Flash Forward – Review

Currently on Loan from the Library:

The Whale Road by: Robert Low

Ranger’s Apprentice by: John Flanagan

Flash Forward by: Robert J. Sawyer

Triggers by: Robert J. Sawyer

The Gone Away World by: Nick Harkaway

Other Books I’m Reading:

 Anathem: by Neal Stephenson. 

This week, I got over the Viking thing, and decided to clean out my Amazon wish list a little.  I knew I had several books on there that I probably no longer want in dead tree editions.  Flash Forward had been on that list for some time, ever since I watched the first couple episodes of the television show based very loosely on the book.  Basically, great concept, bad show.  So I had promised myself I’d get around to the book.

Flash Forward is also my very first Sawyer.  I’ve been meaning to get around to him.  Mostly the buzz was good.  I also picked up Triggers as a point of comparison.

In the world of Flash Forward, CERN starts a test trying to find the Higgs, just as everyone on the face of the earth has a two minute blackout.  Naturally many people are killed in car crashes, falling down stairs, and many other horrible accidents.  Those who are not killed experience a brief glimpse of their future.  After everyone wakes up and puts their glimpses together, the world finds they have seen twenty-one years into their future for two minutes.  The rest of the book plays out as people try and deal with their futures, or change them.

Now, there is a reason why physicists are not usually the heroes of books.  Generally physicists are cast as super smart people with little or no interpersonal skills, and some crazy huge theories it’s going to cost billions to prove or disprove.  This is where, had the producers of the television show read the book, they could have saved themselves a lot of time and energy.  Most of this book is physicists hanging out in various offices, and swapping huge theories it’s going to cost billions of dollars to prove or disprove about why all the earth thinks they’ve seen the future.  And if they have seen the future, can it be changed?  And if it can be changed will they be changing it for the better?  And if no one is there to see it, does reality go on without us?

Sawyer does it well.  The book is enjoyable to read.  The characters are colorful, and interesting.  There is even some gun play at the end.  Plus Lloyd Simcoe, head researcher, and scapegoat in chief, pulls a pretty impressive Hamlet for much of the book.  But as well written as Flash Forward is, it’s not really an FBI drama.  Even if, like the show, you dispense with the book’s explanation of the event, and try and make it much creepier.

Part of the charm of this book, is that it was published in 1999 and is very near term fiction.  Which is to say, the events in most of the book happen in 2009.  There are many predictions in this book about what 2009 fashion, and society will be like, as well as the future society everyone saw for 2030.  Some of them we know he’s wrong about, others, not so much.   We’ll see.  2030 is on it’s way.

Enjoyability:  Four stars.   


Where to read this book: This is a good rainy day book.  It’s not really that long, but it’s interesting.  


Further reading: I’ve been waiting to get to The Gone Away World for some time.  Interestingly, the copy from my library has the girlyist pink and green cover I’ve ever seen on a Science Fiction book.  Hum.  


Posted on May 14, 2013, in Fiction, Reading, review and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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