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Second paragraph of third section:
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. A minute later, precisely, he heard the softer right-left-right of the 5: 00 A.M. formation, going home.
Since I can't comment on any potential Hugo nominees this year, I'm going back to the start, and looking at all the works that have won both Hugo and Nebula, in order. (Many years ago I started a similar project but working through them in alphabetical order. This eventually stalled when too many new winners had early alphabetical names.)

"Repent Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman" won both the 1966 Hugo for Best Short Fiction, and the 1965 Nebula for Best Short Story. Fellow Hugo finalists were "Day of the Great Shout", by Philip José Farmer; "Marque and Reprisal", by Poul Anderson; "Stardock", by Fritz Leiber; and "The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth", by Roger Zelazny. None of those four is on the long list of 30 stories also nominated for the Nebula. Of the Hugo final ballot, I have read only "The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth" (which won the Nebula for Best Novella, the categories being not yet set in stone). Dune won the Nebula for Best Novel, and tied with "...And Call Me Conrad" (now better known as Lord of Light) for the Hugo. The Nebulas had a tie for Best Novella: “He Who Shapes”, by Roger Zelazny, and “The Saliva Tree”, by Brian Aldiss. The Hugos also made an award for Best All-Time Series, which was won by Isaac Asimov's Foundation stories. The concept of a Hugo for Best Series then went dormant for half a century, and is now returning this year - though only series which include a volume published in 2016 will be eligible.

It's a very Sixties piece, about a future dystopic society where life is regimented to the last second, the sinister Ticktockman being in charge. One dissident calling himself the Harlequin becomes a chaos agent, playing pranks on both the rulers and the ruled; he is pursued, captured and re-educated a` la Winston Smith (this parallel is explicitly made), but at the end the Ticktockman himself is starting to slack.

The good bit is the writing, which is intense stream-of-consciousness and conveys vivid images. However, the story's classic status cannot disguise the fact that it has not aged all that well; in the end, the Harlequin isn't challenging anything very much, and his means remain somewhat unexplained - where do you get $150,000 worth of jelly beans? Algis Budrys commented when it was first published that it is s "primitive statement ... about [the] solidly acceptable idea [that] regimentation is bad." I was also struck by the sexism of the story. The Harlequin's first reported activity is directed explicitly at women:
He skimmed over a slidewalk, purposely dropping a few feet to crease the tassels of the ladies of fashion, and— inserting thumbs in large ears— he stuck out his tongue, rolled his eyes and went wugga-wugga-wugga. It was a minor diversion. One pedestrian skittered and tumbled, sending parcels everywhichway, another wet herself, a third keeled slantwise, and the walk was stopped automatically by the servitors till she could be resuscitated. It was a minor diversion.
Hmm, triggering incontinence and temporary death is a minor diversion? If your victims are female, I suppose. Back to the Marx Brothers, I guess. Note also the not very equal relationship between the Harlequin and his girlfriend Pretty Alice, who also presses him to conform like a good spouse should; the Ticktockman later alleges that she turned him in, and one can see why she might have done.

So, that's the first in the chronological list of joint Hugo and Nebula winners. Next is Dune, by Frank Herbert.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 11th, 2017 11:26 pm (UTC)
Small correction: "And Call Me Conrad" is the story that was published in book form as This Immortal, not Lord of Light which is entirely different.
Jan. 12th, 2017 12:38 am (UTC)
Ha, beat me to it.
Lord of Light is my favourite book - I've given away tens of copies of it to people who haven7t read it, including at least three copies of the Japanese translation.
Jan. 12th, 2017 10:19 am (UTC)
"Lord of Light" is an all-time great, "This Immortal" less so.
Jan. 12th, 2017 10:20 pm (UTC)
We do want the next essay, please.
I too found this early Ellison unsatisfying.

In general I agree with your précis and analysis.

It always pissed me off right royally that Ursula K LeGuin didn't win either Hugo or Nebula for "Lathe of Heaven" but did for "Left Hand of Darkness" which IMHO is inferior in imagination and execution. And most definitely humour.

Tackling Dune is halfway to taking on LOTR in terms of cultural significance. Moorcock's "Epic Pooh" took on LOTR but fell a bit short of the mark, being too addicted to his Edwardian nursery thesis and missing the real mythopoeic aspect of the work. It has been said that in English LOTR only falls behind the Arthurian cycle and the Book of the Dun Cow in the list of great British myths - and it was the work of one man; I have to grudgingly agree.

(It may be time to revisit Mcpherson and Ossian, his retelling of the stories of the Fianna and Finn. As literature it worked for Napoleon, Beethoven, etc.)

My pleasure, sir. [Tips hat.]

Edited at 2017-01-12 10:20 pm (UTC)
Jan. 12th, 2017 10:27 pm (UTC)
Re: We do want the next essay, please.
BTW we also assume that the Arthurian cycle is essentially French, of course, but never mind; these islands at the end of the old world will claim the stuff set here, as well as originating here. (I may just give Donizetti Anna Bolena though; and as a precedent, if you catch my meaning.)

Edited at 2017-01-12 10:28 pm (UTC)
Jan. 12th, 2017 11:14 pm (UTC)
Re: We do want the next essay, please.
Also, the Ulster cycle is Goidelic obvs.
Jan. 16th, 2017 07:34 am (UTC)
I read everything I could get my hands on by Harlan when i was at university (in the 1980s). Back then i loved his stuff, I wonder know what I would think about it now.

Thanks to your post I've just pulled 'All the Sounds of Fear', a 70s Harlan collection, from the shelf to go into my reading pile. Cheers for the reminder of Mr Ellison...
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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