Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Starred review for FlashForward

Flashing back to April 1999, when my novel FlashForward received a starred review -- denoting a book of exceptional merit -- from Publishers Weekly, the US trade journal of the book-publishing industry.

The review concluded: "This first-rate, philosophical journey, a terrific example of idea-driven SF, should have wide appeal."

The full review of the novel (which has a few spoilers for the book) appeared in the April 19, 1999, edition of PW:
by Robert J. Sawyer
[starred review]

A science experiment that unwittingly shuts down all human consciousness for two minutes is the catalyst for a creative exploration of fate, free will and the nature of the universe in Sawyer's soul-searching new work (after Factoring Humanity)

In April 2009, Lloyd and Theo, two scientists at the European Organization for Particle Physics (CERN), run an experiment that accidentally transports the world's consciousness 20 years into the future. When humanity reawakens a moment later, chaos rules. Vehicles whose drivers passed out plow into one another; people fall or maim themselves.

But that's just the beginning. After the horror is sorted out, each character tries desperately to ensure or avoid his or her future. Trapped by his guilt for causing so much destruction and driven by a need to rationalize, Lloyd tries to prove that free will is a myth. Theo discovers that he will be murdered and begins to hunt down his killer — tempting fate as in the Greek dramas of his ancestors. Some people start on their appointed roads early, others give up on life because of what they've seen.

Using a third-person omniscient narrator, Sawyer shifts seamlessly among the perspectives of his many characters, anchoring the story in small details. This first-rate, philosophical journey, a terrific example of idea-driven SF, should have wide appeal.

Visit The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site
and WakeWatchWonder.com

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