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3.9 out of 5 stars
Flashforward
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Showing 1-9 of 9 reviews(3 star)show all reviews
on August 17, 2015
I picked this up after having watched the series, and wanted to find out more after the show was cancelled.

I knew that the book was different from the TV show, and that the series was really based on the idea. In truth, the book follows the events from the scientists perspective, whereas the show follows it from the lay-person's view.

Whilst I loved the show, I was at best ambivalent towards this book for two reasons.
1) There is no antagonist. There is no villain of the piece, on the struggle of human rationale. In many ways it's a little like Rendezvous With Rama in that regard, but there is very little tension, and the rise of a secret cabal at the end could have been the whole focus of the novel, and I would have been much happier.

2) Personally, I found the writing style insipid. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad and it has been well proofed... but it never engages me. I was never on the edge of my seat, and I never really felt anything for the characters.

Is this a bad book? No - far from it. Is this a great book? Absolutely not.

If there were a sequel, I would probably read it, but it would have to be pretty amazing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2013
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2012
I was looking for closure after the anticlimactic TV series and at least found some in the book.
Unfortunately, the author seemed more interested in selling Canada as opposed to delivering a satisfying finale.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2002
Coming up with original and interesting storylines in science fiction is always difficult. So as an avid sci-fi reader I found the basic idea very fascinating.
That is where it ends. The scientific theories etc. in the book are well thought out and presented very well but the characters are extremely one dimensional and for intelligent people, their quests for the truth are nonsensical. Why read chapters in a book when it adds nothing new to the story and does not move the plotline along?
The ending of a book is obviously very important. No matter how intriguing the rest of the book has been, you have to get it right. Robert J. Sawyer's attempt to be profound fails miserably and it just ends up being corny.
Buy this one at a garage sale.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2001
Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer is overall a pretty interesting book, and it might have been great, except for a couple of flaws.
First off, there's way too much physics in this book. I had two physics classes in college and had no interest to take more, so after a while all of the physics and quantum mechanics, and whatever else, really got tiresome. It distracted me from the story, that classic story of whether a person's fate can be avoided.
Secondly, the ending was weird, it totally threw me. Out of nowhere the main character gets offered the immortality syrum, it just didn't make any sense with the rest of the story.
Other than those flaws, this book is good enough. Maybe not a "thriller", but it's interesting.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Sawyer is able to write in a manner that is captivating and intereting. There is rarely a dull moment in this book; moreover, the idea of viewingt he future for a brief amount of time and the issue of future immutability is one that certainly has interesting philosophical implications.

With that said, it is hard to take this book a seriously as perhaps Sawyer would wish. There is little explanation for the phenomenon of the "flahsforward" event. Futhermore, world reaction tot he event reveals Sawyers excessively bright view of human behaviour. There would be much more than the brief anger and confusion that resulted from many people dying - there would be wars, more death and horror, not logical acceptance!

In essence, this is a mystery novel; a man tries to find out who his future murderer will be, and on that level the book succeeds. It would seems that Sawyer is trying to do too much with this book and is not able to come through.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2000
The action in this book starts fast; in fact, the main idea of the story occurs on page 5. The appealing part of the novel is the philosophical consequences of people seeing three minutes of their life 20 years in the future. I thoroughly enjoyed the 'news items' at the beginnings of the chapters.
My problem with the novel is that most of the main characters are either unlikeable or unremarkable. I especially found the Theo character loathesome; I was rooting for the villain to kill him at the end. The main character was harmless enough, but his finance was annoying. The only intriguing character was the 'geeky' scientist who courts the woman who he saw in his vision of the future (making love in their lab, no less).
The dialogue in this book was somewhat stilted, but it didn't bother me as much as the characters.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2000
This book has a very unique twist on the 'knowledge from the future' genre.. Imagine, everybody in the world "living" for 2 minutes their lives 20 years from now. This can have a huge effect on people, as can be expected. This is the premise of this book! I think it is overall a good book, however, it is not written in an "exciting" way, I didn't find myself eager to continue every day, and it's sad, because the premise is just *so* good. Also, the author seems to focus on the technology of this occurence, which is kind of silly, since he's "inventing" a future technology and really expanding on it.. this really isn't very interesting, and too much time is being spent on it. Other than that, I guess it's worth it after all, although it should be a priority reading if you know what I mean..
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2004
I was writing my review for this book and realized, after writing it, that my initial review and grade was too high. While enjoyable and with beautiful writing, there are several annoying details with this book that detract from it. Note that this review will give you a somewhat biased view because I'm focusing on the negative; it's very well written. But the negatives can be very annoying, and I found myself putting the book down for a minute or two (very rare for me, I usually read books straight through without pausing).
The first and greatest irritation is the ending, which suddenly veers off into Weirdland for no discernable storytelling reason. The book would have been far better served by leaving the second 'flash forward' completely in the imaginations of the readers, instead of the bizzare trip forward that Sawyer gives us.
The second is spottiness in pursuing the various threads about the future. It would have been interesting to know what the CERN administrator and his wife planned to change about Marc's upbringing, or any of a number of other things briefly revealed during the book. A related problem is that we know that the future can be changed, and yet Sawyer seems to semi-forget this and writes strange twists that nearly bring about the 'fated' occurrences anyways. It's an inconsistency.
Third off, most minor, and endemic to Robert Swayer's works is a general misunderstanding of human cultures and politics. There's a pervasive, if quiet, set of assumptions that he has which crop up in his works and annoy the hell out of me. I refer to it as 'Carl Sagan Syndrome' because, while I find his books interesting and thoughtful, he had the same problem. It's easier to point out specific instances than to define the whole here, but I owe it to you to try: Sawyer has the apparent view that there is a cultural inevitability, inexorable and unstoppable, pushing all Western nations along the same track, and views nations which seem to be wandering off this track as in some way retarded. This is most specifically seen regarding the United States in his works, presumably because the US is farthest off his imagined track. I won't start an essay here, but it's highly unlikely that the US would adopt the metric system, for starters, as he posits the 'flash forward' reveals. The line about "the Second Amendment or whatever it was that made Americans think they could go around armed" is an excellent example of this mode of thinking he indulges in. The unspoken thought is "No one has the right to go around armed!". The problem is that, at least in the US, they do, because they enacted laws to that effect and have retained them. Sawyer's thoughts on the matter are irrelevant and he should try to not let them color his thinking so.
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