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From Time to Time
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 10 March 1999
Clearly, from reading the other reviews, I must be the only reader who thought this was the better book. As much as I loved TIME AND AGAIN -- and it's a permanent part of my library and a book I've re-read dozens of times -- when I saw this in a bookstore (sorry, Amazon), I grabbed it. At first I was disappointed, but on a second reading began to pick up the magic that was, if anything, stronger the second time around. The opening chapter, of people unrelated to Si Morley who gather at a curious meeting to pinpoint strange alternative versions of history, is intriguing and exciting. And as Rube Prien struggles with his own disjointed memory and sets in motion the return of the Project, things pick up even more. By the way, check out the true stories on the Titanic -- Archibald Butt, a pivotal character in this book, DID in fact travel on its maiden voyage and failed to return home, despite his importance as an aide to President Taft (who beseiged the White Star Line office with inquiries about him). But we've seen so much Titanic lore recently that it's almost a relief that the climactic scenes are so brief. Read it, read it again, and love it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 30 December 1997
How I came to "From Time To Time": I first read Finney's "Time and Again" when I was 10. I loved the way the story really gave me a sense of what it could feel like to be a time traveler (rather the more standard sci-fi focus on the mechanics of time travel). The book is precise about the tiny details that make up daily life, and I was struck by what a "modern" man had to do to adapt to the "olden days." I was also thrilled to find an illustrated "grown-up book." Fast forward 27 years: I find a copy of "From Time To Time" at the bookstore and just have to buy it. Before starting the sequel, I re-read "Time and Again," marveling anew at Finney's skillful descriptions. Like the first time, I couldn't put the book down until I got to the very last page. As an older (and wiser?) reader I found inconsistancies, ridiculous transitions, and other flaws, but it was a great read just the same.

I wish I could say the same for the second book. The opening was promising - a secret gathering of people who look for clues to alternative time flow....a clever (if convoluted) way of bringing back The Project, destroyed by Si Morley at the end of the first book. The rest of the book read like Finney had just cut and pasted a whole bunch of story ideas together, unable to decide what version of Morley to use -- Si as a cad, as a tormented soul, as a flirt, as a secret agent, etc.

The story goes like this: Si agrees -- for no apparent reason -- to go back and try to stop WWI through involvement with the mysterious "Z." His trip takes him to a variety of places in NY (luckily, he bought a trusty camera!), and suddenly, the man who dearly loved the NY of the 1880s and his charming wife, Julia, is waxing poetic about the NY of 1911 and the "Jott Girl," who hits on him throughout the book (not that he minds).

The descriptions of people, places, and things in this book are flat. A lot of time is devoted to things that have nothing to do with the search for "Z" (including a long foray into the vaudeville scene to look for his 12-year old father, culminating in SIX PAGES of one vaudevillian's boring life story), and except for his attraction to Jott, Si seems to be having a miserable time.

Throwing in the Titanic in the last few pages was plain pointless; just a chance to bring in one more little historic reference. But, unlike Si's heartfelt brushes with great moments in history in the first book, here he's like a busy Forrest Gump, just trying to get his face in the picture.

Throughout "From Time To Time," I kept waiting for Si to go look up his wife and child, nearly 30 years in the future. How could a fellow so taken with the interaction of time with time, and so given to flights of philiosophy not even muse about the possibility? It would have been really interesting if Si had run into himself, aged now in pace with his family.

Finney deserves credit for searching out the right old photos, for capturing the spirit of some important moments in American history, and for trying to satisfy all us "Time and Again" fans. Unfortunately, "From Time To Time" doesn't do it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 1 March 1999
Time and Again is a charming glimpse into the past and is one of my all-time favorite books. Buy it! I've re-read it several times, so when this supposed sequel came out, I immediately bought it. I just tried reading it again. It's an un-charming, disjointed, unhappy excuse for a sequel. The cover art is nice.
Unlike other "reviewers" who imply that one of the strengths of this novel is its pleasant "what-if" journey into the past, I found it boring and scanned through many, many pages in hopes of finding the excitement of discovering a new era. I love historical fiction! Instead I was "treated" to lengthy ramblings on vaudeville and a potentially sad Christmas in 1918. Yuuk! I even miss good old Jake!
I sincerely hope that Mr Finney will write another (and better) Simon Morley sequel, but I'll read the reviews first.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 March 2012
This is the sequel to Jack Finney's great novel 'Time and again'.

Like the preceding book, much of any criticism about this work seems to involve the level of detail he uses in his descriptions.

As in my earlier review of the original book, I actually feel that he has the detail just right. There is a lot, and that is because there is a lot to convey about a world that virtually all readers could never know from experience.

For me, this book 'grabbed' me even faster that the first one. Despite the fact that the main characters are well known by the reader, there are enough plot twists differences to ensure that there is minimal repetition.

The whole scope of the 19th-into-20th century world setting is broad and appealing enough to be new, different and enthralling all over again.

All round cracking read and heartily recommended...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Inventive, instructive and opening out into something more than just a book about time travel, this book evokes the atmosphere of New York in two time spheres and its adventurous plot takes you to one of the defining moments of the century.

This book has some wonderful photography, drawings and illustrations to accompany the worrisome and highly involving story. It concerns Simon Morley, who lives in the nineteenth century but was born in the twentieth. In an earlier book Morley found a means of travelling to the past. Now he may have to travel into the future again, to avert a terrible disaster. One's brain almost buckles trying to grasp what happens in this book. It concerns the elusive E E Danziger. Morley has to go back in time once again to change the past, in order to be able to return to the present and allow Danzigger's father to meet the woman he was meant to marry, in the knowledge that E E Danzigger would then be born. It's also necessary so that the plot to attempt to avert World War I can be put into motion. But changing the past to alter the future is not as easy or as predictable as it sounds.

Jack Finney was (he died in 1995) a historian of many aspects of the past, aeronautics, vaudeville, photography, architecture, steam travel on land and sea, especially as this relates to the Titanic. The supreme irony concerns what happens shortly before the iceberg strikes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 January 2012
After recently finding and thoroughly enjoying Time & Again, I had to read this one immediately. This is different, still enjoyable, if a little disjointed. The same level of historic detail is fascinating and takes you there to 1911/1912. The detail relating to the theatres, its performers, the historic New York Streetscenes and even the Titanic were excellent. The first half of this book sets off on a great pace and with some excellent ideas about changing time/ the past and how the "threads" remain as an echo or re-discovered memories. Fascinating Stuff. However, something happens to knock it off course and I'm not sure the Jotta Girl idea works too well.
An enjoyable read all the same. I can see where Stephen King got his ideas for his last book 11.22.63... time travel..Kennedy's 2nd term, the campaign badge for 1964...another time line...wonderful stuff. Its nice to see that King pays tribute to Finney's work at the end of his book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 1999
Strongly recommend if you are interested in the many insightful details about urban life in the late 19th-century and 1912. People often forget that if it were possible to travel back in time, it would be like visiting a different culture. You will find this to be more intriguing than the discussion of time travel itself or the two chapters about the protagonist's journey on the Titanic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 May 2007
Jack Finney's sequel to TIME AND AGAIN yet again takes us on a marvellous time-travelling jaunt; back to New York in 1912 this time, with a bird's eye view of vaudeville and its many wonderful characters.

The intrigue is there too, with Simon Morley attempting to save the Titanic so that a man carrying vital documents survives, thereby eliminating World War I.

With both these books you have the ultimate time-travel tale master class, and the fact that you feel you're back there in the past with Morley, pays great testimony to Finney's craft and meticulous detail.

The odd photo popping up just adds cream to this eternal delight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 5 September 2000
Mr. Finney achieves as good a grasp of another era as he did in Time and Again, but this time he tackles the question of paradox in a different way.
The ending is not as happy as Time and Again, and I believe that disappointed many readers. I found it very powerful, if improbable.
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This was a disappointing sequel to the author's Time and Again. It started off very well with tantalising clues about fake historical memories lodged in the minds of rare individuals, e.g. memories of the Titanic safely docking in New York or of JFK's second term re-election in 1964. The first 130 pages were very good. But then the novel digressed into a social history of New York of 1912, with a particular obsessive interest in vaudeville. The author clearly did extensive research, but this halted the plot almost totally for 100 pages. The final resolution on the Titanic seemed rather rushed and rather unconvincing. A pity.
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