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I read it in the early 90s, I think, although it might of course be older. It was a short book, under 100 pages, probably under 50, and I think I read it as a paperback. A boy acquires a device that he can hook up to a TV (part of me wants to say that it's a VCR, but I don't think it actually had tapes or other storage media to insert and remove) and record things. He finds that he can rewind or fast forward the events outside of the area recorded; for example, I recall he records a parade and then rewinds earlier than when he was recording to see events there and I'm pretty sure that he uses it to see the future as well (I don't remember if it was established whether this was deterministic). Unfortunately, the rest of the details have escaped my head over the years.

For some reason, I want to say that the machine in question was green, although I have no firm idea why that idea is stuck in my head. I'm pretty sure that it was operated by large buttons too, not dials.

  • Oooohhhh!!!! I know i have read this at some point in my life! I cant remember much from it. Or what its called, unfortunately. – albusseverus potter May 11 '15 at 18:13
  • Reading the title reminded me about "The Ring" where the tape is forced to show extra details, but reading the text I think you are not looking for "The Ring" :/-- anyway I'm sure I readed something similiar too. – user42298 Sep 8 '15 at 12:52
  • Heh. That's the most frustrating part yet. Everyone seems to have heard of it, but can't remember where. – FuzzyBoots Sep 8 '15 at 13:01
  • 1
    @FuzzyBoots, I found a movie called Jim's Gift (1996). Apparently it is based on a very obscure novel by Sylvia Wickham – Adamant May 1 '16 at 3:29
  • 1
    @DarioOO - Could this be what you read? – Adamant May 1 '16 at 9:15
8
+100

Could this be Jim's Gift: Fast Forward the Future?

There is a very obscure movie called Jim's Gift, released in 1996.

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It was based on an even more obscure novel by an equally obscure author named Sylvia Wickham, written in 1994.

enter image description here

According to the movie description:

When Jim gets home, he tries the VCR, which has an interesting feature: Jim can see events from his past—from birth to just a few moments ago. He uses this to find some lost money and the like, leaving his parents thinking he's psychic. Soon Jim finds Bossy, but he's not done with the VCR. Naturally, he won't be able to resist pushing that fast-forward, and when he starts trying to foil robberies that haven't happened yet and picking horse races, there's trouble. When trouble hits, the stranger repossesses the VCR, which means Jim and a pal must solve a mystery themselves.

I can't find any book description.

There are some IMDB reviews here that offer additional details.

This fits several of the criteria, assuming that the book is similar to the movie:

  1. It was published in the early 90s (1994), and features
  2. a VCR that
  3. can record the past and the future and
  4. probably is controlled by buttons, not dials (to judge from the book cover).
  5. The main character is a boy.
  6. It is 96 pages (under 100, though not under 50).

Note that the machine on the cover of the movie poster does seems sort of green.

  • Still trying to locate a copy somewhere (I have a request in with ILL), but this is close enough for the bounty. Congrats! – FuzzyBoots May 4 '16 at 15:04
  • The ILL won't send it to me. The copy isn't being lent. I'm going to look at some alternate venues. – FuzzyBoots May 25 '16 at 15:32
  • @FuzzyBoots - You found a library with this book? Where? – Adamant May 25 '16 at 18:06
  • Actually, re-reading, no. They couldn't find it at all. I confused it with a different ILL request where they offered to loan it, but only if I paid them $20. – FuzzyBoots May 25 '16 at 18:25
  • Google Books gives a short blurb about the book: "When Jim buys a video recorder from a car boot sale, the whole family is thrilled. But when Jim fiddles with the extra feature, he discovers things that threaten to make his life just a little bit too exciting. Can a video predict the future, or is Jim just digging himself deeper into trouble?" I'm not sure how much you can trust that, since it also says the book is from 1909, which is almost certainly an error. books.google.hu/books?id=wsYGNQAACAAJ – b_jonas Jul 5 '16 at 9:18

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