©1999 Robert J. Sawyer; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"This first-rate, philosophical journey, a terrific example of idea-driven SF, should have wide appeal." (Publishers Weekly)
You know how you sometimes wish you did something different after some event has happened.. well Robert J. Sawyer explores this here.
Based around a group of scientists who are conducting an experiment at CERN (the place where they have a massive collider running thats SO large it spans 3 different boarders/countries) in Switzerland. The results are not as they expect..
What would be your path in life if.. for 2 mins, you could see 20 years in to the future.. would you be with that person you thought you loved? If not, how would that affect you today... with that person you're with now... hhmm.. how does fore knowledge affect your daily decisions in life??
As with his other books - the science behind his stories are not outrageous, indeed they are scientifically sound (reference to SCI-FI weekly). Enjoy it, its a great story..
If you enjoyed this I would recommend one of his other books: Terminal Experiment.
First of all, I must preface these comments by stating up front that I'm not a big science fiction fan. I do find the concept of time travel interesting so reading a synopsis and the fact that it was on sale drew me in. The premise, that during a scientific phenomenon, the entire world sees 21 years into the future was interesting. I thought, "How could a 2 minute glimpse of the future seriously effect the lives of today?" I suppose that is what grabbed me and the mental processes that go through everyone's mind as a result intrigued me. I listened to this one and found myself looking for excuses to get away from everyone so I could find out what happened next. The science portion of this book, which is actually relatively small, interested me much less than the human aspect. The end had a few bizarre twists that made me roll my eyes, but on the whole I enjoyed the read.
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I like this kind of science-fiction and this was right up my alley!
I was hooked on the TV series when it aired in 2009 / 2010 and was left dangling at the end when it was abruptly cancelled. The last episode of the show was shot before it was known it would be cancelled; it depicted a second Fast Forward Event happening 20 years in the future… and then it was over! What a tease!
I didn’t realize at the time that the show was based on a book so I was excited to discover it and finally get some closure. Loved it!
I am a novelist and short story writer.
This book was spectacular. I enjoy hard SF, especially stories that begin in contemporary times, and this book did not let me down. Sawyer does a great job at mixing murder mystery with the skiffy (sci-fi) foundation.
This was a good read, there were only 2 problems . . .1) The scientific technical language will be over a lot of people's head and 2)The end went a little "out there" Otherwise, it was a good story
Couldn't bear to listen to this for very long, thanks to the lengthy descriptions of irrelevant details, such as each character's hair style. Also a case of an author showing off his knowledge whilst not relevant for the plot. Perhaps the story got better later on, but this was not for me.
I downloaded FLASHFORWARD because of ABC's new TV series of the same name. One of the best premises ever, lots of intriguing clues/possibilities, but the end left me cold. Too . . . silly. I became bored listening to the last chapters.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
The good points:
1) the "science" in the story is well conceived (and is similar in concept to that in Hominids) and is believable within the context of the story
2) there are fewer stereotypes than in Hominids and the politicking sometimes fits in with the story
3) the narrator is good
The bad point that sums up this novel: it's stupid
The premise could have led to a very interesting story - humankind could have tried to deal with what they knew about the future, or tried to replicate the flash forward, or investigate why or how it happened, etc. But what happens instead? It turns into a soap opera about a handful of characters who, regardless of their age or gender, behave how one would expect 30-35 year old males to act. The science fiction stops and the male version of a chick flick starts.
If you knew you were going to be murdered in 21 years time would you spend all your time and energy obsessing to figure out who did it NOW, considering that some of the significant players are still children? Would you fly across the world NOW to meet a woman you know you'll have sex with in 21 years time? Do you think there's even a slight chance that the powers that be would NOT re-use a "time machine"? If you say yes to any of these, then you might like this story.
Otherwise... save your money...
While I thought this would be 'similar' to the TV Show, be forewarned that this story is very different. While usually the book is better than the show (take any Stephen King or Dean Koontz book as an example), the TV folk took an idea (by Robert Sawyer) and made it much, much better. Not to give any spoils here - this book is a flash forward 20 years (not 3) into the future and 85% is about Theo trying to solve his murder. Ok, see what's wrong here...3 years is somewhat imminent whereas 20 years who really cares. No FBI, no bad guys, no nothing but Lloyd, his fiance and Theo. Too bad there is not more here as I really enjoyed the TV Show with its many different plot lines - not much here other than a good idea (the flash forward) that someone else took and made much better. Save your credits for something else...
When I heard about the concept for this book and that they are going to make a TV show based on it (and even comparing its potential to Lost) I couldn't wait to get this book.
Never has so much potential for a good story been wasted on such mundane trivialities. Rather than something to explore or some kind of conspiracy to be uncovered the characters spend a novel that is more than twice as long as it needs to be deciding what they should do now that they think they know what the future holds.
I recommend saving your time and money, read the plot synopsis on Wikipedia, wait for the TV show (to see if that will be better than the book, which won't take much) and go get something better. Heaven knows there's plenty of it on Audible and its not this book.
It might help if you have a smattering of physics - but if you do- it's great! what would you do if you knew a snippet of the future - could you/would you change it? Excellent storyline, well read, good pace. I love SF that is possible.
"Great concept, enjoyable read, weak ending"
The concept of the novel is great - an experiment at a particle accelerator produces a glimpse of 21 years into the future for the whole of humanity.
The book follows the story of the scientists as they attempt to work out what happened and follows the debate over whether the future is fixed or can be changed. One strand of the story follows a character as he tries to find out what happened in his life that meant his future self is not around in 21 years time.
For the most part the book is enjoyable and engaging and kept me coming back for more. The last third of the book ties up some of the loose ends but takes an odd direction for one of the characters and I didn't buy in to the end of his story.
Overall though I enjoyed the book and found it a real page turner.
"A great listen!"
I really enjoyed this book, the reader is very easy to listen to, and really brings the characters to life.
The first half of the book is the best as they deal with 'the event' but it does get rather far fetched towards the end, especially for a book which grounds itself as much as possible in believable physics. But don't let that put you off, it's still a great book!
The book was written in 1999 and is set in 2009, so although the setting is now in the past it was still a decade in the future when it was written, so it's interesting to note some aspects like the author suggesting that book stores had all turned into coffee shops with 'print on demand' facilities. One of the characters in 2009 expressed amazement at a 2030 vision of hard drive based recorders for TV programmes when they are/were perfectly commonplace in 2009!
Also while this takes some common elements from the TV series of the same name, the story is completely different so having watched/read one is not going to spoil the other!
I was looking forward to listening to this book; it had attracted quite a few plaudits and the basic premise was an intriguing one. However, after a reasonably promising start, the book disappoints. The author does not seem to have the imagination to develop his ideas properly, and the characters and their relationships are just too formulaic to carry the plot and maintain the narrative momentum. As a result the book meanders around in the middle part and whilst it picks up a bit towards the end, the ending itself is laughably cliche. Nor does the narration save the book - too one paced and earnest with the various characters not adequately distinguished. As I said, disappointing: save your money.
The thing I liked most about this title is the well written story and the relatable characters.
Lloyd, the leading man if you like, is my favourite character. He has his flash forward/vision, and he has a bit of a tough time explaining what he saw to his partner.
Mark Deakins performance is great. Reads at a good pace and has a very clear voice. His voice changes for the different characters. There are characters from a few different countries, and Deakins handles the different accents very well. He even say a few French and German phrases.
I filled up a little when a characters child dies. During the chapters following the death they are having a hard time and the way she is written is very true to life.
Overall a great listen. Kept me engaged from the off right until the end.
"If you knew the future would you read this book?"
Yes but not unreservedly, Robert Sawyer writes very intellectually interesting books with great ideas and he writes them well. Sometimes though what he brings in terms of the ideas and the philosophy he looses in the emotional translation. If you love ideas, this book is a marvel, if you need emotions with that its a good book, If you want an emotional book its a waste of time.
Michiko, human and the best and most rounded character of all
Great characterisations, he got everything he could from the page and was very clear.
Absolutely not, its way too theory heavy, but 2+hrs would be ok.
Its a great book for soft sci-fi lovers who want ideas heavy books.
Yes. Fantastic concept and unique story which keeps the listener guessing.
I loved the exploration of different scientific models and the characters desperately trying to make sense of it all.
The science chats in the lunch room where they they explain and denounce theories.
10 hours is a bit long for one sitting but it could be done.
Strong beginning but unfortunately the build up is better than the ending and the listener is left with a sense of anti climax. I thought the build up was strong enough to make this a good book and a must listen if you like science.
"Better than the TV series"
An excellent, thought provoking story, with a different feel to the TV series.
For two minutes, everyone loses conciousness, and glimpses their own futures. Of course there are many deaths caused by the two minutes, the one thing better portrayed in the TV series. The focus here though is how to deal with your glimpse of your future self - relationships had changed, and some see no future at all. Questions are raised - if you see your future, for example, is it therefore impossible to commit suicide? If the future is set, do we have no free will or control?
Will definitely be up for a re-read.
"Flash wo wo"
I'm glad I've read, listened to this book. Totally different from the TV series of a few years ago. A good story although there was much sciencespeak. it was interesting to hear how the world would look in the future and even when you "see" your possible future, you could be in the wrong place at the right time.
"One of the best books I have read in a long time"
If you have even a passing interest in particle physics and quantum theory you will love this book. And if you don't have any interest in either you can still enjoy a good storyline. I couldn't put this book down.
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