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Grimwood, Ken

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1944-2003) US radio journalist and author whose early novels are Breakthrough; a Novel of a Woman in Another Time and Place (1976), a Reincarnation fantasy in which a woman cured of epilepsy develops the ability to see her past life two centuries before; Elise: A Terrifying Novel of Immortality (1979), another fantasy dealing with the Immortality theme; the nonfantastic thriller Two Plus Two (1980) as by Alan Cochran; and The Voice Outside (1982), a thriller featuring mind-control elements.

Grimwood achieved recognition with Replay (1987), a highly successful Time Loop fantasy which won a 1988 World Fantasy Award. In 1988 a 43-year-old radio journalist dies suddenly, reawakening in 1963 in his eighteen-year-old body with all his memories intact. He relives his life, but this time not making his earlier mistakes, and becomes immensely rich. So far, this is classic wish-fulfilment. But in 1988, at the age of 43, he again suddenly dies, and reawakens once more, although somewhat later than before. This time around and in subsequent cycles of the loop, he knows when he will die. The plot gradually and intricately thickens, with his discovery of others who are likewise forced to replay their lives; but the heart of the tale is the swift sophistication of its unpacking of the great dream. Particularly interesting is the fact that each of the "replays" effectively generates an alternate reality or Alternate World branching from the Jonbar Points of rethought decisions; yet these are sequential rather than, as is almost always the case in alternate-world fictions, Parallel Worlds.

Grimwood's second novel of strong genre interest, Into the Deep (1995), is a metaphysical sf thriller based on the familiar sf trope of cetacean Intelligence and Communication, with rebel dolphins (against the wishes of the community Under the Sea) reestablishing a contact with humanity that had been broken three millennia previously; the implications and consequences are not pursued with the unsparing rigour of Replay. [JC/DRL]

Kenneth Milton Grimwood

born Dothan, Alabama: 27 February 1944

died 6 June 2003



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