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From Time to Time

From Time to Time

3.1 11
by Jack Finney

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Set 25 years after the events in his "mind-boggling, imagination-stretching" (San Francisco Examiner) Time and Again, the sequel finds Ruben Prien still at work with the Project, still dreaming of altering man's fate by going back in time to "adjust" events--or, as some might say, to interfere with destiny.


Set 25 years after the events in his "mind-boggling, imagination-stretching" (San Francisco Examiner) Time and Again, the sequel finds Ruben Prien still at work with the Project, still dreaming of altering man's fate by going back in time to "adjust" events--or, as some might say, to interfere with destiny.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In Finney's wonderful cult classic Time and Again (1970), Manhattan adman Simon Morley joined a secret government time-travel project, transported himself back to the New York City of 1882, fell in love and decided to remain in the past. This entertaining sequel, which traces Simon's attempts to alter a course of events in 1912 and thereby prevent WWI, lacks the magic and urgency of its predecessor but is diverting nonetheless. Bidding goodbye to his 19th-century wife, Simon first revisits the late 20th century, where remnants of the ``Project'' propose another experiment to redirect history. Finney (who also wrote The Body Snatchers) makes the most of this creaky premise as Simon, leaping back to 1912, meets Al Jolson, witnesses a dirigible launch, circles Manhattan in a biplane and befriends vaudeville actors. To complete the experiment, Simon must help Major Archie Butt-an aide to President Taft-return to the States from a crucial diplomatic mission. The hitch is that Butt is sailing on the Titanic-and Simon, who joins him on the ship's maiden voyage, must desperately try to stay the hand of fate and keep it from sinking. Like Time and Again, this mind-stretching escapist adventure is studded with period photos and news clippings that function as an integral part of the story. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Time traveler Simon Morley leaves his voluntary exile in the 19th century to visit the 20th century of his origins and finds himself drawn into a desperate attempt to alter the events of history and prevent the onset of World War I. Combining meticulous historical research with a suspenseful plot, this long-awaited sequel to the author's classic Time & Again (1970) explores the delicate nature of cause and effect while simultaneously telling a timeless story of love and loss. A good title for most sf collections.
School Library Journal
YA-A long-awaited and exciting sequel to Time and Again (S.&S., 1986). Finney returns to the secret government project that studies time through time travel. Undercover agents Si Morley and Rubin Prien continue to test Dr. E.E. Danziger's theory: the past still exists and can be reached. In the previous book, Si left the present to marry the love of his life, Julia, and live in the 1880s. Here, he becomes curious about the future and returns to the present to check on it. Sketches and photographs make the time and place come alive. This is a real page turner, loaded with nostalgia, detail, suspense, and a mind-boggling ending, but it is necessary to have read the first book to appreciate it.-Linda Vretos, West Springfield High School, Springfield, VA
From the Publisher
Frank Rich The New York Times Book Review Finney takes us on an ebulliently guided tour of old New York.

Karen Heller The Philadelphia Inquirer It makes for a thrilling voyage.

Michael Dirda The Washington Post Book World In more ways than one, reading Jack Finney will transport you back to a better time.

Product Details

Cengage Gale
Publication date:
G. K. Hall Core Ser.
Product dimensions:
6.42(w) x 9.43(h) x 0.97(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

We stood bunched in with the little crowd you can see on the balcony down there at the right -- see it? -- just over the pillared entrance to the Everett House: Julia and I, her hands in her muff; and our four-year-old son, chin on the balcony rail. When I leaned over him to see his face in the light of the marching torches below us, his expression was fixed in wonder. I was here on assignment, but this was also a part of nineteenth-century life, a great parade, that I liked a lot. We had no movies, radio, or television, but we did have parades, and often. Now every possible inch of standing room down there in Union Square was lost under the packed-together shoulders and the tops of derbies, tall hats, fur caps, shawled hair, and bonnets. Winding around the roadway through that thick crowd, hundreds of marching men, and floats, flags, bands, horses, all fitfully visible in the bobbing firelight from rank after rank of gimballed canisters of smoky flame.

The sound was a thrill: the splendid brass blare of marching bands and the yells of the crowd. What they yelled, I'd noticed again and again, was "Hurrah!" -- actually pronounced hurrah. We stood hearing fireworks whistle up, watched them burst gorgeously against the black sky with that muffled fireworks pop. Skyrockets shot through these bursts and curved off, dying. Where did they land? And paper balloons, their swinging baskets of orange fire shining through the sides. Every now and then flame crawled up a paper panel, and the balloon would drop, blazing. Where? Were there men waiting on the dark rooftops around the square with buckets of water? Must have been, must have been.

It was glorious,all black dark and flowering color, marching leather shuffling on cobbles, drums banging, cymbals smashing. Only a political parade, the election weeks ahead, but fun. Another band moving past now, this one in tall flat-topped shakos with plumes and tiny peaks, the snares rattling, lots of powerful horn and trumpet and that bell-like thing that tops it all off. Splendid blaring sound, very close, and once again that night I felt the actual chill right up the spine, and the slightly embarrassing eye sting, of easy emotion about nothing.

Now a turnverein band in funny costumes, and we stayed for that -- Willy insisted. Then we left to beat the crowd, coming down through the hotel. I liked the hotel because someone had told me that a couple of the old men sitting around the lobby were veterans of the War of 1812, but there were none there tonight. I didn't believe it anyway. Out the side entrance of the hotel, and across the street, around the square, the curbs were solid with waiting carriages, their lamps lighted, an occasional iron horseshoe stomping the stone. Just as we approached him a horse began urinating, fascinating Willy, who wanted to stop and watch, Julia's arm under mine tugging us past, me grinning. A few carriages further on we stopped to lift Willy to pat the soft nose of a more genteel horse, something he loved.

Then we walked home, the streets near to silent except for an occasional passerby or clip-clopping carriage. It was nice out, not too cold. There'd been a moon earlier, but I couldn't find it now. Plenty of stars though, the sky a great enclosing blackness over this low city; millions of stars, those near the horizon spiky and glittery.

Willy was asleep, head sweetly heavy on my shoulder when we reached the little square of greenery which was Gramercy Park, turning to walk partly around it. We rented a house here, a three-story brownstone with basement and attic, across the park from Julia's aunt. Julia liked being near her aunt, and so did I. I liked Aunt Ada, and it gave us a convenient and willing babysitter. We passed a carriage, horse tethered to the hitching post, carriage lamps shining orangely, and I wondered about it. Then, as we passed I heard a door, turned and saw light from the Bostwick entrance hall shining out on the steps, a man leaving, putting on his derby as he came down, and I saw the little satchel in his hand: a doctor. I said, "Old Mr. Bostwick must be sick," and Julia said that in the park with Willy yesterday, she'd been told by another mother that he was. Old Mr. Bostwick interested me because I knew he'd been born in 1799, the year Washington died -- were they contemporaries for a few months or weeks?

My name is Simon Morley, I'm "thirtyish," as we say, and although I was born well into the twentieth century, I live back here in the nineteenth, married to a young woman born long before I was or even my parents. Because -- according to Dr. E. E. Danziger, retired professor of physics from Harvard -- time is like a river. It carries us forward through its bends, into the future...but the past remains in the bends behind us. If so, said Dr. D, we ought to be able to reach it. And got himself a government grant to try.

We are tied to the present, Dr. Danziger said, by countless threads -- the countless things that make the present: automobiles, television, planes, the way Coca-Cola tastes. An endless list of tiny threads that tie us to now.

Well, study the past, he said, for the same kind of mundane details. Read its newspapers, magazines, and books. Dress and live in its style, think its thoughts -- all the things that make it then. Now find a place that exists in both times unchanged; "Gateways," he called them. And live in that place which also exists in the time you want to reach -- dressing, eating, and thinking the way they did -- and presently the ties holding you to the present will relax. Then blank out even the knowledge of these ties through self-hypnosis. And let your knowledge of the time you want to reach come flooding up in your mind. And there -- in a Gateway existing in both times -- you may, you just may make the transition.

Most people failed, at the Project where we were trained. They'd try and -- just couldn't. But I could, one of the very few. Made it back into the nineteenth century, returned to make my report, then went back to stay -- to marry Julia, and live out my life in the nineteenth century.

Now at our house, in familiar routine, Julia stepped on ahead up the stairs to unlock and open the front door for me; and in the hall she turned up the light. Then I passed Willy over to her because our dog -- a fairly big woolly black dog with dabs of white here and there -- was doing his little dance around my feet, trying to trip me for laughs. I let him out, and sat waiting on the front stoop while he wandered around, sniffing, checking to see that nothing had been changed out here. He's a fine fellow, called Rover, a fairly common name that hadn't yet become funny. Big black dogs, I'm afraid, are often Nig.

Rover came back to sit down beside me, and I gave him his ear rub, which he accepted graciously, tongue lolling to show appreciation. I had various little routines with Rover, adding to and improving them from time to time, but it was best, I'd learned, to keep them out here. Julia is bright, quick-minded, and as subtle and perceptive as anyone. Yet one evening when old Rove came wandering in to join us in the sitting room, with a long thread of drool hanging from his black lips, I suggested to Julia that he might be an enchanted prince and that she ought to give him a big wet kiss to release him from his spell. But all I got for that was trouble, because her sense of humor, naturally, is pure nineteenth-century. One evening fairly early in our marriage we sat reading in bed, and she laughed aloud and pointed to what she'd just read in her newspaper. I leaned over and read it; it was a joke, a filler at the bottom of a column. The little onmibuses on Broadway and on Fifth Avenue are called stages by some, others call them buses, and the joke was: "'Don't you think I have a good face for the stage?' asked a lady w

Meet the Author

Jack Finney is the author of more than a dozen books. He died in 1995.

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From Time to Time 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
RogerRodger More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved it, it's been a few years since I read the sequel to Time and Again, but it is an absolutely riveting novel just like the first. If you love time travel like I do, you'll love Time and Again, and From Time to Time by Jack Finney.
cincmom More than 1 year ago
Interesting concept, great detail, well researched. Liked having the pictures to go with the historical facts. A fascinating look at old New York.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great sequal read yrs ago wish he wrote third part in series
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Guest More than 1 year ago
If you have read Time And Again, you will be extremely disappointed with this sequel. In the first book, Si Morley traveled into the past and there were long passages describing a long gone New York City that were well written and absorbing. Jack Finney tries to duplicate that by again sending Si back and all it comes off as is long winded and boring: an excruciatingly boring buildup just so Finney can introduce Al Jolson page upon page of boring descriptions of vaudeville, clothing, architecture and early flight are other examples. If I did not know better, I would say that the kernel of this book (returning to the past to prevent WW I) was originally lopped off Time And Again in order to shorten that book and Jack Finney decided to expand it into full book length just to make a fast buck. He would have been better off re-issuing an expanded, 'uncut' Time And Again rather than putting out this drivel.