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Time and Again by Jack Finney
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Time and Again (original 1970; edition 1995)

by Jack Finney

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,0141031,892 (3.98)134
Member:Veej53
Title:Time and Again
Authors:Jack Finney
Info:Scribner Paperback Fiction (1995), Paperback, 399 pages
Collections:Your library, Favorites
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Fiction - Literary

Work details

Time and Again by Jack Finney (1970)

  1. 80
    Replay by Ken Grimwood (Kichererbse, browner56)
    browner56: Both of these are well-written stories that deal with the concept of time travel in an interesting way.
  2. 70
    Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (infiniteletters)
  3. 61
    11/22/63 by Stephen King (zwelbast)
  4. 40
    Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (bnbookgirl)
  5. 40
    The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier (sanddancer)
    sanddancer: Time travel books involving journeys back in time.
  6. 40
    To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (Kichererbse)
  7. 20
    Dreamland by Kevin Baker (bnbookgirl)
  8. 20
    The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (sturlington)
  9. 10
    The Door into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein (Kichererbse)
  10. 10
    Time on My Hands by Peter Delacorte (wandering_star)
    wandering_star: Two very similar books about travelling back in time to a vividly-imagined past, and the problems of changing history...
  11. 00
    The Mevrouw Who Saved Manhattan: A Novel of New Amsterdam by Bill Greer (Manthepark)
    Manthepark: Travel back even further in time to when the Dutch settled New York. An imaginative, authentic and funny novel.
  12. 01
    Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert A. Heinlein (Kichererbse)
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» See also 134 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
Six-word review: Imagination takes flight across the decades.

Extended review:

Recruited as a subject for an extremely secret government project, commercial artist Simon Morley bridges the interval from the New York City of 1970 to the same city as it was in 1882. How his life and those of others change as a result is the plot of the novel, which blends mystery and romance with the ever-intriguing theme of time travel. There's a nice twist at the end.

The author isn't shy about revealing his fascination with the everyday sights and events of New York in the late nineteenth century; in fact, at times it seems as if his whole purpose were to show off the extent of his research. He has an ability to bring the period and place to life, as if he himself had seen it first hand, making us feel as though we were seeing it too. Finney's use of contemporary illustrative art, photographs, and newspaper stories lends authenticity to his very evocative rendition of time and place. If at times it does seem to grow long, I think perhaps that's only a matter of my own twenty-first-century impatience, cultivated by an environment in which a five-second computer response time is referred to as "forever."

One of the most interesting aspects of this story, however, is almost certainly outside the author's design: namely, his depiction of a major U.S. city in the late middle of the twentieth century. In 1970, Richard Nixon was president; the Cuban missile crisis and the Kennedy assassination were events in recent memory; the Civil Rights movement was in progress, although (to judge from the author's use of language: young women are all "girls") women's liberation had a long way to go in raising public consciousness; pollution was already a major issue, but computers were still a novelty, and small electronic devices were science fiction. In contrasting 1882 with 1970, Finney shows us a period 46 years ago that seems calmer and safer than 2016, even though in so many ways it already felt dark and dangerous at the time.

This is not a heavy or especially serious book, although it has its moments (and there are a few little questions of logic and continuity). It's mostly just an entertaining fantasy, with an extra dose of verisimilitude to make us feel as if we'd been there. And that we might want to go again. ( )
1 vote Meredy | Aug 30, 2016 |
A very interesting read. I highly recommend it.The author transplants you back to early NYC. ( )
  LauGal | Aug 16, 2016 |
I've had this book on my shelf since 2008 and finally managed to read it. I'm a sucker for time travel, and it's been recommended to me many times. But I didn't love it the way I thought I would. I like it just fine, don't get me wrong. But the time travel component seemed too easy (self-hypnosis). I guess I'm used to more of a dramatic concept or more of a dramatic reason. I did like the idea of going back in time for something other than personal ambition or a big reason like killing Hitler. Granted, they thought the situation was a lot more serious than it turned out to be. It wasn't quite "the destruction by fire of the entire World" that they thought it would be. That was nice. History sometimes looks a heck of a lot different when you're in it compared to when you're looking back at it. Details get lost over time. The humanity and people involved become less real.

This book did an excellent job of making me feel like I was travelling back to New York in 1882. I loved the illustrations of the buildings and characters, which seemed realistic (capturing the moments in that way). All the details like the Statue of Liberty's arm made it feel so real. I also liked that Si took someone back in time with him during one visit and brought someone forward in time from the past as well. Seeing the world through their eyes was really interesting. I definitely liked that portion of it--Si setting up a life for himself in the past, meeting various people. The plot/drama wasn't as interesting to me. I never felt all that worried, as I knew he could return to the present whenever he wanted. Or maybe because Pickering never seemed like that big of a rival/baddie to me.

I'm glad I finally read this book. It was a good read, I just didn't fall in love with it the way I'd expected to. ( )
  katekintail | Jul 9, 2016 |
There's something magical in the writing style of this book. Something that makes there seem (to me) to be less plot, less drama - but makes the subtlety, the emphasis on place & time, to be more than enough to make up for the lack of excitement. I don't know exactly how I feel about this book - it's not SF but I can't seem to view it clearly through a lens of literature either - all I really have is a fuzzy sense of goodwill towards it. And this is the second time I've read it. Maybe I'll get more as I discuss it with fellow fans of Time Travel in our Group Read, this June 2014. ( )
1 vote Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
This book will appeal to readers who like a slower, more descriptive story, especially those who love New York, because the author describes the city as it was in 1882 in minute detail, and works a famous fire in the World Building into the plot.

Unfortunately, I found it to be boring and dated; the references to the typing pool or someone’s “girl” unintentionally hilarious. I was frequently reminded of Somewhere in Time by Richard Matheson (another time travel book in which the time travel mechanism is not explained other than a sort of self-hypnosis), but it did not have the romance story to keep me interested (or much plot at all).
( )
  memccauley6 | May 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 103 (next | show all)
Time and Again sends out a huge valentine to the past. It's nostalgic and there's something deliciously comforting and escapist in its promise of a New York Eden.
 

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jack Finneyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carr, RichardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moll, C.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In shirt-sleeves, the way I generally worked, I sat sketching a bar of soap taped to an upper corner of my drawing board.
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Book description
From Amazon.com: Si Morley is bored with his job as a commercial illustrator and his social life doesn't seem to be going anywhere. So, when he is approached by an affable ex-football star and told that he is just what the government is looking for to take part in a top-secret program, he doesn't hesitate for too long. And so one day Si steps out of his twentieth-century New York apartment and finds himself back in January 1882. There are no cars, no planes, no computers, no television and the word "nuclear" doesn't appear in the dictionary. For Si, it's very like Eden, somewhere he could find happiness. But has he really travelled back in time? The portfolio of tintype photographs and sketches that he brings back to the present day convince the government. But then all Si wants is to return. . .
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0684801051, Paperback)

"Sleep. And when you awake everything you know of the twentieth century will be gone from your mind. Tonight is January 21, 1882. There are no such things as automobiles, no planes, computers, television. 'Nuclear' appears in no dictionary. You have never heard the name Richard Nixon."

Did illustrator Si Morley really step out of his twentieth-century apartment one night -- right into the winter of 1882? The U.S. Government believed it, especially when Si returned with a portfolio of brand-new sketches and tintype photos of a world that no longer existed -- or did it?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:38 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Simon Morley is selected by a secret government agency to test Einstein's theory of the past co-existing with the present and is transported back to 1880s New York.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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