From Time to Time by Jack Finney
Rating: 3 stars (out of 5)
Genre: fiction, historical fiction
Review: I had heard that this book was not nearly as good as it's predecessor, Time and Again. Since I didn't think Time and Again was so great, I wasn't even sure there was a point to reading this one. But I was curious, so I did. And in some ways, I actually thought this book was better than the first one, or at least it had more potential.
This book begins with a group of people gathering to compare evidence of what I'll call "echoes" from alternate timestreams. I thought this was a very interesting way to begin: those who had read Time and Again would, of course, suspect that the echoes were caused by Si Morley's presence in the 19th century, but group didn't seem to have any idea what was causing the echoes. If Finney had chosen to continue with the thread of this question, this could have been a really interesting book.
Unfortunately, this line of thinking is never really developed. Instead, Finney gives us something that is really just an echo of the first book. First Finney essentially changes the ending of Time and Again, so that the Project exists, and then sends Si back to the present because he wants to find out what's going on with his old friends. He finds Rube, who has evidence of a timestream where WWI never happened (this is the only furtherance we see of the plotline from the beginning) and Si agrees to go back to 1912 to see if he can prevent the Great War.
In some ways it was more interesting to follow Si on his first time travel adventure, when all he was really trying to do was observe, rather than change things. Ultimately, however, Si's efforts to change things don't amount to much, so all he really does is observe things in a different time, making this largely the same story that Finney told already, but with more unfulfilled potential.