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Three Days to Never

3.64  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,956 Ratings  ·  218 Reviews

Albert Einstein's groundbreaking scientific discoveries made possible the creation of the most terrible weapon the world had ever known. But he made another discovery that he chose to reveal to no oneâ”to keep from human hands a power that dwarfed the atomic bomb.

When twelve-year-old Daphne Marrity takes a videotape labeled Pee-wee's Big Adventure from her recently d

Hardcover, 420 pages
Published August 8th 2006 by William Morrow (first published 2006)
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77th out of 235 books — 195 voters

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Community Reviews

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So this is one of those books that I really wanted to love but to my great disappointment ended up being just OK. It’s got Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, time travel, ghosts, psychic links, astral projection, Israeli spies and a secret evil organization. So what’s not to love?

In its defense I’ll admit that I probably wasn’t in a good frame of mind for something like this. I’ve been distracted by a couple of things, and it’s that glorious time of year where for 10 days in the spring and fall I
Mar 22, 2016 Brad rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
It definitely is full of the who's who of cabals, famous personages, Time Travel, and just enough quirky psi and technological hijinks to want me to catapult this novel to one of those must-read realms of creative SF.

I mean, what does Einstein and Charlie Chaplin have in common with time-travel that mimics the trajectory of a swastika? Or a novel that attempts to do the same in it's plot progression? Theoretically, these are some damn cool villains.

The opening is solid and grounded, and even all
. First I'm going to rave about how shiny awesome this book is, and then I'm going to have a bit of a screaming rant and kick it repeatedly until it stops whimpering. Okay? Okay.

So this book is awesome! It's a whacky weird skiffy thriller about a father and daughter, and family secrets, and time travel, and Einstein, and ESP, and Israel, and just, stuff. Wildly creative and totally absorbing, with some funny tucked in around the edges. And it's not perfect – the thematic movement about determini
Jun 05, 2015 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Plot-centric sci fi/fantasy novel about spies trying to find a time machine invented by Albert Einstein. Some fun ideas, but not much character development. The story lagged in the middle, when it turned into a big, long chase scene. Editing out about 100 pages could've made the plot better. An OK read, but not great.
May 26, 2008 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of thought-provoking science fiction or fantasy
I always find Tim Powers's books brilliant, but I'll confess that I like best the ones concerning time periods or subjects that interest me most. For this reason, his Declare, which immediately preceded Three Days. . .and dealt with Cold War espionage (as well as more arcane matters), interested me less than, for example, The Stress of Her Regard, about the Romantic poets and their muse, not because it was necessarily a worse book. Three Days to Never lacks the mythic resonance of Stress. . ., a ...more
Melissa McShane
This is my second read of the book and I still can't bring myself to give it five stars. Objectively, everything that makes a Tim Powers novel great is here; I just didn't warm to it the way I did Last Call or Declare. Powers mixes the films of Charlie Chaplin with the physics of Albert Einstein and comes up with an excellent novel about time travel and all the anomalies it can generate.

As usual, I was captivated by the sheer weirdness of the elements of the plot--golden swastikas powering a mag
Feb 15, 2009 Tim rated it liked it
As Tim Powers novels go, "Three Days to Never" is a lackluster effort. For anyone else, this is a pretty entertaining novel.

For me, here Powers mines what these days has become his usual formula -- twists on souls, espionage, alternate history, people using unusual powers, fantastic explanations for ordinary events -- and, well, finds it pretty much tapped out. In "Three Days to Never" EVERYONE has amazing abilities, not everything is adequately explained, and the competing groups (I won't even
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Jul 27, 2009 Jayaprakash Satyamurthy rated it really liked it
I hope that the trade vagaries that resulted in his latest novel being reasonably well distributed in India (this is the first of his novels I have bought here first-hand and within a year of publication - that I then waited an additional two years to read it is another matter) continue to hold good for Tim Powers' future novels. They're just that good. While his earlier novels are more diverse, he's been focusing on fast-paced thrillers that take some chunk of recorded recent history, re-interp ...more
Tim Powers is not an easy author to read. It took me two tries to get through Declare because it was so densely packed action and ideas. It required way too much brain power the first time I tried to read it. The Anubis Gates was convoluted and required a bit of knowledge about English Literature (thank goodness I majored) and Egyptian mythology (limited, at best). Both were very good, but required a lot of work out of the reader.

With Three Days to Never, Powers manages to make his fantastically
Mar 15, 2012 Alan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Time-trippers and people not worried overmuch about the afterlife
Recommended to Alan by: Both previous and subsequent work, superimposed in spacetime
Three Days to Never is about... well, it's complicated. Basically, it starts with Albert Einstein's unacknowledged great-grandchildren, and the time machine in their grandmother's shed. Or something like that. It starts with a rock in the desert that used to bear an inscription, and Charlie Chaplin's handprints in wet concrete. No... it starts with Frank and Daphne Marrity, a widowed father and his daughter living near San Bernardino, and with a VHS copy of Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. No, that's no ...more
Jul 15, 2009 Guy rated it really liked it
Tim Powers and James Blaylock are a genre of two... no-other authors I've read are as successful at creating the impression that there are strange depths hidden in, and consistent alternate explanations for, history as we know it. I'm a little at a loss as to how to characterize what they do. Their books have elements of the occult, but they are much more scientific and pragmatic than the typically melodramatic exemplars of that genre. They aren't alternate histories because nothing is changed.. ...more
Sep 13, 2008 Coleman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tim-powers
***Zero Spoilers***

I picked this up because it promised to have a bit of time travel in it. It ended up having a bit of everything in it.

One and a half acts into this book I had no idea what was going on. I didn't like it. There was just too much happening for me to follow. That, plus with so many supernatural things spinning about, I had a hard time understanding the ground on which the book stood. I considered giving up numerous times but something told me to wait and that it was all about to
Tim Powers' Three Days to Never is a fantasy/sci-fi novel set in California in 1987, at the time of the Harmonic Convergence. It's a tale of time travel, conspiracy theories, the supernatural, and secrets--secret inventions, secret family relations, secret government and religious groups.

The novel opens with the mysterious death of Lisa Marrity on Mount Shasta. Just before her death, she calls her grandson Frank Marrity and tells him she has burned down the shed behind her house. Worried, Frank
Jun 05, 2010 Sarah rated it liked it
Tim Powers has written some of my very favorite books, but this is not one of them. The last several of his books that I have read feel to me as if he is trying to parody his own better works. All of his hallmarks are here: time travel, proximity to historical characters, places or items imbued with power, strange and useful rituals, and cheap beer. Most of them are used in a clever way, but cleverness for its own sake doesn't really do anything for me. The whole thing feels impersonal and clutt ...more
Apr 04, 2016 Mark rated it really liked it
The first time I read this book it was quite confusing, and I read it quickly because I love Tim Powers' work. Years later I took my time, and it was a much better book when I slowed down. I like Declare better, but this is still pretty good if you are a Tim Powers fan.

It seems like Tim Powers readers breaking into two groups: Those that prefer more of a fantasy setting set in Romantic England, and those who like the contemporary stuff, like Declare. I definitely prefer the modern work. Whether
Mike (the Paladin)
Jun 25, 2010 Mike (the Paladin) rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy
It's got to be an awfully big gold nugget to make trudging through 500 miles of mud, crud, and quick sand worth it. I didn't find this one worth it. The writer seems to find his stride somewhere around the middle of the book. By then I just didn't care. I skimmed my way on. I didn't care how much gold Grammar had left under what bricks or who couldn't see if you didn't look at them.

This is another one where I see high ratings and thrilled reviews, that's why I looked this book up. I found a long
Noah M.
Jul 02, 2009 Noah M. marked it as abandoned-for-sucking
My wife's coworker's husband, a chemist and supposed fan of hard science fiction, loaned me this book...for some reason. Unprovoked book loaning. Well, alright, I'll give it the old college try, I guess. I'm between books. May as well.

OK. I gave this book 80 pages, which is close to my standard 100pg cutoff point.

There's stuff about psychics that is sort of interesting, and it's all wound up in a Jewish conspiracy that involves kabbalah and Israeli intelligence agencies...but it just didn't grab
Dec 05, 2007 Mark rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf
Frank receives a strange phone call from his grandmother in Pasadena. An hour later she is found 600 miles away. Dead. Frank and his daughter want to know how and why. So does Israeli intelligence. So does an ancient cult. And how does Charlie Chaplin fit into the picture? Oh, and did I mention time travel?

This book combines supernatural, science fiction, and spy genres. I thought the combination was deftly handled, but the book might be a bit too densely packed for some readers.

The main charact
Aug 30, 2007 thefourthvine rated it really liked it
Shelves: sff
Tim Powers returns to the wacked-out time travel fold, which he so memorably explored in The Anubis Gates, but this time he's thrown in alternate universes, paradoxes, the Mossad, a shady mystery cult, psychic powers, Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, supernatural forces, and - look, if you want it, it's probably in here.

Powers also manages a fairly complex and intertwined action plot with a lot of skill. He even deftly copes with two very different characters who have the same name, something anyone
Apr 22, 2008 Guy rated it liked it
Shelves: hebrew, own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 03, 2009 Karen rated it it was ok
I finished it to make sure that Charlotte, Frank, and Daphne came out okay, but overall it was freaking confusing. I'm not sure what the movie had to do with anything (Chaplin seemed only tangentially related in the end, and Matt didn't signify at all), I couldn't keep the characters straight, new bad guy characters showed up in the last 100 or so pages... Where did Canino come from?

I wouldn't be surprised if the interconnectedness of it all was more profound than I could absorb. By three-fourt
Jul 06, 2010 Jay rated it really liked it
While it took me a little while to get into this book (I found it a little confusing to keep track of all the characters), I really enjoyed reading it. The twisted thinking that results from devices and powers featured in this book really exercised my brain as I tried to think ahead (and back) to logical ramifications of different plans and thoughts. This book will give me a lot to think about... not just because of the scientific thoughts, but because I think I could make a case for a lot of th ...more
Feb 01, 2016 Daryl rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi
This book was given to me by a friend, whose opinions and views I respect, if not always agree with, after the question "Who's your favorite living writer?" arose; Tim Powers was his. The cover describes it as "genre-bending" and that certainly bears out. It's basically a thriller/mystery/action novel with elements of sci-fi and fantasy thrown in. The story revolves around Frank Marrity and his 12-year-old (though she generally seems much older) daughter Daphne. I was pretty interested in these ...more
B. Reese
Jun 16, 2015 B. Reese rated it did not like it
After reading Powers' The Anubis Gates I was really excited to give this book a go. Would he build on what had happened in Gates? Even if he didn't, it should be exciting. Especially since the time travel involved a mysterious video tape labelled "Pee Wee's Big Adventure."

Unfortunately, despite the numerous elements in the story that should have made a gripping yarn I was left with "Is this it?" There were a group of rogue agents. Israeli spies. Psychic daughters. Einstein, Chaplin, time trave
I've read quite a few of Tim Powers' books recently, so it's possible I'm just Powered out and his recurring motifs (primarily his chain-smoking, alcoholic, flawed characters) have started to grate. But, even ignoring my dislike for his standard characters, I'm not very happy with his "Three Days to Never." First, and most importantly, I think he wrote the wrong book. Someplace around the 80% point, he summarizes the Einstein events that lead to what's happening in this story. Now, THAT's what t ...more
Jan 31, 2014 Sally rated it it was ok
Ever read a book that you're quite certain you may just be too stupid or too interested to understand? Three Days to Never was, possibly, the most confusing, involved, and strange book I've ever read.

I picked it up because I was intrigued by the story line: secret Einstein inventions coveted by opposing sides, occult, ghosts, psychics, time travel, and the ability to change things you've done in your past and be granted and entirely new life. It all sounded like something that would be right up
Jun 09, 2015 Malquiviades rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I cannot help it, but Tim Powers has surprised me again. It is strange how he submerges you inside the alternative and esoteric explanation of past events. The extremely detailed fiction overlaps the real history so perfectly that one is not always sure that what he tells you is not the real thing. But this is Tim Powers' touch.

Then, finally, Powers makes it to my reduced list of favourite authors.

The time travel side is really original (how it operates). However, it is far from satisfactory and
Apr 07, 2016 Simon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, sf
I'm quite in the mood for just picking up books on an impulse lately and when I saw this at the library, I thought the premise sounded interesting and I wanted to give Powers another go as he is quite highly acclaimed and I've not been overly blown away by what I've read by him previously.

Though I found myself engaged enough to hold my interest to the end, I never really found myself enjoying it that much. We're dropped straight into the fray as a whole host of strange things are going on. The c
Skylar Hatfield
Jan 20, 2014 Skylar Hatfield rated it it was ok
I should have stopped reading this book at the first "F" word. I was intrigued with the premise of this book, and I loved the collection of short stories I had read by this author. This book disappointed me. The story line became much too complicated and took too long to unwind. The language was pretty foul. As a reader, it is clear to me that Nazi's are pretty bad sorts. I don't need to be insulted by tons of profanity. To me, that is a sure sign of a lazy writer. It detracts from the deeper th ...more
Samuel Lubell
Apr 30, 2016 Samuel Lubell rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Another of Powers' secret histories. In this case involving Einstein's secret marriage and involvement with the creation of a time machine. There's Jewish magic and other forms as well as a group of Mossad occultists and a rival team with different powers both want the time machine. There's also really good characterization of a father and daughter. There's lots of chase scenes. The author could have cut back the number of characters on the two teams, sometimes it seemed like there were more nam ...more
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Timothy Thomas Powers is an American science fiction and fantasy author. Powers has won the World Fantasy Award twice for his critically acclaimed novels Last Call and Declare.

Most of Powers's novels are "secret histories": he uses actual, documented historical events featuring famous people, but shows another view of them in which occult or supernatural factors heavily influence the motivations a
More about Tim Powers...

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