July 20, 2009

BOOKS: Flashforward, Robert J. Sawyer (1999)

ABC will be turning this into a TV series this fall, so I wanted to re-read the book and get a sense of what's likely to be changed.

Quite a lot, I suspect. The basic premise will remain intact -- everyone in the world passes out for two minutes and has a vision of the future -- but that's about all. There's not nearly enough action in the book for TV, and the cast of characters will surely have to be Americanized, as Sawyer's three principals are Canadian, Japanese, and Greek scientists working in Switzerland.

The book is a fine piece of entertainment. As is usually the case with Sawyer, it's not so much about solving a "what happened?" mystery; we know the cause of the incident within the first few pages of the book. Sawyer's take on things is usually much more about "OK, that happened; now what?" And he's very good at imagining the consequences and ramifications of his unlikely event.

One rather remarkable bit of accidental prognostication (particularly amusing to find such in a book about visions of the future): Sawyer's novel was published in 1999, but it's set in 2009. There's a passing reference to the 2009 pope, whose name happens to be Benedict XVI. Nice call, that!

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