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For Release Monday, May 17, 1999
New SF Thriller from Nebula Award-Winning Writer Explores Destiny
FlashForward, the eleventh novel
by acclaimed Toronto-area writer
Robert J. Sawyer, will be a "June" 1999
hardcover release from Tor Books, New York. The book will be in stores
across North America by late May.
FlashForward is built around the kind of high-concept
that Hollywood loves: an experiment goes awry at CERN, the European
Center for Particle Physics, causing the consciousness of everyone on
Earth to jump ahead 21 years for a period of two minutes.
"I got the idea at a high-school reunion," says Sawyer, 38. "The lives
of so many of my friends had turned out completely differently from
what they had expected. We were all saying, `If I'd only known then
what I know now . . .' FlashForward came out of that:
what would people do if they really did have a glimpse even just a
two-minute glimpse of what their lives would be like in the future?"
The novel plays with the concept of destiny of whether the future is
fixed, just as the past is, or whether it can be changed. Sawyer draws
on the latest thinking in theoretical physics to answer this most human
As the story opens, two of its main characters Lloyd Simcoe and
Michiko Komura are about to get married. But their insights into
the future reveal that they will be married to other people two
decades hence. Should they go through with their planned wedding
knowing it is apparently doomed to failure? Another of Sawyer's main
characters has no vision at all. Theo Procopides, a young Greek
physicist, is shocked to learn that he will be dead just twenty-one
years hence. Indeed, it turns out that he will be murdered just before
the time other people are having visions of. Can he figure out who is
going to kill him, and find some way of preventing it from happening?
(Sawyer's work often combines SF and mystery. He's previously won an
Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada, and The
Globe and Mail, Canada's national newspaper, named Sawyer's
Illegal Alien a courtroom drama with an
extraterrestrial defendant "the best Canadian mystery of 1997.")
FlashForward has already won the world's largest cash
prize for SF writing, Spain's one-million-peseta (US$7,000 or
Premio UPC de Ciencia Ficción, given
by the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Critic Brian
Aldiss calls the Premio UPC "the most prestigious SF award in
all of Europe."
Sawyer's sixth novel, The Terminal Experiment,
Nebula Award (the "Academy Award" of Science Fiction) for Best Novel of
the Year. His seventh novel,
was the only novel to be nominated for both a
Hugo and Nebula Award in 1997, his
Frameshift (also available from Tor), was a
Hugo Award finalist, and his tenth novel,
Factoring Humanity, was a 1999
Hugo Award finalist. Meanwhile, Rob's novel
End of an Era won the
Seiun Award, Japan's highest honor in SF, for Best
Foreign Novel of the Year. Rob has also won five
Aurora Awards, Canada's top honor in SF.
The New York Times calls Sawyer "a writer of boundless
confidence and bold scientific extrapolation." The Montreal
Gazette says he's "Canada's answer to Michael Crichton." And
The Rocky Mountain News declares "Robert J. Sawyer is
fast becoming one of the most important names in science fiction."
Sawyer's tenth novel, the Hugo Award-nominated
("an intelligent and absorbing double-stranded narrative that accelerates
to hyperspeed in the last few pages" Kirkus), which Tor
published in hardcover in May 1998, will be reissued in paperback
simultaneously with FlashForward's hardcover release.
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