As it says on the cover, Flashforward is the basis of the new TV series that hit screens last year. While I’ve not watched it, when this popped through the door I couldn’t help but want to read it. The premise is interesting – a worldwide event that causes Earth’s population to black out for two minutes which in turn gives them a glimpse of their future. My first thought was: cool! But then my mind turned to how this could make a good story. Would it just be a bunch of ideas? A novel full of smaller stories? Or what if it could give a story that you want to read about, something that needs a conclusion? To be honest,Flashforward is all of these combined and much more than I got a lot more than I thought out of it.
I guess the best place to start is with the visions that the human race have of the future, or rather two minutes in 2040.
This all happens just as the large hadroncollider is turned on for the first time (and is naturally the main suspect for those working there that know this), and because of the mass blackout millions of people die. Some people see great things for themselves, others not so much. But the focus of the story settles on the team working at theLHC and their visions. While Lloyd and Michiko are in a relationship, they both see different things, and Theo is among those that don’t have a vision at all – those that are presumed dead at the time.
Seeing the fallout from the visions of these three gives a very good basis for the
novel to play out nicely. Theo discovers that he was murdered a couple of days
before the time the visions show, and this means he wants to do some digging and
to find out what exactly happened to his future self. It’s at this point that
the story falls squarely on its main plot – awhodunnit mystery. This isn’t all
the book is about, but it gives the story that could have been a little all over
the place a solid thread to follow. Lloyd andMichiko discover that they are not
married in the future they see and this leads to some deep discussions about how
fixed the future is.
It’s these discussions that really take the story up a notch. Robert J Sawyer has managed to give an interesting premise, been able to follow that up with a decent story and then also give some very good speculation and science to back it all up. I loved reading the sections where Lloyd,Michiko and others discussed the future, how fixed it could be, how it
could change and also the general discussions on the science of theFlashforward
. To be honest I wasn’t expecting such a deep look at all of these aspects, so I
was very pleasantly surprised to find them here.
I will highly recommend this one to any fan of science fiction that enjoys the speculative side of it, the way an author can raise many questions in such a short space of time, and to
anyone that simply enjoys a very good story. Great stuff!