chirality
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Re: 1965 - 'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman

Postby chirality » Fri Mar 26, 2010 4:02 am

My personal interpretation of the ending was that the Harlequin had been chosen to become a Ticktockman, to repent for his crimes. However, he is unchanged by whatever had happened, which is why he arrived late. Did anyone else arrive at that as well?

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Samuel John Klein
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Re: 1965 - 'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman

Postby Samuel John Klein » Thu Jun 30, 2011 12:07 pm

chirality wrote:My personal interpretation of the ending was that the Harlequin had been chosen to become a Ticktockman, to repent for his crimes. However, he is unchanged by whatever had happened, which is why he arrived late. Did anyone else arrive at that as well?


No, because there, to me, was a break in continuity that suggested to me that Everett C. Marm eventually died for his crime. My interpretation had always been that the Master Timekeeper's interaction with the Harlequin had changed him somewhat. But I like the picaresqueness of your interpretation. It's interesting and edgy.

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Samuel John Klein
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Re: 1965 - 'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman

Postby Samuel John Klein » Thu Jun 30, 2011 2:24 pm

I read this story repeatedly, but not for the obvious reasons.

Not for the then-unconventional, now merely playful and interesting non-linear construction.

Not for the message of dynamically-productive rebellion against the status quo, although that has a message for me too.

The reason I can't get enough of this story is because It just comes at you like a hundred pitching machines, all pitching fast-high-slider-outside balls, all at once, and it makes your mind just for things. There is virtually no exposition in the story about the world in which Everett Marm lives in, but you get enough story and backstory to construct it in your head and it's vivid. Terms you have to infer from context are tossed your way with a staccato rat-a-tat-tat and you have to catch them and run, son, because the story ain't waiting for you to cogitate them.

In the hands of a lesser-skilled writer, this would amount to killing the story, the result being a bloody mess all on the walls, ceiling, and floor. In the charge of Harlan, however, the result is a tight, integrated bullet hot-rod of story, a bullet to the brain, one that the brain has to catch in its teeth quickly to get.

Repent is valuable to me because it's mental, conceptual calisthenics. My brain is always limberer after reading it.

Sam.
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Ben W.
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Re: 1965 - 'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman

Postby Ben W. » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:56 am

Is JMS still attached to write the script for an adaptation? Or has the project been put back into development limbo?

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Jan
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Re: 1965 - 'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman

Postby Jan » Sun Aug 28, 2011 3:25 am

The ultimate point of the story, and the reason he subverts his own fable, is not that we should fight conformity or fight individuality because society or some author tells us we should (or because some flimsily-drawn character tells us so), but rather we should protect and fight for what we love and believe is right in our own hearts; that individuality is complex and cannot be summarized in a simplistic us-versus-them mentality.

Reevaluating Ellison's Infamous Fable (Internet Review of Fiction) - http://www.irosf.com/q/zine/article/10294

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Samuel John Klein
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Re: 1965 - 'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman

Postby Samuel John Klein » Sun Aug 28, 2011 10:19 am

Jan wrote:The ultimate point of the story, and the reason he subverts his own fable, is not that we should fight conformity or fight individuality because society or some author tells us we should (or because some flimsily-drawn character tells us so), but rather we should protect and fight for what we love and believe is right in our own hearts; that individuality is complex and cannot be summarized in a simplistic us-versus-them mentality.

Reevaluating Ellison's Infamous Fable (Internet Review of Fiction) - http://www.irosf.com/q/zine/article/10294


What a wonderful, thought-provoking article and interpretation. One of the reasons Repent is one of my favorite stories and I reread it is because it's like one of those beloved cult movies - the more you read it, the more it offers up. And this will make me read it with new eyes.

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