Noon, February 17, 1996. A momentous day for one Frank Mihalik - and for mankind - for Mihalik is about to become the world's first time traveler. Looking every inch the explorer, he takes off for a trip to the 1939 New York World's Fair, and The Nick of Time takes off on an absurd, hilarious, and thoughtful journey through time and space.
Mihalik's chronological odyssey is to be a simple one: a quick day trip to the past and back again. Unfortunately, the time-travel process still has a few kinks in the system, and just how Mihalik will get back becomes anybody's guess. He finds himself stuck at the World's Fair; reliving the same day over and over again. Just as he is about to lose hope, his girlfriend Cheryl arrives to lend support and encouragement. With a little boost from the past, however, the pair are soon on their way again, hurtling through time at a breathless pace, down an endless path filled with lively, intriguing - and often dangerous - encounters: riding with the Three Musketeers, serving in a war between the Queen of the Past and the King of the Future, even visiting a futuristic Land of Oz ( "If we come to a yellow brick road... I'm going to give up" ). It's going to take more than clicking their heels together three times to return Cheryl and Mihalik to their proper time and place, but the adventures and mysteries they uncover along the way turn their trip (and ours) into a memorably fun-filled journey.
The Nick of Time is a unique blend of wit, philosophical speculation, and cosmic slapstick. With this novel - and its forthcoming sequel, The Bird of Time - George Alec Effinger has created an instant classic. And in Frank Mihalik, science fiction fans are introduced to one of the most engaging, endearing, prototypical heroes in the genre.
(From the book cover)