On the Books Sept. 16: Harlan Ellison sues to stop 'In Time' starring Justin Timberlake, scratch-and-sniff NYC guide forthcoming


++ Science fiction author Harlan Ellison is suing to halt the release of next month’s In Time, a dystopian thriller starring Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, and Olivia Wilde (playing Timberlake’s mother). Ellison, who previously lodged a claim against James Cameron’s The Terminator, is claiming that the upcoming film lifts elements from his 1965 story “Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman.” The Atlantic notes that this copyright infringement suit will be hard to win, tracing the roots of the plot concept in question — of people being given an allotted amount of time to live — back to 8 B.C. But if In Time has a lengthy, breathless scene featuring jellybeans raining from the sky, Ellison totally has a case.

++ Digital self-publishing phenoms have been making headlines lately, but hotel concierge Amber C. Johnson is a different kind of scrappy author. Her book, New York, Phew York, is a scratch-and-sniff guide to New York featuring 20 smells, including pizza, bagel, and garbage. Unlike Kindle self-publishers, who produce their books with tiny overhead, Johnson took her book into her own hands because the scratch-and-sniff component was too expensive for traditional publishers to take on. The book will cost $34 and should be out in time for the holiday season. What smells do you think the book should include – -or avoid? I say stay clear of aromas from Grand Street in Chinatown and the Union Square stop on the L train.

Comments (9 total) Add your comment

    I wish I could sue Hollywood from having Timberlake ruin any more movies.

    • HKUST

      agree with you here, but to be even more nuanced; If wrinitg is done for free, it should be available directly to the public for free. Today this usually means a blog or a website, but even before the internet there were flyers, phonebooks, free newspapers and newsletters etc.What is NEVER acceptable is for an organization to charge the public in some way for access to work then not pay the creators.Advertising works because of the principle of reciprocity- consumers acknowledge when they have been given something for free and are willing to pay for something else because of it. It’s part of human nature. But it doesn’t work if the end consumer already feels like the paid for the content somehow, or they are being asked to buy too many things in return. People used to understand this principle- back when advertisers were referred to as sponsors .In your case- newspapers and magazines that charge a subscription fee should pay writers. Because the readers of that paper already PAID for the content by subscribing to the paper and viewing ads. That payment needs to be passed on.This is also going out the window with ereaders. Ereaders and tablets themselves are quite expensive, yet authors are now being encouraged to give out free ebooks WITHIN proprietary ebookstores. Something like the Project Gutenburg is fine- the public can see it is a direct connection. FREE to Kindle owners (or Ipad, or Nook owners) really shouldn’t be, in most cases.Yes, the free reading apps make it a little bit more acceptable. But I think most consumers still feel like they’re being asked to purchase something (unrelated to the author) in order to read the free work.And dont’ get me started on Amazon Kindle ads.

  • norez

    If Harlan’s not suing, he’s not breathing. Yep, he sued Cameron and you know what? He has ‘based on’ credit at the end of the film. If this new movie ‘borrowed’ from one of his most revered works, he deserves credit. Go Harlan!

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