Today I read a review of a new movie called "In Time", directed by Andrew Niccol. People have a certain amount of time to live, people can buy and sell time and extend their lives. I feel I have read this story somewhere before but can't find it.

I do remember a part of the story where the main character, a man, is running out of time. He finds a woman he met (perhaps the previous night, in a bar?) and asks her for the time he gave her, but she says she doesn't remember him.

Any help appreciated!

  • Does anyone know of the short story I mentioned above? I seem to recall it as illustrated, and the characters touched their earlobes to hear their time balance. (Please tell me if I should make this a new question.) – NiceOrc Oct 30 '11 at 23:44
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    I remember this story turned into a TV special when I was a child, probably in the 1970's. I think it was based on a short story and I have been trying to find it also. Still no luck. I remember the special was titled, "One Thousand Years." – user3464 Nov 18 '11 at 3:46
  • @NiceOrc Sure, if you have a follow-up question like that, ask a separate question. Your comment won't have gotten much attention. Be sure to mention as much as you remember about the story (in particular when you read it, if possible; also try to draw comparisons with Repent, Harlequin, if you've read that, because it's fairly well-known). – user56 Nov 18 '11 at 8:27
  • I remember watching this short film many years ago on British TV; it was the same story. There was a season of short films aired at that time and this one stuck in my mind, so this new In Time is a rip-off of this short story. – user3633 Dec 6 '11 at 19:44
  • I recall it as well. I can't remember if it was a black-and-white film. I keep thinking it was a short story from Twilight Zone. I remember a guy in a bar or restaurant asking for more time, but no one will give him any, then he dies. – user3912 Dec 22 '11 at 18:10

"Time is Money" by Lee Falk

First page of the comic

Illustrated by Fred Fredericks and published in Playboy in the December 1975 issue, it follows a man named Tom who is extremely low on time in his account and is begging for people to give him some time of day. The transfer is, as with the movie, typically done with a handshake, although it's actually a matter of metal plates that could transfer over a distance of 25 mm.

In this land, which is far away from ours, in time as well as in space, there is a huge building in the center of the capital. It is the tallest and the widest building in the land. It has no windows, for no one cares to look in, and there is no one inside to look out. Inside, there are only endless wires, dials, meters, calculators, robot computers, circuits and, equally important, circuit breakers.

The endless rows and tiers, row upon row, tier upon tier, click and hum quietly. Occasionally, there is a louder click, more of a clack, as a circuit breaker closes an account. This is the Timebank.

How could Tom have gotten into such a predicament, to allow his account to get so low? Sloppy bookkeeping, he told himself angrily. Like everyone else, Tom kept a record of income and outgo, credit and debit, in his own bankbook. Once a month, a statement arrived from the Timebank, when you could (and should) balance your records against it. But he'd neglected this for a long time.

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    Oh my goodness! This is it - but I don't think I would have read it in a Playboy! Thank you! – NiceOrc Feb 17 '12 at 0:15
  • I read this when it came out. One of the best dystopian stories I ever read; thanks for digging this up, I had forgotten how far back that was. – KorvinStarmast Dec 9 '19 at 19:50

No, the movie, like Gattaca, was written and directed by Andrew Niccol.

Although there has been a plagiarism suit filed by Harlan Ellison for the alleged stealing of his ideas from his short story "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman.

Info on the Plagiarism suit

On 15 September 2011, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Ellison filed a lawsuit in federal court in California, claiming that the plot of the 2011 film In Time was based on "Repent...". The suit, naming New Regency and director Andrew Niccol as well as a number of anonymous John Does, appears to base its claim on the similarity that both the completed film and Ellison's story concern a dystopian future in which people have a set amount of time to live which can be revoked, given certain pertaining circumstances by a recognized authority known as a Timekeeper. The suit is demanding an injunction against the film's release.


I know you probably moved on, but maybe somebody is looking for the name of this short film you were talking about. Is The Price of Life (1987, Stephen Tolkin) one of the most traumatizing films I watched as a child: Love it! Link a IMDB

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