Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer

Flashforward was a good work of science fiction that explores what happens when people get a 2 minute glimpse of their future 20 years from now and then try to grapple with the fallout (e.g., Are you still with your spouse? Did you ever make it as a writer? Are you alive?).
Like most science fiction, the ideas explored are quite interesting, and Sawyer deserves some credit for coming up with a great idea, but character development and prose are not remarkable.
I found the 2nd half of the book better, probably because there were more discussions of free will, quantum theory and consciousness. Alternatively, the parts about consciousness didn’t make that much sense and there could have been more on the paradoxes of time travel.
I appreciated that Sawyer worked in interesting bits of Canadiana and history, but sometimes it was awkward, so it almost seemed like: Here is where I demonstrate some historical knowledge; here is where I mention something about Canada; and here is where I live out the fan-boy dream of being with a Japanese girl.

In all, it was enjoyable, lighter fair, with more scientific/philosophical exploration in the latter half - which is what I wanted.

Spoiler below:
Probably my favourite part was the 3rd flashforward with Lloyd travelling into the future thousands and then millions if not billions of years. I like thinking about the topics of how the Earth might be turned into a information processing system, and then if it and the Moon might be mined for raw materials to make a Dyson sphere for the sun, and galaxies colliding and immortality. There was also a good amount of tension surrounding the Theo subplot.


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