Time and Again: A Short Story


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Favorite scenes: a night time sleigh ride in the snow through Central Park, a trip down Broadway in a horse drawn tram, a devastating fire in a sprawling office building. There is an attempt to have a mystery story as a backbone to the novel and a source of suspense, but this felt flat and uninspired for me more often than not. In conclusion, some very good concepts about time travel and its implications, and excellent research, but the execution is less impressive.

Finney is more ambitious and far reaching in his story than Matheson, but he is not as good a storyteller. View all 4 comments. Apr 23, H. Shelves: fiction-sf , dont-own. If Simon Morley, protagonist of Finney's Time and Again, had any real personality beyond his nickname being "Si," perhaps the book's loose ends and rough edges would have distracted less. But he is neither a complex and interesting original nor a heavy-handed archetype. He's more of a blank slate onto which we might project ourselves, the first-person writing tone that of an amateur blogger who is trying his hand at a journalistic account of a very exciting place.

No matter the topic, if the wri If Simon Morley, protagonist of Finney's Time and Again, had any real personality beyond his nickname being "Si," perhaps the book's loose ends and rough edges would have distracted less. No matter the topic, if the writing is boring so must be the reading. Here, plot must take the place of character but, unfortunately, it has many weaknesses, and often what strength it appears to have is mere fluff: the author's showing off of his in-depth research on the 's.

There is beauty in the idea of simplicity and novelty as the route to time-travel, but Finney's simplicity is just that: it falls short. The idea is that with enough study on a time and place, a person can mentally transport themselves to this other time. This is put forth as a government project, and Finney attempts an exploration of the human motivation to use knowledge that shouldn't be used, to negative ends. So many obvious questions pop up, left unanswered, that the ridiculousness gets in the way of the story.

It comes off as badly thought-out and amateurish. How does a time-traveler come equipped with money? How does he will himself to a specific day? How does time pass in the present while one is in the past? Why isn't the government asking these questions? Why isn't the government watching more carefully? Why is it so easy for random people to be able to do this when apparently it's so hard for others who spend ages studying and have huge amounts of government money spent on them?

It's all very sloppy. Luckily there was another storyline of some mystery and suspense that kept things moving. It's hard to fall in love with characters that do not have much character to them, and harder still to care whether they fall for each other. I think the breaking point for me was when Morely decides to interfere in his love interest's life upon the epiphany that the people of the 's are just as human and worthy as those of his time. So Morely decides that these are real people, and his action against their real pain is to The morality of this story seemed as confused and vague as the character, actually, and it gets quite full of it at the end.

If I hadn't come to this book with high expectations, I might have been more accepting of the mildly diverting mystery storyline, but I think I would have been less forgiving of the onanistic travel book descriptions of buildings and carriages, and verbatim quotes from newspapers of the time. View all 7 comments. May 18, Andrew Smith rated it really liked it Shelves: science-fiction , time-travel. I'm doing the rounds of time travel novels. Well, last of a list of four of my favourite books. I love the options time travel opens up and each of the above does a brilliant job of exploiting that.

The only reason this doesn't 't climb higher in the list is that I I'm doing the rounds of time travel novels. The only reason this doesn't 't climb higher in the list is that I found the 'present day' setting somewhat off putting itself. It's written and set in the 70's and this period though I lived through it myself as a teenager and into my twenties seems like a time travel adventure in itself. That said, it's detailed, clever and has the author has found a brilliant way of wrapping up the story. I've just ordered and am about to read the follow up book published around the time of the author's death Can't wait!

Would welcome any further recommendations for god time travel capers. View all 47 comments. Interesting method of time travel. For one thing,its far too long and plodding. It would have been a much better book at half its length. The really interesting action doesn't get started until well into the book's second half. They treat him well, but he's bored silly with making sketches of bars of soap. A mysterious man called Ruben Rube Prien visits him at the ad agency. They go out for lunch, and Prien reveals that he's recruiting Si for a project so secret he can't even reveal its nature.

Si also cannot tell anyone else about it. He also tells Si that if he chooses to participate, he will be part of the biggest adventure anyone can possibly have. Rube makes it clear to Si that his participation in the project will be contingent upon his passing a battery of tests. Rube also makes it clear that the project hasn't found more than a handful of candidates that meet its specifications.

After a few days, Si agrees to at least check out the project. He also gives his notice at the ad agency, telling his boss that he wants to travel around the country to see if he can make it as a serious artists. Si is told to show up at a huge warehouse on the West Side of Manhattan. It appears to be the site of a moving company, Beaky Brothers.

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Time And Time Again

Hidden away inside are what appear to be stage sets, depicting various times and places. Si does pass the tests. Most important is that he is a very good subject for hypnosis. His perceptive artist's eye is also an important asset. He's told this is a secret government project, of which he agrees to be a part. Si finally gets the idea that the point of the project is to send him back into the past. He specifically requests to be sent to Manhattan in The reason for this request is that Si's girlfriend, Kate, has a letter mailed in January from Manhattan. Her adoptive parents, the Carmodys, gave Kate the letter, in a robin's egg blue envelope.

Aparently Mr. Carmody's dad committed suicide after receiving this letter. The letter is a mystery. No one knows how it relates to the suicide. Also it says something about "the fire which will destroy the whole world. The project is headed by the distinguished Dr. Danziger, an elderly former academic. The project's method for time travel appears to be a combination of self-hypnosis, and surrounding the time travel "operatives" with clothing, reading material, and an environment suitable to the time and place they are time travelling to.

The project sets Si up in an apartment in the Dakota, an old and distinguished Manhattan apartment building in the West Seventies, which was around in They give him clothing and reading material suitable to One night he leaves the building and knows he is in There are no cars on the streets, only a single horse drawn sleigh with a man and a girl in it.

It soon becomes apparent that Si is one of the few who is capable of time travel. On one of his first trips, Kate joins him, suitably attired. They get to the downtown Manhattan Post Office on the date and time the mysterious letter was postmarked and they see the man mailing it. They follow him and find out where he lives.

Si later discovers that the man's name is Jacob Pickering. Anyway, the project forbids Kate to accompany him on future excursions. Si goes back to repeatedly. He find the boarding house where Pickering lives and takes a room there. Julia Charbonneau is a young woman who assists her aunt in maintaining the boarding house. He tours the Ladies' Mile with Julia. He attends the opera, and various balls, fetes, and parties. He describes for us the elegant homes and hotels of that time.

He rides in horse drawn buses and in sleighs. Si has many adventures and does finally get to the bottom of the mysterious letter. He encounters many local characters, including a coachman, other boarders in the boarding house, the famous police chief Inspector Byrnes, and Andrew Carmody, the recipient of the letter. He decides that he prefers to the present, where, as he sees it, modern man is on a collision coarse to destruction, after having lost the joy of being alive. There is a totally surprising ending, which I won't reveal.

Time and Again by Josh Ruth on Prezi

The book was fun, but it has several major flaws. For one thing, as I've already mentioned, it's far too long. Its pace, especially in the first half of the novel, can be plodding. Another flaw is that I found the method used for time travel a bit difficult to believe, maybe because I've read a lot of time travel books. Most other novels about time travel use a few different methods. There are time travel vehicles for example, the tardis in any Dr. Who TV show or novel. There are spontaneous time travellers for whom time travelling is an inherited trait over which they have no control as in The Time Traveler's Wife.

There are physical portalsusually sacred spaces, as in the stone circles in Outlander. The method used in "Time and Again" was the least convincing of all. We are told that not many can do what Si was able to accomplish. Still, if all it takes is a costume, a set, some props, and self-hypnosis, why aren't visitors to Renaissance Faires time travelling?

Unless they are and we don't hear about it : Here's another issue I had with this book. I found Si's belief that life in was better slightly naive, although I did see his point about the soul deadening destructiveness of modern man. Life for many in was brutish and short. This was particularly true of the poor. To his credit, Jack Finney does show us a few examples of the working class poor, in particular the coachman driving the public bus with whom Si converses.

But, even with its faults, this novel is worth reading. Paul Hecht does a passable, although not extraordinary job of reading the audio, although honestly I preferred Campbell Scott, who read the abridged version I started with before realizing it was abridged. View all 17 comments. Mar 31, Stephen rated it really liked it.

I finally found in my local Deseret Industries, a definite treasure. Note the duration or time frame of settings. Unit of time frame may vary from hours to days to weeks to years. Short story that has setting of few hours may typically be clearer and more effective than with setting of few months or years.

Be very careful. It may turn fatal attempt for short story writing. Re-look your plot because both the requirements need dynamic setting that is NOT recommended for short stories. But if you are still convinced for longer time frame then remember two points: firstly, advance events in your story faster, and secondly, place important events almost at equal distance. If you need multiple time frames for your plot, for example many scenes of fifteen minutes of online chatting, structure it in chronological or reverse chronological order.

Avoid crisscross transitions among time frames even expert writer would avoid it. Further you must use signposts for example subheadings with dates or any other creative method to provide clear idea of the time frames and of the transitions among them to readers. Example 7: Read this psychological thriller Do Not Kill My Love that uses multiple time frames of different units with crisscross transitions. As a writer of short stories you must vividly describe surroundings. Here vivid description should not be misunderstood by predictable events and actions. You may choose to save few descriptions for climax but whatever you decide to disclose must be absolutely clear and very importantly be appealing to five senses of your readers.

Be poetic, use suitable adjectives, script dialogues, or even deploy side characters… do whatever you need to ensure that the reader lives your story while reading. Example 8: Read this heart touching philosophical short story Cycle of Life. Now read below two paragraphs: [1] has no description of setting where as [2] taken from the story has description of surroundings.


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After a long week gap I saw my grandpa — my best friend. Grandpa was sleeping peacefully on hospital bed. There were many small TV and radio alike boxes with tiny lights. I knew that the sound was fading heart beats of my best friend — my grandpa. Plot is flesh and muscles of short stories. More creatively you describe and logically connect the events and actions, stronger the plot would be; and stronger the plot you create, better interest would it generate among readers.

A plot has start, body and end that are linked sequentially by events and character actions. You must so choose a start that your reader gets hooked to the story. Now you may have question — how to do this? Well, answer is not so straight forward. You must know your readers well: what they like, what they speak, what surprises them, what arouses their interest… but finally it is your creativity.

Your reader must try to get answer from best of her ability and experience but she should finally end up digging into subsequent lines of your stories to quench her temporarily aroused inquisitiveness. Do not worry if you feel you still miss the punch in your first line. It comes with practice. Keep reading short stories… at least first line. If you can leave a story after reading its first line only, then I would not recommend such first line for your story. You need a tailor who will sew events and actions together in a meaningful and fashionable way in your story.

Typically it should be one of the characters you choose — The Narrator of your story. Remember the narrator puts point of view from her or his or its perspective. Whose perspective would be better? It is not always perspective of protagonist that would make the plot better. Husband is narrator of this story. The selfless love of wife would be presented more strongly if the person she loves presents it. One more consideration while selecting suitable point of view is that the narrator can either support theme of story, oppose it, or present it neutrally.

Any of these three styles is okay but I would recommend to choose a narrator that in general either directly would oppose the theme or act more to do so. Depending upon what role narrator is playing in story, the plot would be written in first I or We , second You or third he, she, they… person perspective.

Hmmm… Do you like conflict? YES or NO? If no, start liking it because conflict gives life to short stories. It is struggle between two sides of the theme of the story. Conflict can be between characters, thoughts, emotions, beliefs or anything that exists in this world in contrast. You typically find protagonist at one side of the conflict and on the other side it could be other important characters, society, or even supernatural powers.

Sometime protagonist would be conflicting with itself such as contradictory thoughts or, even worse, alter ego as you read in Do Not Kill My Love. Have you ever tried resolving a conflict either professionally or personally? If yes, you know it takes time and unfortunately you do not have time in short stories. Choose only one conflict around the central idea of the theme. What does bother your readers?

Do you see something that is still not resolved? Can you create confusion by revealing something surprising? I am sure you would get many ideas around any theme by answering these questions but choose one that you can personally relate something you were touched recently or intensely. More you relate to conflict, better you can animate the settings and develop characters.

As we discussed, conflict gives life to short story, you must heightened the tension in your plot. Overcoming easy obstructions would not make your lead characters memorable. But, do not overdo it. Very rarely a superman would be liked in a short story.


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So how to do it? Wait… he changed himself by started believing that gift does matter to express love. Central idea or main belief presented by a short story is called theme. It is skeleton or frame of your short story that is decorated by plot, setting, conflict and characters. You may find myriad themes around you such as triumph of true love, honesty is best policy, God is great, tomorrow never comes, determination finally brings success, true love does not exist…. Every word in short story must be written for the theme therefore it is very important that theme is clear to you when you write story.

Other elements of short stories — characters, settings, plot and conflicts — must tightly but comprehensively be tied to the theme. Be very careful not to be tempted to digress even slightly from the theme while writing short stories. You must heartedly decorate the setting and develop the characters but within narrow subject line as specified by the theme. Sometime, it may so happen that you may not be very sure of the theme while starting your story. No worry, in such case you determine the theme after completing the story and then critically chisel away extra flab that is not really needed for the theme of your short story.

This is most important tip for becoming a successful short story writer — write for yourself. Unleash your creativity without impounding it by any rule. If you feel to break any rule, do it. Hope you enjoyed this article. We love to read your feedback and comments. Furthermore, if you like us to review your short stories, our editors would be glad to do so for free. Wish you all the best for your short story writing and publishing.

I stopped practicing my religion, had sex for the first time, and started dating Asian guys exclusively. Skip to content Free download. Once you're comfortable speaking on each of these elements, it's time to dive into the theme. These three questions will help you unearth it:. Once you hit that third question, you'll be well on your way to understanding the theme of the story.

The more you read, the more you'll start to see common themes. Of course, the list goes on and on. That's the beauty of artistic expression. The central theme can be absolutely anything the author chooses to focus on. Here's an even greater list of common themes in literature and movies. The more you read, the more you'll spot some of those common themes listed above.

Certainly, courage, death, friendship, and love abound. Let's take a closer look at each of these common themes, as well as some interesting examples from popular works of fiction.

How to Find the Theme

Courage is a wonderful theme to explore in writing. Life is full of difficult moments that must be surmounted, so why not draw inspiration from fictional and nonfictional characters in a piece of literature? It just may be the story that inspires someone else to push through the next challenge in life. Here are a few examples of courage in major works of literature:.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway features characters who endure a difficult war and display honorable courage in nearly every instance. The Hobbit by J. Tolkien tells the tale of a homely hobbit who sets off on an important quest. Iliad and Odyssey by Homer also maintain a war theme and the bravery that one must assume in order to survive. Life of Pi by Yann Martel tells the story of a young boy fighting to survive after a shipwreck in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Lord of the Flies by William Golding features a group of boys stranded on a deserted island, fighting to survive.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy highlights the courage of the men fighting a war as well as the courage of the women who must make difficult decisions back on the homefront. Death is something everyone will face. It's packed with so much uncertainty. And, for those left behind, it leaves lingering feelings of sadness and, sometimes, even remorse. This can be a great theme if your goal is to tug at the heartstrings of your readers. Here are a few examples of death and dying in major works of literature:.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold explores death and grief from the perspective of a girl who was just murdered. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green focuses on teenagers that must come to terms with their terminal illness. Valued friendships can completely alter one's life. It can sustain you through moments when you need to pull out all of your courage. It can bolster us when we're feeling down. And it's also a wonderful prize when celebrating life's special moments. Here are a few examples of the beauty of friendship in major works of literature:.

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes tells the story of two men who, essentially, embark on an epic road trip. The ties that bond their friendship make all their adventures possible. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. Rowling embraces the theme of friendship. In fact, every novel in the series hones in on this concept. Harry, Ron, and Hermione's unbreakable friendship is strong enough to allow them to stand up to even the greatest of sorcerers.

The Outsiders by Amanda Levickas promotes the theme of friendship and how having someone to lean on can usher you through some of life's most pivotal moments. Of course, love can move the world. When two characters fall in love, they'll go to any lengths to stay together. It makes for an interesting story to see how love survives, despite all the curveballs the main characters might face.

Here are a few examples of love in major works of literature:.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy focuses on love as a theme. What's interesting here is that love is displayed as both a destructive and productive force, both inside and outside the context of marriage. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen explores the theme of love during a time when people didn't really date outside their social spheres. The two main characters give light to the theme of love and how, sometimes, it can conquer all. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare also demonstrates how love can be such a driving force that, if love can't be had, nothing short of death will do.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen explores the theme of love, demonstrating how, to have it, one must experience a bit of discomfort too. Wonder by R. Palacio focuses on love, but not necessarily romantic love. We see the love that the main character's family shows for him, as well as the differences between the friends who love him and the antagonists who give him a hard time. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte explores the theme of love but where the two main characters are equally in love and at war with one another. Of course, the theme in a novel doesn't always have to be a positive thing.

It can be a negative attribute that might inspire readers to take a better path in life. Here are a few examples of the detriments of revenge in major works of literature:. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas plays with the theme of revenge from nearly every angle and character viewpoint. It also plays on the theme of power because, as soon as the count takes a position of power, he doles out revenge to those who hurt him along the way. Macbeth by William Shakespeare features revenge as a theme because one of the characters, Macduff, makes many concerted efforts to exact revenge on Macbeth after he learns of his family's death.

If the theme drives home the central message that the writer would like to convey, then how is it any different from the moral of the story? In truth, themes are far more general than the moral of the story. The moral is a specific lesson that the author is trying to teach. Meanwhile, the theme can be more generalized; there can also be more than one theme in a story.

Readers uncover theme s as they go along, because it consistently reappears throughout the work of fiction or nonfiction. As such, a moral can be a theme, but the theme doesn't have to be the moral of the story.

Time and Again: A Short Story Time and Again: A Short Story
Time and Again: A Short Story Time and Again: A Short Story
Time and Again: A Short Story Time and Again: A Short Story
Time and Again: A Short Story Time and Again: A Short Story
Time and Again: A Short Story Time and Again: A Short Story

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