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Time on My Hands

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  193 ratings  ·  30 reviews
While in Paris, Gabriel Prince, a somewhat jaded but charming writer of high-end travel guides, is offered the chance of a lifetime -- a trip through time. There's only one hitch: the left-wing owner of the time machine, quantum physicist Jasper Hudnut, wants Gabriel to perform an errand. Gabriel must go back to pre-World War II Hollywood -- a time when Howard Hawks was in ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 1st 1998 by Scribner Book Company (first published 1997)
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3.88  · 
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 ·  193 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Richard Derus
Apr 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4* of five

The Book Report: Jasper Hudnut is, indeed, a nut. He tells travel writer Gabriel Prince, a footloose and fancy-free political semi-exile from their mutual homeland of the USA as perverted by Ronald Reagan, that he has a time machine, a lot of money, and a proposition for him: Kill Reagan before WWII and the death of his liberal ideas makes him into the nightmare president he turned out to be.

Hudnut, 72, can't do it...what if it takes years to accomplish in the past? Who wants 1
Kressel Housman
Sep 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of time travel
Perhaps I should be embarrassed to admit that I enjoyed this fluff, but I did. It's a time travel adventure and romance set in post-WWII Hollywood. The time traveler's mission is a little flimsy if you ask me: he's out to make sure that Ronald Reagan never enters politics. If I had a time machine, that wouldn't top my list of historical events to change, but even still, this was a fun journey into old Hollywood. While our time traveler befriends Reagan and plots his course of action, he rubs sho ...more
Sep 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Wow, I haven't read such an entertaining book in a long time! I love the possibilities and paradoxes of time travel, and the way it was presented here was just top notch. The story was sometimes funny, always crazy, but not so crazy that I couldn't "go with it." The story took place in southern California in lots of familiar places, including Catalina Island in 1938. I used to live on Catalina, off and on between 1967-1984, so that part was a real blast. This novel even has pictures! And I loved ...more
Mar 26, 2011 rated it liked it
I like that Peter Delacorte has a vocabulary that he’s not afraid to mine. The book’s from the first person perspective of Gabriel Prince, a 43 year old Princeton grad (so important to the narrator that he can’t pretend he was a poseur claiming to be a Princetonian even when it’s killing his cover story) who has fallen into a somewhat knockabout existence writing travel books, just jilted by a Montreal rebel intellectual some 20ish years his junior when he meets Jasper Hudnut, an enigmatic engin ...more
Jul 05, 2012 rated it liked it
I love to read time travel books, and that is probably why I finished this book, which otherwise did not much hold my interest. It's the story of a man who gets access to a time travel machine, and on the suggestion of the previous holder of the machine, goes back in time with the goal of preventing Ronald Reagan from becoming president. The problem is that I don't buy the main character's motivation at all. He doesn't really seem to care passionately about his goal, and his plans for making it ...more
Deborah Katz
Jul 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
It's impossible to explain to people why I like this book without sounding retarded.

"So this guy has a time-travel machine and he needs to stop Regan from becoming president and it's in LA before there are freeways, and he falls in love with this chick, and the food is bad; no one has good ingredients; there's no Whole Foods on Fairfax, yeah, I know! And he jumps back and forth and goes to Catalina, and then Reagan says..."

Yeah, when I get to "time travel machine" and "Then Reagan says..." I thi
Dec 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is one time travel book that was engaging and just plain fun to read! And it was not science fiction-y.

It's easy to posit going back in time to eliminate Hitler before he grew up. It's not that common to suggest we might have benefited if someone could go back in time to divert the young Hollywood contract actor "Dutch" Reagan from his path to the Presidency. The author's depiction of the studio system and 1939 Malibu carried this reader into that world, and the iterations of time travel--a
Jon Spoelstra
Dec 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my all-time favororite reads. You'll have a blast as a time machine takes you back to Hollywood when Ronald Reagan was a struggling B-actor. There's a mystery, there's suspense, there's foreign intrigue and you will wish that Delacorte had written a sequel. You can buy a used copy for just a penny (plus postage) on or get in on Kindle.
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
review of
Peter Delacorte's Time on my Hands
by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - March 16, 2015

My last review was of Jackson Mac Low's 42 Merzgedichte in Memoriam Kurt Schwitters so I read this bk as a break from 'heavier' material for fun & it WAS fun although I wanted a happy ending. All I want anymore is a happy ending. Is that too much to ask for?

I've never heard of the author, I acquired this bk b/c it's about a time traveler whose purpose is to prevent Ronald Reagan from becoming preside
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Books like this one are why I love time travel books. They bend my mind and make me think of alternate time tracks. This one was really well done and very enjoyable. Somewhat reminded me of the time travelers wife, another favorite.
Jul 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Time travel + Hollywood + engaging writing = a thoroughly enjoyable read. With, unfortunately, a thoroughly dissatisfying ending.
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Hard to peg this book. It was a time travel/love story/let's stop Reagan from becoming president story. It is a preposterous tale and, I wouldn't think that I would like it, but I did. It just had a certain charm and the old Hollywood era was interesting and.... I'm a bit of a sucker for love stories and they kept the time travel pretty simple and didn't try to explain how it works (always tricky). Nothing profound but it kept my attention, had some unexpected turns and..... I would probably giv ...more
Mar 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
As a reader who loves both movies of the 40s and a good time-travel yarn, I was really looking forward to this one!
Unfortunately, I don't think Delacorte's skills as a writer matched his concepts in this one. I found Gabriel's almost immediate acceptance of the notion of time travel when he was approached by Jasper to be asking me to suspend MY disbelief far too readily. And similarly, there were just too many 'holes' in the portrayal of other characters.... I don't expect Shakespeare from a SF
Feb 10, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm trying to ignore all the questions I have about why the protagonist would undertake the task -- I mean, if you're going back in time to eliminate (by death or other means) someone from power, why Ronald Reagan? Why not Hitler or Idi Amin? The protagonist certainly has hubris to undertake a mission that would change the world.

Anyway, I still enjoyed the story, the historical Hollywood setting, the little twists and turns. I thought Delacorte's writing was quite enjoyable.
Feb 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: liberals who dream of a Reagan-free 80s, time travel buffs in general
Even though I am a big fan of Ronald Reagan, I could not help liking this book, the central premise of which involves preventing "Ronaldus Magnus" from becoming President of the United States.

Well-written and illustrated with historical photographs, this time travel novel is quite intriguing, with several narrative twists that keep you wondering what will happen next.
Michael Petrie
Jan 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed this story. From Paris to L.A. with a completely different take on time travel ... not at all science fictiony. Just a fun romp thru time ... back to a California before MY time ... and a Ronald Reagan who was just an actor, not yet a politician. I liked the story, the writer's style, his use of language, and the humor.
Aug 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, history, film
A wonderful time-travel change the world book, but it is a love and longing story too. Ronald Reagan is the nemesis, but the ‘hero’ of the story meets Dutch, the actor. Set in Hollywood of 1938 and briefly in the 22nd century is out of print, but perhaps can be found at a library.
Kirkus Review believes it overwrought, but our own lives feel like this occasionally and I don’t feel guilty.
Shawn Thrasher
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A very good book, that stuck in my mind. You won't soon forget it. If I had a time machine, I think I'd have been more selfish, and gone back in time and convinced myself not to borrow so much in student loans.
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club
Okay, so this book is not nearly as wacky as the premise (going back in time to prevent Reagan from becoming president). A very enjoyable read, and we got to meet the author at our Book Club meeting. He read us a bit from the sequel that he's working on, 17 years later. Can't wait.
Oct 22, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I am not ordinarily a fan of time-travel books, but I really enjoyed this one.
Apr 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
mediocre book about a man who travels back in time to prevent Reagan from being President.
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. It was so entertaining that I couldn't put it down. The detail about Hollywood in the 40s was so much fun. Reading this book was like being transported. Loved it.
May 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Similar to the style of Jack Finney. Really liked it!
Dec 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010
I loved the time travel aspect, as always. I just wasn't interested in the time period, 1938 Holywood, or the politics, Reaganomics.
Mary Jo
Nov 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A fun romp through a rollicking good read!!! Loved it!
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
This was a good book. Interesting premise - a man goes back in time to assassinate Ronald Reagan in the 1930s before he can become president and, well, everything goes wrong.
Caitlin Schultz
Jun 29, 2014 rated it liked it
I like the message of this book - that even if you could go back in time to change the present as many times as you like, there will still be sadness and pain in the world.
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books.
Nov 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I have read it 3 or 4 times and will keep this one around for a long time to come.
Linda Tate
Jul 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I liked this book a lot.
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