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Read this week: Harlan Ellison‘s classic SF story, “‘Repent Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” (reprinted in Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the Century). Orson Scott Card’s introductory note calls the story “a Kafkaesque parable about the dangers of individuality in a conformist society”. I didn’t read it that way; I saw the story as a cautionary tale about the futility of attempting to create a society where everything is controlled and where nothing is left to any kind of chance. The story’s ending suggests to me that although the society’s apparent cause for concern has been eliminated, a seed of sorts has been planted. A crack has been formed in the edifice of the story’s world; now all that remains to happen is for water to get in there, freeze, and melt; water, freeze and melt; water, freeze and melt….

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