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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 (1319 )
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4.0 (759 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Phelix_da_Kat 07-23-08 Member Since 2006
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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.

    39 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simone 01-06-13
    Simone 01-06-13 Member Since 2015

    Join me on GoodReads too!

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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!

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori 08-07-09
    Lori 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.

    25 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Hephzibah, GA, USA 09-21-09
    David Hephzibah, GA, USA 09-21-09 Member Since 2015

    I am a novelist and short story writer.

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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.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet Yuma, AZ, USA 05-26-09
    Janet Yuma, AZ, USA 05-26-09 Member Since 2015
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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

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 05-14-11
    Jim "The Impatient" Springfield, MO, United States 05-14-11 Member Since 2015

    I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath

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    "real Science fiction"

    This is not Sci-Fi, this is Science fiction at it's best. I have not seen the t.v. series, but the book makes me want to watch. The miles past by so quick as I listened to this book. I usually like to listen to NPR in the morning and then listen to a book, but I kept finding reasons to leave NPR and listen to this book. The science is not over your head and RS keeps your interest all the way. It is not a time travel book, it is a glimpse into the future and the results that causes and there are some very interesting causes. RS is the Asimov of our age.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 03-15-09
    crazybatcow East Coast, Canada 03-15-09 Member Since 2012

    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)

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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...

    29 of 38 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John S MA 09-17-14
    John S MA 09-17-14 Member Since 2014

    Avid audible listener for over 10 years.

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    "Interesting concept but falls apart at end"

    I liked this book. It's part scifi, part murder mystery. If you like science, especially quantum physics it's a good book. If not, then probably not. If you like the science part, then its good till the last few chapters. An experiment at a supercollider throws everyone on the planet into a trance for 2 minutes. While in the trance you get to see 20 years into the future (but if you are driving a car guess what happens). Some people see what they will become, other people just see what they are dreaming, and then there are the people who see nothing meaning you are dead in 20 years. A major character tries to understand why he is dead and finds out he will be murdered. So far so good. Then its starts to get kind of cosmic as in 2001 space odyssey kind of stuff. Then it turns into a kind of romance book. I wish I was editor on this book because it would have been great without last 2 chapters and a twist on ending (maybe not so "happy".)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tez L Los Angeles, CA USA 06-12-14
    Tez L Los Angeles, CA USA 06-12-14 Member Since 2011

    Tez L

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    "Good, intellectual, metaphysical sci-fi"
    If you could sum up Flashforward in three words, what would they be?

    An interesting idea.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Flashforward?

    The most memorable moments are the ones I have had after reading the book, thinking back on the ideas, contemplating it, digesting it.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hope co, usa 03-18-14
    Hope co, usa 03-18-14 Member Since 2010
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    "cool idea... good argument for abridged editions"

    soo many descriptions of stupid things. Subway cars in Toronto.Buttons on a gadget. Recaps of Casablanca. If you edited out all the extra crap and added some characterisation, say, it would have been an interesting story. As it is I'm within an hour of finishing and don't even care how it ends.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
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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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