Friday, September 02, 2016

Reader's Diary #1369 - Robert J. Sawyer: Flashforward

Robert J. Sawyer's one of those who I credit with bringing Canadian genre fiction into its own after years of Canada's literary scene having the reputation of being rather serious and stuffy. This was based purely on his writing reputation— I'd not read anything by him except a single forgettable short story a few years back.

Not that I'd call Flashforward serious, but I was relieved to find that it does what all great sci-fi should do: balances the science with ample doses of philosophy. Flashforward, for those like me who hadn't read it nor seen the TV show, is based on a CERN experiment that unexpectedly gives everyone on the planet a short glimpse into their lives 20 years into the future (if they are still living). However, as brief as this moment is, thousands of people die when their consciousness is elsewhere through plane crashes, automobile accidents and so forth.

What's unfortunate is that I could get behind the future vision premise, but I was soured in the latter half of the book with what I took to be a plot contrivance for which I could no longer suspend my belief. It seems that not only was CERN not shut down after this fatal incident, but they convinced the entire world to go on holiday, to get in safe positions, so that they could try the experiment again. Never mind how impossible the logistics would be (would no one be giving birth at the time? Having a heart attack and needing CPR?), the idea of the world uniting on this was almost laughable.

But still, there were enough positive angles overall that I'd still consider it a good read.

1 comment:

Loni said...

"the idea of the world uniting on this was almost laughable"

Yup.