Now that “Flashforward” is finished (and on such an interesting note, too), most fans will probably turn to the book if they miss the series. And for those who don’t know, yes, the series was based on the book by the same name by Robert J. Sawyer.
The story of the book will be slightly familiar to those who have seen the series: Dr. Lloyd Simcoe, his fiancé Michiko Kamura and his partner, Dr. Theo Procopides are preparing for an experiment on Large Hadron Collider at CERN, which they know will put them at the top of Nobel–probables list. Unfortunately, everything goes wrong at the moment of impact when the entire human consciousness is suddenly thrust forward twenty-odd years for a few moments.
While the humanity tries to deal with this event, Lloyd and Theo try to deal with their own visions of the future, and its effects on their personal life and careers (the flashforward overshadows their experiment so much that when they later complete it successfully, it’s a minor news). The matters are not helped when Lloyd comes forward on TV talking about Minkowsky space-time, indicating that the future is immutable.
While the basic theme of both book and TV series is the same, there are some differences in the storyline. (Slight spoilers for next two paragraphs – ) The book concentrates almost entirely on Lloyd and Theo, and their teammates at CERN. The only law-enforcement officer is the one Theo contacts while he is trying to solve his own murder which will take place 20 years hence.
While the TV series included a mysterious organisation with nefarious purpose, thereby making it more of a thriller than pure science fiction, the book deals almost entirely with the flashforward event, and it’s effects on the lives of scientists who may have caused it. The event has global implications on personal level, religious level and surprisingly even in international politics. The political calisthenics that ensue at the mere chance of a second flashforward are very weird and at the same time, completely believable.
As I said, the basic theme of both the series and the book is the same, yet I would recommend that you read the book for the questions it raises. While Lloyd, Theo, Michiko form the core of the story, it is the borderline stories, like that of Theo’s struggling artist brother, which show the actual impact viewing your own (possibly immutable) future has on people. And believe it or not, even when there is hardly a nefarious organization involved, the story still has a surprising end game.
Michiko: …what’s the point of going on if it’s all already fixed?
Lloyd: What’s the point of reading a novel whose ending has already been written?
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