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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is the future inevitable?
Although this isn't among Sawyer's best, the issue he raises is one worthy of further discussion. 'Free will' remains one of the most compelling of human ideas. With geneticists demonstrating the impetus given our behaviour by our DNA, what is inevitable and what is left to chance? What actually drives our behaviour and how far into the future might we be able to...
Published on Oct. 2 2000 by Stephen A. Haines

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars TV Series is better
My wife and I really got into the ABC TV series based upon this book, but it kind of leaves you hanging because it was cancelled after the first season. Thought book might give some closure to the subject. Book does give closure but is way different than the TV series. While TV series was very good, book is only okay.
Published 21 months ago by Trevor Howell


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is the future inevitable?, Oct. 2 2000
By 
Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Although this isn't among Sawyer's best, the issue he raises is one worthy of further discussion. 'Free will' remains one of the most compelling of human ideas. With geneticists demonstrating the impetus given our behaviour by our DNA, what is inevitable and what is left to chance? What actually drives our behaviour and how far into the future might we be able to predict? If we can garner a glimpse of the future, will that future necessarily be fixed? Sawyer gives us one means of assessing that question, although the technique he uses here is questionable. His resolution is far more mechanistic than anything even the sociobiologists have suggested.
It's fascinating to read critiques of Sawyer's characterizations. Depicting persona is easily Sawyer's finest quality as a writer. His characters may not be charming nor even heroic, but they are certainly real people in every sense of the term. Lloyd Simcoe [how Canadian!!] can be readily condemned for his waffling, but the description of his mental gyrations are portrayed with fidelity. Theo's obsession with avoiding an untimely demise is hardly far- fetched under the circumstances. Even Cheung, a man of vast wealth and power, while not an original figure, is certainly conveyed from genuine models. What person of his status wouldn't undertake the realization of immortality if the chance presented itself?
Those critical of Sawyer's scientific basis are simplistic. His science is sound, but shouldn't be taken as providing any final resolution to the many questions he raises. The issues remain open until we've delved much further into ourselves and the universe around us. The real problem with this story is Sawyer's ultimate acceptance of the Frank Tipler model of the future of humanity. Humans appear wholly incapable of envisioning that along with the rest of the animal kingdom we will go extinct. This is particularly amazing in view of the fact that we seem to be bringing that about ourselves. The Dyson sphere is a human-centred idea overlooking the diversity of life on this planet. A beautiful idea, but one dooming the remaining life on our world. Could we truly become immortal in such an environment?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even with free will, you won't be able to stop reading, July 12 2000
Do we have free will? Or is everything preordained? As a rationalist, I thought the former was true, but Sawyer makes a compelling case drawing on modern physics that the latter is really the case. His story is poised right at the edge of our real world. It takes place at CERN (a real particle physics lab in Europe) and involves the Large Hadron Collider (which CERN is really building) and echoes the concerns of a few years ago when we were worried about a plutonium bearing satellite possibly breaking up and polluting the Earth about just who has the right to make decisions that just might affect all of humankind. The characters---Swiss, Canadian, American, Japanese, Chinese---are all well drawn. Sawyer perhaps makes too much of a tangential parallel to the movie THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL but that's a minor quibble. This is a first rate novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Destiny vs. Free will -- does physics have the answer?, May 8 2000
By 
Gordon Mason (Calgary, Alberta) - See all my reviews
Sawyer's novel deals with one of the biggest questions of all: do we have free will, or are our lives destined to go a certain way regardless of our wishes. A philosophical problem, you say? Appropriate maybe for late-night dorm room arguments? Sawyer shows us that modern physics actually has much to say about this issue. He presents a very interesting plot that explores this question, bringing in block universes, quantum uncertainty, and more. And yet this is not just a theoretical exercise. Sawyer writes about real people (there is one scene in this book involving a little boy who, through the mechanism of Sawyer's plot, has ended up seeing an autopsy that I don't think I will ever forget). Very well written sci-fi, very thoughtful, very entertaining. Five stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read in quite awhile., Jan. 15 2001
By 
James Baylis (Crockett, Ca. United States) - See all my reviews
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This is only the second novel of Sawyer's that I've read, but it was the best book I've read in about 3 years. I haven't been this mesmerized by a book since I read Reaper by Ben Mezrich. I usually only read for about an hour a day, but I read this book in 3 days(and I'm sort of a slow reader). I was hooked and didn't want to put it down. The premise was fascinating. I've always liked time travel stories and although this wasn't time travel per se, it was still excellent. The only part I didn't like was the next to the last two chapters where the main character(Simcoe) went through another Flashforward. Excellent book, I highly recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and well worth the effort, April 27 2001
By 
shinyquark (TX United States) - See all my reviews
I commend Robert J. Saywer on his breath-taking ability to combine intricate scientific detail with remarkable moments of insight into humanity. I absolutely loved this book. I will probably read it several more times just to be able to experience it again. It is so easy to become emotionally involved in the events and there were times when I was literally on edge waiting for something to happen. I highly reccommend this book to anyone who loves science fiction. In some ways, it even transcends that genre and becomes a story about humanity and the preciousness of life above all else.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantasy reader meets sci fi, April 25 2000
By 
Brook A. Lohmeier "ghost_kitten" (Bettendorf, Ia) - See all my reviews
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This book was excellent! I don't normally buy sci-fi. I am strictly a sword and sorcery type of girl. But this book was given to me by a well meaning friend and I wasn't disappointed. The science lost me once and a while, but really the story line kept me interested. I would suggest this book to anyone sci-fi lover or not. I think that the author took some huge leaps with the science, but over all I think that was to be expected with this tpye of story. I enjoied the characters as well. Again I say that this was a book well worth reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars re: Make Time to Read This Book, May 25 2003
By A Customer
I found "Flash Forward" to be one of the best time travel books I've ever read. Some of the technology was over my head but the premise of the book is great. Due to an experiment, everyone on earth flashes forward to their life in the future. Based on that glimpse, many try to change the way their future is going to pan out. This book really makes you think. I've read 3 books by Sawyer and I'm going to continue because so far, they are mind-blowingly fun!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly original and engaging story, Nov. 22 2002
By A Customer
What if everyone in the world was given a 2 minute glimpse into their lives 21 years in the future? How would they deal with that knowledge? And is the future fixed or does mankind have freewill? Mr. Sawyer deals with all of these questions in this fascinating story. And he manages to add in a little murder mystery as well. He also weaves the jargon of physics into the story in a manner that seemed very convincing to me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping tale of science, mystery, mankind, Jan. 15 2002
By 
Amazon Customer (Tomball, TX United States) - See all my reviews
I could not put this book down. The gripping plot, combined with an easy narration that avoids complicated and awkward explanations of scientific details, kept me up until the book was finished in a single night. This book combines science fiction with some mystery, while touching on the future of mankind, and follows the success of some good, smart, hard-working characters. Great read that was highly entertaining.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating concept well developed, Oct. 12 2010
By 
Rodge (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
The concept of seeing a small glimpse of the future and all the complications such foresight would entail is developed into a strong sci-fi novel here. Obviously one of the biggest hurdles someone would face in exploring an idea such as this is answering the question "Who cares?" and also "How would it actually work?" Sawyer delivers in spades. The strength of this book is not the writing so much, which can be ponderous and a little repetitive, but rather the exploration of the idea. By the end of this we've had quite a fascinating journey and explored ideas which have resonance and relevance in our modern age.

The novel stumbles quite badly toward the end, going through the motions of offering up a new vision of the future to the participants and going off into new areas and ideas. The weak conclusion is more of a weak epilogue that should have been dropped, however. It doesn't interfere with the main structure of the main idea of the novel, which remains fascinating at the end.
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Flashforward
Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer (Mass Market Paperback - Sept. 1 2009)
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