Jack Finney is an author of science fiction and horror who was born in Milwaukee in 1911. Best known for books like ‘The Body Snatchers’, Finney died in 1995.
Jack Finney was actually initially named John Finney. His name was eventually changed to Walter Braden Finney. The change was performed in honor of Finney’s father who died when he was three.
Despite the name change, people called Finney ‘Jack’ for as long as he could remember. Graduating from Knox College in Illinois in 1934, Finney and Marguerite Guest where married not long after, bearing two children later on.
Finney eventually moved to New York. He worked with an advertising company for a while before moving on in the 1950s to find his fortunes elsewhere. By the time he Jack grew ill and died, Jack Finney had made a name for himself in the entertainment arena.
Success as a writer began for Finney when he wrote ‘5 Against the House’, his first novel, which was published in 1954 and received a movie adaptation soon after. It soon became obvious that Finney’s initial success was no mere fluke when his next novel ‘The Body Snatches’ was adapted into one of the most popular science fiction films of all time.
Finney continued to build upon his fame, producing one hit after another, the author hitting the peak of his career with ‘Time and Again’, a science fiction novel published in 1970 that delved into the concept of time travel.
The book was notable for the impressively vivid pictures of life in 1882 New York that Jack Finney painted, earning the author further recognition. The author has written short stories like ‘Breakfast in Bed’, I’m Scared’, and ‘The Widow’s Walk’, this along with novels and plays.
Jack Finney had opportunities like few other authors to see a wide variety of his books receive film adaptations, this including 5 Against the House, Good Neighbor Sam and Maxie to mention but a few.
Of course, most people will always remember him for the Body Snatchers movie. That particular book put him on the map. It is the reason people have continued to talk about him for so long, making him a main stay in the annals of horror and science fiction.
Some people like to point to the movie ‘Somewhere in Time’ from 1980 as an adaption of one of Jack Finney’s books. However, that movie was actually based on ‘Bid Time Return’ by Richard Matheson. The confusion arises from the fact that the time travel techniques seen in ‘Time and Again’ are featured in ‘Somewhere in Time’.
Mill Valley is a quiet town whose peace is shattered one fall evening when Doctor Miles Bennell stumbles upon an insidious plot.
Alien life-forms have begun taking over the minds and bodies of the good doctor’s friends and family, not to mention the woman he loves. For Miles, the World as he knew it is all but ending.
This book was first published in 1955. It became an instant classic, at least in the genre of ultimate alien invasion stories, emphasizing the triumph of the human spirit and hitting such a chord among readers that it spawned a movie adaptation and a number of remakes.
Many readers that consumed this book during its earliest days will tell you that it lives up to the hype several decades later. Jack Finney is very fast paced in his telling of the story, delivering an ending that is a little different from what people remember from the movie.
Doctor Miles Bennell stands at the center of this story. The 28-year-old is reunited with close friend Becky Driscoll whose recent divorce drove her to return to the small Californian town.
A mutual attraction obviously exists between the two. Becky has come to town to seek Miles’ help. Her cousin is under the delusion that her uncle Ira is some sort of imposter. Becky calls upon Miles to resolve what she believes to be a medical ailment.
It doesn’t take Miles long to notice that something sinister is afoot. Reading this Jack Finney story is a blast. While it is a classic, the book isn’t without its problems. This book is obviously a product of its time, and it is easy to see why some people today might consider it disposable.
However, that doesn’t make it any less entertaining. Finney manages to inject a disturbing vibe throughout the story’s run. The book is a worthwhile endeavor for anyone who’s curious about the hype surrounding the classic movie.
+Time and Again
A young man named Morley enlists in a secret government experiment that sees him transported to New York City in the year 1882. There Morley is immersed in the glitter and charm of the city, solving a 20th-century mystery in the process, falling for a beautiful woman and soon finding that he cannot quite choose between his life in the present and life in the past.
This is a much loved Jack Finney novel about time travel. The book sees a young man thrust eighty years into the past. Morley has a fairly interesting life in the present. Morley has a girlfriend whose antique shop provides him curious insight into events of the past, especially occurrences in New York.
A visit from the project manager of a United States government program gives Morley a chance to partake in a great adventure. Jack Finney delves into the concept of time travel like few others, exploring the traumatic elements that are often left untouched.
Morley finds the idea of interacting with people who are technically dead a little mortifying, Finney refusing to treat the existential complexities that assault his protagonist as trivial matters.
There are twists and turns all over the place. Finney takes chances with time travel but also avoids the clichés that many authors are a little too quick to depend on. While some people might have some gripes about the ending, most have admitted to finding it highly satisfying.
Jack Finney is definitely in a class of his own when it comes to writing about time travel. This fantasy romance novel is definitely a classic worth any curious reader’s time. There have been several attempts to turn this book into a movie; for various reasons, Hollywood hasn’t yet succeeded in this endeavor. However, the concepts in this book have been utilized in other movies and books on a number of occasions.
Books in order of publication by series:
Time and Again Books
|Time and Again||(1970)|
|From Time to Time||(1995)|
|5 Against the House||(1954)|
|Invasion of the Body Snatchers aka The Body Snatchers||(1954)|
|The House of Numbers||(1957)|
|Assault On a Queen||(1959)|
|Good Neighbour Sam||(1963)|
|The Woodrow Wilson Dime||(1968)|
|The Night People||(1977)|
Anthologies containing stories by Jack Finney Books
|The 1st Pan Book of Horror Stories||(1959)|
|Best Fantasy Stories||(1962)|
|Fifty Short Science Fiction Tales||(1963)|
|Stories of Suspense||(1963)|
|The Playboy Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy||(1966)|
|The Playboy Book of Horror and the Supernatural||(1967)|
|Eleven Great Horror Stories||(1969)|
|Lost Worlds, Unknown Horizons||(1978)|
|The Great SF Stories 13||(1985)|
|Great Science Fiction of the 20th Century||(1987)|
|The Third Level||(1940)|
|The Clock of Time||(1957)|
|I Love Galesburg in the Springtime||(1962)|