Monday, August 17, 2009

Review: Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer

Flashforward Book Cover
Imagine that some scientists are performing an experiment but things don't go as planned. All of the sudden, everyone in the world passes out and has a vision...of their lives twenty years in the future. The visions are less than three minutes long and they are returned to present consciousness. But the world is in chaos--since everyone passed out planes crash, cars crash, people on the operating table die due to doctor neglect. And no one knows what happened or why or what the visions mean.

Armed with some knowledge of their future selves, the characters are forced to make decisions about their present and to grapple with important questions such as...can the future be changed? What should they do with what they know? Should they replicate the experiment to gain more knowledge of the world in the future?

This is the premise of Flashforward. I decided to read this book when I learned it would be made into a television show. I always like to investigate the source material first! The book was published in the late 90's but is actually set in 2009 which made some things very interesting. For example, in Sawyer's 2009, bookstores are little more than coffee shops where you wait for your book to be printed on demand. We're not quite there yet! Also, blu-ray wasn't even mentioned and videos were still pretty present.

This is a science fiction book which means that there are a few sections where the scientific explanations drone on and on and my eyes glazed over. Seriously. But several different theories as to the nature of time and time travel are presented.

I found the first part of the book to be absolutely riveting as each character grapples with what their foreknowledge means. I loved the questions presented and spent a lot of time thinking about them. As I mentioned there were a few parts that got a bit draggy. And I really didn't like the ending much at all. But overall it was a very enjoyable read and I'm glad to have read it.

If you could see three minutes of your future 20 years down the road would you want to? I came to my own conclusion while reading the book but I want to hear your thoughts first!

Rating: 4/5
Things You Might Want to Know: Brief strong language and some sex
Source of Book: I bought it!



Amy

16 comments:

Sandy Nawrot said...

NO! Don't want to know. It's just like getting your fortune read - even though you know it is probably a crock, I'm not interested. I saw the preview of this TV show at the movie theater (?) and it seemed good. I think with a story such as this, though, it is exciting when it first happens, but may likely lose steam after awhile. We'll see!

jennysbooks said...

Oh fascinating! Love this idea. As a TV show I think this has the potential to be really good, or really awful - I guess we'll see...

bermudaonion said...

I really don't think I want to know my future, because I would obsess over it if it wasn't good.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I have read all of Robert Sawyer but amazingly, I totally can't remember this book! But I really like him as an author. I'm with bermudaonion on this one - I don't think I want to know!

Literary Feline said...

I hadn't realized the upcoming TV show was based on a book. I am not sure I'll be reading it anytime soon, but maybe down the road. It sounds interesting.

I am not sure I would want to know either. Some things are better left in the future. :-)

Charley said...

I've been curious about this book because of the TV series, as well. I'm looking forward to both.

Pam van Hylckama Vlieg said...

This actually sounds like a good Sci-fi book. I have been trying to edge over and read some lately I am going to pick this up. You will have to let me know if the show is any good!

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

That sounds good! I had no idea the show was based on a book, so now I'll have to find it quick before I start watching it! I like that it's set in "futuristic" 2009, that should be funny to read.

I wouldn't want to know what I'll be, 20 years from now.

Matthew said...

Sounds interesting!

Fiona said...

Ooooh - this sounds very interesting - right up my alley!

Would I want to know? No.

But if everyone in the world knew simultaneously that would be different...

Fiona :)

Jenny Girl said...

I didn't know the show was based on a book.
The show looks pretty good and supposedly the producers said any questions raised will be answered by the end. I'm in :)

Amee said...

I wouldn't want to know my future. I mean, I would, but I figure that it would mess with my mind in the present and cause me to worry that even the tiniest thing might change what I saw for better or for worse, which would be a horrible way to live.

heidenkind said...

I saw the preview for this show, but I didn't know it was based on a book. Hmmm. I think a preview of my life in twenty years could be helpful. I mean, if you see yourself in dire circumstances, that could inspire you to make the most of what you have right now. And if you see that all of your dreams came true, that could keep you going on the path you're on. So yes, I'd like to know what my life will be like in twenty years. Why the heck not.

But why are people getting these visions? Is it teh alienz?

heidenkind said...

Oh, never mind--crazy scientists. Sorry, low blood sugar is slowing my brain down.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

No! I wouldn't want to know what the future holds for me. I prefer to believe that I have some influence/control over it, and that it's not pre-determined.

vvb32 reads said...

nope, wouldn't want to know my future. i may read this depending on how i like the tv show.

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