The Craziest Groundhog Day Scenarios in Fiction

The Craziest Groundhog Day Scenarios in Fiction

While Groundhog Day is usually all about the pulse-pounding question of whether Punxsutawny Phil will see his shadow, for us the real star of February 2 is Bill Murray. Yep, we’re talking about Groundhog Day, the classic movie about an asshole weatherman who has to relive the same day over and over.

Source: Tumblr/Chacun Mes Gouts

In literature, this phenomenon is referred to as a time loop—most often appearing in sci-fi/fantasy, though we’ve seen examples crop up in YA as well. Given the opportunity to change the past, some of these characters save strangers from death, or their loved ones from being erased from history entirely. In other cases, repeating the same days (or years!) is a fate worse than death. Read on for the most insane Groundhog Day scenarios in fiction.

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    1. Before I Fall

    After a grisly car accident leaves her stranded in limbo, high school queen bee Samantha must relive the day of her death over and over again until she redeems her vapid, bitchy existence enough to pass on. In confronting the ugliness of herself and her clique, hanging out with other students, and even saving someone else in danger, she also experiences the five stages of grief.

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    2. Martian Time-Slip

    Intending to use a primitive Martian form of time travel to enact revenge on his rival Jack Bohlen, Arnie Kott instead traps himself in a time loop: He relives the same day over and over, from bumping into Jack to losing out on claiming ownership of a Martian mountain range. However, unlike Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day character, Kott doesn’t remember that he’s relived the same day, and so he can never learn from his mistakes.

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    3. Heir Apparent

    After she dreamed up a virtual-reality take on Dungeons & Dragons in User Unfriendly, Vivian Vande Velde poked fun at video games and their infinite lives with Heir Apparent. Hooked into a virtual-reality adventure, Giannine keeps dying over and over again—killed by royal guards, barbarian invaders, and even a dragon. Every time she dies, she has to start the game over—which becomes especially frustrating once she makes it halfway through, only to get poisoned. Heightening the stakes is a sabotage to the VR game, which promises brain damage if she doesn’t win the game within the 30-minute timeframe.

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    4. Lost in a Good Book

    Jasper Fforde’s follow-up to The Eyre Affair features the kind of time travel that, like reading for too long, will make your eyes hurt. We won’t spoil all of it, but here’s the gist: When her husband is erased from everyone’s memories except her own, “literary detective” Thursday Next must travel through books and through time to bring him back to reality. Along the way, she temporarily traps herself in a time loop.

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    5. Replay

    At first, Jeff Winston is elated when, after he dies in his 40s of a heart attack, he awakens in his 18-year-old body, with his memories of the next 25 years intact. Despite his best efforts to change the future, he succumbs to a heart attack a second time. As he keeps “replaying” his life up until his eventual death, Winston finds himself jumping to periods closer and closer to the age at which he’ll die. And that’s just the start of this chilling tale about the consequences of time loops.

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    6. Sandman: Endless Nights – new edition

    In this Sandman collection, the seven Endless siblings each get their own adventures. No surprise, Death’s centers on time: She arrives at an island where a nobleman has erected a time loop imprisoning himself and the island’s inhabitants in a loop for hundreds of years, ensuring that they have eternal life. Of course, as we’ve learned by now, no time loop lasts forever.

Natalie Zutter
Seeing as Natalie spent her childhood reading Star Wars and Tamora Pierce novels, she’s used to being the token geek at anything from celebrity websites to book websites. (Though she’s also a recent romance convert!) A graduate of NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, she stages plays about superheroes, sex robots, and Internet fandom in her spare time. As a pop culture blogger, she has written for, Crushable, Quirk Books, BlackBook, and other outlets.


  1. Very helpful book titles, I’m interested to see if they are picked up this February on the end caps in my town’s library

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