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Rewrite: Loops in the Timescape

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  259 ratings  ·  42 reviews
In this thematic sequel to Gregory Benford’s award-winning bestseller Timescape, a history professor finds that he is able travel back to 1968, the year he was sixteen—here, he finds a slew of mentors with the same ability, including Robert Heinlein, Albert Einstein, and Philip K. Dick and becomes a successful Hollywood screenwriter until some wicked time travelers try to ...more
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by Gallery / Saga Press (first published November 27th 2018)
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Average rating 3.41  · 
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 ·  259 ratings  ·  42 reviews


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Gary
Feb 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Disaffected, middle-aged college professor Charlie Moment suffers what should be a fatal car accident in the year 2000, but instead wakes up as his 16-year-old self in 1968, with all his previous memories intact. So he does what anyone would do with a second chance at his adult life: he steals ideas for yet-to-be-made movies and becomes a rich Hollywood mogul. Along the way he meets other (famous) people who have had the same experience—including Philip K. Dick, Robert A. Heinlein, Albert ...more
Peter Tillman
This one worked well for me. Benford gives a half-reasonable quantum-physics explanation for his braided parallel-worlds backstory. Even the reincarnation stuff maybe could work -- there's limited time-travel (of sorts) to the 22nd century, where this was worked out.

I found Charlie, the MC, more sympathetic than I was expecting. He gets some knocks here for remaking movies he half-remembers from his earlier life, but hey, this is a different strand in the braid. And if that is confusing --
...more
Mitchell
Huh. Maybe at some point authors should stop writing books. Maybe not. I remember liking Timescape, not loving it, but thinking it a worthwhile award-winner. I really liked Replay. Heck I even read Into the Deep which is basically the book version of the movie that Replay's main character makes with Spielberg on his second? third reincarnation? So having Benford rewrite Replay was jarring. And to have a character spend their entire second life making movies but not funding it with any previous ...more
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2019
Infinity may manifest in manifold guises, one of them being "the sheer dizzying whirl of the timescape" explored by Gregory Benford in his latest novel, Rewrite, a thematic rather than a direct sequel to his titular award-winning book from 1980. In the year 2000, an unhappily middle-aged Charlie Moment--the irony of whose name immediately declares this book's playfulness and metanarrative friskiness--dies in a car accident, only to wake up back in 1968, inside his own sixteen-year-old body. ...more
David Agranoff
Professor Benford's career in science fiction is a long one, with decades of output but I have to admit that I have not read as many books in his catalog as I should've. The only one I am positive I read was his classic Timescape at some point in the 90's. This book is a thematic sequel, but you are fine reading this book as a stand-alone. Benford is a Physics professor at the University of California Irvine and most of his books take on a serious hard scientific stance. That said Rewrite might ...more
Horia Ursu
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Two other books came to mind while reading Gregory Benford's most recent novel: Robert Charles Wilson's A Bridge of Years and Stephen King's 11/22/63. But, while these did not focus on the scientific plausibility of the means through which their protagonist travels back in time, Benford, as anyone would expect him to do, tried to figure out a scientifically plausible explanation, bringing in quantum mechanics and reincarnation... And, as improbable as this pairing may sound, he pulls it off. ...more
Xray Vizhen
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
I love a good time travel story. This is not one of them.

The first half of "Rewrite" is OK with some original ideas on the typical time travel trope. The second half, not so much as it degenerates into a shoot-'em-up action adventure. Early on there are some interesting discussions on the physical possibilities of time travel (backwards only), general relativity and multiverses but at the same time there are also some simplistic contrivances in the plot that completely avoid the various
...more
Lee Schlesinger
The first half sets up an interesting premise and some drama, which collapses in a muddle in the middle.
Shan
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Started out fast and light, easy reading; got denser and slower as Charlie figured out what was going on. Benford is an actual physicist, and the physics behind the way this story works is quantum stuff, so trying to wrap my head around it was a challenge. So that's one level that slowed me down. The other was the story itself - Charlie's killed in a car crash and wakes up in 1968 on his 16th birthday. I was also 16 in 1968, which was a memorable year for all kinds of reasons, so my memories ...more
Wes Metz
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it
I am not a fan of time travel stories - all too often the author posits highly improbable or definitely impossible ways to avoid the "dead grandfather" paradox, where someone goes to the past, kills their grandfather, and thus assures they will never be born. But then, they couldn't have killed their grandfather. As a physicist, Benford at least has a reasonably plausible work-around; he invokes Everett's "many worlds" interpretation of quantum mechanics. In this scenario, if someone kills ...more
Al
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Charlie Moment dies in a car crash in the year 2000, and is immediately reincarnated in his 16 year old body back in 1968. Delighted to be alive--with his memory intact-- and reliving his life, Charlie forges a profitable career in Hollywood, anticipating and taking credit for conceiving and writing films he knows are coming. Things get more complicated when he learns that there are other "reincarnates" abroad in the world, and some of them, using their own knowledge of future events, have ...more
Robert
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Kind of a hard sci-fi treatment of time travel & reincarnation. The book-jacket synopsis is somewhat deceptive, making Rewrite out to be much less thoughtful than it is. Rewrite is more about the possibilities physics of time & consciousness than aging, memory or nostalgia. Made the alternate timelines emotionally convincing. Kind of got slow in the end as more answers were revealed, so perhaps the ending revealed too much theory?
Steve
Apr 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Charlie, a historian, is in his late 40s when he's in a car wreck and dies. He wakes to find his brain and consciousness in his younger self, on his 16th birthday to be precise, with all his memories and knowledge. What he does with that knowledge consumes the first half of the book, and the second is really focused on him learning about it and meeting others who have done the same. The first half dragged a bit, but the second was faster paced. Benford brings in a lot of science, of course, but ...more
Jim
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually comment on others' reviews in my own but in this case I just cannot resist. REWRITE: LOOPS IN THE TIMESCAPE (RLITT) has been panned by several reviewers as 'not a sequel to TIMESCAPE (it isn't supposed to be), a rip-off of Ken Grimwood's outstanding novel, REPLAY (it bears only a superficial plot resemblance if one really understands the novel), and devoid of Benford's usual hard physics-based sci-fi (there is plenty). I can sort of understand some readers' bemusement with RLITT ...more
David Benson
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
Replay, by Ken Grimwood is a far better take on this theme. Skip this one and read Replay.
Peter Ross
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have to say that it the premise sounded unlikely, that Albert Einstein and Casanova and Robert Heinlein and Philip K Dick were all members of a secret society of time travellers. Somehow Benford took the cliched notion of looping back in time to re-live your teenage years and made it feel intensely personal. Something about this story kept making me stop to consider important notions that were always there but somehow not catching my attention. I'm not even sure how Benford did it. I sometimes ...more
Marie Lutz
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
A mishmash of everything: quantum mechanics, reincarnation, movie making, trying to change history, people trying to kill people who are trying to change history, and so on. Family members and friends from life one appear in life two, then their stories just seem to drop out of sight (or maybe I missed something since I started to skim). Lots of famous and not so famous names are part of the plot including Einstein, Spielberg, Heinlein and Philip K. Dick. The author even throws himself and his ...more
Kathy
Feb 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Sad sack middle-aged history prof dies and wakes up on his 16th birthday. If you could rewrite your life, how would you live it differently? This bogs down in the middle as Charlie and a reincarnated Einstein talk quantum physics and multiple time lines (or loops), then quickly finishes off in a burst of fast action. Since the author is a physics prof, at least the discussion of quantum mechanics was based on actual knowledge of the material.
June
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked the premise and the characters; including Heinlein, Cassanova, Robert Kennedy, Philip K. Dick etc who were nicely interwoven through the time loop occupied by the main character, "Moment". The ending was a little flat but I am hard on endings.
Giulio Prisco
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the science fiction novel that I wanted to read. Thanks Gregory Benford for writing it for me. Imaginative, bold, awesome.
More:
https://turingchurch.net/rewrite-by-g...
Scott Kardel
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
As usual, Gregory Benford delivers a solid science fiction novel. Rewrite was a lot of fun and hard to put down. There are some historical characters that I didn't expect to see (I wont spoil who), but I very much enjoyed their appearances.
Darren Vincent
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
The synopsis is more interesting than the actual book.

The idea itself is pretty interesting. Immortality through time travel by way of mind transference. The book jacket made it sound as if Charlie would be altering history with members of a time traveling society that included Heinlein, Einstein and others. Sounds great huh?

Half the book was spent living Charlie's first reincarnation as a Hollywood producer that gained success because he stole the ideas of movies he liked in his former life.
...more
Fred P
Jun 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Good, solid sci-fi with some clever twists. The author admits he's playing loose with many worlds theories, but his characters are able to reincarnate as their younger selves (or others) while preserving their past life memories, making them super successful, because they can predict the future. The cast of characters is quite amusing, including Robert Heinlein, Einstein, and Cassanova.

Some reincarnates would like to change the future. They can't change their original timeline, but in their
...more
John
Jan 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: scifi
Benford is a much better writer now than he was when I last tried to read him in the 1980s.

I really enjoyed the setup in this book, of a character who, upon death in his late 40s-early 50s discovers that he wakes up in his teenage body on the morning of his sixteenth birthday, back in January 1968.

Unfortunately, the book goes downhill in Act 2, as our hero discovers there are other like him. The 'sci-fi' like explanations of why this might happen were awkward. The need to try to influence
...more
Jeanine
Aug 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Let me explain....I usually don't read science fiction but I love time travel and some other ideas that science fiction writers write about. The first part of this novel was a 5 star read. Charles dies and immediatly finds himself in his high school bedroom on his 16th birthday. From there he tries to understand all of it, decide what elements of his first life he wants to keep and what he would like to do differently. He makes his way to Hollywood and and starts reimagining movies from his ...more
Jonathan Moore
Aug 24, 2019 rated it liked it
This book could have been so much better. It starts off promising, but then kind of veers off in a strange direction. The book could have been tighter and has a tendency to ramble and meander. Don't get me wrong, it's well-written and the concepts are fresh and interesting, but I think maybe the book could have used some more editing and a rewrite of its own in the second half. I guess mostly I am disappointed that such a promising book went a little astray.
Jeanne Boyarsky
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
Time travel is often fun. And book eventually got there. On page 212. More than half of the book was references to old movies and Charlie Moment using his future knowledge to make money and movies.

I liked the later part. I would have liked more of those characters and less of Charlie. The interactions with Heinlein and Einstein were fun. But the explanation felt hard to follow. And because it was rushed, the different "factions" weren't as well described as I would have liked.
Audrey
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reads like several different stories in one. A little Back to the Future - if you could make different choices in high school knowing what you know now - a bit quantum physics and a thriller thrown in. Because if you can loop through time, what could you change? And who would try to stop you? Funny, ironic and earnest, in various parts.
Mark
May 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Gave up. This is such an obvious rewrite () of Ken Grimwood's REPLAY, that I'm astonished Benford had the gall to publish it. Where REPLAY was clever and compelling, REWRITE comes across as forced, and checking all the politically correct boxes. And, then, of course, there's the annoying present tense narrative.

Enough said!
...more
Tad Deshler
Apr 22, 2019 rated it liked it
In contrast to many other sf novels that include fantastical events, this one actually offered a possible explanation. Not that I really understood it.
The plot clipped along nicely, but I never really warmed up to the main character. It also wasn't really clear what the goals of the other reincarnate faction were, which served to dampen some of the drama of their conflict with Charlie.
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Gregory Benford is an American science fiction author and astrophysicist who is on the faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine.

As a science fiction author, Benford is best known for the Galactic Center Saga novels, beginning with In the Ocean of Night (1977). This series postulates a galaxy in which sentient organic life is in constant warfare
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“To expect the world to treat you fairly because you’re a good person, my friend, is like expecting a bull not to charge you because you are a vegetarian.” 0 likes
“But at my back I always hear / Time’s winged chariot hurrying near,” 0 likes
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