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What if time travel is all in our heads? In the 1970s, artist Simon Morley has the opportunity to put just such a theory to the test when he is recruited by a top-secret government agency to experiment with time travel. Si is trained to ignore the modern world and to focus exclusively on a specific time and place in the past. When he is fully schooled in the culture of the late Victorian era, Si is installed in one of New York City’s historic architectural landmarks, the Dakota. By immersing himself in the environment, clothing, food, reading material, and lifestyle of a different era, and with the right hypnotic influence at the right moment, Si is expected to be able to walk outside and find himself in Central Park circa 1880. Si is astonished and thrilled when the experiment works. But when his journeys to the past are complicated by romance and a reluctance to cooperate with the agency in charge, his success is severely questioned and everything Si believes in is challenged. This is a finely-wrought story, rich in atmosphere and intimate detail, so the reader is every bit as involved in the experiments and experiences as Si. Time and Again is an early example of an illustrated novel as well; there are pages of photographs of late nineteenth century New York so the reader can actually see what Si sees. Time and Again is as graceful and thoughtful a version of time travel as you will ever have the pleasure to read.
posted Dec 30, 2009 at 4:00PM
It saddens me that this charming story is not talked about more these days. Finney creates a startlingly vivid portrait of 19th-century New York, replete with old photographs of the people and places mentioned within. As his protagonist falls more deeply under the past’s spell, so do we, and the final moments will leave you breathless. Worthy of a mass rediscovery by passionate readers of all genres.
posted Oct 24, 2012 at 2:52PM
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Si (Simon) Morley
20th century man.
19th century woman.