Sunday, 16 December 2012

Book #97 Flashforward by Robert J Sawyer


In 2009, the US TV network ABC ran a short lived dramatic adaptation of the Robert Sawyer novel "FlashForward"  in which everyone on the entire globe suffers a black out for 2 mins during which they have a simultaneous vision of a day in the future.

Though the series shares its basic concept with the novel it was based upon, the novel is actually very different. The series "Americanizes" the idea, the drama focusing on ordinary Americans, and has a wide ranging scope of individual stories, but the novel focuses directly on protagonist Lloyd Simcoe and his colleague Theo; two physicists at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN who are shocked to find an experiment they have conducted has had far reaching and inexplicable consequences.

The fact that all of the focus is upon the workers of CERN throws away the global aspect of event impact. I  have to say that in spite of some thought provoking passages on free will and existentialism, I didn't think much of Flashforward as a novel, it is a fascinating concept suffering from terribly poor execution. Neither its prose nor dialogue are up to much and its central whodunnit mystery is a sad, lazy reduction of the many possibilities for plotlines that the Flashforward idea gives rise to.

Additionally I didn't invest much in the characters whatsoever, and aspects of the ending made no logical sense. Probably the most interesting aspect of it is its historical context, the hysteria/superstition that built up around the Large Hadron Collider that fed a fear that "something bad" would happen as a result of searching for the Higgs Boson, which in reality nothing did.  Passed a Sunday afternoon for me but will be going back to the charity shop from whence it came 4/10 

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