Do you like your sci-fi to have really bizarre titles? If so, you're in luck, as it looks like Harlan Ellison's 'Repent Harlequin!' Said The Ticktockman is being set up for a feature film.
To those of you who do not know, Ellison is a big deal in the sci-fi literary universe. The author, who has published over 1,700 novels and short stories (many of which are sci-fi or dystopian in nature), is famous for such works as The Boy and His Dog, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream and Worlds to Kill. Traditionally, Ellison is known for being very protective of his works, only allowing a few, such as The Boy and His Dog, to be remade into movies. According to Deadline, Babylon 5 creator Michael Straczynski has managed to persuade him to release the rights to one of his most famous stories.
Like many of Ellison's stories, 'Repent Harlequin!' Said The Ticktockman presents a bizarre, but intriguing dystopian world which operates on an unusual basis. In his Orwell-esque future, time is strictly regulated and everyone's lifespan is known down to the second. Instances of lateness or disobedience results in the 'master' control docking time off your life. The story follows an illusive and humorous vigilante, The Harlequin, who stands up to the villainous Ticktockman. The story employs a disconnected narrative, starting in the middle and then jumping between the beginning and the end. This fact, combined with the high concept story, means it could be quite the challenge to adapt to the big screen. Indeed, the book deliberately seems to ignore many "rules for good writing", including one paragraph which is a single run-on sentence entirely about jelly beans. This kind of makes sense when you realize Ellison reportedly wrote the story in one six-hour session.
Straczynski is no stranger to sci-fi, or Harlan Ellison for that matter. The two met at the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike and became friends shortly afterwards - with the pair working together on The Twilight Zone and Straczynski's Captain Power. However, despite this closeness, Ellison still insisted on seeing a finished script before he was willing to hand over the rights to 'Repent Harlequin!'.
The project is still in the very early stages of development, although Deadline are reporting that Straczynski will be approaching Guillermo del Toro and Peter Jackson for potential production partnerships.
What do you think? Are you glad some of the more esoteric sci-fi is making it to the big screen? Let us know your opinion below.