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Time and Again by Jack Finney

Time and Again (original 1970; edition 1995)

by Jack Finney

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2,654802,251 (4)101
Title:Time and Again
Authors:Jack Finney
Info:Scribner Paperback Fiction (1995), Paperback, 399 pages
Collections:Your library, Favorites
Tags:Fiction - Literary

Work details

Time and Again by Jack Finney (1970)

  1. 70
    Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (infiniteletters)
  2. 60
    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.
  3. 30
    Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (bnbookgirl)
  4. 41
    11/22/63 by Stephen King (zwelbast)
  5. 30
    To Say Nothing of the Dog; or, How We Found the Bishop's Bird Stump at Last by Connie Willis (Kichererbse)
  6. 20
    Dreamland by Kevin Baker (bnbookgirl)
  7. 20
    The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier (sanddancer)
    sanddancer: Time travel books involving journeys back in time.
  8. 10
    The Door into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein (Kichererbse)
  9. 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...
  10. 10
    The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (sturlington)
  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. 00
    Job: A Comedy of Justice by Robert A. Heinlein (Kichererbse)

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» See also 101 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 80 (next | show all)
This book was such a trip - no pun intended. I really enjoyed it on two levels; I found the story interesting. Time travel books are among my favorites even though this is a bit different from the usual. The second level of enjoyment came from reading a book written in 1970. It was like another layer of time travel albeit one not intended by the author. This is a book that takes place in a world of locks and keys, dial up telephones and typewriters. I suspect for a generation who did not grow up in that world it must seem very alien. For me it was like a touch of nostalgia and I suspect it added to my enjoyment.

Si Morely is an artist who is working for an ad agency (where he draws with a pencil!). He's approached by a man to join a government program but he can't know what it is until he knows if he qualifies. It's all very mysterious but Si is bored at his job and he really has no connections so he figures, what the heck. Si passes the test and he learns that the program is about time travel.

Si has a girlfriend who's adopted father had a sad history part of which included a letter mailed in New York in 1882 so using the "method" Si wants to go back to that period to watch the letter being mailed. Of course he is not allowed to change history. As Si learns what he needs to know things are not all as up and up as they seem and he needs to figure out whom he can trust and he has to figure out where he belongs.

I truly enjoyed this story. It held my interest 'til the end. It was so very different from books written today and I don't even know if I can tell you why. It really was like stepping back into another world. I'm keeping it to read again because I suspect I'll find something on a second read through that I missed on the first. The characters are well developed and diverse and the plot is full of fun little twists and turns. The addition of the old photos and drawings only adds to the fun of the book. ( )
1 vote BrokenTeepee | Aug 25, 2014 |
Good idea, poorly executed. ( )
  CSRodgers | Aug 11, 2014 |
A book that is classified science fiction but the is very little science and a whole lot of fiction. Written decades ago, the central plot involves the main character time traveling back to the 1890's (a crazy government project). Initially he is told to not change a single thing during that era but as time passes he eventually does. This novel is pretty preachy about how bad things are in the 1960's and 70's and how wonderful things are in the past even though they have crime and other problems. A little too descriptive and romanticized for my taste. ( )
  muddyboy | Jul 5, 2014 |
You know the drill: if you're going to write about time travel, you're going to run into paradoxes and other problems. How to give a believable explanation of the science of time travel? How do you go back in time to change something in the past, if by changing it, you wouldn't have ever needed to go back in time in the first place? It's enough to make your head explode (mine just did).
Fortunately, in Time and Again, Finney doesn't bother going through the gymnastics of trying to make it all airtight. He doesn't waste the reader's time on the whys and hows of time travel: instead, he focuses on telling a story and describing the world of New York in 1882, the setting to which our protagonist travels.
Si Morley, an artist who is unsatisfied with his advertising job, is approached by an ultra-secret government agency. They are recruiting him as a candidate for a new project, one in which he will attempt to go back in time.
As Morley moves between his contemporary 1970s New York City and the city of the 1880s, he takes in his surroundings with an artist's eye, and that is half the pleasure of the book right there: leisurely, loving descriptions of fashions and architecture of the day; passages describing the everyday world of 1882 and its inhabitants, going about their everyday lives. It all comes to full-color life, in contrast with the static, monochromatic photographs and relics that survive from the era.
Needless to say, Morley gets in over his head in 1882, and through chance and recklessness, threatens to upend history and the lives of those he encounters. He also runs into an ethical dilemma as the ultimate goal of the government project evolves into something other than time travel for its own sake.
Finney makes amazing use of photographs, illustrations and newspaper articles from the time, weaving them into his story and giving it life and resonance. Along the way, there is plenty of suspense and drama, but be prepared to take your time, as there is no lack of description. Finney wants to make sure that the reader really sees New York in 1882, and he succeeds on that count.
Time and Again can be forgiven if it doesn't give us a blipping, beeping, science-filled description of a time machine; it also earns forgiveness for setting aside the paradoxes of time travel. Instead of tangling us up in explanations, Finney surrounds us with a living, breathing world, a time and a story well worth stepping into.
( )
5 vote ksimon | Feb 6, 2014 |
A gentle book, almost quaint at times, unusual in style and approach. Featured a low-tech approach to time travel that made the story seem far away from typical science fiction.

The characterization and plots are rather flimsy, but they aren't the point. The heart of the book is its portrayal of 1880s New York City--lavishly described and meticulously researched. ( )
  thatotter | Feb 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 80 (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 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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:02 -0400)

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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)

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