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Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer

Flashforward (original 1999; edition 2009)

by Robert J. Sawyer

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1,494794,962 (3.54)79
Authors:Robert J. Sawyer
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Tags:Canadian Literature, Sci-Fi, Private Collection, Tor Books, Fiction

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Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer (1999)

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    Sphere by Michael Crichton (SFdolon)
    SFdolon: Best Michael Crichton book, a sorry about the repercussions of an unexpected scientific discovery.

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Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
This novel by the Canadian SF writer concerns a blackout where everyone in the whole world suddenly falls unconscious for two minutes, resulting in car and plane crashes, patients dying in hospital and lesser injuries for many. During this two minutes almost everyone experiences a vision of their future 21 years hence (in 2030, the novel being set in 2009, though written in 1999). As with Sawyer's other novels, there is lengthy and interesting exploration of ethical ideas, here the clash between free will and determinism to which the glimpse into the future gives rise. Again, as in some of his other novels, there is quite a lot of hard science, here about particle physics that seems overdone at points. The characters are generally weak, and the two leading male characters, Lloyd and Theo I found irritating and rather self-centred, though they mellowed in the last part of the novel when the real 2030 came about.

Some of the 1999 predictions about technology in 2009 were off beam (everyone is still using VCRs, just more advanced ones), though the novel correctly predicts that Benedict XVI will be Pope!

There is a US TV series based on the central idea from the novel, though the characters are different (I just watched the first episode after reading this and it looks good). ( )
  john257hopper | Oct 12, 2014 |
Interesting start, but got a bit off track. ( )
  gregandlarry | Oct 12, 2014 |
The first half of this book was excellent, fast-paced and well-written science fiction. However, the last half was new age mumbo jumbo. I read it because the TV series was fairly interesting, but this is one of those few cases where the TV show/movie is actually better than the book. ( )
  piersanti | Sep 28, 2014 |
Flash Forward by Robert J. Sawyer was the inspiration for ABC's series, Flashforward which ran for a season (2009-2010). While Drs. Simcoe and Procopides are trying to prove the existence of the Higgs Boson particle through their experiments at CERN, they and the rest of the world experience a blackout. During the blackout most people on earth report having glimpses into the future — all the way to a specific day and time in the not to distant future (or in the case of the TV series — six months into the future).

Most of the book then is the aftermath of that worldwide vision. First there's the what the fuck just happened? Followed by, how widespread was the event? Followed by who or what caused it? Here, there is the aftermath of the event — minor and major accidents, even deaths. Here the focus is on the media and its influence (for good or bad) on science. Science should be something rational but funding is often driven by public opinion.

Then comes the so now what? stage. When an experiment gives you something unexpected, the data needs to be analyzed. Maybe the method was wrong? Maybe the hypothesis was wrong. In this case, the data is the visions experienced by the vast majority of mankind.

The final piece wraps up all the various strings into a mystery set in the days and minutes before the recorded vision way back when in 2009. In that regard, the book feels more like three interconnected novellas with the same cast of characters.

For people coming to the book by way of the television show, be prepared for CERN oriented plot (rather than hot young agents in the United States). Be prepared for lengthy discussions on science and many glimpses into the day in the life of a scientists. Also, as the author is Canadian, the big DAMN HERO, (if there is one in this ensemble) is Canadian.

That said, the book is was an excellent and entertaining read as an audio book. My son and I listened to it over the course of a week. I originally had started listening to it on my own but he overheard snatches of it and decided to listen in with me. ( )
  pussreboots | Jul 27, 2014 |
I'll admit my reading this book came from watching the TV series first. Netflix was oh-so-right in recommending the show to me, and after breezing through the one and only season, I knew I had to read the book.

Other than the title, the premise and a few (one?) of the characters--the show and the book don't have much in common. Both were excellent--even though they are differnt. I realize that writing a book and writing a tv show are different genres, and so I accept the changes made.

If you want to know about the show, Netflix has it. If you want to know about the book, keep reading.

Within pages of the novel, the reader understands that scientists are undergoing a pretty major experiment in Geneva--the result of which is that every person on earth loses consciousness for about two minutes...this wasn't was the experiment was supposed to do, mind you, but it was a side effect. Most people had a vision--but not any vision--a vision of who and what they would be doing twenty-one years in the future. Those who didn't have visions are left with the haunting realization, perhaps they didn't see anything becaue indeed they were not alive in 21 years. Much debate goes on--is this the ONLY future? A possible future? Not even the future? Should the experiment be tried again?

The plot, storyline, characters, everything was great! If you like sci-fi in its true form (an outrageous story with just enough science in it to make you think it could come true). You need to read this! :) ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
Although uneven, the book was a more rewarding experience for me than the television series. If you enjoyed FlashForward on television, you should probably read the book as it delves far more deeply into many of the issues raised by its core concept.
added by sdobie | editSF Site, Kit O'Connell (Feb 1, 2010)
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"He who foresees calamities suffers them twice over." --Beilby Porteus

""Free will is an illusion. It is synonymous with incomplete perception." --Walter Kubilius

"Lost time is never found again." --John H. Aughey
For Richard M. Gotlib

Richard and I first met in high school in 1975. Back then, we each envisioned very different futures for ourselves. But one thing seemed absolutely clear: no matter how many years would pass, we'd always be friends. It's now a quarter-century later, and I'm delighted that at least that part turned out exactly as planned.
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The control building for CERN's Large Hadron Collider was new: it had been authorized in A.D. 2004 and completed in 2006.
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Book description
Suddenly everyone in the world loses consciousness for two minutes. Planes fall from the sky, there are millions of car crashes, millions die. And when everyone comes round they have had a glimpse of their life in the future. When it awakes the world must live with the knowledge of what is to come. Some saw themselves in new relationships, some saw exciting new technologies, some saw the stuff of nightmares. Some, young and old alike, saw nothing at all . A desperate search to find out what has happened begins. Does the mosaic of visions offer a clue? What did you see?
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0812580346, Mass Market Paperback)

What would you do if you got a glimpse of your own personal future and it looked bleak? Try to change things, or accept that the future is unchangeable and make the best of it? In Flashforward, Nobel-hungry physicists conducting an unimaginably high-energy experiment accidentally induce a global consciousness shift. In an instant, everyone on Earth is "flashed forward" 21 years, experiencing several minutes of the future. But while everyone is, literally, out of their minds, their bodies drop unconscious; when the world reawakens, car wrecks, botched surgeries, falls, and other mishaps add up to massive death and destruction.

Slowly, as recovery efforts continue, people realize that during the Flashforward (as it comes to be called) they experienced a vision of the future. The range of visions is astounding--those who would be asleep in the future saw psychedelic dream landscapes, while others saw nothing at all (presumably they'd be dead). But those who saw everyday life 20 years hence have to come to grips with evidence of dreams forsaken (or realized). Soon, the physicists who caused the Flashforward are struggling to help the world decide whether the future is changeable--and whether the experiment is worth repeating. Robert J. Sawyer has captured a truly compelling idea with Flashforward, and he fully explores what such an event might mean to humanity. Fans will find this to be his best work to date, although the ending seems rushed after a detailed buildup. --Therese Littleton

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:25 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A science experiment goes wrong, giving everyone a glimpse of the future. One man learns a rival will steal his wife, another that he will win a lottery, a third that he will be murdered and has 20 years to find the killer. A look at the repercussions of knowing the future.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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