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About Time: 12 Short Stories

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  819 ratings  ·  65 reviews
About Time offers a delightful return to the world of time travel and light comedy that distinguished Jack Finney's all-time classic Time and Again. The protagonists of these twelve stories are well-meaning but at odds with their surroundings and their lives. The time to which they escape—through time travel—doesn't always fulfill their expectations in ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 19th 1998 by Touchstone (first published 1986)
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The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerOutlander by Diana GabaldonThe Time Machine by H.G. WellsTimeline by Michael Crichton11/22/63 by Stephen King
Best Time Travel Fiction
93rd out of 1,102 books — 3,603 voters
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger11/22/63 by Stephen KingOutlander by Diana GabaldonThe Time Machine by H.G. WellsTime and Again by Jack Finney
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77th out of 383 books — 960 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,346)
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Joe Valdez
The last stop in my time travel marathon was About Time: Twelve Stories by Jack Finney. One of the delights of this collection is that, surprisingly, not every tale is dictated by time travel. "Exotic travel" would be a more accurate description, with characters dulled by their daily routines each glimpsing a means to escape into a more exciting world. Five of the stories were originally published in 1957 in the anthology The Third Level while seven of the stories first appeared in 1962 as part ...more
Ashley
I had to read a Finney story (Contents of the Dead Man's Pockets) for a high school lit class a few years back and absolutely loved it. Unfortunately, due to my extreme procrastination, it's taken me 5 years to track down and set out to read any of his other stuff. Thankfully, though, I never forgot my desire to do so!

I started out About Time with relatively low hopes. I loved Contents...but time travel? Not exactly my thing. However Finney's knack for creating instantly relatable, simple charac
...more
Harold
Jack Finney is responsible for my love of time travel stories. My first exposure to this genre came when I was eight or nine years old. I was watching tv at my grandmother’s home – a show called Science Fiction Theatre. It was late afternoon or early evening on a Sunday. The story made quite an impression on me – I still remember the exact title. It was Time is Just a Place and it told of strange new neighbors, a husband and wife, who moved in and became acquainted with the couple living next do ...more
Kressel Housman
I usually prefer novels to short stories, but this beat Time and Again (a novel by the same author) hands down. All the stories but one are about time travel or some other magical element, but each with its own unique twist. Impressive that the author could come up with so many different approaches. A fun and fast read.
Todd Carney
Wow. Fantastic. His style is very familiar to me. I'd read Invasion of the Body Snatchers over 10 years ago, and I enjoyed it, but this is incredible. Now I will have to read his "Time and Again" series. That might be the first time that I ever read a collection of short stories straight through like that, in a matter of a few days. I want to make a few of them into movies, of course. They would be beautiful!

I first read about these when I was a teenager in one of my favorite books, Stephen Kin
...more
Djrmel
Eleven of the stories in this collection deal with some sort of time travel. The twelfth story is the painfully correct for its time period story about magic props that, thankfully, is easy to forget. Finney's ideas about time travel are rare in science fiction, but common in the mind of most people's imagination. It's the "if you could live any time in history, when would it be?" and people almost always want to go back to what they thought were simpler times. If someone imagines an alternate u ...more
Barry
There are 12 stories in the book, so the 4 stars are based on my general impression of them all. I was surprised to find that two of these stories are not time travel stories at all. Still, they were somewhat quirky and fun.

'Such interesting Neighbors' is one of the better stories in this collection. It foresees a time when time machines are available to the masses . Mr. Finney envisions a stark future.

'The Coin Collector' was also very interesting, albeit, a bit disturbing. It made me think of
...more
Mary Overton
Light, humorous, nostalgic, and predictable -- the modern 50s-60s man yearning for a golden age prior to WWI -- 12 quirky time travel stories -- my favorites: "Second Chance" where life yearns for itself through the soul of a restored car; "The Third Level" where NY's grand central station has a 3rd level that travels through time and where the man of science, the psychiatrist, has the last laugh about superstition; "Such Interesting Neighbors" where mankind evaporates when everyone is on a loop ...more
Christian Schwoerke
I read this collection of twelve stories whilst reading another book (a non-fiction account of Manchester, England), alternating spates of hard fact(s) with relaxing excursions into the past. And speaking of the past, I had read this collection about 15 years ago. Before that I had read many of the stories separately, in different anthologies and magazines, when I was a young teenager, which prompted me to read his novel Time and Again when it came out a few years later. When I’d first read Abou ...more
Daniel
First of all, I love a well crafted short story. The glitter forever like the tiny gems they are. I also love it when a town, a location, is elevated to the status of a character in a story. As Jo Rowling did with Hogwarts so has Jack Finney done with Galesburg Illinois in two of his stories "I Love Galesburg in the Springtime" and "The Third Level." Some themes are reworked in more than one story, but not in a boring way. It was a really nice day's reading.
Meg
A delightful collection of time traveling parallel universe stories! I want to reread this soon; right after I finish Time and Again and From Time to Time!! Very, very well-done with excellent imagery and great characterization. A must-read for anyone who loves time travel. (I recommend an age of high school or older).
Jane
May 13, 2011 Jane rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: sci-fi
I picked up this book because Finney attended Knox College and wrote a number of stories about or referring to Galesburg, Illinois. I didn't realize it was a collection of sci fi stories until I got into it, but I enjoyed them all (even though they got a little repetitive). Good story collection!
Christy
I love Jack Finney's two novels and while this is a collection of short stories (therefore, a tease) it is still terrific.
Connie N.
The word to describe this book would be "nostalgia." The author's theory is that most people want to go back to the "good old days" and that desire and need is what creates the scenario and the means for time-travel to occur. Most of these stories describe situations that are explainable only if you believe in time travel. The book was a little slow to begin with, but it became much more interesting as it went on. My favorite stories are the clever ones that have a bit of a twist or surprise inv ...more
Stephanie
About Time's 12 short stories amazed me in their diversity. I opened the book feeling, "How many ways can you write about time travel?" I loved Jack Finney's "Time and Again," so I suspected all the time travel would be to the past, and a lot of it is. But there are also visitors who have time-traveled from the future to visit our time (or rather, the time the novel was written -- 1950s, I believe.) There is the possibility of traveling to different dimensions in time as well, where you exist si ...more
Tracey
'd been searching the used bookstores for About Time: 12 Short Stories for quite some time, as I hadn't realized it was back/still in print. Finally found it a few weeks ago & read through it this weekend.

As you might guess from the title, each of the short stories ties into time travel or the passage of time somehow. Sometimes the time travel is metaphorical, or unintentional, other times it is the main goal of the protagonist, with the usual destination being the turn of the (19th) century
...more
Thebruce1314
If all of the stories included were actually about time, I'm sure I would have given this five stars; those stories were generally just what I was looking for from the author of one of my favourite books. But the few stories included which strayed a little from this unifying thread tended to be a bit misogynistic and dated.
I love the wistful longing for the wonders of the past that permeate Finney's time travel tales. While I may skip one or two upon re-reading, this book is definitely going to
...more
Bill
I had higher expectations for these stories than I gleaned from the reading of them. Most of the stories don't really seem to hold up to the test of time; these stories were nostalgic when they were written, and they seem a bit trite now.

The stories are bright and whimsical, by and large, and mostly fun to read if you can put up with some cringingly outdated attitudes towards women on the part of several narrators. If you can't, definitely skip "Lunch Hour Magic." For a good representative samp
...more
Kim
Some of these stories have haunted my thoughts for years after reading the collection originally. I must have first read this in 1991 or 1992 and have been thinking about the plots and characters ever since. The two most notable for me were Lunch Hour Magic and Of Missing Persons. If you like time travel fiction you should be reading Jack Finney.
Ben
An amusing, clever, thought-provoking set of short stories in a similar philosophical vein to Lightman's Einstein's Dreams and Calvino's Invisible Cities--with a bit of the whimsy and humor of Connie Willis thrown in for good measure. These stories question our conceptions and convictions about time and our place and travel through it. They highlight the connections we feel--emotionally, intellectually, and viscerally--with the past and what happens when those connections begin to overpower the ...more
Margaret Rosen
What's not to love about these Jack Finney stories? OK, aside from the dated sexism (X-ray spex, anyone?) They are still charming and I love the local angle (Mill Valley and Marin) in some of the stories. The 50s/60s New York ones have a retro optimism and of course there's a lovely Time and Again feel to a few.
Michael Anderson
Very pleasant collection of stories, all done in the same "gentle" manner as Finney's two time travel novels. Little or no violence, a tendency to travel (or want to travel) back to better, more humane and happy times, and all of them as well written as expected.
Riju Ganguly
Just two words would be adequate for the sum of my thoughts regarding this book: AVOID IT! Obviously there would be a lot of people who would be offended by those two words, because they are so fond of the 1950-s American (strictly WASP) settings and the maudlin tones of lost innocence, that they would be treating these stories as "National Treasure" (alas, I find even the Nicholas Cage movie preferable to this book). If you actually want to read quality fiction related to the theme of time-trav ...more
Cynthia
Love these short stories by Jack Finney. A great companion to Time and Again, even though they are only connected by the time travel.
Margie
I don't usually read short stories but this authors stories in one word to me are delightful. The endings are really interesting and the stories all involve time travel.
Karen
Have read this book in the past; good stories about the future and time travel. Worth another read.
Lauren
Although the stories are a little dated, they were all really good.
Mary
A classic
Lexi
I love Jack Finney... his writing is always surprising, and it stays with you long after you're finished reading it. This collection of short stories is no exception. Some of the stories were better than others (and shame on the editor who chose to end with an incredibly depressing story), but all were interesting and different. Despite the title of the collection, the stories are not all about time travel - there are also stories on magic, flying in a hot air balloon, alternate dimensions, and ...more
Shawna
Some stories are better than others.
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6944
Mr. Finney specialized in thrillers and works of science fiction. Two of his novels, "The Body Snatchers" and "Good Neighbor Sam" became the basis of popular films, but it was "Time and Again" (1970) that won him a devoted following. The novel, about an advertising artist who travels back to the New York of the 1880's, quickly became a cult favorite, beloved especially by New Yorkers for its rich, ...more
More about Jack Finney...
Invasion of the Body Snatchers Time and Again (Time, #1) From Time to Time (Time, #2) Three by Finney The Third Level

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“And that, my friend, is how the world ends. On the edge of a precipice, with one foot over the edge, it stops, turns and goes back, leaving an empty earth of birds and insects, wind, rain and rusting weapons.” 1 likes
“She talked all the way back to the office, looking up at me eagerly through her slanted glasses, shoving the hair back off her face. The upper edge of her glasses bisected her right eye, the lower edge bisected the left; and since one lens made half her eye slightly smaller than normal, while the other lens magnified half of the remaining eye, she seemed to have four separate half-eyes of varying sizes, resembling a Picasso painting, and I got a little dizzy and tripped and nearly fell over a curb.” 0 likes
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