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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.

Critic Reviews

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Overall

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.

43 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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.

28 of 31 people found this review helpful

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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!

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Pedantic, flat reading,

Little character development, flat one dimensional characters that live in their heads, with internal dialogues to deliver "the message"

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Doesn't feel well thought through...

The idea for this story is intriguing and it starts off well and has some good suspense. Sawyer explores some interesting scenarios through the lives of the characters overall, yet toward the end, it just doesn't feel that well thought out. I feel like maybe the author was under a deadline or something and just put a generic component to the ending. This wouldn't be at the top of my recommendation list, but it is worth getting if you really love time travel fantasy. The best time travel stuff on Audible that I have read is definitely Replay by Ken Grimwood, The Schumann Frequency & The First Boxer by Chris Ride and 11-22-63 by Stephen King. Hope this helps. Later.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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

  • Overall

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...

37 of 47 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Janet
  • Yuma, AZ, USA
  • 05-26-09

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

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

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".)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Kathy
  • 08-14-08

Excellent

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.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Alan
  • 09-14-13

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Revey
  • 02-11-13

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mark
  • 10-13-10

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!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Tom
  • 11-23-09

Disappointing

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul
  • 08-14-15

Wish I had read the book before seeing the TV series

This is the first book I have read by Sawyer and it is a must read for SciFi fans. I wish I listened to this before seeing the TV series's however it was the series that introduced me to his work.
I have had this book in my wish list for a few years and finally got it, I loved he twists and turns and the solid science.
He paints seems of place that I have been to with detail that really brought them to life. So much of the book feels solid and realistic that it absorbs you the way a really good story should.
Every time I stopped I could not wait to get back to the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lee
  • 12-01-13

Great listen

What did you like most about Flashforward?

The thing I liked most about this title is the well written story and the relatable characters.

Who was your favorite character and why?

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.

What about Mark Deakins’s performance did you like?

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.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

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.

Any additional comments?

Overall a great listen. Kept me engaged from the off right until the end.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • BP1
  • 10-18-13

If you knew the future would you read this book?

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Michiko, human and the best and most rounded character of all

What about Mark Deakins’s performance did you like?

Great characterisations, he got everything he could from the page and was very clear.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely not, its way too theory heavy, but 2+hrs would be ok.

Any additional comments?

Its a great book for soft sci-fi lovers who want ideas heavy books.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Andre
  • 07-08-13

Strong Begining

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. Fantastic concept and unique story which keeps the listener guessing.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the exploration of different scientific models and the characters desperately trying to make sense of it all.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The science chats in the lunch room where they they explain and denounce theories.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

10 hours is a bit long for one sitting but it could be done.

Any additional comments?

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michelle Moore
  • 04-09-13

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dane
  • 11-26-15

Better than I expected

After the TV show was cancelled years ago I finally got a chance to get closure on the FLASH FORWARD events. Kept me entertained on my commute to and fro work and with enough distractions going on in the real world this was a great escape which is why I gave it 4/5 rating.

Likes - storyline was captivating enough for me to keep me listening and wanting to find out the who what and why's
Dislike - my personal opinion ending could've been better it's a bit harsh but like the movie INTERSTELLAR it had me all the way up until that last bit which left a slightly funky taste in my mouth. Just me I know but not a fan of these out there endings.

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  • Penny
  • 01-31-14

Geek Speak A-plenty and an Ending that is Wanting

I liked the idea of "Flash Forward" but the scientific theory did not get me engaged. I love my Sci-fi and a good "time travel" idea but this did leave me disappointed.

The scientific explanations should have been dialled back. Some are helpful, but I felt there was too much in this novel and it became frustrating. With an audio book you listen to every word. You don't skip past in case there is some important information key to the storyline so you slog through.


The narrator does a great job with some amazingly complicated terms, names and foreign languages.

I got to the end though and went, "Really, that's it?" It had some good moments, interesting concepts and left you thinking about many things, but I did feel let down by the conclusion.