“REPENT, HARLEQUIN!” SAID THE TICKTOCKMAN (1965) by Harlan Ellison®
“…and he stared down at the neat Mondrian arrangements of the buildings.
Somewhere nearby, he could hear the metronomic left-right-left of the 2:47 p.m. shift, entering the Timkin roller-bearing plant in their sneakers.”
“The shift was delayed seven minutes.”
It seems highly preternatural that I happen to re-read this classic story after many decades on the very day when the UK news is full of the SportsDirect® HARLEQUIN comeuppance by the TICKTOCKMAN (or vice versa?) both of whom survived this story by all accounts.
And also re-reading it during the news of the UK junior doctors and their seven day week, by cancelling their next strike on the assumption that weekends no longer exist except as a glitch in the precise timing of eternity?
No wonder, in 1965, HE® referred in this story to the “communications web” as well as Thoreau
GREENER THAN BEFORE by Charles Wilkinson
They keep on coming. This is a genuine Aickman-like classic that all Aickman lovers must read before they die or before they are buried beneath a ha-ha.
Seriously, Wilkinson may not even have read Aickman when he wrote this genuine masterpiece of literature? Yes, a masterpiece of general literature as well as of the weird fiction genre, in which way many of his earlier stories (as this one) and the more recent ones (in TwistoftheEye) actually deserve to be classified.
CHARMED LIFE by Simon Avery
“It was like sleeping with someone made of shattered glass.”
If you read some of my past reviews of Joel Lane’s work, you may see the expression “Lane-like” to describe the stories being reviewed. I never meant that in a facetious or critical or, even, a ouroboric way. It was just a statement of fact, as cuttingly frank as the relationships being adumbrated, the bleak environment being carved, the haunting diaspora of souls and bodies often brought on stage as a finale. It was an obsessive and incantatory feel I meant by “Lane-like”. All credit to Avery, when I say that this powerful, touching text is the quintessence or apotheosis of what I meant by Lane-likeness.
It tells of your being discharged from psychic care after a brutalised separation from a partner, back to the scene of that trauma. You were the brutaliser, it seems, but now via, some awareness of self as a discrete being like a shadow or reflection, there is a difficult catharsis, after the self dares you back into the dangers of that dark and drugged world whence such relationships are formed. There is far more to it it than that, and I cannot do justice to it here. But it is a scenario where Lane-like becomes truly ouroboric, this time. A clinching catharsis.
Another example, too, of this book’s turning on and off to reboot or heal?