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Flashforward [Hardcover]

Robert J. Sawyer
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jun 1999
Robert J. Sawyer's 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 (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,539,604 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 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
24 of 26 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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13 of 14 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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32 of 36 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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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Good ideas, though only average in novel terms
This novel by the Canadian SF writer concerns a blackout where everyone in the whole world suddenly falls unconscious for two minutes, resulting in car and plane crashes, patients... Read more
Published 10 days ago by John Hopper
4.0 out of 5 stars Can we change the future or are we fated !!!
An interesting concept about the possibility of changing a future glimpsed in a global event possibly caused by the LHC at Geneva after a high voltage experiment seemed to result... Read more
Published 1 month ago by David H J Ashdown
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great book!
Published 2 months ago by Dan Atkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
What a great sci-fi premise.
Published 3 months ago by Claire
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
Great book x
Published 3 months 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 7 months ago by D. Martland
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