Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Flashforward Review - Take Two

I was so busy in my previous post considering how the book and TV show of Flashforward may differ that I didn't really end up reviewing the book. (It's been that kind of day.)

So, from the top. Flashforward begins with an experiment to discover the Higgs boson, "the particle whose interactions endowed other particles with mass". Something goes wrong and instead of gaining a nobel prize for their discovery, the team launches the consciousness of humanity 20+ years into the future. For two minutes.

The novel is split into three parts: the experiment and its direct results, it's indirect results as time passes and from the time the flashforward showed. The novel focuses on the members of the teams, their visions and either their acceptance that the future they saw is immutable or their fervent desire to change what they did or didn't see.

Specifically, the story follows Lloyd, the head of the project who, if the future is changeable, would be responsible for the deaths of thousands of people and potentially liable for immense damage to infrastructure during the blackout as well as bankruptcies and loss of economy due to information gleaned from the flashforward. And Theo, who had no vision but who discovers that others read about his death during their experiences.

I finished the book several days ago and still can't say whether I liked the book or not. It had some interesting ideas. The science was down pat. And though I didn't agree with a lot of things the characters did, their actions were consistent with their own belief systems (which is more important).

It annoyed me how a 2 minute vision of something 20 years in the future caused so many people to either despair or be ecstatically happy - depending on what they saw. But then, I'm not a believer in predestination to the point that every single moment of our lives is set in stone - which was a major belief in the book. I believe certain things can be considered fate - but how you get to those points in your life is up to you.

In this instance I think the TV show has an advantage. Since the flashforward there is less than a year away, I can see how people will let it rule their lives. Especially once they learn the future is malleable.

In the final analysis, the book made me think of what I might do in such a situation. And makes me glad I'll never be put into it as most people seemed to forget that so much could happen between now and the time of their visions that they forgot to live their lives to the fullest. The lesson not to take the present for granted in your quest for the future (and the fulfillment of your dreams) alone makes reading this book worthwhile. After all, it's the journey, not the destination, that maters.

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