Review: Flashforward

Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm really torn on how to rate this book. On the one hand, the concepts and science discussed here make for excellent thought experiments. Unfortunately, the social elements of the story telling leave a lot to be desired. Unless you had some cue to who the speaker was, you wouldn't be able to tell the dialogue of one character from the next. All characters have nearly identical voices throughout. In addition, the way these characters relate to one another is, well, bizarre to put it mildly. I had real trouble believing that people in real life would behave as the characters here. There is no character growth to speak of throughout. The female characters are largely immaterial to the story, acting as scenery or minor detail to a plot point.

Despite the poor attention to the human elements of the story, I did find myself eager to continue reading. While the book is a bit dated now, but it doesn't detract from the ideas. What would it mean for humanity to get a glimpse of the future? What would it mean to our scientific community? Is our future immutable, or do we truly have free will? These are questions we may never be able to definitively answer.

Overall, a decent read. There are a few more Sawyer books in my to-read queue. This one hasn't given me any reason to move them up or down in that list.

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Jade Mason