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Reviews of the Novel
Robert J. Sawyer's FlashForward
"A creative, soul-searching exploration of
fate, free will, and the nature of the universe. 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."
(starred review, denoting a book of exceptional merit)
"If you had the ability to go back in time and change
an aspect of your personal fate, would you? Canadian science fiction author
Robert J. Sawyer takes that premise and flips it over in the thoroughly
entertaining new novel FlashForward. Like all good
science fiction novels, Sawyer gives us characters to care about by
painting their humanity in ways the reader can relate to.
FlashForward is a quick, fun read. The characters and
story keep you turning the pages to see how this future turns out."
"An intricate examination of fate and free will.
The core of the novel turns on the consensus among most physicists
that past, present and future all exist simultaneously. The future,
therefore, may be glimpsed but not changed. Sawyer's ingenious
response to that conundrum and his deft handling of his characters'
differing viewpoints make FlashForward a provoking
Maclean's: Canada's Weekly
"A novel full of very human
pain and confusion on several levels, from the emotional ones
of grief and love to the intellectual ones of theoretical
physics and philosophy. If you've enjoyed Sawyer's novels
before, you'll have fun with this one."
"Robert J. Sawyer consistently makes intelligent,
mind-blowing science fiction accessible to the mainstream reader with
his efficient, easy-flowing prose, his exciting ideas, and his superior
character development. Over the past several years, Sawyer's stunning
thrillers have produced multiple Hugo and Nebula nominations, enough for
most to recognize him as the leader of SF's next-generation pack. His
newest novel, the near-future FlashForward, is every bit
as good, if not better, than his previously recognized high-tech whirlwinds.
One of 1999's greatest science-fiction reads."
Barnes & Noble
"FlashForward explores many of the questions of
time travel and has well-developed characters that
you care about. Great storytelling with good science
knowledge and speculation."
The Boston Globe
"FlashForward treats the reader to visions of
an almost Wellsian future. The reliable Sawyer turns in another solid
presents disturbing questions. Robert Sawyer once again
challenges his readers to think and think deeply. By focusing on
the effects of the experiment on a small group of individuals he
brings his frightening vision of tomorrow heavily to bare on his
readers. FlashForward is a flash of genius."
"Sawyer's strength lies in
combining human-sized problems with cutting-edge science ... he
does a masterful job of blending them here."
The Davis Enterprise (Davis, California)
"Pure science fiction and very good. A well-told story about a phenomenon
that gives the world two minutes to look into the future. It is as
philosophical as it is scientific, with weight placed on fatalism and
free will. And, while there is no time travel actually taking place,
this is at its core a time-travel novel."
"Sawyer presents scientific scenarios that directly affect
his characters' lives. The science-humanity interplay illuminates
both the ideas and the characters."
"A great novel."
The Trentonian (Trenton, New Jersey)
"Robert J. Sawyer is a master at tackling the
Fascinating Big Idea, shaking it, twisting it, and
then extrapolating it into all its myriad
tributaries. If you want a vision bigger than
yours, bigger than your neighbor's, read
FlashForward, sit back in wonder
and pleasure, and enjoy the ride."
Terence M. Green, author
of A Witness to Life
and thought-provoking. Sawyer a crisp, incisive writer with a
playful and keen imagination generates plenty of action from
his psychological and paradoxical whatifing. Excellent sci-fi."
Sunday Herald (Nevada, Missouri)
"Sawyer brings a fresh and startling approach to
the familiar theme of time travel in a tale that explores the
repercussions of knowing the future. A solid choice for most sf
readers are in for a treat with FlashForward; a
News (Tuscaloosa, Alabama)
"The novel evokes the sense of wonder that we all
hope to find when we pick up a hard sf novel. FlashForward
proposes an extremely interesting situation, and then explores that
situation through the eyes of a diverse cast of characters."
The New York Review of Science Fiction
is another of the author's intriguing thought-experiment science
fiction novels in the vein of Factoring Humanity.
Sawyer's book is both intellectually and dramatically
The Orlando Sentinel
"Toronto's science fiction writer Robert J.
Sawyer has made a name for himself by finding intriguing premises
and relentlessly pursuing their repercussions. With FlashForward
he does this again and does it well. Sawyer is deft at creating
interesting and believable characters. The premise here is
provocative and Sawyer skillfully speculates on the impact
of this sneak peek into the future."
Quill & Quire
"Needless to say, I like FlashForward.
Sawyer manipulates an intricate plot brilliantly."
Rocky Mountain News
"This well-written page-turner provides readers with plot twists
and turns and plenty to think about."
School Library Journal
"FlashForward has an innovative
core concept, and Sawyer fully examines the double-edged
sword of foreknowledge. Readers who like full closure will
enjoy FlashForward's stunningly neat wrap-up. The
idea behind this book is unbelievably cool, and the science
is well handled."
"A gripping novel."
"Really thought-provoking. Excellent book."
A compelling novel ... with much of the usual Sawyer research and
dimensionalised characters that you should expect from all his
"Four stars. FlashForward is a book with a
difference; thought-provoking. Call it nourishment for the
mind and soul; intriguing and insightful. One can only predict
20 years from now, Sawyer will still be at the top of his game."
"An excellent SF novel, a perfect blend of cosmic speculation and
human drama, and Sawyer's best book yet. FlashForward's
plot lets Sawyer muse on true love, free will, quantum reality and
the nature of consciousness while telling a funny, wrenching tale of
fallible humans in a mystifying universe."
"Sawyer compels us to think in a concrete way about concepts that we
usually dismiss as being too metaphysical to grapple with. As he is
clearly aware, the essence of science fiction isn't starships, robots
or virtual reality, but a unique philosophical inquiry into the
evolution of the human spirit."
The Toronto Star
"An utterly fascinating premise and hard questions about free will
and determinism. Sawyer imagines both the poignant and the darkly
humorous sides to knowing one's own future."
Winnipeg Free Press (1999)
"The novel's set-up is clever. The novel is full of carefully drawn
characters including one man who's desperate to prevent his own murder
and big ideas. An excellent novel. Really makes you think."
Winnipeg Free Press (2009)
More Good Reading
More about FlashForward
An essay about writing FlashForward
The opening chapters of FlashForward
Robert J. Sawyer's awards and honors
What's a Rob Sawyer novel like?
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