2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Double Time Capsule
Time and Again is highly entertaining and appealed for many reasons. It was a chance find as I had no idea Finney was the author of The Body Snatchers and other works. He lived in New York and wrote advertising copy for many years - one of the agencies he worked for was Dancer-Fitzgerald-Sample. This novel was written in 1970 and its protagonist, Simon Morley, must be an...
Published on Nov. 3 2011 by Jeffrey Swystun
3.0 out of 5 stars Better the First Time
The first time I read this book, five years or so ago, I thought it was wonderful. I even made my mom, who reads very little fiction, buy a copy and she loved it as well. I just read it again for the second time, and I have to say, there were several flaws in the logic of the story that I either did not pick up on or just did not care about the first time around. (I am...
Published on May 3 2004 by Jennifer Swanson
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Double Time Capsule,
This review is from: Time and Again (Audio Cassette)Time and Again is highly entertaining and appealed for many reasons. It was a chance find as I had no idea Finney was the author of The Body Snatchers and other works. He lived in New York and wrote advertising copy for many years - one of the agencies he worked for was Dancer-Fitzgerald-Sample. This novel was written in 1970 and its protagonist, Simon Morley, must be an avatar of Finney's as he works in advertising on Madison Avenue. Possessing certain qualities unknown to himself, Morley is recruited by the U.S. government for a time travel experiment. The method of time travel is original. Morley and other recruits study the history, culture, and landmarks of their time destination and then travel using an intense form of self-hypnosis.
Morley ensures that his time and place is 1882 in New York City so he can investigate a certain mystery. Finney's wonderful descriptions of the city in the late 19th century are alone worth the read. Yet, he delivers with a tale that has great twists and turns and a palatable, endearing love story. As it was written in 1970, the New York of that period is also brought to life so that the book offers a double time capsule. Lastly, given my stint on Madison Avenue, I loved the references to the advertising profession (both in 1882 and 1970) and how J. Walter Thompson factors into the story.
4.0 out of 5 stars Quaint,
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This review is from: Time and Again (Paperback)The writing is good in this book. I enjoyed the story quite a bit. I guess what I had trouble with was the method of going back in time. You kind of think yourself there. It's a bit hard to swallow for a 21st century mind. I think maybe even in the 70s it was far fetched. However, I did enjoy this book.
4.0 out of 5 stars Snatched my attention and held it all the way through.,
This review is from: Time and Again (School & Library Binding)I was first intrigued by the great cover art of this book and after reading the back I new it was a 'must have'.
Finney did not disappoint. As I said before this book held my interest from beginning to end...but then I should have been born in this time period so it was a no brainer that I would be hooked!
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous and fascinating,
This review is from: Time and Again (Paperback)This book is a little bit slow in the first few chapters but stick it out and get through them and you will be glad you did. It is truly a fantastic book. I couldn't put it down and stayed up late to finish it. That's what a novel should be!
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best I've Read,
This review is from: Time and Again (Paperback)This is, personally, one the best books I've read. Well written, great storyline, and a wonderful ending.
5.0 out of 5 stars A One-of-a-Kind Book,
This review is from: Time and Again (Paperback)To get it straight at the start, Jack Finney's novel Time and Again is not a great work of literature; it's an amiable and charming, if peculiar, rather lightweight hybrid of at least three genres--the mystery/spy/government-conspiracy novel, the historical romance and the nostalgic travelogue, with a short bow in the direction of science-fiction. It is not a definitive novel of time-travel; its method of changing eras is not far from squeezing your eyes really tightly together and tapping your heels together three times, though the theoretical basis is just a smidgen sounder than for Dorothy in Oz. It is not a great romance, though it is romantic. It is not even science fiction--well, okay, okay, to be kind, Finney's straight-faced use of Relativity theory allows it to barely squeeze under the fence into the field. Its plot is flimsy, with more holes than the Detroit infield, and some of its characters are mostly cardboard cut-outs to be moved here and there by the stage-hands moving the plot along. And you know what? I loved every silly, odd, funny, charming, implausible, exciting, interesting, occasionally poignant page of it.
Why? Because rarely will you find a book where it's so obvious that the author had as much sheer fun writing 'Time and Again' as you'll have reading it. His protagonist, Simon Morley, keeps using words such as 'excited", "pleased" and 'glad' and phrases like "happy to be here" throughout the book, the book is full of happily excited people, and it's clear Morley's a fictional rubber-necking time tourist through which Finney has the time of his life swanning vicariously around the now-vanished hotels and theaters and civic buildings of Old New York. It's more than just travelogue, though. Finney was able to catch the details of day-to-day life for all these now-vanished people, known to us now only by old sepia photographs and antique knickknacks and a few old buildings which have escaped the demolishers. But then, it was their world, as familiar as ours is to us: that's where they lived their lives. Well, we'll be known the same way one day, after all--our day-to-day is going to be someone else's history up ahead, and in 'Time and Again', everyone wonders and asks Morley, what was it like, back then? what was it really *like*?
As a science-fiction author, Finney never showed all that much interest in the future but was fascinated with and nostalgic for the past, in particular what came to be called 'The Good Years' for America and the industrialised world, a golden-afternoon period of increasing world prosperity based on accelerating technological progress and an uncrowded world at relative peace, its resources yet to be depleted--at least for the burgeoning middle-class and higher--beginning about 1880 and coming to a calamitous end in 1914. Through 'Time and Again' and his other time-travel novels and stories, it's clear that Finney mourned the loss of that world (as who wouldn't?), seeing the First and Second World Wars as hideous deviations from humanity's real path, one that we resumed, too briefly, between the late 1980's and September 11 2001.
That the past and its people actually existed and still exist somewhere to be visited is a theme throughout much of Finney's short stories. His collection, 'About Time', collects a number of overtly time-travel stories, and another, 'I Love Galesburg in the Springtime', contains the nifty eponymous time-travel story as well as other science fictional themes). Besides 'Time and Again', at least two of his novels are explicitly about time-travel: its darker sequel, 'From Time to Time', which contains a chapter, in the opinion of this unworthy one, which is alone worth the price of the book, mostly just a front-porch conversation between several people on a hot New York summer evening, it's a loving evocation of daily life in the wide community of vaudeville performers and just may have been the best single piece of writing that Finney ever did, and an out-of-print novel called 'Marion's Wall', a lovely, funny ghost story in which a silent-movie queen who died relatively young comes into the lives of a modern (1970's) Hollywood couple--in it, Finney evokes the Silver Screen era as it impinges on, and occasionally collides with, the modern day.
The plot of 'Time and Again' revolves around-- nawwww, it's really not that important. Really. Just go read the book. As long as you don't demand it to be Great Literature, you'll have a great time. And, like me, you'll probably recommend it to everyone you know as a 'Hey, ya gotta read this!' book, and re-read it yourself from time to time. Enjoy!
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unforgettable Journey,
This review is from: Time and Again (Paperback)This is the first book in months I have come across with that grabbed my attention so quickly. I kept looking for every opportunity to sit alone and read it, even snuck around at work and school. It's a sci-fi suspense novel about an ordinary man, Simon Morley, who was chosen to travel back in time and rediscover a world so far away in every way yet so close -- the year 1882 in New York City. However, this is not your oridinary time machine travel story, the means of time traveling is on a much different scale. The people Si Morley comes to know in 1882 are very real and intruiging and the purpose of Si's journey will have you turning pages. Jack Finney knows how to write a good, suspensful novel. His style is brilliant, very easygoing. Although it is a fantasy you'd want to believe in it!
3.0 out of 5 stars Better the First Time,
This review is from: Time and Again (Paperback)The first time I read this book, five years or so ago, I thought it was wonderful. I even made my mom, who reads very little fiction, buy a copy and she loved it as well. I just read it again for the second time, and I have to say, there were several flaws in the logic of the story that I either did not pick up on or just did not care about the first time around. (I am not going to enumerate them because the book is much more enjoyable if you do not see them.) A little long and a little wordy, it is nevertheless a pretty good read if you do not read too deeply.
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of time travel, romance, and history,
This review is from: Time and Again (Paperback)Author Jack Finney (1911-1995), among his other writing accomplishments, penned two great, influential science-fiction novels: the 1955 alien invasion story "The Body Snatchers," the source for three great movies (with "Invasion of..." usually tacked onto the front), and this 1970 subtle romance about time travel. It's a novel that many people hold close to their hearts, and like the movie "Somewhere in Time," has the magic to allure you with the wonder of traveling back to a simpler time -- 1880s New York in this case -- and exploring in depth a world so unlike your own. Finney, with meticulous detail and the support of numerous old photographs and drawings from the period (this is referred to as an "illustrated novel") recreates New York in 1882, letting us and the main character, Si Morley, marvel as we walk over the old streets, see places where one day great skyscrapers will stand, gaze on a traffic jam of hansom cabs, discover the arm of the Statue of Liberty sitting in Madison Square awaiting the rest of its body, play old parlor games in a boarding house, and look at Fifth Avenue when it was a thin street of trees and apartments. People who have lived in New York will especially adore these decriptions of the vanished city and the comparision Finney makes between the "modern" city (1970; vanished now to us as well) and the 1880s city. However, even if you've never been to New York in your life, you'll feel like you have after reading this. That's an incredible compliment to pay to a writer.
"Time and Again" won't please readers looking for quick action and thrills. It is a leisurely book that takes its time to build up the central situation: the U.S. government has found a possible method to travel back in time through purely mental means, and believes that young artist Si Morely fits the profile of the person who can achieve it. Once the books moves to the actual time traveling, the focus is mostly on the experience of being in another time and Si's discovery of how it affects him...especially when he feels he may be falling in love with a girl from the time. There is, however, a mystery simmering inside the story, and Si sets himself out to unravel it. What will the consequences be for history itself if he interferes? And what does the government really want to achieve with this project?
The last third of the book is tense and suspenseful, and contains an incredible and lengthy description of a disastrous event that ranks with the most vivid visual writing I've ever read. And the resolution is nothing short of perfect; Finney delivers the most satisfying conclusion. However, the book takes patience. Let Finney's prose, his wonderful main character Si, and his ability to pull you back in time with him sweep you away -- you won't regret it when the journey is over. Even if you never read science fiction or claim to dislike it, this is one book you'll find it difficult not to fall for.
4.0 out of 5 stars Time and again a good read.,
This review is from: Time and Again (Audio Cassette)I discovered this book not in its own time, but when its sequel, Time After Time was published, having read a review of that book and wanting to see the earlier work.
In spite of what I consider the short-comings of the period; i.e. the we're all white narration; it is an excellent book. The author is able to show his readers exactly what it is like for those who can immediatly place themselves in a time or place in their immagination. Late nineteenth century New York comes alive. It would be fun to do a tour of Manhattan, this book in hand, sharing the pleasures of what remains of this period with the author, who obviously loved the time and place he wrote about.
I would reccommend this book and its sequel to anyone. It is a keeper, worth reading again and again.
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Time and Again by Jack Finney (Paperback - Feb. 1 1995)
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