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3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 12 May 2012
Having watched the TV show and loved it, I had quite high expectations about this book. I was quite surprised to find that there was only one familiar character and that the story does not involved the FBI at all!! However, I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though the science facts and figures meant nothing to me. I confess to being a little disappointed at the ending, after such a strong story it just seemed to fizzle out.

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!
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You know what you're in for when the opening pages of a book spend more time telling you what cars people drive, than on the grief of the protagonists losing their child (no spoiler, it happens in the first few pages of the book). From then on Sawyer's got his little `Boys' Book of CERN facts' open and uses it as often as possible, at the expense of the accuracy of most of the other world facts he presents. (By the end of the book Sawyer has mentioned that some people speak French so many times I think he was still in shock over it.) The book trots a long at a fine pace, but at the expense of the plot. The author spends more time praising CNN news than fleshing out characters and storyline.

It's a fair enough read to pass a train journey, but only if you don't want anything more detailed than "He said, she said, and isn't CNN great?".
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on 20 May 2017
Very good book, well written without getting tiring. I haven't watched the show but this book was a clever and good read.

I've given this book to 2 other people and they have both enjoyed it (although I got mixed feedback for the book ending).
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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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on 13 June 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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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 in the entire world seeing 21 years into the future then dropping back to the present time. There was a lot of advanced theoretical thinking included in the book that would possibly go over many people's heads but was necessary to underpin the idea behind this novel. At the end you're left thinking about parallel universes ,free will and destiny - a brilliant read for all budding philosophers with loads of "food for thought".
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on 26 July 2010
Getting a brief glimpse into our own futures seems like sure fire excitement for a book, but for the majority of us in 20 years time we will be doing basically the same thing we are now, but in silver pants. Robert J Sawyer tries to add a few more thrills with `Flask Forward', a book in which everybody in the planet gets to see two minutes of their future. The concept of time travel is by far the most interesting part of this book and as all the main characters are scientists there are lots of interesting theories about the phenomenon. Some people may find discussions on parallel universes and free will a bore, but I actually found them compelling.

Perhaps this was in some part due to the fact that the `story' in `Flash Forward' feels pretty poorly crow barred in. I assume that Sawyer came up with the idea of the book, but not a way of making it a narrative. Therefore, there is a hackneyed crime story that is soon undermined by the numerous scientific theories. Throw in the fact that time travel within a single universe is impossible (imo) and the book does lack a driving force. However, for people with an interest in science fiction for science fiction's sake there is plenty in the book that remains of interest.
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on 21 July 2010
This is different enough to the TV series for one not to think they know the ending from the beginning (not that we know the end in the TV series).

Set around the CERN facility that borders France and Switzerland, it has Lloyd and Theo as the central characters, the scientists unable to explain the sudden flasforward.

There's no FBI or American involvement (a relief to be sure) but the novel feels lightweight. That's good in a way as it's a very easily readable 300 pages, but more could be made of the effects of possibly seeing your future - the fact that the creators of the TV series have brought much more ideas to the screen (I guess they have to fill countless hours) means they get to explore where Sawyer did not go.

Interesting. Try 'Offworld' by Robin Parrish as an alternative.
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on 2 July 2010
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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on 16 July 1999
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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