Stealing Through Time

On the Writings of Jack Finney

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About the Book

The writings of twentieth-century author Jack Finney are classic contributions to the genres of science fiction and suspense thrillers in American literature. Two of Finney’s novels, The Body Snatchers and Good Neighbor Sam, became the basis of popular films, but it was his time-travel story Time and Again (1970) that won him a devoted following. The novel about an advertising artist who travels back to the New York of the 1880s quickly became a cult favorite, celebrated especially by New Yorkers for its rich descriptions of life in the city at that time. The year of his death, Finney finished the sequel, From Time to Time (1995). In 1955 he published The Body Snatchers, a chilling tale of aliens who emerge from pods in the guise of humans. Many critics interpreted the insidious infiltration by aliens as a cold war allegory that dramatized America’s looming fear of a communist invasion, and the 1956 film Invasion of the Body Snatchers was remade twice.
Over the course of his career, Finney wrote ten novels, more than 50 short stories, two plays, and a work of nonfiction, all of which are presented and discussed in this book. Also, reproduced in full and analyzed is a series of letters exchanged between Finney and various persons associated with his alma mater, Knox College. These letters give rare insight into Finney’s character and demonstrate his personal interest in some of the themes that recur in his fiction. This work begins with an overview of Finney’s life and career, presents a complete assessment of the author’s works, and concludes with a look at the various ways that Finney’s works have been adapted for the stage, television, and film. Also included is the first comprehensive list of Jack Finney’s writings ever published.

About the Author(s)

Jack Seabrook lives in Hopewell, New Jersey.

Bibliographic Details

Jack Seabrook
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 230
Bibliographic Info: appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2437-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1

1. A Life Kept Hidden      3

2. Early Short Stories (1947–1952)      9

3. 5 Against the House      22

4. The Body Snatchers      29

5. More Short Stories and The Third Level      41

6. The House of Numbers      50

7. “The U-19’s Last Kill” and Assault on a Queen      58

8. Later Short Fiction and a Play (1958–1966)      66

9. Good Neighbor Sam      78

10. “The Other Wife” and The Woodrow Wilson Dime      84

11. Time and Again      91

12. Marion’s Wall      103

13. The Night People      110

14. Forgotten News: The Crime of the Century and Other Lost Stories      118

15. From Time to Time      123

16. The Galesburg Letters      132

17. Jack Finney on Stage      146

18. Jack Finney on Television      159

19. Jack Finney on Film      169

Appendix I. Writings by Jack Finney      185

Appendix II. Credits for Adaptations of Jack Finney’s Work      191

Works Cited      203

Index      211