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About Time: 12 Short Stories
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About Time: 12 Short Stories

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,219 ratings  ·  104 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 the way they had hop ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 19th 1998 by Atria Books (first published 1986)
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4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,219 ratings  ·  104 reviews

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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
Tom Quinn
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you ask me, the best episodes of The Twilight Zone were the not-scary, not-creepy, quiet and mildly comical stories of old folks who traveled back a couple decades in time to relive their childhoods. This collection is like twelve of those wonderful episodes all in a row. They're quaint and quick short stories with twist endings that don't frighten or alarm but instead leave a warm, nostalgic kind of glow. Interesting that there was a vein of "let's go back to the good old days" already in th ...more
Oct 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What can I say!! This is a huge favorite of mine. It's my go to when I can't settle on anything and when I need to escape the world. There are maybe two stories I'm not keen on but I love the rest and my absolute favorite is Where The Cluetts Are. I have a fascination with stories that have houses at their centre and this IS all about the house.
Jack Finney had a fantastic imagination.
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading Jack Finney is like coming back to an old friend who has lots of great stories. Most of his stories involve slippages in time and people who take advantage of them, sometimes because they’re not happy with the present, sometimes because they’re curious about something that happened before they were born. “The Third Level” proposes a third level below ground level at Grand Central Station where the train can take one back to the late 19th century. “Such Interesting Neighbors” features nei ...more
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
A charming collection of fantasy/sf stories by the author of Time and Again. The style of the stories have alot in common with the Twilight Zone tv show and stories by Ray Bradbury. Not all of the stories are about time travel. My personal favorite is Second Chance, a feel-good story that makes me smile whenever I think about it. This collection is well worth reading.
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
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A wonder. A testament to the fact that humans have always been looking for an escape.
Christian Schwoerke
Apr 22, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Originally published on my book blog,

Jack Finney wrote a much-beloved time travel classic, Time and Again. These are short stories that also play with both time and place. All of them are about 20-25 pages, and perfect to dip into between books or when you just have a little reading time.

As with most collections, I appreciated some more than others. One was way off base for me, but overall they were solid and enjoyable.

Finney was born in the Midwest, and that’s where he went
Douglas Summers-Stay
Short stories by the author of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." My favorite, which I first read at age 12, was "Of Missing Persons," a story about faith that I recommend highly, though I can see the author's manipulations better than I could at that age. The worst one was "Lunch Hour Magic" which is "romance" 1950s style and pretty awful (it involves X-ray specs and love potions). Another good one was "Where the Cluetts Are" about a couple who build a house by plans from a century before. It's ...more
Jun 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Looking back on the books I've read in 2018, I realize that although I've taken in collections of poems, essays, and diaries, this Jack Finney anthology is the only actual batch of short STORIES that I've consumed all year! I'm glad I squeezed it in, as I completely enjoyed these tales, perhaps even more than the novels of his which I've read.

Though a few of them do feel slightly dated (as one would expect when reading something more than a half century old), they're wonderfully imaginative, and
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.
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sep 28, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5- most of these felt like the raw material for The Twilight Zone (with good reason), 1950s sci-fi escapism (even though they weren't published until the late 80s). They weren't the most amazing things I'd ever read, but they kept me entertained.
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
A pleasant collection of stories mostly about time travel from the guy who wrote the classic "Invasion of the body snatchers".

The better stories in this collection weren't about time travel though, like the whimsical Bradbury-style "Home Alone" about a bored guy home alone while his wife and kid are away. He decides to build a hot air balloon and go floating across the city at night, picking up a housewife neighbour on the way. Of the time travel stories, one about a teenager travelling in time
Jul 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-gots
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
Janna Craig
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
After being so disappointed with From Time to Time, I was a little hesitant to try more time travel lit from Jack Finney, especially short stories, which can be difficult to get right. Thankfully, About Time is more along the lines of Time and Again as far as quality and charm goes. In fact, I think the short story may be Jack Finney's forte (based on my admittedly very small sampling of his work). These stories are honestly delightful. My favorites were "Where the Cluetts Are" (a new house some ...more
I read the first three stories, and although a pleasant diversion, they were all filled with a kind of dreamy nostalgia for olden times that wore on me after a while. (His novel Time and Again is the same kind of thing, but was elevated a bit by the historical research and time travel cleverness). The stories here were clever (I like the idea about the "mysterious couple"), but again, they were merely pleasant and didn't pull me in with any tension or plot conflicts.
Jun 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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
Todd Carney
Jun 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Brittany Horton
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Seldom do I find a book of short stories where I love every single narrative. I loved everything about this book- the writing style, era, characters and the big ideas behind these seemingly small stories. This has become one of my favorite books of all time and definitely warrants yearly re-reads! Thank you Jack Finney for imagining this magnificent book into existence!
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Just finished reading About Time by Jack Finney. Fun little book. All time travel stories and books make me wonder. Still, this one had me wondering more than most. All the little daydreams. All the little "what ifs." All the potential opportunities for all those coulda, shoulda, woulda thoughts. What would one change if one had the opportunity? Not the "If I knew then what I know now I'd have invested in . . . " or "If I knew then what I know now I would have done this rather than that." I thin ...more
Oct 16, 2015 rated it liked it
I liked it, but not THAT much. It reminded me of some of Ray Bradbury's nostalgic short stories, of Sara Teasdale poetry, of autumn leaves and the smell of burning leaves in September.
I probably do not agree with the general idea that is so prevalent in these short stories as well as in “Time and Again”, that life was better “before”. Before 1900 or before 1933 or before 1972 it does not seem to really matter, it has to be “before”.
It was ok, but probably not something that I will pick up again
Sep 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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).
Michael Anderson
Aug 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
May 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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!
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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 1880s, quickly became a cult favorite, beloved especially by New Yorkers for its rich, painst ...more
“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.” 2 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.” 1 likes
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