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Replay - Ken Grimwood NEW

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Replay - Ken Grimwood  NEW

Replay - Ken Grimwood - New


Replay is the account of 43-year-old radio journalist Jeff Winston, who dies of a heart attack in 1988 and awakens back in 1963 in his 18-year-old body as a student at Atlanta's Emory University. He then begins to relive his life with intact memories of the next 25 years, until, despite his best efforts at cardiac health, he dies of a heart attack, again, in 1988. He immediately returns to 1963, but several hours later than the last "replay". This happens repeatedly with different events in each cycle, each time beginning from increasingly later dates (first days, then weeks, then years, then ultimately decades). Jeff soon realizes that he cannot prevent his death in 1988, but he can change the events that occur before it, both for him, and for others.

During one subsequent replay, Jeff takes notice of a highly acclaimed film that has become a huge success at the box office. The film is written and produced by an unknown filmmaker, Pamela Phillips, who has recruited Steven Spielberg to direct and George Lucas, as a special effects supervisor, before the two shot to stardom with their own projects. Because the film did not exist in previous replays, Jeff suspects that Pamela is also experiencing the same phenomenon. He locates her and asks her questions that only a fellow replayer would know, confirming his suspicions.

Pamela and Jeff fall in love and are convinced that they are soulmates. Complications arise when they notice that their replays are getting shorter and shorter, with Pamela not beginning her next replay until well after Jeff. Eventually, the two decide to try and find other replayers by placing cryptic messages in newspapers. The messages, which seem very vague to anyone who is not a replayer, generate a fair amount of dead-end responses until the pair receives a letter from a man who is clearly knowledgeable about future events. Jeff and Pamela decide to visit the stranger, only to discover that he is confined to a psychiatric hospital. Surprisingly, the staff does not pay attention to his discussion on the future, but it soon becomes clear why the man is institutionalized when he calmly states that aliens are forcing him to murder people for their own entertainment.

In a later replay, the two decide to take their experiences public, giving press conferences announcing future events in explicit detail. The government eventually takes notice and forces Pamela and Jeff to provide continued updates on foreign activities. Although the government denies responsibility, major political events begin to transpire differently, and Jeff attempts to break off the relationship. The government refuses, and the pair are imprisoned and forced to continue providing information.

As future replays become shorter and shorter, the two are left to wonder how things will eventually unfold -- whether or not the replays will ultimately end, and the pair will pass into the afterlife -- or if the current replay is, in fact, the last.

About the Author Ken Grimwood

Kenneth Milton Grimwood (February 27, 1944 – June 6, 2003) was an American author who was born in Dothan, Alabama. In his fantasy fiction Grimwood combined themes of life-affirmation and hope with metaphysical concepts, themes found in his best-known novel, the highly popular Replay.

Ken Grimwood took an interest in EC Comics and radio journalism while growing up in Pensacola. In the early to mid-1960s, he worked in news at WLAK in Lakeland, Florida. Heading north, he studied psychology at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, where he contributed short fiction to Bard's student publication, Observer in 1969. Some of his early novels were written while he was nightside editor at KFWB News 980 radio in Los Angeles, but the success of Replay enabled him to leave KFWB News 980 for full-time writing. He wrote under both his own name and several pseudonyms, including Alan Cochran.

Married once with no children, Grimwood had friends on both coasts, including Tom Atwill, who is related to the actor Lionel Atwill. Atwill described his friend's "free spirit lifestyle" and recalled, "He was a loner, almost a recluse. He liked small gatherings of friends. We had many dinner parties with him and some friends, and he would always be the one to keep the evening hilarious; he was a great storyteller. He did not like publicity and was actually quite shy... He was a media junkie. He owned the first BetaMax sold; he had the largest video library I've ever seen. One of his favorite things to do was for he and I to watch some old movie in the afternoon; we did it often."

Ken Grimwood's impressive debut novel, Breakthrough (Ballantine, 1976), was heavily influenced by EC Comics, concluding its blend of science fiction, reincarnation and horror elements with a surprising and unpredictable twist ending. Cured of epilepsy by a breakthrough in medical technology, 26-year-old Elizabeth Austin has miniature electrodes implanted in her brain. She can control her seizures by pressing an external remote to activate the electrodes. Adjusting to a normal life, she is ready to patch up a troubled marriage and resume her abandoned career. However, as part of the implant operation, Elizabeth gave her consent for the insertion of extra electrodes, featuring experimental functions unknown to science. When one of those electrodes is stimulated, Elizabeth experiences memories which are not her own. She discovers the remote has given her the ability to eavesdrop on her previous life 200 years in the past, and she keeps this a secret from her doctor. Intrigued, she finds the earlier existence appealing and begins to spend more and more time there. Eventually, she discovers that the woman in the past is a murderer who is plotting to kill Elizabeth's husband in the present.

Although Breakthrough went out of print shortly after publication, author Gary Carden ranked it alongside books by Stephen King and Ray Bradbury:
“ Over the last 40 years, there are 40 or 50 "good trash" books that have remained in my memory because the writing was graphic, suspenseful and tense. Like the clichéd blurb on the cover of most suspense or crime fiction always promises, I found I "could not put it down." A lot of these managed to frighten me, and that is a pretty good trick. When I read Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, I actually turned on all of the lights, locked the door and finished the book before sunrise. The same thing is true of Stephen King’s Salem's Lot. I read it in a motel in Maggie Valley and ended up finishing it in the lobby where I had the comforting presence of other people. I’ll not forget James Hall’s Bone of Coral or James Lee Burke’s Black Cherry Blues or Ray Bradbury’s October Country. Then there was a book by Ken Grimwood called Breakthrough and William Goldman’s Marathon Man. All of these authors have the ability to "set the hook" in the first page, and then you are there for the long haul, reading as you eat, neglecting the chores and refusing to answer the phone. You aren’t reading Kafka or Tolstoy, and you know it, yet you know the author is far better than most writers of popular "thriller" or "suspense" fiction. Sometimes, he gets pretty close to "literature," but essentially, he is just entertaining you. ”

To write this novel, Grimwood did extensive research into brain surgery and epilepsy. Film producer William Castle took an interest in adapting Breakthrough for a movie, but the project was never realized. Breakthrough has certain parallels with David Williams' Second Sight (Simon and Schuster, 1977), coincidentally written the same year and later adapted for the TV movie, The Two Worlds of Jennie Logan (1979). Williams has commented, "As the author of Second Sight, I have to tell you that until I read this Wikipedia page in 2004, I had never heard of Ken Grimwood or his novel Breakthrough."

Grimwood used the pseudonym Alan Cochran on his novel Two Plus Two (Doubleday, 1980), but in Replay he offered a clue to Two Plus Two's true author with a sequence in which the main character of Replay hides his identity by using the name Alan Cochran. Behind Doubleday's cover blurb, "A Terrifying Novel of Murder in a Swinging Social Club," the storyline follows two Los Angeles detectives investigating a trio of murders. Doubleday described the book with this summary:

“ For anyone who has never been to a swinging couples-only club, Two Plus Two will offer some surprises; and surprises were certainly in store for detectives Jason Price and his attractive partner, Brooke Merritt. Three seemingly unrelated murders have occurred in the Los Angeles area and the police have only a single lead — each of the victims, one male and two females, were members of the exclusive Two Plus Two club. To investigate, Lieutenant Dan Ryan calls in the team of Price and Merritt. Their assignment — to go undercover and infiltrate the club, posing as a new swinging couple. As their research begins, they find a world unlike any other; a world where every carefully chosen amenity is geared to easing each casual sexual encounter; and a world which, unbeknownst to its members, harbors a clever, homicidal madman. Two Plus Two opens the doors of a closed-door milieu, that of the on-the-premise-swinging club — intriguing, mysterious, and, sometimes, deadly. It also introduces us to two new detectives — one male, one female — of whom more will be heard. ”


The 1988 World Fantasy Award went to Grimwood for his novel Replay (Arbor House, 1987), the compelling account of 43-year-old radio journalist Jeff Winston, who dies and awakens back in 1963 in his 18-year-old body. He then begins to relive his life with intact memories of the previous 25 years. This happens repeatedly with different events in each cycle. This acclaimed novel, a bestseller in Japan, was an obvious influence on Harold Ramis' comedy-drama Groundhog Day (1993), and variations of Grimwood's plot premise can also be seen in the Japanese film Taan, aka Turn (2001), and the 1993 TV movie 12:01, adapted from the Richard A. Lupoff short story "12:01 PM," originally in the December, 1973 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Linear descriptions of Replay do not convey the book's rich philosophical and spiritual underlying themes. Critic Daniel D. Shade outlined the book's buried messages when he reviewed the novel in 2001:
“ Yet in spite of all the pain and anguish we go through as we follow Jeff through his search for an understanding of why he is replaying his life, the book has some important things to say to the reader. First, life is full of endless happenings that we have little control over. We should live our lives with our eyes set upon the horizon and never look back, controlling those things we can and giving no second thought to those events out of our hands. Second, given that we only have one life to live (Jeff is never sure he will replay again with each heart attack) we should live it to the fullest extent possible and with the least regret for our actions. Everybody makes mistakes; the point is not to dwell on them but to pick ourselves up and keep on going. Keep moving ahead. Third, choices must be made—we cannot avoid them. The only failure is to live a life without risks. In fact, I believe Jeff Winston would advise risking everything for those you love and for the life you want for them and with them. To not experience risk is to fail. And what does Replay have to say to a poor, old man like me who is still going though his mid-life crisis? Just this—that every year will be new. Every day a new chance to begin again. There can be no mid-life crisis when we are living each day to the fullest extent possible. From what Jeff Winston has taught me, I would define mid-life crisis as a period of selfishness when we turn inward and think only of ourselves. Jeff inspires us to look outward toward others and think less of ourselves. ”

The novel was a selection of the Literary Guild and the Doubleday Book Club, and it was included in several lists of recommended reading: Modern Fantasy: The Hundred Best Novels (1988), Aurel Guillemette's The Best in Science Fiction (1993), David Pringle's Ultimate Guide to Science Fiction (1995) and the Locus Reader's Poll: Best Science Fiction Novel (1988). In the Locus 1998 poll of the best fantasy novels published prior to 1990, Replay placed #32. On the Internet Top 100 SF/Fantasy List, Replay was voted to the #43 position in 2000 but climbed to #19 by 2003.

Grimwood's fascination with cetacean intelligence, encounters with dolphins and research into intraspecies dolphin communication gave him the inspiration for Into the Deep (William Morrow, 1995), a "spiritual adventure" about a marine biologist struggling to crack the code of dolphin intelligence. It features lengthy imaginative passages written from the point-of-view of several dolphin characters. To research "the willful denial and gratuitous cruelty" involved in tuna fishing, Grimwood secretly infiltrated the crew of a San Diego-based tuna boat.

Other novels include The Voice Outside (1982), exploring mind control and telepathy-inducing drugs, and Elise (1979). Born in Versailles in 1683, Elise is immortal due to her DNA, and the story traces her experiences with various lovers and husbands through the centuries.

At age 59, Grimwood died of a heart attack in his home in Santa Barbara, California. At the time of his death, he was writing a sequel to Replay. He is included in the Guide to Santa Barbara Authors and Publishers at the University of California, Santa Barbara. There is at least one unpublished Grimwood novel, a collaboration with Tom Atwill.


Replay - Ken Grimwood - New



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