I just finished reading “Ken Grimwood - Replay”, which I read in between Tad Williams and Neal Stepehnson, which I will have to write epic posts about some later time when I have finished their multi-book cycles…
Replay is a rather quick read, and as far as I know the first book to build on the idea that a fat rodent and Bill Murray have made famous. Jeff Winston dies suddenly of a heart attack, but he awakes in his youth, at college. He has to accept the fact that he has the chance to live his life again.
And he begins to like it even more when he finds out that the world around him evolves just as he remembers, starts betting and makes piles of money which he invests in growing corporations. On the same day as in his first life, he days again, this time a rich man. Over the course of the book, he lives several lives. He meets another replayer, and they notice that each time, the start later in their lives with the gap growing larger fast. So their time ultimately is limited.
I think the premise of the book is, to geekily quote Quark from DS9 (which I can do only if stating that I’m no big Star Trek fan!) “The mor ethings change, the more they stay the same.” Jeff and his companion have created succesful movies, nearly started world wars, searched for other replayers, lived alone in small huts in the woods. Whatever he did, sometimes he was happy, sometimes he was miserable, but I somehow miss the point or the message. Especially, since in the end, when the amount of time he jumps back grows infinitesimally small, he’s back in his timeline and for the first time can learn new things again.
“Groundhog Day” had a strong red line, where Phil Connors had to become perfect to get the woman. A bit cheesy maybe, but created with so much care that it was one of the best movies ever. But in this book I totally miss such a line or idea. The first half of the book is great, with the other replayer arriving just in time to bring back excitement to the book. But the second half would need more great ideas or at least an exciting ending.
But as it is, a good read, fascinating ideas, but a bit drawn out or unexciting where much more could have happened! I’ll give it 7/10 points.