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Flash Forward: 07/27/14
Flash Forward by Robert J. Sawyer was the inspiration for ABC's series, Flashforward which ran for a season (2009-2010). While Drs. Simcoe and Procopides are trying to prove the existence of the Higgs Boson particle through their experiments at CERN, they and the rest of the world experience a blackout. During the blackout most people on earth report having glimpses into the future — all the way to a specific day and time in the not to distant future (or in the case of the TV series — six months into the future).
Most of the book then is the aftermath of that worldwide vision. First there's the what the fuck just happened? Followed by, how widespread was the event? Followed by who or what caused it? Here, there is the aftermath of the event — minor and major accidents, even deaths. Here the focus is on the media and its influence (for good or bad) on science. Science should be something rational but funding is often driven by public opinion.
Then comes the so now what? stage. When an experiment gives you something unexpected, the data needs to be analyzed. Maybe the method was wrong? Maybe the hypothesis was wrong. In this case, the data is the visions experienced by the vast majority of mankind.
The final piece wraps up all the various strings into a mystery set in the days and minutes before the recorded vision way back when in 2009. In that regard, the book feels more like three interconnected novellas with the same cast of characters.
For people coming to the book by way of the television show, be prepared for CERN oriented plot (rather than hot young agents in the United States). Be prepared for lengthy discussions on science and many glimpses into the day in the life of a scientists. Also, as the author is Canadian, the big DAMN HERO, (if there is one in this ensemble) is Canadian.
That said, the book is was an excellent and entertaining read as an audio book. My son and I listened to it over the course of a week. I originally had started listening to it on my own but he overheard snatches of it and decided to listen in with me.