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About Time: 12 Short Stories Paperback – February 19, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (February 19, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 068484866X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684848662
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #438,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jack Finney (1911–1995) was the author of the much-loved and critically acclaimed novel Time and Again, as well as its sequel, From Time to Time. Best known for his thrillers and science fiction, a number of his books—including Invasion of the Body Snatchers—have been made into movies.

Customer Reviews

This is classic Jack Finney at his best.
Michael Bunker
Fans of time travel fiction will enjoy these quick, thoughtful reads.
A Concerned 3rd Party
Jack Finney is one of the great writers of time travel stories.
C. Grunert

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

96 of 97 people found the following review helpful By Brian Melendez on December 21, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jack Finney, writing in the late 1950s and early 1960s, was hardly the first writer who explored time travel; after all, H.G. Wells wrote "The Time Machine" more than half a century earlier, and that classic was already being turned into a movie as Finney was writing his short stories. But Finney defined the time-travel story as no other writer has. When you read these stories, they will seem familiar to you--perhaps because you have read them before, as many of them have appeared in other anthologies; but perhaps because so many other writers have imitated Finney, all without surpassing him.
Here you will find "The Third Level," about a mysterious platform in Grand Central Station that leads into another world (a precursor of "Level Nine and Three-quarters" in the "Harry Potter" books). And "Of Missing Persons," the classic tale of lost faith and missed opportunities. And "The Coin Collector," about alternate realities, where "a Woodrow Wilson dime" reveals that "every once in a while something from one of these worlds . . . will stray into another one."
Jack Finney wasn't the first, but he was the best. His stories weave together O. Henry's story-telling talent (and surprise-twist endings), Rod Serling's imagination, and Ray Bradbury's skill at juxtaposing the familiar with the slightly terrifying. This book's stories are a treat.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By David Savage on December 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
After reading "Time and Again", From Time to Time", and "Forgotten News" I was little disappointed with this book. What I love about Jack Finney is his rich and detailed descriptions of the past. The reader, in a sense, becomes the time traveler. These stories are more of a play on the time travel theme with little of the vivid detail and character that I found in the other books.
That said, "About Time" is definitely a fun read. The stories reminded me of Twilight Zone episodes. "The Face in the Photo" in particular was my favorite where a detective finds his most "at-large" criminals in pictures and newsreels from the past.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Debra Hamel VINE VOICE on August 23, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The twelve stories in this collection by the author of Invasion of the Body Snatchers were originally published in 1957 and 1962. The stories are similar to Finney's classic novel Time and Again--in which the book's protagonist travels back to late 19th-century New York--both because nearly all of them have to do with time travel ("Lunch-Hour Magic" and "Home Alone" are exceptions) and because many of the characters express their dissatisfaction with the modern world and wish to escape from it. Usually this flight from modernity is to be achieved by time travel, but it can also take the form of interplanetary migration ("Of Missing Persons") or balloon flight ("Home Alone").

Time travel in these stories is achieved almost effortlessly, when the "thousand invisible chains" that keep us in the present--modern coins and manufactured items, apartment buildings--are, for a moment, loosed. If there's nothing on you that wouldn't belong in the world fifty or sixty or seventy years ago, and if you're in a place that hasn't been altered much in all that time, and if you're in the right frame of mind, you can slip into the past, easy as can be. Just so, the car-obsessed college student of Finney's "Second Chance," while driving along an old highway in his restored Jordan Playboy, finds himself sharing the road with Model T's. His brief presence in the past has the effect of altering history in a way that will influence his own future.

Al and his wife Nell of Finney's "Such Intersting Neighbors" find the Hellenbeks, who have just moved into their California neighborhood, strange but pleasant. Ted Hellenbek is an inventor, an intelligent guy who was born and raised in the U.S.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By audrey TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 13, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jack Finney is a remarkably talented writer. He manages to balance whimsy and passion in a narrative voice that is authentically Everyman, and his descriptions are vivid and lush, whether he's depicting a character's apartment or a milieu in the past. You won't find many more talented writers in any genre, and the fact that he's writing time paradoxes only increases your pleasure.
These 12 stories are a lot of fun. While I think Finney, writing circa 1950s, excelled in the novel(la) format because he could fully indulge his gift for description, these shorts are enjoyable because they make great reads when you have less time -- in more ways than one.
These stories were originally collected in two anthologies: The Third Level (1957/1976) and I Love Galesburg in the Springtime (1962), though those collections may be difficult to find. All are great, but my favorites are: "Such Interesting Neighbors", about the rather strange Hellenbek family who lives next door; "Lunch-Hour Magic", about the lengths one will go to find love (or lust); "The Face in the Photo", about a novel escape for criminals; and "Of Missing Persons", about getting a second chance at Paradise. "The Third Level" is a classic that you may well have read in other anthologies, and "The Coin Collector" was later expanded into novella-length "The Woodrow Wilson Dime" -- a treatment most of these wonderful stories could sustain. The latter features a wonderful passage about books written by authors, including Mark Twain, who lived longer in the alternate reality in which the narrator finds himself. Each story ends with a twist that would roll off Rod Serling's tongue.
If you enjoy time travel stories (though not hard sf), great storytelling or endings with a wink, this is a collection you must have. Finney is a marvel! Give yourself a treat!
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