Jack Finney

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Walter Braden "Jack" Finney (born John Finney; October 2, 1911 – November 14, 1995) was an American author. His best-known works are science fiction and thrillers.


Short fiction[edit]

About Time (1986)[edit]

Page numbers from the trade paperback edition, published by Simon & Schuster (Fireside Books); ISBN 0-671-62887-9, eighth printing
See Jack Finney's Internet Science Fiction Database page for original publication details
  • Haven’t you ever wished it were somehow possible to cross-examine an absolute stranger about something none of your business but damned interesting all the same? Well, think it over—if you’re a reporter, you can. There’s no law says it has to be printed.
    • I Love Galesburg in the Springtime (pp. 18-19)
  • He’s about seventy-one, a retired lawyer with a reputation for grouchiness. But it’s less grouchiness, I think, than a simple unwillingness to put up with anyone who doesn’t interest him.
    • I Love Galesburg in the Springtime (pp. 29-30)
  • “Why didn’t you tell Doug about it, Mr. Nordstrum?”
    “Because he’s a fool. Has it all figured out what he’s going to believe for the rest of his life; it takes a fool to do that.
    • I Love Galesburg in the Springtime (p. 30)
  • I was pleased at the thought of a girl with a hope chest full of power tools.
    • Lunch-Hour Magic (p. 96)
  • You had no criminal record, not with us, anyway, but that didn’t tell me anything either; most people have no criminal record, and at least half of them ought to.
    • The Face in the Photo (p. 140)
  • But it seems too bad—this universal craving to escape what could be a rich, productive, happy world. We live on a planet well able to provide a decent life for every soul on it, which is all ninety-nine of a hundred human beings ask. Why in the world can’t we have it?
    • I’m Scared (p. 164)
  • Some writers are belligerent about critics, some are sullen and hostile, but Max was just contemptuous. I’m sure he believed that all writers outranked all critics—well or badly, they actually do the deed which we only sit and carp about.
    • Hey, Look at Me! (p. 206)
  • This was in January, and we’d just had nearly a month of rain, fog, and wet chill. Then California did what it does several times every winter and for which I always forgive it anything. The rain stopped, the sun came out, the sky turned an unclouded blue, and the temperature went up into the high seventies. Everything was lush from the winter rains and there was no way to distinguish those three or four days from summer, and I walked into town in shirtsleeves.
    • Hey, Look at Me! (p. 208)

Time and Again (1970)[edit]

All page numbers are from the trade paperback edition published by Simon & Schuster in Scribner Paperback Fiction ISBN 0-684-80117-5
  • “Sounds impressive. And expensive.”
    “Not at all.” Danziger shook his head firmly. “It will cost, all told, only a little over three million dollars, less than the cost of two hours of war, and a better buy.”
    • Chapter 4 (p. 65)
  • I like women, I never run them down as somehow inferior to men, and I have a contempt for men who do. And I think, for one thing, that women are just as principled as men—but they sure as hell aren’t the same kind of principles.
    • Chapter 8 (p. 108)
  • “You just think about supporting a wife and children on a dollar and ninety cents a day. Most of us work on Sundays; poor people can’t afford to rest on the Sabbath in a great city like this. Sometimes when I do have a Sunday off I go to church and take my wife and the children. It seems respectable, somehow, to go. And then the minister gets up and talks about the gratitude we ought to feel to God for all the blessings he gives us, and how thankful we ought to be that we live through his mercy. It may be very true as far as he is concerned, but I often think—and I don’t mean to be ungrateful or irreverent—that most people in this world have very little to be thankful for, and very little reason to thank God for life at all. Nine tenths of the people in New York find scarcely a moment in their lives which they can call their own, and see mighty little but misery from one year’s end to the other.”
    • Chapter 17 (p. 252)
  • “How is it possible for me to thank God in my heart for the food he gives me and for life, while every morsel I eat I earn with my toil and even suffering? There may be a Providence for the rich man, but every poor man must be his own Providence. As for the value of life, we poor folks don’t live for ourselves at all; we live for other people. I often wonder if the rich man who owns great blocks of stock in the road and reckons his wealth in the millions does not sometimes think, as he sits at his well-filled table and looks at the happy faces of his children, of the poor car driver who toils for his benefit for a dollar and ninety cents a day, and is lucky if he tastes meat twice a week and can give the little ones at home warm clothes and blankets for the winter.”
    • Chapter 17 (p. 252)
  • I was stunned. I was, and I knew it, an ordinary person who long after he was grown retained the childhood assumption that the people who largely control our lives are somehow better informed than, and have judgment superior to, the rest of us; that they are more intelligent. Not until Vietnam did I finally realize that some of the most important decision of all time can be made by men knowing really no more than, and who are not more intelligent than, most of the rest of us. That it was even possible that my own opinions and judgment could be as good as and maybe better than a politician’s who made a decision of profound consequence.
    • Chapter 22 (p. 387)
  • “Si, a lot of men make far greater sacrifices than he will. For the good of the country.”
    “But he wouldn’t even be consulted about it!”
    “Neither are they; they’re drafted into the army.”
    “Well, maybe they should be asked, too.”
    He genuinely didn’t understand. “What do you mean?”
    “Maybe it’s wrong to force a man to join an army and kill other people against his own wishes.”
    They just looked at me. What I was saying was really incomprehensible to them.
    • Chapter 22 (p. 388)
  • “It’s going too far! My God, look what has already happened. The scientists make fantastic new discoveries which are immediately taken over by a group, almost a breed of men, who always know what’s best for the rest of us. Science learns how to split the atom, and they immediately know that the best thing to do with that new knowledge is to blow up Hiroshima!”
    • Chapter 22 (p. 389)

From Time to Time (1995)[edit]

All page numbers are from the hardcover first edition published by Simon & Schuster ISBN 0-671-89884-1
  • Once in a while you’re momentarily conscious of being happy. But I’m superstitious, and I picture Fate—best be respectful, and use a capital F—as a misty presence somewhere up in the sky but not too far away. Always listening, alert and ready to punish forbidden optimism.
    • Chapter 1 (p. 38)
  • “You’re smart, though.”
    “Well, yes, though I wouldn’t call for a new deal if I were dumb. Because it wouldn’t matter; I’d go along just about the way I do anyway. I’m a simple man, I like the simple life, so there’s no real need to be smart. Kind of a waste, actually. I have to be smart enough to stay simple and not get all dissatisfied. The way I’d be anyway if I were dumb. You follow me?”
    “I’m not sure. Maybe I’m not smart enough.”
    • Chapter 4 (p. 55)
  • “Spare me the nostalgia.”
    “I hate that word. You know who uses it mostly? Time patriots. Same people who live in the best country in the world. Must be the best because that’s where they live. And they live in the best of times; has to be best because it’s their lifetime. You even suggest there just might have been better times than here and now, and it’s ‘nostalgia, nostalgia.’ Don’t even know what the word means. Means overly sentimental, for crysakes.”
    • Chapter 4 (p. 58)
  • “They couldn’t promise that, could they?”
    “Of course not. Congress would have to declare war; this was back in the old-fashioned days when Presidents felt they had to honor their oath to abide by the Constitution.”
    • Chapter 11 (p. 112)
  • I had the evening to kill, but it didn’t want to die and fought back.
    • Chapter 20 (p. 212)
  • The best thing in our show was always our move to the next town.
    • Chapter 21 (p. 233)
  • When you’ve heard one bagpipe tune you’ve heard them both.
    • Chapter 28 (p. 285)

External links[edit]

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