Customer Reviews for

FlashForward

Average Rating 4
( 101 )
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5 Star

(29)

4 Star

(32)

3 Star

(30)

2 Star

(7)

1 Star

(3)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Flash Forward

In the very near future of 2009, two physicists working on a complicated experiment accidentally thrust the collective consciousness of the entire world ahead twenty-one years. Although the "flash forward," as it's later named, lasts only minutes, the aftermath is catas...
In the very near future of 2009, two physicists working on a complicated experiment accidentally thrust the collective consciousness of the entire world ahead twenty-one years. Although the "flash forward," as it's later named, lasts only minutes, the aftermath is catastrophic. Not only are millions of people killed in accidents caused by their sudden and brief departure from the present (i.e. plane and car crashes, falls down stairs, etc.), but those who survived find themselves emotionally rocked by their respective (and sometimes shared) glimpses of the future. The two scientists are left to piece together what happened, while also trying to figure out whether or not the future they all saw was fixed or just one of many possible outcomes. This sci-fi/thriller/murder mystery plays out like an extended episode of The Outer Limits. Imagine if a super-conductor being operated at the CERN laboratory in Geneva actually causes the entire human race to experience two minuttes of their consciousness being transported 21 years into the future. A neat idea that, in lesser hands, would have been given pulp treatment. Sawyer deftly shows not only the brilliance of these visions but also the tragic results of all human activity coming to a halt for 2 minutes (countless tradgedies and disasters worldwide). Also, not all governments and individuals are thrilled about the glimpse into the future and what it reveals to them. Throw into the mix the fact that one of the CERN Physicists has no vision because he must not exist 21 years in the future - a fact proven by the hundreds of individuals who have visions that include the revalation that he was murdered a few days prior to the "flash forward". Fantastic read.

posted by readtolive_livetoread on September 24, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Not bad, but the TV show is better

I picked up this book because I like the TV show so much that I wanted to learn more. There are major differences between the two, mainly that the flashforward in the book is 20 years in the future, while the flashforward in the TV show is only 6 months. I think 6 month...
I picked up this book because I like the TV show so much that I wanted to learn more. There are major differences between the two, mainly that the flashforward in the book is 20 years in the future, while the flashforward in the TV show is only 6 months. I think 6 months makes the story more compelling, and has a more immediate effect on the characters and the choices they start making.

While the book centered on scientists and explained the scientific cause of the flashforward, I prefer the FBI agents on the show not knowing the cause. I have to admit that all of the scientific explanations bogged the story down and I skimmed over those pages.

Gave this a 3 out of 5 rating as it's a great premise and I enjoyed it, but it was a little on the dry side and I could have done without all of the science. Not a must read, but just okay.

posted by alexia561 on November 6, 2009

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  • Posted September 24, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Flash Forward

    In the very near future of 2009, two physicists working on a complicated experiment accidentally thrust the collective consciousness of the entire world ahead twenty-one years. Although the "flash forward," as it's later named, lasts only minutes, the aftermath is catastrophic. Not only are millions of people killed in accidents caused by their sudden and brief departure from the present (i.e. plane and car crashes, falls down stairs, etc.), but those who survived find themselves emotionally rocked by their respective (and sometimes shared) glimpses of the future. The two scientists are left to piece together what happened, while also trying to figure out whether or not the future they all saw was fixed or just one of many possible outcomes. This sci-fi/thriller/murder mystery plays out like an extended episode of The Outer Limits. Imagine if a super-conductor being operated at the CERN laboratory in Geneva actually causes the entire human race to experience two minuttes of their consciousness being transported 21 years into the future. A neat idea that, in lesser hands, would have been given pulp treatment. Sawyer deftly shows not only the brilliance of these visions but also the tragic results of all human activity coming to a halt for 2 minutes (countless tradgedies and disasters worldwide). Also, not all governments and individuals are thrilled about the glimpse into the future and what it reveals to them. Throw into the mix the fact that one of the CERN Physicists has no vision because he must not exist 21 years in the future - a fact proven by the hundreds of individuals who have visions that include the revalation that he was murdered a few days prior to the "flash forward". Fantastic read.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Not bad, but the TV show is better

    I picked up this book because I like the TV show so much that I wanted to learn more. There are major differences between the two, mainly that the flashforward in the book is 20 years in the future, while the flashforward in the TV show is only 6 months. I think 6 months makes the story more compelling, and has a more immediate effect on the characters and the choices they start making.

    While the book centered on scientists and explained the scientific cause of the flashforward, I prefer the FBI agents on the show not knowing the cause. I have to admit that all of the scientific explanations bogged the story down and I skimmed over those pages.

    Gave this a 3 out of 5 rating as it's a great premise and I enjoyed it, but it was a little on the dry side and I could have done without all of the science. Not a must read, but just okay.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 20, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    FLASH-REVIEW

    That's I felt like I was reading at certain parts of this book. But putting that aside, it did make for a very interesting novel. I was a little annoyed when this (French Canadian) writer took pot shots at Americans; making us look like the root of all evil or a bunch of bafoons, but still, I managed to get over that also. Like any other "time travel" book, this novel seemed to say that what happened during the "flash forward" was all do to the knowledge everyone had that resulted from the flashforward which people remembered in the future when it actually took place 21 years earlier .....confused yet? You won't be once you read this book. A fine piece of writing setting aside all the quirks I mentioned previously in this review. The ending was kind of disappointing but still an enjoyable book for any Sci-fi fan.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2010

    I expected better

    I picked up the book after watching one episode of the ABC TV Show. From my experience, books are often much better than their TV/Movie remake. Unfortunately, this was not the case with this book. The character development and story line was sluggish and at times stale. I was so disappointed with the ending (or lack there of) that I literally threw the book across the room.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Lacks Drama and Compelling Characters

    This is a book written for physicists, which isn't a bad thing, but there's almost nothing to the story itself that keeps you engaged. The cause of the flashforward isn't very compelling, and the aftermath of the LHC characters is tired and weak.

    The only part I really enjoyed were the "glimpses" of the future for a book written in 1999, taking place in 2009, and trying to predict a future in 2031.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    FlashForward - Time Travel Classic

    If you love a good time travel story, this book should be at the top of your list. If murder-mystery is more you thing, this book has that too. Robert Sawyer, so as not to leave any one out, has written a great hard science story too.

    The way Sawyer approaches time travel in this story is certainly unique and really makes you think about life. What would you do with a glimpse at your future? What would you do if your dreams were not realized? Give up?

    Sawyer also explores the idea of time being fixed, what is going to happen is immutable, and the idea that time is changeable, that we have an infinite number of futures dependent on the choices we make now for tomorrows outcomes. He masterfully explores both of this theories without ever clearly forcing either upon you, even by the end of the story you are still left to choose which theory you agree with most.

    This story is well researched and based in current science theory.

    I highly recommend this book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2006

    Quantum concepts mind boggling!

    The interpretations of the applications of quantum physics in the story line is the greatest draw. A basic background in quantum oddities may help. Even without that, the premise of seeing a piece of one's future makes for a thought provoking read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 26, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    It was ok

    I decided to read FlashForward after watching the television show by the same name. I was curious where the series came from and what other insights the book might reveal.

    Overall, the book is nothing like the show. Besides the main concept of a Flash Forward in time (21 years forward in the book, but only 6 months in the tv series) and the character Lloyd Simcoe, everything about it is different. The book focuses on the scientists who conducted the experiment (rather than FBI agents) and deals more with the science of the experiment that led to the blackout and the physics of either a fixed or mutable future than the show does.

    My assessment of this book was that it was an OK read. I enjoyed the beginning enough, and I wasn't seriously tempted to abandon reading it. And while the characters were a bit dull and vaguely developed, they were somehow interesting enough to want to find out what happens to them. One strange thing, though, was that this book was written in 1999 to supposedly portray 2009, but I didn't realize that going in. So his descriptions of the time period confused me because he would talk about VHS tapes, while at the same time there were futuristic bookstores where you could "order" a book from a machine that would print a copy for you on the spot (which would be pointless, in my opinion).

    That futuristic time depiction actually outlines my main complaint with the book: it tries to do too much. The author is simultaneously trying to make predictions about 2009, 2030, and the far distant future of the universe all in the same book. And at the same time, he's awkwardly trying to depict relationships that fall flat; cumbersome, unexciting, and out-of-place action sequences; and tons of scientific theories and wild time-travel speculations that were never really reconciled with the way the future did play out in the story. It was like the book was schizophrenic: unable to figure out what it wanted to be.

    I wouldn't really recommend this book, but if you're curious about it after watching the show, it wouldn't hurt anything to read it. It will be entertaining enough. But just a warning: the last third of the book is bizarre and unsatisfying, so don't expect a lot.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2009

    Interesting Premise. Disappointing Delivery

    I picked up this book because I thought it would be interesting to read at the beginning of the new ABC television series of the same name. Never thought I'd say this, but the series is infinitely better than this book.

    What the book has going for it is a very interesting premise, that of an entire world blacking out and "flash-forwarding" 20-some years into the future. After this premise, though, it reads horribly -- characters are two-dimensional, repetitive, boring, listless. The plot plods. Characters react in ways that one can't justify in any reality -- sci fi or otherwise -- and it seems more that the author is forcing character to do things to force the plot into a forward motion. Very heavy handed.

    This, of course, causes unrealistic dialogue and many instances where I simply slap my forehead at the obtuseness of the characters in front of me.

    This is my first Robert Sawyer novel. Perhaps it's not the best one of his to pick up. I'm not looking forward to pick up another on.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is an engaging cautionary science fiction thriller

    In 2009 some of the world's leading research physicists gather at the CERN research facility to conduct an experiment using the Hardon Collider to "capture" the Higgs Boson subatomic particle. The lead scientists Lloyd Simcoe and Theo Procopides anticipate success and a subsequent Nobel Prize. However something occurs around the globe at the moment the atom smashing experiment begins. Every human on earth who survives sees a two minute visionary clip of themselves in 2030.

    However, millions died when the collective sub-consciousness led to all types of accidents and disasters during the 120 seconds. Simcoe is stunned more so with what he saw rather than the deadly fiasco the experiment caused. He is engaged to marry one woman, but saw his wife of the future was another female. Theo had no vision so he assumes he will be dead before 2030; he believes he will be a murder victim. They try to replicate their experiment, but fail until they realize timing is everything as they go for a third try when a neutrino shower occurs as both want more information about the future regardless of cost.

    This is an engaging cautionary science fiction thriller that uses the Frankenstein concept of scientists having no ethical boundaries experimenting, even encouraged by the second and third times they replicated the experiment. The story line is fast-paced and exciting, but chooses the thriller aspects over the emotional elements beyond a personal need to know. The two scientists know their experiment killed more people in two minutes than some of the monsters of history did during brutal reigns yet they don't seem to care on a personal level. Still this is an exhilarating thriller as the world sees a flash forward moment and each reacts accordingly to what they prefer to see.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Big on science, little on fiction

    This was my first Robert Sawyer novel. I wasn't disappointed, but wasn't really impressed, either.

    Sawyer seems to be strongest when tackling the science bits of science fiction. He seems to really research or at least think through his premises with great detail. As a result, the science is totally believable.

    His writing suffers when it comes to the narrative structure and character arc. He seems a little undecided as to whom the protagonist is (or should be). The characters don't really DO much. They're very much the same at the end of the story as they are at the end. For a story concerning visions of the future, I expected vast, sweeping character changes; there are little or none.

    All that said, I'd probably read another Sawyer novel just to hear what he has to say. In the hands of exceptional writers, the FF TV series should definitely be worth viewing.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2000

    Much ado about nothing...

    I'll admit to wondering how some of the elements of this book were going to turn out, but that was mostly evidenced by getting so bored with what I was reading that I skipped ahead a lot. The big problem with this book is that the scientists don't make any sense. They jump to conclusions and don't see to be interested in questioning these conclusions. As such, they are so unrealistic as to be unbelievable. The other problem is that the book dwells so much on trivia you just get bored. It's an interesting concept, but not well executed at all.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 14, 2014

    Well written and interesting ┬┐Flash Forward┬┐ is heavy on science

    Well written and interesting ‘Flash Forward’ is heavy on science but light on substance.  After seeing the TV series I was really excited to read this book.  I wanted to hear more about people’s visions and their views of the future but reader is limited to a very small number of visions and some additional visions which relate to those of the main characters.  The mystery surrounding Theo and his murder is interesting but not enough to overcome the constant flow of science to make this a truly great story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013

    Turgid prose with unlikeable characters

    Not the best work by this author

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2012

    2GA2

    Not as long as the first one, but one question, how old are you?! You write as good as a 30 year old author whose have been writing for years- 2GA2

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2012

    Sierra

    AWESOME GURL!!! Howbout u call it The City Of Roon or something like that :3~Sierra

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

    Mask

    Yaaaaay awesome again. Also for the title, you could just put the name of the city. [~•~]

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2012

    The Secret of Castle Hill

    Chapter Two ~

    "Janred?" I whispered, looking around the deserted room. The window was open and I dashed over to it. "Janred?!" I called, knowing he probally wouldn't answer.
    He did. "Alora!" My brother said angrily, stamping his foot. His blue eyes burned as he looked up.
    "Janred, you can't go." I said stiffly, looking out the window to see him in the bushes.
    "Who says I can't?" He muttered. Janred shoved his way out of the bushes, heading for the road.
    I leaped out of the window, following.
    "Janred - "
    "What?!" He snarled, whipping around.
    "This isn't you." I flashed.
    Janred sighed. "I know it's not, but... I have to go."
    "Why?! Why do you have to leave?!"
    "You wouldn't understand."
    "Yes I would!"
    "Alora..."
    "Janred, I don't know why you would just get up and leave. And for the army of all places! Don't you remember what happened to Dad?!"
    "That's why I have to go."
    He paused, shuffling his feet. His light brown hair looked almost gold in the bright sunlight.
    "I need revenge." He said, his voice cold. His blue eyes burned with a fearice light, and I took a step back.
    "Revenge?" I whispered.
    "Yes." Janred muttered. "And I'm going to find my revenge."
    "Dad wouldn't want this."
    "Dad's not here! And it's all Jagsly's fault!" Janred snapped angrily.
    "We don't know how Dad died. It could have been an accident for all we know. They just found his body - ."
    "It's Jagsly's fault." My brother interrupted. "He started this war. If he hadn't, Dad wouldn't have been there. He'd still be here if it wern't for Jagsly."
    He paused again. "I'm going, and nobody can stop me."
    Janred turned around and headed for the road again.
    "Janred..." I whispered.
    He stopped.
    "Be careful."
    Nothing.
    "Janred?"
    Silence.
    He turned and walked away, heading down old dusty Jaybird Ave, towards the town.
    Tears filled my eyes and I turned away.
    # # #
    I heard a soft knock on the door. Wiping the tears from my eyes, I got to my feet and reached for the doornob.
    'Please don't let it be Aunt Brolli.' I thought anxiously as I opened the door.
    Standing in the doorway was a tall boy with dark brown hair, dark eyes, and a puzzled expression.
    "Janred left, didn't he?" Logas asked.
    I nodded, marveling at how he had once again seemingly read my thoughts. I'm not sure if Logas really can read minds, but it sure seems like it.
    I stepped aside, letting him come in, and shut the door behind him. The house seemed extremely quiet now, and the only thing I could hear were my own footsteps.
    I halted, and the house fell deadly silent. Logas stopped beside me and I wondered if he was reading my thoughts again.
    "I just can't belive Janred's gone." I whispered softly, staring at my feet.
    'I'm going, and nobody can stop me.' His last words rang in my ears.
    'What will Aunt Brolli say?' I thought.
    'What would Dad say?'
    I felt my eyes tear up again and I quickly wiped them away. I can't let Logas see me crying.
    Then I heard a loud rap on the door and I whipped around. "What the..." I breathed, starting back towards the door. I turned around to see if Logas was following.
    But he had vanished.

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  • Posted August 17, 2012

    Food for thought

    What I really enjoyed about this novel was that it presented the moral dilemma of what would you do if you had the opportunity to see the future, and how your future would impacted by that choice. Truly a character-driven novel, it is less about this event itself, and more about how the characters were impacted by the event, and how they reacted to it. Not a typical sci-fi novel, there is very little action, but it more than makes up for it in intelligence and its cerebral quality.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2012

    Decent Read

    I decided to read this book because I really enjoyed the TV series, and wanted some type of closure. That being said the series is "based" on this book, not a mirror image of the book, so I wasn't dissappointed with the vast differences.
    This book was well written until "Book 3" which is all in this purchase of the book. I did feel that all of a sudden, the plot was rushed and the ending was HERE, the end. The author could have gone into much more detail and plot, yet he didnt. At some points the science terminology and theories were a bit much for someone who isn't an advanced science scholar, and in my opinion, a bit boring.. But all in all, it was a good read. Good plot, solid ending, but maybe lacked depth in certain areas..

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