One of my most treasured books is my The Top of the Volcano hardcover, a complete (at the time of publication, 2014) collection of Harlan Ellison’s award-winning stories published by Subterranean Press. It’s a beautiful book and the content… well this is arguably Harlan Ellison’s very best stuff. It will blow your socks off.
I recently re-read “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman”, which is the first story in this collection. It’s one of my favorite Ellison stories because it hits me right where I live. It has inspired me a time or several to stop and wonder what it is exactly that I’m doing in my life. I’m still not a jelly bean tosser, but at the very least I’m galvanized to suppress my inner Ticktockman.
As beautiful a book at The Top of the Volcano is, there are two audio versions of this story that ought not be missed. The first is Harlan Ellison’s reading of the story that is part of The Voice from the Edge: I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream. Ellison is a fine forward-leaning narrator that demands attention. You can find this audiobook at Downpour and Audible.
This story was dramatized as part of the 2000X: Tales of the New Millennia radio series, which is worth tracking down. It stars Robin Williams as the Harlequin (Everett C. Marm), Stefan Rudnicki as the Ticktockman, and Harlan Ellison as the narrator (and host of the entire series). Yuri Rasovsky was producer/director. It looks like it’s out of print, so a used copy is your best bet. Another gem in that series is Richard Dreyfuss starring in Robert A. Heinlein’s “By His Bootstraps”. Listen through good headphones!