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Flashforward [Hardcover]

Robert J. Sawyer
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jun 1999
Robert J. Sawyers award-winning science fiction has garnered both popular and critical acclaim. The New York Times Book Review called Frameshift filled to bursting with ideas, characters and incidents. His novels are fixtures on the Hugo and Nebula ballots. Sawyer now brings us Flashforward, the story of a world-shattering discovery. In pursuit of an elusive nuclear particle, an experiment goes incredibly awry, and, for a few moments, the consciousness of the entire human race is thrown ahead by about twenty years. As the implications truly hit home, the pressure to repeat the experiment builds. Everyone wants a glimpse of their future, a chance to flashforward and see their successes ... or learn how to avoid their failures.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books (Jun 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312867123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312867126
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 671,034 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

Review

"This first-rate, philosophical journey, a terrific example of idea-driven SF, should have wide appeal."--"Publishers Weekly" (starred review)"Sawyer is a writer of boundless confidence and bold scientific extrapolation."--"The New York Times Book Review"

Book Description

An acclaimed high concept SF novel, the basis for a new SF series, destined to be the new LOST. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Philosophical and thought provoking 13 Jun 2010
Format:Paperback
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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23 of 24 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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32 of 35 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
Format:Hardcover
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as I expected it to be 18 July 2010
By Baris
Format:Paperback
Definitely, like many others, it was the unexpected cancellation of the TV show which created the appeal to buy this item. Despite the fact that the TV series was popular here in Turkey too, I was not able to find a Turkish translation, nor the original of the book in national bookstores so I looked it up here on Amazon. It arrived in 10 working days, which is reasonable.

The TV series, as I should have guessed has too little in common with the book. The TV series carries the story to USA and makes it a crime series, involving FBI and CIA, while the book dives into astrophysics and philosophy and keeps it within European boundaries with slight touches of Canada (tribute to the author's mainland). It only has one common character with the TV series and another with a similar fate to a character in TV series, other than that the book was merely an inspiration for the producers.

The plot is interesting though. Once you realize it has nothing to with criminal agenda, you accept it and read it with strong curiosity. The book itself feeds you that curiosity and lures you into its depths. There are some parts that it literally fast-forwards, not to bore the reader I guess and you don't miss the details that it skips. Towards the end it really speeds up, give you the adrenalin that a book can and makes you read faster and faster and it unwinds the secrets it had hidden from you all from the beginning.

To me the conclusion, the explanations and the final twists of those explanations were not as satisfactory as I thought it would be. I do not want to give any spoilers but when I closed up the book I asked myself; was it worth it? Well, yes, of course, rather than not knowing what lies behind that curious TV series reading the book gave me something. But not quite the thrill and amazement that I expected it to give to me.

So my rating is 3/5. The book is not as good as a 4, but definitely far better than a 2. Just don't expect too much.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
What a great sci-fi premise.
Published 5 days ago by Claire
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
Great book x
Published 26 days ago by Emily ward
2.0 out of 5 stars It's ok...
This is definitely not the best book I've read for a long time- more like a 4/10. The story and premise is interesting but the writing is pretty terrible. Read more
Published 2 months ago by vix
2.0 out of 5 stars A serious disappointment
After watching the series again as box set on Sky I hoped the book would fill in some of the bits left out as it was cancelled early. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Francis Tindale
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 3 months 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 4 months 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 4 months 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 5 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 6 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 10 months ago by Karen
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