Laura's Reviews > Flashforward

Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer
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's review
Nov 08, 2010

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Read in November, 2010

I watched Flashforward for several episodes on ABC because I thought the concept was interesting. Unfortunately, the execution was bad and I bailed on the show half-way through the season. Apparently I wasn't the only one as it was cancelled. The concept still appealed to me though and I was interested enough to read the book.

The book is much better than the show. Some differences:

1) The show followed scientists and an FBI team. The book only focuses on scientists
2) The show had a flashforward of 6 months. The book has a 20 year flashforward.
3) The show made some bizarre plot decisions so that there would be an action element. The book didn't condescend to this.
4) The show had characters debating cause and theory, but only secondary to the action element. The book spends A LOT of time debating cause and effect and the theory of how the flashforward worked.

Some similarities:

1) The show used names from the book, but the names were assigned to characters that weren't in the book (example: a relative of one of the scientists in the book has a name that is assigned to an FBI guy in the show) Kind of disconcerting having seen the show and now trying to read the book.
2) The concept of a flashforward.

Moving beyond the show, the book is one that poses some really interesting philosophy questions? If you were happily engaged today, but saw your future and you had another spouse, would you still marry your current fiancée? If you saw the future and you were in a career different from what you were currently studying, would you continue your studies? If you were single today, but saw yourself with someone in the future, would you attempt to find and date that person today?

I thought the author did a good job talking about physics. I understood the concepts he was explaining, but at the same time, thought they were academic enough to be true to the characters having the discussions. The book is about scientists though so there is a lot of discussion about scientific theory and physics. You may have to scan those pages if you are not interested in that type of stuff.

I almost always am content to let a story unfold, but it was the first book in a long time where I really really wanted to flip to the end and see what happened. I thought the author provided good closure on the story and I was satisfied with how things ended up. 3.5 stars.
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