Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Shortcut in Time (A Shortcut in Time, #1)” as Want to Read:
A Shortcut in Time (A Shortcut in Time, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Shortcut in Time

(A Shortcut in Time)

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  408 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Euclid Heights, Illinois, is a town of many shortcuts, between houses, through orchards, and across fields. Josh Winkler, a local artist and longtime resident, knows these irregular pathways well, but he is flabbergasted when a hasty dash down a familiar walk deposits him fifteen minutes in the past. At first, Josh is more intrigued than alarmed by this accidental time tra ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 17th 2004 by Forge Books (first published January 2003)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Shortcut in Time, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Shortcut in Time

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  408 ratings  ·  54 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Apr 01, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy Oakes
Feb 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This book held my interest literally around the clock. However, I was quite disappointed with the ending -- not, perhaps (although it is true) because the story didn't end the way I though it should but because the end where you're wondering what is going to happen now is just flat. Flat as a pancake. As I read the last page I said to myself "huh?" and wondered if the author was like sitting on a deadline & couldn't think of an ending or what. Or perhaps it's just me and I'm not imaginative ...more
Apr 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: time-travel
I really loved this book...until the last page! It was a very quick read, had I had the time, I could've finished it in one sitting.

The novel is about a man named Josh who discovers one day that he can travel back in time, 15 minutes. From there, the story takes some turns about various aspects of time travel. I am not a huge sci-fi person, and I didn't mind that the author doesn't go into detail about the how and why of the time travel.


The thing I didn't like about this book was the
Mar 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: time-travel
Not the best book I've ever read but an interesting concept. I think the ending could have been better but enjoyed it all the same.
Feb 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to bookczuk by: Nancy Oakes
My friend Nancy once offered me this book saying it hooked her like a bass, though the end disappointed her. Hooked like a bass? You think I'm gonna turn that down?

Well...for all the forewarning, I forgot that the end of this book was abrupt. Huh? Did the last chapter go missing in the publishing process? Are there plans for a sequel?

I feel a little dissatisfied, after having been carried so well through the rest of the book.

There was only one other jarring factor for me- when Josh meets the fo
Aug 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one
Shelves: novels
What an unusual book. I felt nothing for the main character, only read the book as I was captured by the blurb and have always liked stories that deal with time travel.

Only the last third of the book had anything that was redeeming. And only that portion of the book had characters that I liked.

The ending was different from what I had anticipated, far better than the book itself. And in the last 15 pages the character that I most liked appeared, Lee.

Had it not been for the ending, I would have gi
Apr 06, 2011 rated it liked it
I SO wanted to give this book five stars. It's an amazingly well written time travel novel that feels like a comforting mix of Bradbury, Steven Millhauser and Connie Willis, and yet it completely falls apart in the last 15 pages. It's as if the book was cancelled rather than concluded. I'm totally fine with ambiguous ending, but this just felt like a frustrating cop out. With so many interesting ideas and characters on the table, this ending ignored all of them. Yet, I still recommend this book, ...more
Apr 19, 2009 rated it liked it
Not a bad book, intriguing small town time-travel story right from the start. However, the ending was a little "HUH??" and it really made you think "HUH??" and it required some deeper thought once the book was done. Usually the last page of a book like this would be a bit more explanitory, but the explaination has to come from your own brain ( and I think I actually "got it" on my own. Maybe not a "multiple-read" book but good to read a least once.
Feb 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is all about character development. It was just so well done, I would have given it 5 stars except that the book needed better editing. Top notch writing that got second tier editing and marketing. Because of the time travel aspects it ended up in the science fiction selves, but it belongs there about as much as Jane Austin.
Erin Pierce
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good story, exciting plot. Would have given it 5 stars, but the ending was somewhat anti-climactic & disappointing.
Elizabeth K.
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013-new-reads
This was disappointing, in large part because it's a very good story with a lot of potential, but the writing was far too hack for me to enjoy it very much at all. In fact, I'm so het up there are going to be spoilers.

It's a time travel book, a small town time travel book (see, doesn't that sound promising?) that reminded me a bit of Jack Finney (who I like a lot). What was killing it for me was the interpersonal stuff. I actively disliked just about every character. About 1/3 the way through, I
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, borrowed, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
Whelp, it's a time travel book, but any comparison to Jack Finney you're likely to read (I sure did) is, in my opinion, unwarranted. Despite the subject matter, this one somehow lacks the magic, is one way to put it. Another way to put it is that the reader's necessary suspension of disbelief is not rewarded. Dickinson spends virtually no time on the actual time traveling but then will go into really oddly detailed descriptions on a random scene such as the toast theft one, which was too transpa ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brooke Pisarsky
Nov 20, 2016 rated it did not like it
This book didn't work for me. For a book about time travel, there was precious little traveling going on. And the "science" by which the characters traveled was...non-existent. From what I gathered, it needed to be raining & the traveler couldn't be thinking about traveling. The hell? The characters themselves were flat, the interactions between them were flat, the whole story line was FLAT. There wasn't a single character that had any sort of soul & most of the conversations between the ...more
Mike Vasich
Oct 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
The characters felt real, and the time travel elements were deftly handled. I liked that the plot--despite involving time travel--did not get 'too big', and I was not able to see where the book was going until it went there.

The ending was great--the characters had to deal with the realistic consequences of their time travel actions, but again, I would not have guessed where the writer was going. Ultimately, the characters change from beginning to end, and it felt satisfying that things were not
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, time-travel
Barely 3 stars. If there were an "indifferent" rating, I would give it to this book. I love time travel books, but this one was just ok. The characters were not very believable. For example, a father goes back in time to rescue his daughter, and instead of high-tailing it back with her when he can, he hangs around for site-seeing and puts his daughter in danger. Then he allows her to stay, as if she were on vacation, while he returns to the present, not sure if he'll be able to get back to her. ...more
David Fiore
Jan 16, 2013 rated it liked it
A fine addition to the time travel genre, with the trope in this case generated primarily by human desire (a la Time and Again), with a little help from quirks of small town Midwestern cartography and natural electromagnetic activity... The narrator/protagonist makes a sympathetic guide into this multilayered exploration of a town with two different names and at least as many destinies. Some of the characters are wonderfully memorable, particularly Penny and the little-seen Doug Vug, but I do wi ...more
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Euclid Illinois is a town which has shortcuts that go through neighborhoods and orchards. One evening Josh is racing on foot through a thunderstorm down one of the perbs and he goes back fifteen minutes in time. He didn't know what to think of it until soon after he meets a girl from 1908 who was looking for her friend Dash. All they know about the apparent time travel is that they were in the same area during a storm when it happened. Josh tries to help the girl find her way back and uncovers m ...more
Jann Barber
Oct 13, 2009 rated it liked it
I enjoy a good time travel book. In this one, Josh Winkler discovers that he has the ability to move just 15 minutes backward in time. However, after he begins having these adventures, his life begins to unravel. He eventually manages to go back 80 years and meets a 15-year old girl, Constance Morceau, who is an unsuspecting time traveler. Josh's own daughter ends up being transported back three generations and he learns she will die in the influenza epidemic after WWI unless he can get her out. ...more
Mar 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is about shortcuts. The town is full of shortcuts, both built into the town, and the people. Everybody wants things to go right for them in the easiest way possible. But we learn there are no shortcuts. If Josh wants to succeed, he needs to participate in his life. Flo judged her success by popularity. Penny wanted to be a grown-up faster. But none of these shortcuts really work. And the shortcuts in time don't take anyone to where they want to go." quote from an amazon reader review

Rob Stonerock
Dec 30, 2012 rated it did not like it
Poorly-developed, unlikable, static characters combine with an unsatisfying end. Dickinson relies heavily on first-person exposition to reveal what little plot the book contains. Every single plot complication is dropped or left dangling. Don't expect a resolution to anything. It seems as though Dickinson, himself, has lost track of his plot threads. If you're looking for a good time- travel novel, this is not it.

Feb 22, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, scifi
I don't think I've ever read a book where I've disliked every single character as much as I disliked the characters in this book. The only reason I'm giving this book 2 stars instead of 1 is that I liked the time travel concept...just very disappointed that the characters didn't have a few more redeeming qualities. By the end I was getting to the point where I was hoping something bad would happen to all of them.
Jan 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
An interesting tale of time travel. The story seemed to start out on a sad note and it felt like it held that note throughout. I also felt that several threads were started but never answered or addressed. The ending felt a little abrupt and left me with a lot of questions. Overall, I liked the story although the characters didn't seem to flesh out completely. A nice tale to while away the afternoon though.
Bethani Middleton
Apr 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Time travel is always fascinating to read about - every author has a different idea concerning it. This story was imaginative and engrossing. I'm a little unsure how I feel about the ending... in the end I think his situation was better than in the beginning, but you get used to the life at the start and the wish that everything will work itself out, you don't plan on the whole life changing completely. It's a little sad and difficult to deal with.
Nov 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book came very close to getting 5 stars. I loved it, right up to the last 2 or 3 pages. The end just was not logical with the rest of the story. I would still recommend the book, it was a good read. It was different from most time travel that I have read in that there really wasn't a "romance" involved.
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
There are some intriguing threads here, but the reactions of central characters are so unrealistic that the book feels like an early draft. I really feel the stories could have been better told without the time travel, since that was the weakest link in this piece.
Laura K
Jun 11, 2016 rated it liked it
A really great book about time travel that I couldn't put down that had a wierd and abrupt ending. The last 30 pages were odd. Then it ends abruptly. I even checked Goodreads to see if the copy I have is missing some pages. Nope. 288 pages...
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Good premise, kind of lost the thread along the way. Still, entertaining enough although I found the ending rather abrupt and not quite comprehensible. Could have used another brief chapter or an epilogue to explain it.
Jun 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, time-travel
Diagonal paths
Allow time slip. Plodding pace.
No real point to it.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Time on My Hands
  • The Best Time Travel Stories of the 20th Century
  • Three Lives to Live
  • Time's Children
  • Timesplash (Timesplash, #1)
  • Second Paradigm
  • About Time: 12 Short Stories
  • Expiration Date
  • The Cusanus Game
  • There Will Be Time
  • Up the Line
  • Glimpses
  • The Case of the Slam Dunk Mystery (The New Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley, #15)
  • Weighing Shadows
  • The Man Who Folded Himself
  • On My Way (26 Fairmount Avenue Book, #3)
  • Mary-Kate & Ashley: Our Story--The Official Biography
  • The Case of the Giggling Ghost (The New Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley, #31)
See similar books…
Charles Dickinson is an American writer known for his literary novels that mix heartbreak and humor with action and well-developed characters. His books include, in the order of their publication: Waltz in Marathon, Crows, With or Without (a short story collection), The Widows' Adventures, Rumor Has It, A Shortcut in Time, and its sequel, A Family in Time. His short stories have appeared in Atlant ...more

Other books in the series

A Shortcut in Time (2 books)
  • A Family in Time (A Shortcut in Time, #2)