The Woodrow Wilson Dime by Jack FinneyFor my full-length review, please visit Casual Debris.
Discontented advertising clerk Ben Bennell finds himself in an alternate reality after purchasing a newspaper using a Woodrow Wilson dime. Unhappy with his work and his wife, in this new reality he finds himself married to an old flame and riding high in a great advertising career. Though there is nothing deep or challenging about The Woodrow Wilson Dime, the novel is a great read, genuinely funny and highly entertaining, and with Finneys many scripted stories, I am surprised this one hasnt yet made it to mainstream cinema as a romantic comedy.
Though often referred to as science fiction, The Woodrow Wilson Dime is more appropriately fantasy. The fantastical element is made up of time travel and an alternate New York, yet the time travel method to this alternate landscape is pure fantasy with no allusions to science whatsoever. Bennell stumbles upon the portal uniting the two realities by using a coin from the other world to purchase a paper in this one, and logically the way back is the same, by substituting the Wilson dime with one from his own New York. The alternate New York is almost identical to our narrators New York but with gaps in technology, such as the absence of motor bikes and zippers, along with gaps in culture, such as the music of Cole Porter. The alternate world is on a different course from our own, with different former presidents occupying the face sides of coins (though we know Wilson was president in both universes), and people pursuing different steams and obtaining different levels of success.
The main flaw in the novel, if we were to look at through a serious lens (as opposed to its clearly playful approach, only partially interested in the finer points of the co-existing realities), is what happens to Ben Bennell Two when Ben Bennell One enters his world? When Ben I enters World II, his counterpart is nowhere to be seen, and the logical assumption is that Ben II transfers over to World I whenever Ben I enters World II. This is evinced by the fact that we learn Ben Is relationship with Hetty progressed while he was away. Further deductive assumptions would lead us to believe that no matter where Ben II is at the moment Ben I transits into his world, he in turn is tele-ported to the other, so that the Bens can never co-exist in the same reality. And yet there is no concern for this Ben II and his plight from successful ad executive to measly ad clerk. No suspicions from Hetty who mustve been freaked out by a Ben II claiming not to belong to this world, appearing at her doorstep wondering who she is, likely having discovered Ben Is address as Ben I discovered his. Moreover, Ben I does not even consider the implications of flip-flopping between realities, likely sending Ben II into a crazed whirl, driving him to all levels of madness.
The novel is a pleasure because of its original ideas, the zany concepts Bennell devises, the constant scheming to not only win his wife back, but in obtaining capital. The novel is fresh, energetic and charmingly silly, and though the characters are two-dimensional as they would be in most romantic comedies, the writing is genuinely funny.
Based on Finneys short story The Coin Collector, originally published as The Other Wife in The Saturday Evening Post, 30 January 1960. The novel was first published in 1968, and was updated for the 1987 omnibus volume, Three By Finney. The updating was done (sadly) in an attempt to make it more accessible to contemporary 1987 readers, which becomes completely absurd since our narrator from 1968 references the likes of Cindy Lauper and quotes prices astronomical to the late sixties, where a newspaper is still worth a dime. If you can, hunt down a copy of the original, and youll have that great cover, the images on which make sense once youve read the text.
Main Street Galesburg, IL circa 1912
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Midwest Manufacturing Company was a manufacturer of refrigerators and steel kitchen cabinets in the s and s. In , they purchased an empty plant in Morrison, IL from Illinois Refrigeration Company, which had built wooden ice boxes. Later that year, the company moved to Galesburg, IL, completing the move in and changing its name to Midwest Manufacturing Company. During World War II, the company shifted from consumer goods to products such as mines, droppable gas tanks, powder cans and Navy floats. In , Admiral Corporation purchased Midwest Manufacturing, with the latter becoming a wholly owned subsidiary, but retaining its name and corporate identity. The company merged with Rockwell International in , and in Maytag took over the Galesburg plant.
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More Obituaries for Kenneth Wilson. Looking for an obituary for a different person with this name? Kenneth E. Share This Page. Wilson, 80, Gales-burg, died at p. Sunday, Feb.
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