Back in 2009, a television show with an interesting premise showed up on our screens. It was called FlashForward and it was based very loosely on the original book of the same name by Robert J Sawyer.

The premise is that there is a coincidence of events of nearly infinitely small probability that results in the population of the world blacking out and seeing a glimpse of their future, 21 years from that point in time. Of course, a lot of people die in the event as they’re driving or about to land in a plane or will be die in the intervening period and so don’t see any future.

The plot follows Lloyd Simcoe, a theoretical physicist at CERN when the Large Hadron Collider is activated and an experiment performed to find the Higgs Boson. This has obviously happened in real life now! Instead of finding the Higgs Boson, everyone who has a future at least 21 years long sees a 137 second segment of it.

He sees in his future that he is in bed with a woman he’s never met and it’s clearly not his current fiance, Michiko. His partner, Theo Procopides sees nothing and subsequently finds out that he’s murdered just prior to the flash forward (as it’s termed). While Theo spends the next 21 years of his life trying to avoid his untimely death, Lloyd faces a similarly difficult decision about his impending marriage, knowing it’s likely that it will fail. It’s further complicated because he feels to blame to Michiko’s daughter’s death during the flash forward event.

FlashForward is by no means a long book, but definitely asks many interesting questions. If you could see into your future, would you be happy? What would you do? Would you just let it happen if you weren’t where you expected or the glimpse was of something you don’t like? How could you change something that you didn’t understand because you only saw two minutes of it? Those are the big questions that were posed at the start of the book. It’s obvious as the story goes on that the future as seen is not absolutely fixed, as people do actively go about changing their futures, such as Theo.

I really enjoyed the book, as it really puts the questions against your beliefs. Is your fate, life and destined path set that far in stone? Whilst the glimpse of the world’s future turns out remarkably accurate according to the visions seen, there are differences in the end. One you’ve read it, you will likely think more about the questions that it poses rather than the storyline and its outcomes.


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