June 18, 2003

Replay

In a continuation of my occasional series on old speculative fiction books worth reading, I offer "Replay" by Ken Grimwood, which was re-released in 1998. I first read it maybe 15 years ago, and I've read it at least twice more since then.

The premise is that a guy has a heart attack at age 43 and blacks out, then he wakes up 25 years earlier as an 18-year-old. His consciousness has travelled back in time to inhabit his younger self. So he gets to live his life over again with full knowledge of what happens in the 25 years to come in the world as a whole. He tries new things, including some well-placed bets, and he even tries to foil the Kennedy assassination (by placing a call to the FBI pretending to be Oswald, so that the FBI picks him up).

Eventually, he wonders if there are any others experiencing the same thing as himself, at which time he discovers from reading the newspaper that someone else is changing history, too. He dies again of a heart attack at age 43, and this time he wakes up about 20 years earlier, and the cycle goes on many times, each life something different. Fascinating book, and a lot of really good "what if" scenarios get played out.

I can't tell you how many times I wish I could return to my young body to change things with the wisdom of my years. I think the first thing I would do if I were suddenly 18 again would be to get my ass up to Nova Scotia, find a hot 14 year old named Michelle and start creeping her out.

Posted by Observer at June 18, 2003 06:55 AM
Comments

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Excellent book, I first read it in the sands of saudi arabia during the first gulf war.

There were two TV shows last season with "repeat your life" themes, the creepy ABC drama "That Was Then", and the fun WB comedy "Do Over". Both were cancelled, which is only sad in "Do Over's" case.

If I was back in my 18 year old body I certainly wouldn't go track down B, we wouldn't have gotten along at all back then. It took maturing on both of our parts to get where we are today.

Of course, just spending pocket change on Microsoft and Cisco stock (and rolling some of that into Amazon) would make one quite comfortably well off.

Posted by: Humbaba on June 18, 2003 09:08 AM

I would have loved nothing more than to start my life with you, but I am betting at age 14, I would have creeped you out!! =P

I still haven't read that book either have I? My bad.

Posted by: Felicity on June 18, 2003 09:44 AM

Heh.

Reminds me of a book I've been meaning to read with time travel.

Posted by: Polerand on June 18, 2003 04:47 PM