The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

The novel employs a fascinating twist. Other works have addressed the issue of what a person might do if granted one opportunity to live life over. In Replay, Jeff Winston and Pamela Phillips are replayers, people caught in a continuing cycle of life, death, and rebirth, trying to understand what has happened to them and why.

At 1:06 p.m. on October 18, 1988, Jeff Winston suffers a fatal heart attack and dies. His job as radio station manager had been full of stress, and his marriage had been full of disappointments. Jeff finds himself in his old college dorm room at Emory University with his old college roommate, Martin. Everything looks like it did in 1963, when Jeff was eighteen years old. He struggles to understand what has happened as he wanders around Atlanta.

He settles at a bar and, on an impulse, looks up the Kentucky Derby participants in a newspaper. He realizes that, if his situation is not some unimaginable hoax, Chateaugay will win the Derby in 1963. He pawns all of his possessions, makes a winning bet, and is on his way to almost unimaginable wealth. He keeps busy trying to remember all the trends of the coming years so that he can profit from them. His real happiness, however, comes from his daughter. He is enchanted with the little girl and strives to give her everything. When October 18, 1988, comes again, Jeff has a fatal heart attack and dies.

This time, he awakes in a...

(The entire section is 462 words.)