Reincarnation fiction recommendation

Discussion in 'Classic SF&F' started by usbserial, Apr 17, 2007.

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    usbserial

    usbserial It's noon. Time to sleep.

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    Can anyone recommend a book with reincarnation as the primary sci-fi idea. I'm not looking for someone re-born into the distant future, but rather reborn immediately after his or her death. It doesn't even have to start with the persons death... maybe just changing lives or something.

    A few months ago I read Replay by Ken Grimwood. The book I'm looking for would be similar to this, but with the protagonist born into an entirely different body.

    I know this is a pretty narrow field, but I was just thinking about the idea recently, and so I'm in the mood for a story about it. :)

    Thanks
  2.  
    Quokka

    Quokka wandering

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    Piers Anthony's Isle of Woman and Shame of Man deal with reincarnation but it follows the characters through a long period of history so maybe not what your after, I've not read them so can't recommend them either way.

    In Steel Beach by John Varleythe main character has himself remade (changing sexes in the process) but thats pretty standard for the technology at the time and not reincarnation. I read this awhile back and from memory it was a light read and entertaining enough.

    If you read fantasy reincarnation is a central theme for the Devery series by Katherine Kerr. There's quite a few books in the series by now, I really enjoyed the first few, reading all the books that were available at the time but I havent been back to read the ones that have been released since.
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    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    Hmmm. Here's an odd one: Beyond This Horizon, by Robert A. Heinlein. Though the story does not focus on reincarnation as the main plotline, nonetheless, the entire story collapses without it, so you could well say it is the linchpin on which everything else hinges. For that matter, Stranger in a Strange Land also has this as the thread on which everything else is hung -- it provides those odd interludes (that seem to annoy so many people) with the archangels that run throughout the book. Again, it's not what the plot focuses on, but it is one of the prime ingredients of the concept, nonetheless.

    I know there are some others out there, but none is coming to mind right away. Question, though: would mind transference also be something you're interested in where this is concerned? In which case there are any number of stories using this aspect....
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    Talysia

    Talysia Lady of Autumn

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    If it's reincarnations more or less immediately after a person's death, then I've read a couple that spring to mind. That happened with the main character in Jon Courtenay Grimwald's 9Tail Fox, and he was reborn in order to solve his own death.

    Another take on this comes in Koji Suzuki's Ring trilogy, more specifically, in the second book, Spiral, although this is a more direct process of rebirth, as it were.

    I'll keep trying to think of more.:)
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    HardScienceFan

    HardScienceFan 'what to eat' fan

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    Somebody help me out here....
    Didn't Robert Siverberg write several stories and novels around this theme?
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    usbserial

    usbserial It's noon. Time to sleep.

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    Wow, I'm pleasantly surprised at the quick supply of responses here. I was a little taken aback after I saw only one thread posted in yesterday.

    I've actually started writing a story about a guy who falls asleep one night and awakens to being born. I'm not a writing nor do I have any skill in composing a story but its entertaining even to myself to just write about it. It's kind of fun because the guy doesn't know yet if he's dreaming or what, but soon he'll have to cope with it, an as an atheist it might change his views a bit :) Just a fun what-if type of story. While I'm interested in the whole idea of being reborn, I'd like to read about it if this type of thing has been done before. I'm sure someone has written something with this premise.

    Quokaa,

    I'll look into the first and third books you mentioned.

    j. d. worthington,

    I'm a little displeased with Heinlein after reading I Shall Fear No Evil. Stranger in a Strange Land was a terrific book, but I'm not real eager to ready his stuff again. Heinlein's style is very... odd. In Stranger in a Strange Land it fit perfectly, but after reading I Shall I saw how his odd writing style could lead to a book which is physically painful and mentally painful to read. I've read that I Shall was one of his worst books, but now that I've read it the damage is done :( and now every time I hear his name I think of it.

    Talysia,

    I don't think that's what I'm looking for, but thanks for the response anyway :)

    HardScienceFan,

    I looked him up on Amazon. No real information on any of the four books they listed he authored, so I don't know :rolleyes:
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    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    Hmmm. Yes, Heinlein tends to polarize. So let's try something else.

    Harlan Ellison wrote a couple of things that may appeal to you: An early piece, flawed, but interesting, is The Man with Nine Lives, and a later piece (in Angry Candy) called "The Region Between".

    Silverberg's To Live Again would be one on reincarnation.

    Here's a brief list on Wikipedia on the subject:

    Religious ideas in science fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Dave

    Dave Wherever I Am, I'm There Staff Member

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    Not a book, but the play Heaven Can Wait by Harry Segall made into the film Here Comes Mr Jordan in 1941, and remade in 1978 and 2001 as Heaven Can Wait. A boxer, accidentally killed before his time, is allowed a chance to come back to Earth in the body of a rich man who has just been murdered by his wife.

    If you are looking for 'Transformation' rather than 'Rebirth', there are lot more of those role-reversal type stories around.
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    usbserial

    usbserial It's noon. Time to sleep.

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    Oh man... I just spent the last 5 minutes reading the description and reviews of To Live Again by Lurlene Mcdaniel on Amazon. The whole time I'm like... where the heck is the reincarnation part. This isn't what I'm looking for at all! And then I read a review which said that this book is great for any girl ages 12 to 112. At that point I realized it was the right title, wrong author! Haha.

    Silverberg's To Live Again sounds like it has the same premise as I Shall Fear No Evil, but more so. Thats not to say it is not a good book, but its not exactly what I'm looking for.

    A Man with Nine Lives doesn't have any description on Amazon, so I can't tell what its about. Could you summarize the premise in a sentence or three?

    Dave, I saw a movie on TV recently about a black man who died before his time, then was taken back by an angel to inhabit the body of a rich white man, only instead of a boxer he was comedian. I think this was a comedy spinoff of Heaven Can Wait.


    To really narrow down what I'm looking for:

    I'm looking for a story about a person suddenly finds himself as a newborn/baby. Basically the person gets to grow up again, but with all the knowledge and experience of his or her past life. No brain transplants or switching bodies with other people... I mean reincarnation as in born again as a new person.

    As I mentioned before, Replay by Ken Grimwood is very similar to what I'm looking for, but where the protagonist starts from the beginning of their life and gets to experience being a child with the insights and worldviews of an adult. I'd prefer if the person started as again with a different body (and therefore look forward to a totally different life than they lived previously) but I'd settle for the same body/life, but very early in their development.

    Do you understand what I mean?

    I realize I'm being very particular here, but I don't want you guys to keep pointing out books and me keep saying, "No, no, not quite."

    Thanks again :cool:

  10.  
    usbserial

    usbserial It's noon. Time to sleep.

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    I just made a post, but it said it has to be reviewed by a moderator before it will be posted. Why is this? I didn't use prophanities, post links, or anything that I would think it would get flagged for.

    I gotta say, it's pretty annoying.
  11.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    That one sounds like an odd glitch of some sort. One of the senior mods might be able to tell you what the specific problem is, but most likely it's simply a software blip....
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    usbserial

    usbserial It's noon. Time to sleep.

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    Lucky for me I copy-n-pasted it into notepad to save it. Lets try again:

    Oh man... I just spent the last 5 minutes reading the description and reviews of To Live Again by Lurlene Mcdaniel on Amazon. The whole time I'm like... where the heck is the reincarnation part. This isn't what I'm looking for at all! And then I read a review which said that this book is great for any girl ages 12 to 112. At that point I realized it was the right title, wrong author! Haha.

    Silverberg's To Live Again sounds like it has the same premise as I Shall Fear No Evil, but more so. Thats not to say it is not a good book, but its not exactly what I'm looking for.

    A Man with Nine Lives doesn't have any description on Amazon, so I can't tell what its about. Could you summarize the premise in a sentence or three?

    Dave, I saw a movie on TV recently about a black man who died before his time, then was taken back by an angel to inhabit the body of a rich white man, only instead of a boxer he was comedian. I think this was a comedy spinoff of Heaven Can Wait.


    To really narrow down what I'm looking for:

    I'm looking for a story about a person suddenly finds himself as a newborn/baby. Basically the person gets to grow up again, but with all the knowledge and experience of his or her past life. No brain transplants or switching bodies with other people... I mean reincarnation as in born again as a new person.

    As I mentioned before, Replay by Ken Grimwood is very similar to what I'm looking for, but where the protagonist starts from the beginning of their life and gets to experience being a child with the insights and worldviews of an adult. I'd prefer if the person started as again with a different body (and therefore look forward to a totally different life than they lived previously) but I'd settle for the same body/life, but very early in their development.

    Do you understand what I mean?

    I realize I'm being very particular here, but I don't want you guys to keep pointing out books and me keep saying, "No, no, not quite."

    Thanks again
  13.  
    HardScienceFan

    HardScienceFan 'what to eat' fan

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    Think my post got lost as well.
    Morning,JD
    Reincarnation:haven't read any of his in this series but didn't Phil Famer
    write about reincarnation?Riverworld/To your Scattered,etc.?
  14.  
    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes, but not quite as usbserial is looking for. (Thanks for specifying, by the way. No, that would eliminate The Man with Nine Lives/The Sound of a Scythe, as well. That one deals with a man who -- in order to exact revenge -- makes a deal involving a deepsleep penal program, where his consciousness is projected to different places/species which will form important points in humanity's migration out to the stars. So he has several identities in that particular very short novel.)
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    usbserial

    usbserial It's noon. Time to sleep.

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    You know, I think I've read either that book or a very similar book. I don't recall the title, but it was short, and it was about a writer who had his body modified to match with several different species in order for him to learn how to interact with them and convey a message from the humans.
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    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    Similar, yes, but not the same. However, that one is ringing bells for me like mad, but I can't quite place it....
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    brsrkrkomdy

    brsrkrkomdy New Member

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    Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld is technically more of resurrection rather than reincarnation. Reincarnation is a tough theme to follow in most of SF, fantasy, and horror. The only reincarnation fiction I could think was "Reincarnation Of Peter Proud" by Max Erlich which was a basis for the movie of the same name. And an obscure book written back in the seventies, a utopian novel with reincarnation used as a means to transport to a utopian society. It's 20-something by Thea Alexander. (2087? Maybe?)
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    Razorback

    Razorback New Member

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    I’m currently reading Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny. I’m not that far into it yet. Reincarnation is certainly a significant factor, but I don’t know if it’s the primary idea. Anyway, you may want to check it out..
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    Who's Wee Dug

    Who's Wee Dug New Member

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    Hmmn!! You may want to try Ken Macleod:The Stone Canal, that at least fits some of what you are after.
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    Dar

    Dar New Member

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    It's not exactly what you're talking about, but Marilyn Monroe is reincarnated in a way, in Bruce Golden's new scifi novel Better Than Chocolate. It's a good read, with a mystery element and some satire. I'd recommend it for just about anyone.

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