Home » Science Fiction & Fantasy » #5073
Asked by greg f on Thu 28, May 2009 04:33pm :
Encountered it late eighties to early nineties.
The plot centered around an unspecific future in which all people have a
life/death clock implanted in them at birth and are given time on their
clock. As the old saying goes, "time is money." In this case, literally.
That is, every time you buy something you use a debit card that subtracts
minutes or hours or days depending on how expensive the item is. In your
job you are paid in time. An average job might pay a few months or years
and a high powered CEO job might pay in decades. The idea being to build a
structured Capitalist society in which those who are not good with
business, i.e. time, will go broke and die. Those who live long will be
those who are smart at business and finance, and so those good at business
survive and those bad at it die off and a perfect capitalist society is
The main character starts as a child in the movie. He has talent at art
and sells pictures of trees. If I recall correctly, there are no more
trees now due to some environmental disaster but I could be wrong. Later he
goes into business as he has a talent for knowing what people want to buy.
His sister comes into a restaurant where he is having a high powered lunch
with some associates. She is in a panic because she has always been
disastrous with money and has but a few minutes left on her clock. She begs
him to borrow a few days or even just hours. He is annoyed with her but
doesn't want her to die so he agrees but before he can make the transfer
her money, time, runs out and she dies. After that I have little
recollection and would like to rediscover it.
Answer by admin on Fri 29, May 2009 12:49am:
Not a book, but this sounds like "The Price of Life" (1987)
"Aired on Showtime as part of the 30 Minute Movie series in the early 90's.
This short film is set in a place where people used credit cards and traded
time off their life instead of money. The main characters are a young
clever dealer and his sister who squanders all her time. A wealthy woman
takes an interest in the kid and shows him some of the rules aren't as
rigid as they are told, such as the one where you can go to some place only
once in your life and make one single request. "
"A short film about a future society where time is actually used as money
thereby shortening the buyer's life. "
"In the future money is not the most valuable commodity nor stocks nor
shares. Instead the currency of choice is time and the populace are able to
trade hours, days and weeks off their lives in exchange for services and
goods. Into this world is born baby Zachary who grows into a little boy
with a game plan and a scheme to make more time; whereas his sister swaps
weeks for sweets etc as if it didn't matter. As adults, Zachary has
continued this path, but so has his sister and he finds himself trying to
challenge the rules to try and save her and his mother."
Also not a book, but Lee Falk's short story, "Time is Money" (1975)
had the same premise.
Comment by tihelp on Wed 01, Feb 2012 09:45pm:
Much better than In Time.