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Old 10-24-2009, 02:00 AM   #1
pilotbob
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Discussion: Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer (spoilers)

What was your vision?

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Old 10-24-2009, 07:51 AM   #2
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Looks like I might be the first, as the only other one up at 6 AM on Saturday, hehehe.

I really liked this book. I was pretty sad when they killed off Michiko's daughter and Theo's brother. I'm not a reader of romance stuff, but I was kind of hoping Michiko & Lloyd would end up together anyway.

The thing I liked most about this book was that it really got my imagination going. What would I see? (as Bob mentioned) Would it happen anyway, or would I avoid it?
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Old 10-24-2009, 07:53 AM   #3
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I thought it was an ok read. There were some interesting concepts; but I didn't find the characters particularly engaging, and there were some plot points that I couldn't resolve (maybe I missed some things).
One was why only humans were affected, and not other species. There were a few mystical references to 'human consciousness', but I wasn't convinced.
Another issue I had was the 'failure' of various machines to record what happened during the 'flashforward' event. As I understood it, this was because recording devices captured the superposition of all possible outcomes - and the results appeared to be noise. If this was the case, then you could stick a video recorder in a Schrodinger's Cat-type experiment and see if it recorded all outcomes - proving Schrodinger right (or not as the case may be); but you can't actually do that.
Overall, 6/10.
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Old 10-24-2009, 08:04 AM   #4
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You're a tough customer, Sparrow! I noticed some of these things, thought about them for a second, then said: "Oh well." and continued on. I guess I'd give it about an 8.
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Old 10-24-2009, 08:20 AM   #5
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I enjoyed this book. But, the end left me feeling incomplete. So the whole body withered away, except the head/brain? What kind of life would that be?
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Old 10-24-2009, 08:41 AM   #6
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You're a tough customer, Sparrow! I noticed some of these things, thought about them for a second, then said: "Oh well." and continued on. I guess I'd give it about an 8.
Maybe I am being a tad harsh - but I do feel good SF has to make sense, and hang together, in the same way a good whodunnit does.
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Old 10-24-2009, 09:05 AM   #7
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Hey, ya snuck this in on me! I wasn't expecting it til tomorrow.
I'm gonna have to think about it a bit...

I'll start by saying that this guy was successful in bringing to life a story idea that I've wanted to write/express for a long time. The concept of altering/affecting all of reality by a scientific experiment.
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Old 10-24-2009, 09:10 AM   #8
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I thought it was an ok read. There were some interesting concepts; but I didn't find the characters particularly engaging, and there were some plot points that I couldn't resolve (maybe I missed some things).
One was why only humans were affected, and not other species. There were a few mystical references to 'human consciousness', but I wasn't convinced.
Another issue I had was the 'failure' of various machines to record what happened during the 'flashforward' event. As I understood it, this was because recording devices captured the superposition of all possible outcomes - and the results appeared to be noise. If this was the case, then you could stick a video recorder in a Schrodinger's Cat-type experiment and see if it recorded all outcomes - proving Schrodinger right (or not as the case may be); but you can't actually do that.
Overall, 6/10.

I'm with you there on the consciousness thing vs the machines, but I think that was the ol' "If a tree falls in the forest" thing. I didn't totally buy it either.

I also didn't feel there was a clear enough "explanation" of why it happened in the first place vs the second place. Yeah, Yeah, I know the distant star collapse etc. but still I didn't fully buy in to that.

There was one typo that really threw me at one point "glock" was typoed to be "dock" I think....being a Glock owner I noticed.

I also didn't buy in to the back and forth and all that in the tunnel at the end -- I felt it was very contrived.
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Old 10-24-2009, 09:12 AM   #9
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What was your vision?

BOb
I see dead people.

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Old 10-24-2009, 12:03 PM   #10
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All in all it was a fun read. I enjoyed the characters, the setting, the science and the whole idea. It's okay to "kill off" some of the characters, makes the book a bit more realistic, not too "pie in the skie".

But what I really didn't like was the esoteric ending. In fact, once we reach the year 2030 the whole story just somehow fades away. It's being told a lot faster and with a lot less detail than the "now" part - one could think, the author just wanted to wrap things up. The action scene is pretty much the only thing that keeps the story going, the rest is just ... "now where to I put 'the end'?".

I give it a 7, mainly for the first 2/3rds of the book as well as the original idea.

Another problem I have is: I forget things quite quickly. I can remember dialogue and repeat it word for word at times, then sometimes I go into the kitchen to fetch something and once I get there I forgot what it was.
So I can't actually say, what I thought of the writing style. But I remember feeling something - could it be that it was "bumpy" from time to time?
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Old 10-24-2009, 12:06 PM   #11
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If this was the case, then you could stick a video recorder in a Schrodinger's Cat-type experiment and see if it recorded all outcomes - proving Schrodinger right (or not as the case may be); but you can't actually do that.
Overall, 6/10.
Of course, if you put a camera in the box then you are observing the cat, hence voiding the experiment.

BOb
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Old 10-24-2009, 12:13 PM   #12
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So, I liked this book. It started out well.

Some of the best parts were the reactions to the visions. For example, China's ruling party was happy because their visions showed them still in power. Québec separatists gave up. Etc.

I did think the description of the book store was interesting. (Was that in this book?) Where basically it was a place to browse ebooks and then they were printed on demand. I think the book was set in 2009 but written in 1999. I think he over estimated the level of tech that would be around in 2009.

I thought the story was strong, part 2 was the best. Part 3 I thing was an anti-climax. It didn't really work for me. Although the idea that we would dismantle the earth and moon to build a Dyson sphere was interesting, the rest was a bit far fetched. At least to me.

BOb
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Old 10-24-2009, 12:14 PM   #13
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Of course, if you put a camera in the box then you are observing the cat, hence voiding the experiment.

BOb
Personally, I think the cat is an observer anyway - so I don't see how Schrodinger's Cat experiment could actually work with a conscious feline in the box.

But a Schrodinger's Cat-type experiment, with a video recorder (rather than real-time transmitter) would replicate the scenario in the novel - with recording devices displaying 'noise' for the duration of the event.
If that's what happens for the event, then it would also happen for the Schrodinger experiment - only it wouldn't.
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Old 10-24-2009, 12:19 PM   #14
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...
But what I really didn't like was the esoteric ending. In fact, once we reach the year 2030 the whole story just somehow fades away. It's being told a lot faster and with a lot less detail than the "now" part - one could think, the author just wanted to wrap things up. The action scene is pretty much the only thing that keeps the story going, the rest is just ... "now where to I put 'the end'?".
....

Yes, I agree completely with this. Up until about halfway I was thinking this was one of the better books I've read, but it really fell apart after that, it felt like a ton of "filler" just to stretch it to novel length.

I definitely didn't feel the ending lived up to the beginning.
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Old 10-24-2009, 01:25 PM   #15
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I really like the ideas, but found the characters to be so-so.


More later..
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