Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Who Knew There was a Book?

There's a wonderfully quirky, scary, and sometimes romantic movie called Time After Time about H. G. Wells and Jack the Ripper.  In 1893, Jack the Ripper has taken a secret trip in Wells's time machine.  When Wells finds out, he takes a trip of his own - to bring back Jack.  Both men find themselves in contemporary (well, 1979) San Francisco where Jack resumes his killing spree and Wells tries desperately to stop him.

It's a delicious movie - watching Malcolm McDowell as Wells, the proper Englishman, finding himself almost a hundred years in the future.  Seeing cars for the first time.  Walking into a McDonald's ("Pomme frites!").  Meeting feminist Amy Robbins (Mary Steenburgen) and falling in love.  Anticipating utopia, but finding something else. 

When I looked on Wikipedia for information about the film, I was surprised to see it was based on a novel.  The unfinished novel was optioned by Nicholas Meyer, who wrote the screenplay and directed the movie as the novelist, Karl Alexander, completed the book.  The novel and movie both appeared in 1979. 

I've just finished the novel.  It's obviously a lot like the movie, but we spend more time in Wells's head (and in Jack the Ripper's creepy head, too) and learn in greater detail how Wells feels about the future - whoops, not exactly what he was expecting. 

There's a sequel that I haven't read yet - Jaclyn the Ripper.  Jack somehow turns into a woman who kills people (men?) in 2010 Los Angeles.  And, I'm guessing, as Wells and his new wife Amy, try to catch her.