Archive for the 'Fantasy' Category

Fantasy is just make-believe

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

“Fantasy – The definition of this fictional genre could be described as something that contains rudiments that are not realistic, such as magical powers, talking animals, etc. Fantasy is often characterized by a departure from the accepted rules by which individuals perceive the world around them; it represents that which is impossible (unexplained) and outside the parameters of our known, reality. Make-believe is what this genre is all about. ” is simple yet cleverly designed.  There is a serendipity to browsing the author selections.  The basic genre descriptions are helpful if you are thinking about broadening the type of books you read.

Is it make-believe to think that moving fantasy stories are only found in books?

Replay by Ken Grimwood

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Friday night this librarian went on the road again to meet with the members of the R&R Book Club.  The group met at Joyce’s house, nestled in over four acres of lush greenery and trees.  This month’s selection, Replay by Ken Grimwood was a fantasy novel with one horrifying element, the principle character bolts through time in an erratic fashion unable to control his destiny.

Ken Grimwood’s Reply was published in 1987 and won the World Fantasy Award in 1988.  The novel tracks Jeff Winston, a 43-year old radio journalist who dies of a heart attack only to awaken as his 18-year old self back in 1963.  He attempts to live his life a second time as he regains consciousness in the bedroom of his childhood home only to find that his time-life continuum has been altered.  Jeff comes to understand that he is a replayer and lives life repeatedly from different perspectives as he moves toward self-realization by living his life over and over.  His interaction with events and individuals remind the reader to live in the moment and affirms the novel’s theme of living every moment of life to its fullest.

Don’t be confused by the shift in conversation, this review mimics Replay’s style shifting back to my entrance to Joyce’s house to join the book discussion.  Joyce is a teacher by trade, organized inside and outside the classroom.  The tasteful seasonal decorations in her home provided a warm welcome to each member of the book club.  Drinks, snacks, and desserts were plentiful and delicious. 

Members of the group gathered in the family room, where the glow of an adorable little pine tree decorated for Halloween caught my attention.  The group discussed characters, plot lines, and the author’s intent.  It was engrossing to review events that affected Jeff Winston’s life experiences.  Book club members reveled in the possibilities of precognition, predicting personal actions.

The group’s positive response to the novel was tempered by the plot’s familiarity.  Members paralleled the work with the films such as Groundhog Day and Back to the Future 1-3, as well as Quantum Leap, a television series from the early 90’s.  Group members were split regarding the author’s conclusion to the work.  Ken Grimwood was working on a sequel to Replay in 2003, when he died of a heart attack.  Sometimes true life is stranger than fiction.

A few hours into the meeting, something smelled like it was burning.   Joyce’s husband and son, a well-schooled boy scout, had built a beautiful bonfire for the group to enjoy.  

I recall sitting by the fire watching sparks swirl up into the starry night and feeling blissfully thankful to be a librarian, drinking coffee, sharing books with new acquaintances and rekindling friendships from long ago under protective branches of tall South Jersey pine trees destined to outlive us all.