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Flashforward | [Robert J. Sawyer]

Flashforward

A scientific experiment begins, and as the button is pressed, the unexpected occurs: everyone in the world goes to sleep for a few moments while everyone's consciousness is catapulted more than twenty years into the future. At the end of those moments, when the world reawakens, all human life is transformed by foreknowledge.
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Publisher's Summary

A scientific experiment begins, and as the button is pressed, the unexpected occurs: everyone in the world goes to sleep for a few moments while everyone's consciousness is catapulted more than 20 years into the future. At the end of those moments, when the world reawakens, all human life is transformed by foreknowledge.

©1999 Robert J. Sawyer; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"This first-rate, philosophical journey, a terrific example of idea-driven SF, should have wide appeal." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (1094 )
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3.8 (551 )
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Story
4.0 (551 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Phelix_da_Kat 07-23-08 Member Since 2005
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    "How would you digest the fruits of knowledge??"

    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.

    36 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    08-07-09
    08-07-09 Member Since 2006
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    "The story drew me in"

    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.

    20 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simone St Laurent, Quebec, Canada 01-06-13
    Simone St Laurent, Quebec, Canada 01-06-13 Member Since 2006

    Join me on GoodReads too!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyed Every Minute!"

    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!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Hephzibah, GA, USA 09-21-09
    David Hephzibah, GA, USA 09-21-09 Member Since 2008

    I am a novelist and short story writer.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Hard SF"

    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.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet Yuma, AZ, USA 05-26-09
    Janet Yuma, AZ, USA 05-26-09 Member Since 2009
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    "Interesting but a Technical"

    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

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karina Netherlands 01-08-11
    Karina Netherlands 01-08-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Boring because of the details"

    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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan P. Mcgarvey KS 11-22-09 Member Since 2000

    S_McGarvey

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great premise, but disappointing follow through"

    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.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 03-15-09
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 03-15-09 Member Since 2007

    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)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Should be called FAST Forward"

    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...

    21 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Book Fan Virginia 07-07-11
    Book Fan Virginia 07-07-11 Member Since 2008

    Ima

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Save your credits...not like the TV Show"

    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...

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Riverton, UT, USA 04-23-09
    David Riverton, UT, USA 04-23-09
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    "Goes Nowhere"

    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.

    15 of 22 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 55 results PREVIOUS126NEXT
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  • Ghazala
    Chinnor, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
    7/8/10
    Overall
    "Great book, awful narration"

    I am about half way through the audio of this book and I am thoroughly enjoying the plot. Quite different from the tv series but that's ok for me.

    My only complaint is the narration - I find it quite hard to believe in any of the characters as all their accents are the same, regardless of nationality - the New Zealand accent is particularly amusing! I would rather the narrator didnt try to put on different voices for each character if he is going to do it badly.

    For me, this really lets the audiobook down which is disappointing as I'm quite fascinated with the subject matter.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hazel
    Reading, Berkshire, United Kingdom
    6/1/10
    Overall
    "Brain bending!!"

    First of all - if you are expecting a book of the TV series - forget it. This book was so much better than the TV series which was based (very very loosely) on it.

    Robert J Sawyer is a real old fashioned intelligent science fiction writer, the kind that gives your brain a real work out. The information about the real places such as the Large Hadron Collider is woven into the story extremely well giving it depth and believability. The fiction elements are blended in so skillfully that you really have to stop and think about where the science stops and the fiction begins.

    The book works on many levels, once the reader has been introduced to the idea of a 'flash forward' glimpse of the future then the real questions start and they come thick and fast. What impact would it have to know in advance that in 20 years you would or would not be famous? How do we know whether the future is fixed and does free will really mean anything? What about the millions of people killed by the event and how do the authorities cope? How do you prove what causd the phenomenon without killing millions more people in the process?

    Add to the mix a murder mystery where the crime won't take place for twenty one years and you have a classic sci-fi tale up there with the likes of I-Robot and Foundation. I can't help but think that this would have made a fantastic movie if handled correctly rather than the seriously dumbed down TV series.

    As an audio book, the production was great, the narration was excellent and I was hooked from start to finish. More like this please....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Jason
    LondonUnited Kingdom
    11/20/09
    Overall
    "Don't bother"

    Really not worth the trouble - wooden characters with stilted dialogue, lumpen plot and a smattering of futurology: "Windows 9", hovercars and big televisions anyone?

    The TV series shares little more than the title. This is probably a good thing as the book lacks all the excitement found in the dramatization.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Beverley
    Stevenage, United Kingdom
    11/10/09
    Overall
    "Brilliant!"

    This is a beautifully written and thought-provoking book which is well read by the narrator. It raises the fascinating questions of how life would change if you could see 20-years into the future, how much that vision would dictate what actually happened in the future and whether or not the future is pre-determined. This is a great read and much better than the TV series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ken
    Diss, Norfolk, United Kingdom
    1/21/10
    Overall
    "Flashforward"

    Decided to see how this compared with the television series and you can see where the TV series gets it's ideas but other then that theres not much link. As with another reviewer I felt the TV series has more drama however this is a very good book and parts 1 and 2 are well written, interesting and make you want to listen to more. However - the ending is dreadful and a major let down and rather ruins the rest of the book. The first 2 parts on their own would have had a rating of 4/5 but the final part is a 1!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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