FLASHFORWARD by Robert J. Sawyer


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Science fiction involving particle physics, time travel, murder mystery, and relationships, from the author of Factoring Humanity (1998), etc. In 2009, at CERN, Geneva’s Large Hadron Collider, physicists Lloyd Simcoe and Theo Procopides attempt to find the elusive Higgs boson by smashing particles together at colossal energies. But at the instant the experiment begins, the entire world blanks out for about two minutes. When consciousness is restored, millions have died in accidents. Nearly everyone else experienced a hallucination or vision. This was, it emerges, a genuine glimpse of the year 2030. Lloyd is very disturbed; he’s due to wed the beautiful Michiko—her daughter died in the Flashforward—but his vision showed him happily married to another woman. Others foresaw sexual encounters and so seek out the partners revealed in their visions; still others have foreknowledge of investments or lottery numbers. But poor Theo had no vision; he’ll be dead and must solve the problem of his own murder! Lloyd, still reluctant to commit to Michiko, believes the future to be as immutable as the past. He’s proved wrong, however. An attempt to replicate the Flashforward fails, but Lloyd and Theo do detect the Higgs particle. They discover that the Flashforward was caused by their experiment’s interaction with a neutrino shower from a distant supernova. So, the third attempt is timed to coincide with another neutrino shower. Theo finally learns how and why he was murdered. But this Flashforward is a disappointment, leaping far into a future when only a handful of immortals still survive. Intriguing ideas, but not satisfyingly dramatized, with explicative passages clumsily inserted into a scattershot narrative.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-312-86712-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2000


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