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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Philosophical and thought provoking
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...
Published on 13 Jun 2010 by Barbara Bellamy

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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves
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...
Published on 3 May 2010 by Me read


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Philosophical and thought provoking, 13 Jun 2010
This review is from: FlashForward (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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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 (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: FlashForward (Paperback)
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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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 review is from: Flashforward (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
This review is from: FlashForward (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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable and speculative novel, 20 Jan 2010
By 
Mark Chitty (North Wales) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: FlashForward (Paperback)
As it says on the cover, Flashforward is the basis of the new TV series that hit screens last year. While I've not watched it, when this popped through the door I couldn't help but want to read it. The premise is interesting - a worldwide event that causes Earth's population to black out for two minutes which in turn gives them a glimpse of their future. My first thought was: cool! But then my mind turned to how this could make a good story. Would it just be a bunch of ideas? A novel full of smaller stories? Or what if it could give a story that you want to read about, something that needs a conclusion? To be honest,Flashforward is all of these combined and much more than I got a lot more than I thought out of it.

I guess the best place to start is with the visions that the human race have of the future, or rather two minutes in 2040. This all happens just as the large hadroncollider is turned on for the first time (and is naturally the main suspect for those working there that know this), and because of the mass blackout millions of people die. Some people see great things for themselves, others not so much. But the focus of the story settles on the team working at theLHC and their visions. While Lloyd and Michiko are in a relationship, they both see different things, and Theo is among those that don't have a vision at all - those that are presumed dead at the time.

Seeing the fallout from the visions of these three gives a very good basis for the novel to play out nicely. Theo discovers that he was murdered a couple of days before the time the visions show, and this means he wants to do some digging and to find out what exactly happened to his future self. It's at this point that the story falls squarely on its main plot - awhodunnit mystery. This isn't all the book is about, but it gives the story that could have been a little all over the place a solid thread to follow. Lloyd andMichiko discover that they are not married in the future they see and this leads to some deep discussions about how fixed the future is.

It's these discussions that really take the story up a notch. Robert J Sawyer has managed to give an interesting premise, been able to follow that up with a decent story and then also give some very good speculation and science to back it all up. I loved reading the sections where Lloyd,Michiko and others discussed the future, how fixed it could be, how it could change and also the general discussions on the science of theFlashforward . To be honest I wasn't expecting such a deep look at all of these aspects, so I was very pleasantly surprised to find them here.

I will highly recommend this one to any fan of science fiction that enjoys the speculative side of it, the way an author can raise many questions in such a short space of time, and to anyone that simply enjoys a very good story. Great stuff!
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The excellent source material for the tv series, 8 Oct 2009
This review is from: FlashForward (Paperback)
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. Sawyer's writing style is also prone to being pedestrian, but on the other hand it's well within the norm for the modern bestseller style.

Some minor reservations aside, this is a fascinating novel of ideas and how we might react to knowing our fates. Whether or not the tv series takes the same direction, both are well worth exploring.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where will you be in 21 years?, 28 Mar 2011
By 
Sars (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: FlashForward (Paperback)
First things first: this is not the TV show. How they got away with saying that it was based on this, I really do not know. For starters, the world flashes 21 years into the future, not six months. Secondly, it revolves around a bunch of physicists working at CERN in Switzerland. Pretty much the only thing that remains is the name of one of the characters.

The novel is unique and interesting. The characters are all too human, complete with assorted neuroses and obsessions. The pace is relatively swift. It will get you thinking about free-will and the whole multiple universe theory versus determinism. It even has an oddly silly Austin-Powers style slow-motion race around the Large Hadron Collider track.

The ending is... well, weird. But overall, it's an excellent story. For a book that tends to dwell on complex science, it's a surprisingly light & easy read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Good Read, 6 July 2010
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: FlashForward (Paperback)
I purchased this book after watching the series on telly and being disappointed that the series was cancelled and the ending never shown. The book was quite a bit different than the show, but in a good way. The author has researched his material, and there were bits when you felt you were wading through some of the 'scientific theories', but overall it was a compelling read with good character development and a heck of a story. It reminded me how much I enjoy science fiction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much science, not enough fiction., 2 July 2010
By 
David Pillinger "tezzertog1962" (Stroud Gloucestershire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: FlashForward (Paperback)
This is a real rarity, a book that is not as good as the TV series which was based upon it. In fairness, the TV show just took the basic idea and the name and otherwise bore little or no relation to the book, which is probably why it was better.

Anyway, a great idea with loads of intriguing possibilities and any number of possible outcomes, but somehow it just never got off the ground. I never got to care about any of the characters and, when the whole story hinges around their possible destinies, it makes the book a bit of a grind if you just don't care whether they live or die.
I still don't know what the fuss is about the Higgs Boson particle and I think the book got bogged down in the science to the detriment of the story.

All in all, I'm glad I read the book but it will never be an old friend that I take down from the shelf to re-read on a regular basis. In fact, I doubt that I shall ever read it again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking, 18 April 2011
By 
Alan "suddenlysemour" (Atherstone, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: FlashForward (Paperback)
The simple test is: did I enjoy this book? Yes I did. I watched the TV series, mostly on fastforward as it was frustratingly slow. This made me seek out the source. It's "old-school" sci-fi to my mind, lots of techno-babble which may or not be true or accurate as I'm not qualified to know, but above all an intriguing idea which is neatly explored. Yes the ending is a bit swift, yes the chase scene is a bit of a misfit, but what the heck. If a book is there to provoke ideas then this does it. You can find elements of the TV series in it if you bother to look, but the TV series made it all too complex, the book is more straightforward. So it's not the greatest book in the world, but for its concept alone it is worth a look.
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FlashForward
FlashForward by Robert J. Sawyer (Paperback - 9 Oct 2009)
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