10

The story is set in a domed city, where all dangers and strife have been removed... almost. The most important character is called the Jester or maybe the Joker. His job is to create chaos and he is immune from all prosecution. His role prevents the city stagnating, presumably based on the notion that deviance and threat are what binds society together, without which, the need for societal bonds collapses.

What is the name of this story/book?

marked as duplicate by Jenayah, Rand al'Thor Nov 7 at 19:05

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F! Please check out the suggestions for story-id questions to see if they help you recall any additional details to edit into your question. When did you read this? Do you recall what the cover of the book looked like? – DavidW Nov 7 at 17:56
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    Not a perfect match, bit sounds a bit like "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" by Harlan Ellison. A vigilante called the Harlequin causes chaos to disrupt an ultra-streamlined, schedule-oriented dystopia. No mention of the city being domed, and the Harlequin was not an official position, but it's a similar idea. – Vanguard3000 Nov 7 at 18:05
  • The only things I can add are that I 'think' the story may have been part of a SF collection of short stories and it is situated on Earth, presumably after some catastrophic event resulted in the atmosphere being too toxic to breathe.. I read it about forty years ago. – Knapweed Nov 7 at 18:08
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    Thanks for your suggestions guys. DavidW The Joker/Jester was the highest status role in the city and he was revered and feared. I'm also confident he wasn't called 'Harlequin'. – Knapweed Nov 7 at 18:24
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This is definitely the novel The City and the Stars by Arthur C. Clarke, first published in 1956, and the character playing the role of the "Jester" is called Khedron.

According to his biography:

A man with the rare role of "Jester." He has unparalleled access to the inner workings of Diaspar, which on occasion he uses to create elaborate pranks. His role was designed by the city's founders to prevent stagnation in society. Alvin feels an affinity to him, while at the same time finding him annoying and cryptic. Despite the Jester's birthright, he ends up proving himself a coward incapable of facing the very dramatic changes brought by Alvin.

Regarding the other details of the story, according to the wikipedia synopsis, the city is called Diaspar and is completely enclosed:

The City and the Stars takes place one billion years in the future, in the city of Diaspar. By this time, the Earth is so old that the oceans have gone and humanity has all but left. As far as the people of Diaspar know, theirs is the only city left on the planet. The city of Diaspar is completely enclosed. Nobody has come in or left the city for as long as anybody can remember, and everybody in Diaspar has an instinctive insular conservatism.

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    Spot on! Thanks a bunch. That is the exact story. – Knapweed Nov 7 at 18:36

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