October '05 BOTM: Replay by Ken Grimwood

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Erfael, Oct 1, 2005.

  1. Erfael

    Erfael Lemurs!!! Staff Member

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    Here you go, monty-mike. :)
     
  2. Monty Mike

    Monty Mike Journalist

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    Thank you kindly :)

    In the end I wasn't completely convinced that I actually liked Replay as much as I had hoped I would. The fact they the whole phenomena was never explained left me quite disappointed, and although it was interesting reading what they got up to and how people might react to experiencing such strange events, it felt empty without finding out exactly why it happened. And who was behind it? Without these things clarified the book will always remain a bit of a mystery and never make it to my favourites list. Now I'm not saying it was bad, but the potential was there for it to be so much better.

    It felt more like a recording of events in multiple realities which was certainly interesting, but nothing special, and although there we some great twists they were only just enough to keep me reading. I can see that this title was very influencial to the genre and to films like The Butterfly Effect (which I loved), but I definitely think it could have been better. Personally I wouldn't class it as a Masterwork.

    No doubt I'll have more to say after I read through other's thoughts ;)
     
  3. starry-eyed

    starry-eyed And sleep deprived...

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    What I enjoyed most about the book, was how the the main character comes to certain realizations in the end. That yes, if you could do it all over again, there ARE some things you'd gladly change. An "its a wonderful life" attitude would have been a cop out and unsatisfying. Instead he gains an acceptance (rather than approval) of where he's at and the decisions/circumstances in his life, but stops accepting that this is all he can do. The purposes of the replays seems not to be "what could you do if you could do it all over", but rather who are you capable of being today besides the who you have already defined yourself as being.

    Monty: I had some similar sentiments with regards to did I like Replay. I never felt much empathy for the main character until nearly the end of the novel. I don't know if it's something I would reread. Again, the redeeming quality for me was the psychological and emotional growth Jeff's character achieves.
     
  4. FicusFan

    FicusFan Anitaverse Refugee

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    I bought the book, and got to the point where he wakes up in college again, and I lost interest. I may finish it and I may not.
     
  5. Monty Mike

    Monty Mike Journalist

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    In all honesty you're not really missing much.... apart from a little discussion :eek:
     
  6. intensityxx

    intensityxx Prefers to be anomalous

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    I enjoyed this book a lot. I'll try to come back to elaborate, but for now I'll add that one disappointment was the "lesson" he learned at the end ~ that ultimately life's all about *me*. A very prevalent attitude during the 80's, when it was written. It actually shocked me that this was the conclusion.
     
  7. starry-eyed

    starry-eyed And sleep deprived...

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    I don't know that I would judge the "me" theme so harshly given some of its context. The author himself gave up his regular full time career in 1988 to pursue a writing career. You have to wonder how much of the character Jeff's predicament may be an autobiographical account of the author's own transition into a second career.

    It takes a certain amount of being selfish in order to gather up the courage and take the plunge. I've been listening to this take 2 series on NPR where they chronicle people in the midst of career changes: often people who sacrifice financial stability to pursue their dreams. This appears to be what Grimwood did in 1988 and what his main character is realizing he can also do. And it takes putting "me" first to make a midcareer switch like that. You aren't just risking your own career, but the emotional and financial security of loved ones (whether they support you in your decision or not).
     
  8. Winterfella

    Winterfella New Member

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    I read this last year, and liked it a lot. I agree, an explanation at the end, or maybe even the hint of one, would have improved the experience, but it was definitely worth reading.

    The one interesting fact I did want to mention was that Grimwood was working on a sequel when he died last year. I wonder if he was going to explain the phenomenon in the sequel.
     
  9. Monty Mike

    Monty Mike Journalist

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    No way!! Now we'll never know!!! :eek:

    *tears hair out*
     
  10. Grey Sea

    Grey Sea twenty-eight miles out

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    Picked it up at the Post Office, brought it home and thought I'd read a couple of pages. If I hadn't had to get some sleep before going into work I would have read it in one sitting. I suppose the subject matter is what fascinates me. Time travel, even just a few years into one's own past continues to intrique me. I enjoyed the read, even though I felt the same disappointment as others that there was no explanation, if not to the same degree.
    I kept getting the "Groundhog Day" feeling. Bill kept at it, after finding out that you can have everything you ever thought you wanted, there's really more to life. Yeah, I noticed the "me" bit, but I chose to look at the Universal "me". While Jeff replays after dying young, I took it to be representative of one life-lived with mistakes, but with the chance to overcome those poor decisions. I definitely inclined toward the acceptance attitude, being a catalyst for a happier life, finally.
    Well, that's my take on the theme. I think I consumed the book too fast to be critical of Grimwood's writing style, which worked for me I guess. It was an easy read, done in two sittings. I really enjoyed reading Replay, though I didn't run right out and find something else by KG.
     
  11. Winterfella

    Winterfella New Member

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    Another interesting tidbit is about the movie by Spielberg that is described within the book, about communicating with the dolphins. Grimwood actually later wrote a book with that exact plot. It was called "Into the Deep". I never read it, and I know it never did as well as Replay, but when I came across it I had to do a double take, because it's basically the same plot as described in Replay.
     
  12. Paladin

    Paladin Knight, .. extraordinaire

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    I believe the author died in June 2003, not last year as someone stated.

    Over all I really enjoyed Replay. It seems to be a quick read and I couldn't put it down. It did tend to slow down a bit, toward the end,for me though. I really began to like the character of Jeff throughout the book.

    I do sort of agree with most of you in the fact that you don't really find out the reason on why these replays keep happening. Even so, I don't think it ruined the experience for me.

    I sort of disagree on how the book focused on the "me" attitude. I think some of you are taking this too harshly.

    I definitely enjoyed the book overall and might be interested in reading some of Ken Grimwood's other works. Its a shame we not be able to see the sequal to this book.

    - Paladin
     
  13. Eventine

    Eventine Uh, Staff Member

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    I think I nominated this, I definitely remember voting for it. I read it 3 or 4 weeks ago and really enjoyed. Haven't been posting much lately though because of big work commitments.

    The beginning was really fun for me. Travelling back in your own timeline is something I've always wished I could do, and in his first few times through the protagonist does have a crack at a lot of things people (and by people I mean me) would do: winning big gambling, trying to save the world (i.e. JFK), revisit some failed romances.

    I wondered how the novel could be sustained by this, and right about where I thought it might get boring we got introduced to the concept that there was someone else out there with the same problem. It reminds me a bit of a SF novel I once read about a guy who faded out of existence of our reality bit by bit, and found a girl who'd done the same (any ideas of what it was called?). It's around this part that I felt some spirituality elements start to creep in that didn't really work for me, but I could understand in the context of the characters.
    It was great seeing the characters move into a frustrated/scared phase after this. They knew their time left in replays was growing shorter, and they coldn't find out about anything regarding why, or seem to make any impact in their existence. I really liked the cryptic note from Sydney - I think it just said "Wait", which really increased my anticipation of the ending.

    And I supposed that was the only part of the book I found disappointing, but only slightly. As much as I would have loved a massive explanation, I didn't go in expecting it and was thus wasn't really bothered when the same thing started happening to some other poor bloke. I think the open ending really leaves the book open to the interpretation of the reader - they get to decide why they think it happens. I'm betting a lot of people think a lot of different things. What about everyone here?
     
  14. Winterfella

    Winterfella New Member

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    Okay it was two years ago, not last year. Time flies as you get older. Especially when you're on you're fourth or fifth replay. ;)
     
  15. Paladin

    Paladin Knight, .. extraordinaire

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    I think the frustrated/scared phase that Eventine mentions is when it started to slow down for me. Especially around the interrogation part. But then it picked up for me.
     
  16. Monty Mike

    Monty Mike Journalist

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    I think that's why I felt so let down. My expectations were huge for this book, I'd been reading about it on and off for months before I finally got a copy, not to mention that some of the reviews I looked through made it out to be one of the best fantasy books they'd ever read. Maybe I should be a little more skeptical in the way of reviews :eek: and instead of reading ones that praise it, read some that criticise it - they're generally more realistic and bit more helpful. Not everyone can look at a book critically in a way that is useful to the customer - most reviews tend to be love or hate.

    ROFL :D Wait till you get to your 18th, then we'll talk ;) :D :p
     
  17. Eventine

    Eventine Uh, Staff Member

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    What's the old saying about best intentions?
    Te interrogation replay was interesting in that it was the one where they most attempted to help themselves, through understanding of their condition (as opposed to financial/emotional gain which only lasts a replay), and they ended up in the most nightmarish replay of all. Looking back that's probably a bit of the book that is against the "me' concept.

    That's why I rarely read Amazon reviews - too much effort to sift through the gush to find negative critical reviews.
     
  18. Grey Sea

    Grey Sea twenty-eight miles out

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    I was surfing around in the sister forum you know Sci-Fi and found Replay discussed over there. Not that I'm prejudiced, I read plenty Sci-Fi. monty mike you read a review, did you find the book classified in one way or another?
     
  19. Monty Mike

    Monty Mike Journalist

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    Calssified? By this do you mean what genre it is?

    I always thought Replay was Sci-Fi, but it's in the Fantasy Masterworks, so I guess not.
     
  20. Eventine

    Eventine Uh, Staff Member

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    I saw a review or comment or something somewhere saying that it appeared to be SF most of the way, but the ending showed that it was fantasy. I wonder how on earth whoever said that came to that conclusion.

    To me this is one of those books that you can fit into a genre based on your perception. By not explaining why the replays are happening, the reader can decide themselves if it is a scientific or magical phenomena(sp?). It probably shows something about the reader, if nothing more than their reading habits.