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Jack Finney

Jack Finney (1911–1995), whose original name was Walter Braden Finney, was born in Milwaukee and attended Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. After moving to New York and working in the advertising industry, he began writing stories for popular magazines like Collier’s, The Saturday Evening Post and McCall’s. His first novel was published in 1954. He was the author of the much-loved and critically acclaimed novel Time and Again, as well as its sequel, From Time to Time. Best known for his thrillers and science fiction, a number of his books — including Invasion of the Body Snatchers — have been made into movies.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers: Book vs. film

Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney

Although Don Siegel’s 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers has long been a favorite of this viewer — it is, most assuredly, one of the genuine sci-fi champs of the 1950s — it was only very recently that I finally got around to reading Jack Finney’s source novel. The occasion was Simon & Schuster’s 2015 release of the book’s 60th anniversary edition, with a most interesting foreword by author Dean Koontz. Actually, Finney’s novel had originally appeared serially in 1954 in Collier’s, a “slick” magazine of that era (as opposed to a “pulp” magazine), under the shorter title The Body Snatchers — the Milwaukee-born author was 43 at the time — and in book form the following year. The Siegel film, apparently, lengthened the title so as to avoid confusion with the 1945 Boris Karloff film The Body Snatcher Read More

Time and Again: A leisurely tribute to 1882 New York

Time and Again by Jack Finney

Jack Finney’s Time and Again (1970) has been a long-time favorite among time-travel tales, and has remained in print since its first publication. It was also selected by David Pringle for his Modern Fantasy: The 100 Best Novels. Since I’ve been on a time-travel trip lately, this was a must-listen. It’s narrated well by Paul Hecht, and is a long, leisurely, and loving tribute to the long-gone New York of the 1880s. Sure, there are some token mentions of poverty among the lower classes, diseases like polio, pocked faces, coal-fired factories spewing smoke, and Horatio Alger street kids scrabbling to survive. But the vast majority of the story is unabashed nostalgia for a more humane time, before modern life had crushed the spirit of man. It also features more rapturous details of classic NY architecture and city life t... Read More