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FlashForward [Paperback]

Robert J. Sawyer
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

9 Oct 2009

Suddenly everyone in the world loses consciousness for two minutes. Planes fall from the sky, there are millions of car crashes, millions die. And when everyone comes round they have had a glimpse of their life in the future.

When it awakes the world must live with the knowledge of what is to come.

Some saw themselves in new relationships, some saw exciting new technologies, some saw the stuff of nightmares. Some, young and old alike, saw nothing at all . . .

A desperate search to find out what has happened begins. Does the mosaic of visions offer a clue?

What did you see?

Now the basis for the Channel 5 hit series FLASHFORWARD

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz; paperback / softback edition (9 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575091010
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575091016
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 11.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 34,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert J. Sawyer has been described as Canada's answer to Michael Crichton. Critically acclaimed in the US he is regarded as one of SF's most significant writers and his novels are regularly voted as fan's favourites. He lives in Canada.

Product Description


This is the novel that inspired the TV series. The book's cast indulges in more leisurely discussion of theories about free will, multiple universes and the like. It works rather well. There are some intriguing predictions for the year 2030, by the way: hover cars and an African-American president in the White House. (THE DAILY MAIL)

Although it was turned for TV into a race-against-time thriller, the novel is an intellectual puzzle, drawing on theoretical physics to raise questions about time and space and the existence of free will, and proves once again that good science fiction does not need visual effects to thrill. (Lisa Tuttle THE TIMES)

The novel, now published for the first time in this country, is... decent sci-fi. (THE EVENING STANDARD)

Sawyer focuses on the efforts of a small group of people to cope with their new found knowledge, showing what's going on for the rest of the world via news headlines. This gives the reader the opportunity to really get inside people's heads and experience the phenomenon at first hand... a thoughtful and exploratory piece that examines the nature of destiny and free will." (GRAEME'S FANTASY BOOK REVIEW)

Book Description

An acclaimed high concept SF novel, the basis for a new SF series, destined to be the new LOST.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves 3 May 2010
By Me read TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Robert Sawyer always finds great stories to write about. His ideas always draw me in and I think I'm in for a fantastic tale. Then I reach the end and I feel like it could have been more.

Flashforward had a great pull - See your own life 20 years into the future for 2 minutes and try to work out how to get there.

It was a brilliant start and a real page turner. I loved reading about everyone's flashforward, I was rivited by all the connotations that flashforward threw up. Even the loss and devestation caused by the flashforward made for interesting reading...The first half is about the here and now. It's great.

When we reach the second half, it's all about edging towards the 20 year future that had been predicted. Getting there takes a lot of technical info that frankly I could have done without. The why's and how's don't really interest me. Also the two leads at this stage become a bit whiney. Lloyd simcoe wants to be with his girl, then he's got doubts, then he's sure again, then he has doubts again....and Theo is so wrapped up in himself that he gets tedious really fast. It's all me, me, me with Theo. THEN we get to the future and it's all wraped up in a paragrah or 3. It was a bit of a let down.

The ending left me with a bit of a 'whaaat??' moment and I imagine for the hard-core sci-fi fans it was the best bit, but I just wasn't feeling it. The conclusion was over in a flash.

.....And it's nothing like the tv show...... just sayin'
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Philosophical and thought provoking 13 Jun 2010
I bought the book after watching the American TV series, which was intriguing and complex, dealing with the aftermath of a global experiment which enabled everyone to have a glimpse of their future.

The novel, at first, disappointed: characters are changed, plot lines re-allocated and the focus shifted in the tv version to make it more dramatic. Unlike the series, which is from a security service angle, the novel shows the events from the perspective of one of the scientists, who struggles to come to terms with the implication of his vision - which shows him in a very different future than the one he's planning for himself and his fiancee.

Robert J Sawyer spends the first quarter of the novel in a mind boggling explanation of the theoretical physics underpinning the event - not for the faint-hearted. Wisely, the tv version only nods at this. Thereafter, he concentrates on the impact such a revelation has on the psyche: if we knew what the future held would we fight it, if we didn't like what we saw, or accept our fate as inevitable?
The novel wrestles with concepts of self determination, free will, fate and time as a dimension.

Don't buy the book if, like me, you want to find out how the tv series is going to end. Do buy it if you want to exercise your grey cells on some of the biggest questions we can ask about life's purpose.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Characters always come alive for Robert Sawyer. 16 July 1999
By A Customer
This book is not just about the human consciousness leaping 21 years into the future. It's about the people to whom this happened. How do people who have been given a taste of their own future react to that knowledge? Humanity just had the "Fruit of Knowledge" thrust down its throat. Can we be the same after we gain that knowledge? Did that knowledge come at too high a price? Does freewill exist or is it just an illusion humanity concocted? Is the future immutable or can we make our own future? Sawyer deals with not only complex ideas, like these, but also complex emotions. He breathes life into his characters, then lets them take flight. Once I picked this book up, I could not put it down.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
By Blackhorse47 TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This inevitable release to tie in with the new tv series is sure to have people rushing to read it in the hope of finding answers to the numerous conundrums and Lost-style red herrings that have already been provided. So a word of caution: this book was written ten years ago and the series is only based on the book's central idea. There are already massive changes of direction and focus from the book, and it's likely the direction may go further apart, especially if the series runs for a while. That's not a bad thing though as the central idea is one of Sawyer's best and can be explored in many ways.

What would you do if you knew what the future had in store for you? This is the intriguing question that some scientific technobabble involving quantum mechanics throws up. Free will versus apparent predestination is a fascinating concept. The predicament of the characters, some of whom learn how they'll die and when, and some of whom learn how their lives will turn out for better or worse, is an idea that grabs the attention. Some people give up and accept the inevitable, some people just give up and kill themselves, some people try to change the future, and some people even try to ensure the future they saw does happen.

These attitudes build up a picture of the various views of fate we probably all have and as such it represents the very best that science fiction can provide. Sf always works best when it takes a single idea and asks how the world will change because of it. What I found less successful was the science aspects. I've enjoyed a few Sawyer novels and for me they usually get bogged down with trying too hard to make the science believable, when it rarely is.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars So compelling!
I loved this book! I read it before even knowing that a tv series existed and found it so good.
Published 9 days ago by sonia
2.0 out of 5 stars slightly disappointed
I really wanted to love this novel, however it failed to impress. The theme that the book presents is fascinating, but the narrative as well as the characters are flat.
Published 1 month ago by Gabritems
5.0 out of 5 stars Great in its own right
Like many others, I bought this book in an attempt to understand what was going to happen in the cancelled TV series. Read more
Published 1 month ago by D. Martland
5.0 out of 5 stars Different
Thanks for your fab service, book arrived in great time. Already read it and it's NOT what I expected after the TV show
Published 2 months ago by Nicki James
5.0 out of 5 stars Different from the series
Which was clearly developed from. The book is a different story, and one that looks more at the human question. Love he way it goes farther into the future too. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Science Boy
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing
Read it, didn't like it and gave it to my local charity book warehouse soon after I finished it. The tv series was interesting and this wasn't. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Karen
4.0 out of 5 stars Futures Tense
The premise of this book is that as a consequence of a physics experiment at CERN everyone in the world falls unconscious and has a two minute vision of their life 20 years in the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by barbicandy
5.0 out of 5 stars Not as a film but still great and kept me from start to the end.
The book was totally different from the film but I have to be honest I enjoyed it even more because of this. Sawyer took my life for two days. Brilliant.
Published 9 months ago by mieczyslawa podsiedlik
3.0 out of 5 stars Science fiction with a capital S
Interesting concept and I did like the tv series - I was disappointed that it was ditched. The book is, however, utterly different from the series in that you don't have the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ian L J
5.0 out of 5 stars Saw the Tv series 1st and read this after.
They are very different to each other , well written book, great ideas - just don't get it because you liked the tv series.
Published 10 months ago by Jason Walsh
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