Denver Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Club
Ken Grimwood - Replay
(Warning! Some spoilers)
In October, 1988, Jeff Winston, unhappily married to Linda and working a unrewarding job, dies of a heart attack. Next thing Jeff knows, it's 25 years earlier, and he is somehow inhabiting his 18 year old body! The year is 1963, and he's back at Emory University with all of his memories intact. Jeff bets on a longshot in the Kentucky Derby and wins big. Forsaking college, he heads to Las Vegas and takes up with Sharla, a "party girl" attracted to his new-found wealth. Over the years, Jeff parlays his "foreknowledge" into great wealth, and tries, unsuccessfully, to change history, notably the JFK assassination. His social life is not quite a success. He eventually pays off Sharla to leave him and unintentionally alienates his "other life" wife, Linda. In October, 1988, despite the best medical care money can buy, Jeff dies again.
And suddenly finds himself back in 1963, a few days after his "arrival" in the first replay, his previous life's accomplishments gone. This time, he stays with his college sweetheart Judy, completes college, and makes more conservative investments. They live a happy, comfortable family life, but when October, 1988, rolls around, in spite of all efforts to avoid it, Jeff dies again.
Jeff loses it when he finds himself back in 1963 again, a few weeks past his first return. This time he looks for Sharla and spends the '60s in a life of sexual and pharmaceutical excess. Eventually leaving Sharla, he retreats to a cabin in rural Northern California and leads a hermit's life. A movie called Starsea, that had never appeared in his previous lives, brings him out of isolation. Seems the producer of Starsea, Pamela Phillips, is a replayer too. Pamela, like Jeff, is also replaying the years between 1963 and 1988. But she is younger, and, unfortunately, has to repeat high school. Instead of getting married and having kids, as in her original life, Pamela becomes a doctor, a movie producer, and artist in her replays. After a rocky start, Jeff and Pamela build a successful relationship. And then Jeff dies, again.
Jeff seeks out Pamela in their next replay, causing her parents some consternation, since their "returns", and ages, are not in sync. Once finally together, they place ads hoping to find others like themselves. Eventually they find another replayer, but he's a sociopath. In yet another replay, they go public with their "future predictions", and the government takes them into protective custody with frightening results.
Jeff and Pamela are starting each replay later. As they "return" later and later in the 1960s, then the '70s, and, finally, in the '80s, it becomes progressively harder for them to spend time together, even though they care deeply for each other. Altering their former lives also becomes progressively harder, since they are further into them, but Jeff finally has a fulfilling life with wife Linda. As their replays end in 1988, Jeff and Pamela find an ending and discover a new beginning.summary written by
10 Wow! Don't miss it
8-9 Highly recommended
5-6 Mild recommendation
3-4 Take your chances
1-2 Below average; skip it
0 Get out the flamethrower!
U Unfinishable or unreadable
- Skipped or no rating given