- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Gollancz; paperback / softback edition (9 Oct. 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0575091010
- ISBN-13: 978-0575091016
- Product Dimensions: 11.6 x 2.5 x 17.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 134 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86,157 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
FlashForward Paperback – 9 Oct 2009
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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)
An acclaimed high concept SF novel, the basis for a new SF series, destined to be the new LOST.See all Product description
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I found the main characters frustrating. Scientists who seemed to grab at a explanatory theory for the flash forward based upon almost no evidence and then sell it to the world as established facts. I hope those at CERN in real life don't jump so quickly from "this is the only explanation I/my wife can think of" to "this is the only explanation that can be true".
Also - for a book published in 1999 and set mostly in 2009, the predictions of 2009 way of life seem way off. Some such as print-on-demand books provided in all bookshops are understandable and funny when reading this on a kindle. But others such as the continued references to VHS tape being used for recordings are very distracting. Surely the author would have been aware of DVDs in the late 90s. Even Blockbuster stocked them by then!
So an interesting central concept but could have been so much better. I can see why they junked the story for the TV adaptation.
Some of the 1999 predictions about technology in 2009 were off beam (everyone is still using VCRs, just more advanced ones), though the novel correctly predicts that Benedict XVI will be Pope!
There is a US TV series based on the central idea from the novel, though the characters are different (I just watched the first episode after reading this and it looks good).
This is the only book I have paid for so far (I am making the most of the free book selection!) and I was not happy to discover the book was full of spelling mistakes that I expect were not in the original format, but were errors made by whomever 'typed it up'. I would have just shrugged it off if it had been a free book, but it bugged me. Oddly enough, none of the free books had a single mistake!
Anyway, aside from the errors (which I do hope someone will fix!) it was a jolly good read! Even though I am not a sci-fi fan in the slightest, I may have to try out a few more of Mr Sawyers literary efforts!
The book is well-paced, and punctuated with news summaries which indicate how the wider world is coping following the "Flashforward". The plot is centered around the Large Hardon Collider in Geneva (probably not a spoiler to suggest this might have something to do with it), and while the novel is punctuated with science, it doesn't detract too much from the human interest element. As well as science, there's also some Philosophy... but like the science it's "pop" Philosophy and is generally accessible. To be honest, from my perspective, there probably isn't enough of this kind of thing in it; I found the explanation of how a high-energy particle collision could interfere so acutely with human consciousness slightly wishy-washy. I get the impression you're not meant to question it too much... the LHC is a mere a plot device to enable the intriguing high-concept, and the emphasis is really more on the reaction of the characters.
For all it does zip along enjoyably, the last few chapters are somewhat of a damp squib and a bit nonsensical... it doesn't really need to go where it does. I also found the general ambivalence of the world's population a little unbelievable, but who's to say that's not how they'd react?
Overall I enjoyed this and recommend it.
Rather than having an alcoholic FBI agent running all over the place, the book focusses on two physicists at the centre of the Flashforward (or are they?). The event happens, they wonder if they caused it and they try to survive the fall-out. The book is much more slow paced, focussing on the personalities and their reactions to two very different futures which they would like to avoid. But can they?
The book has several over-lapping plot threads within it which intertwine nicely and I only got the twist about a page before the reveal, so it kept me guessing really quite well. A gentle ride, but very enjoyable none the less. Give it a go in its own right.
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