1961 short story by J. G. Ballard about a future society in which measuring the passage of time is illegal. The prohibition arose as a revolt against the earlier method of allocating the city's resources via a strict, and ultimately dehumanizing, time schedule to which all citizens had to adhere.

The main character, an inquisitve sort, hits upon various ways to mark time and initially pursues them for the simple delight of scientific discovery. He comes to appreciate the power over others this knowledge gives him, and becomes obsessed with starting up all the clocks in the old city, an obsession that eventually leads to his imprisonment for murder.

"It's against the law to have a gun because you might shoot someone. But how can you hurt anybody with a clock?"

"Isn't it obvious? You can time him, know exactly how long it takes him to do something."


"Then you can make him do it faster."

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