I have always loved “Replay,” Ken Grimwood’s 1986 novel about a man who inexplicably begins replaying a core section of his life, giving him the opportunity to do things differently or “better.” So when I came across “Life II” by Scott Spotson I was intrigued at finding a similar story. The main character, Max, is a Canadian accountant who regrets not pursing a life of medicine. Now married with a nit-picky wife and two pre-teen children, he feels trapped in the life he chose.
He comes across an odd book called “Account of Time Travel on Earth Using Wave Theory” and Max eventually deduces that concealed in the chapter titles is an address in Athens, Greece. Taking a spontaneous trip to visit this address, he meets a woman who identifies herself as Dr. Time. This person, one of many Dr. Time to live in this location over the years, gives Max the opportunity to go back in time and relive his life from any point he chooses. He chooses to return to his high school days, determined to put in the effort needed for a medical career.
And thus begins the adventure. Max comes across believable as an ordinary guy who wants out of the humdrum life he has built around himself, but some of the decisions he makes are just terrible. For instance, he chooses to go back in time to the exact moment that he makes a great play on the field that vastly improves the remainder of his high school career. Of course this time he misses the shot because he’s getting used to the effects of his trip.
It doesn’t take too long before he begins to miss what he left behind, mainly his two children. He learns that making history repeat itself in regards to the relationship with his Life I wife is not an easy task. In the end Max has to learn to be happy with the life he has instead of seeking an escape to make a better one.
Life II does complete the arc of Max’s desire to make a better life through time travel, but there is a sequel to this book called “Bridge Through Time” that I will likely pick up at some point. My rating for Life II was 4 stars, which to me means that I enjoyed the book but it didn’t totally bowl me over. If time travel is your thing, I would recommend grabbing the sample.
About the Reviewer:
Keith Hughes is an author and podcaster who has participated in and won NaNoWriMo five times. He has two time travel novels available on the free Podiobooks.com serialized audiobook platform, and also on Amazon as ebooks. He hosts a quasi-daily podcast where he talks about a variety of topics on his commute. Keith is also hard at work editing the third installment in his time travel series, with a planned release for late 2016. You can find more information about Keith and his works at www.penslinger.com, and he can be found on Facebook (Keith Hughes, Penslinger), Twitter (@edgizmo), and Google+.