Monday, November 2, 2009


Title: Flashforward
Author: Robert J. Sawyer
Genre: Science fiction
Published: 1999

Rating: 6.5/10
Recommendation: Middling science fiction novel with few interesting ideas.

Summary: Lloyd Simcoe and Theo Procopides schedule their Large Hadron Collider experiment for 5pm sharp. Except instead of producing the Boson particle they expect, they find the whole world displaced 21 years into the future for a little over 2 minutes. Everyone experiences their lives 21 years from today. But how did this happen and what do the visions really mean is left to the interpretation of the world.

Reactions: I thought the premise of this science fiction novel was pretty neat. Being able to see what happened to you in 21 years and then return to deal with what you have seen can open many avenues for discussion. Robert Sawyer picks up one of the more obvious themes: predestination vs free will. Though there are some interesting discussions present, I felt the author didn't go in depth on many of them and didn't contribute anything particularly new to the discussion. His physics explanation for the phenomenon didn't interest me too much and I felt a lot of time was spent discussing various physics particles.

My biggest problem with the book though were the characters. I didn't particularly like the scientists in the novel, though I somewhat warmed up to them by the end of the book. But at least for the first third of Flashforward I struggled to keep my interest because I didn't like the characters too much.

Overall, it was an okay read. I was a little disappointed with the lack of interesting ideas and characters. But I did enjoy some very realistic glimpses of Toronto described in this book.


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  2. Although I have not read this book by Robert J. Sawyer, I agree with many of your comments to another book by him called "Rollback".

    In Rollback, an old couple go to a rejuvenation centre together to return them both to their prime. Unfortunately, the procedure only works for the husband, who returns to his early 20s, while the wife remains in her late 80s.

    I thought this book had a great potential to explore a relationship where one of its member's age dramatically changes. But much like your reaction, I found Sawyer to only really skim on the theme without plunging into it to create a truly compelling story.

    Oh, and also I really enjoyed the numerous Toronto references.