©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.
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.
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
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...
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.
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...
I was looking forward to this book because I had found the TV series increasingly irritating. However, it was at least entertaining in its way, unlike Sawyer's novel which is terribly dreary with uninteresting two-dimensional characters and an excess of tedious dissertations on quantum physics. I really wanted to get this book behind me so that I could move on to something more enjoyable. Shades of Philip K Dick -- great idea, amateurishly written. The best bit is definitely the chase, which is quite gripping because you really don't know what's going to happen. On the other hand, you don't really care.
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.
Join me on GoodReads too!
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!
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