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Time On My Hands

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  206 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Here's a genre you don't run into every day--a political time-travel novel. If you enjoyed A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, or Back to the Future you'll definitely want to give this a tumble. A brilliant physicist has discovered a time machine from the 22d century languishing in an obscure Paris technical museum, but is too old to try it out himself. Fortunatel ...more
Published (first published 1997)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  206 ratings  ·  35 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  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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. ...more
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 president.
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.
Time travel + Hollywood + engaging writing = a thoroughly enjoyable read. With, unfortunately, a thoroughly dissatisfying ending.
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At times, your head may spin, but at other times, this will make you think. Reagan bears a striking resemblance to Trump in the book, as far as being terrible.
Sybil Lucas
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ending really stinks. I could not believe what I was reading... All of a sudden, it's the last page. Oh gosh, it is awful. Otherwise, I really got into this book. I liked the author's style.
Martin C
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love the mix of historical fiction and time travel - great read!
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Time travel AND the idea that Ronald Regan's presidency ruined America? What's not to like?
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 11, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: film, sci-fi, history
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.
Feb 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Shawn Thrasher
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 27, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 19, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
mediocre book about a man who travels back in time to prevent Reagan from being President.
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.
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favorite books.
May 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Similar to the style of Jack Finney. Really liked it!
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