In the novel Strata instead of earning money you earn days, which act as a currency. Instead of paying for food etc with money you pay with 'days'.

In Time is a film with a similar concept where someone is giving away days. I thought Strata was the first instance of this, but I wasn't sure.

Is Strata the first instance of this, or is it older?

  • Time Value of Money :). This notion dates at least to Martín de Azpilcueta (1491–1586) of the School of Salamanca. Not directly identical but a related concept Commented Mar 10, 2012 at 0:04
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    Or, if you will, to the first pre-historic society who told a captured prisoner of war with another tribe/nation "you get to live for as long as you do slave labor for us". In the words of TVTropes, this trope is "Older than Bible" Commented Mar 10, 2012 at 0:05
  • @DVK Not as money but as currency, which you earn (and can then sell or drinks, food etc). In Strata the main character as lived for 200+ years by earning her days as a Planetary Engineer.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Mar 10, 2012 at 0:10

1 Answer 1


Well there is a wikipedia article on Time based Currency. It was used by Hannu Rajaniemi in The Quantum Thief. I can't find much more n it. There is also a system called Time Banking that is hypothetical except for a few relatively unknowable medical plans such as Elderplan(which rewarded the elderly that maintained a healthy lifestyle). It is not actually a fictional concept, it has been implemented by various medical plans to varying degrees, though the first fiction I can find is called "Repent Harlequin" said the ticktockman

  • That's very close with the "Repent.." story but no one can earn more time. How does the Quantum Theif go?
    – AncientSwordRage
    Commented Mar 11, 2012 at 22:35
  • Quantum Thief has a decent description and a few reviews at GoodReads ... from what I can tell, it doesn't describe the concept of 'time as money', but even if it does include this notion, it was published in Sept 2010, which doesn't pre-date Pritchett's Strata. It is Pritchett's version of Strata in the question reference, right? I can't find a reference to time as money as relates to Strata either, but Pritchett's DOES have planetary engineers.
    – Josh
    Commented Mar 15, 2012 at 18:33

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