Tag Archives: Sci-Fi

Flash Forward Comes to TV

This is about a different sort of Flash, but it should be cool!

Flash Forward

Various sources are reporting that ABC has officially picked up 13 episodes of Flash Forward, based on the Robert J. Sawyer novel of the same name (which I reviewed at Speed Force last December).

The series is about the fallout from an event in which everyone in the world blacks out for 2 minutes and sees a vision of their own future. (In the book it’s 20 years, but in the TV show it’s 6 months…presumably to make it more urgent and so that the show can catch up to it.)

The cast features Joseph Fiennes, Sonya Walger, John Cho, Jack Davenport, Brian O’Byrne, Courtney B. Vance, Christine Woods, Zachary Knighton and Peyton List.

Where else can you see William Shakespeare, Hikaru Sulu, Penelope Widmore and James Norrington together?

Variety points out that with Lost returning in January, ABC may intend Flash Forward to fill the gap in fall, while Lost fans wait for its final season. (ABC has said from the start that they’re hoping Flash Forward will be the show to keep Lost‘s audience coming back after that show wraps.)

There’s actually a Flash connection — or rather, several. David Goyer (who wrote a now-scrapped script for the Flash movie) co-wrote and directed the pilot, and Marc Guggenheim (who wrote Flash: The Fastest Man Alive — “Full Throttle” [edit: fixed title]) will executive produce the series.

(via Robert J. Sawyer. Cross-posted at K-Squared Ramblings)

Review: Flashforward

This has nothing to do with The Flash except the title, but I’ve been a fan of Robert J. Sawyer’s novels for several years and figured this site’s audience might still appreciate the review.

Flashforward has been in the entertainment news quite a bit the last few weeks with casting for the TV series pilot (more about that later). Strangely enough for a story that’s all about time and the role of the observer, I started reading the novel the day before the first casting news hit.

The novel looks at what happens when, at the moment a scientific experiment begins, everyone on the planet blacks out for two minutes. For those two minutes, everyone sees through the eyes of their future selves, two decades down the line. The world is transformed: first by the millions of accidents caused as drivers, pilots and surgeons lost control of their vehicles and instruments, and second by the survivors’ knowledge of the future.

What follows is an exploration of the nature of time, destiny and free will. Is this a glimpse of the future as it will be, or as it may be? Did the experiment cause the event, or was it a coincidence? Is foreknowledge a blessing or a curse?


Flashforward is at its best when it focuses on characters’ dilemmas. While it sounds like the TV series will feature a wider cast, the original novel centers on the personal lives of researchers at CERN, particularly the two scientists who designed the experiment: Lloyd Simcoe, a 45-year-old Canadian who is shocked to learn that his impending marriage is doomed to collapse, and Theo Procopides, a 27-year-old Greek who learns that he will be dead by the time the visions come to pass. Lloyd wrestles with his responsibility for the event and whether it’s worth going through with a marriage he knows won’t last. Theo is consumed with preemptively solving his own murder.

Continue reading

Another Kind of Flash Forward

ABC has bought the TV rights to Robert J. Sawyer’s novel, Flashforward, based on a script by David S. Goyer (Batman Begins and the Flash movie that never happened) and Brannon Braga (Star Trek, 24). The network wants to turn it into a series, and thinks it could become a companion piece to Lost.

As described by Pop Critics (where I learned about the deal):

During [a scientific] experiment, as the button is pressed, the unexpected occurs: everyone in the world goes to sleep for a few moments while everyone’s consciousness is catapulted more than twenty years into the future. At the end of those moments, when the world reawakens, all human life is transformed by foreknowledge.

Why am I mentioning it here? Because I really like Robert J. Sawyer’s novels, and the word Flash is in the title. I discovered him through his Neanderthal Parallax trilogy, and since then I’ve read Calculating God, Mindscan, and Rollback. I haven’t gotten to Flashforward yet, but it’s on my to-read list.

Sawyer tends to write social science-fiction: if X technological advance occurs, or Y scientific principle is discovered, what impact will that have on society? How would we react to discovering an alternate reality in which Neanderthals developed civilization instead of us? Or if aliens landed and claimed they had scientific proof that God exists and created the universe 14 billion years ago? What are the legal implications of being able to copy your personality into a virtually immortal, lifelike robot?

Regarding the title: In Sawyer’s blog, he mentions that the actual title is Flashforward, but because it was split into two words on the cover, it tends to get referred to as “Flash Forward.”