Threatening to tear a hole in the very fabric of the universe, then sue that hole for its resemblance to a hole featured in a Harlan Ellison story, legal brief fetishist and occasional scribbler Harlan Ellison has voluntarily withdrawn his lawsuit against the makers of In Time, defying all established knowledge of Harlan Ellison. As you may recall, Ellison cooked up a fresh batch of litigious furor back in September, claiming the Justin Timberlake-Amanda Seyfried sci-fi thriller set in a dystopian world where everyone is allotted a specific amount of time to live was remarkably similar to his own “Repent, Harlequin! Said The Ticktockman”—except, you know, sexxxier. Now The Hollywood Reporter says that Ellison has voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit, without further explanation, and not so much as an angry screed full of fist-shaking and obscure Latin phrases.
Obviously, one might assume here that Ellison simply received one of the many out-of-court settlements that he’s received over the years, an event so commonplace in Harlan Ellison’s life that we like to imagine he has a special “settlement office” set aside expressly for the purpose, with walls a deep crimson and a chair noticeably two feet higher than the other one, which also has one of those little church pew kneelers for offering repentance. But that’s not expressly mentioned—and for what it’s worth, attorneys representing the Writers Guild Of America and In Time director Andrew Niccol quickly denied rumors that the case had been settled only a couple of weeks ago.
So The Hollywood Reporter offers another possible explanation, noting that Ellison only made his decision after he finally “had a chance to see the film,” and thus possibly realized that not even protecting his intellectual property to the far-reaches of the galaxy—a galaxy which bears no intentional resemblance to any galaxy featured in Harlan Ellison’s work—was worth having his name associated with a movie where Justin Timberlake essentially says the word “time” over and over. Either that, or maybe Harlan Ellison just had to get across town to his next lawsuit?