A science experiment that unwittingly shuts down all human consciousness for two minutes is the catalyst for a creative exploration of fate, free will and the nature of the universe in Sawyer's soul-searching new work (after Factoring Humanity). In April 2009, Lloyd and Theo, two scientists at the European Organization for Particle Physics (CERN), run an experiment that accidentally transports the world's consciousness 20 years into the future. When humanity reawakens a moment later, chaos rules. Vehicles whose drivers passed out plow into one another; people fall or maim themselves. But that's just the beginning. After the horror is sorted out, each character tries desperately to ensure or avoid his or her future. Trapped by his guilt for causing so much destruction and driven by a need to rationalize, Lloyd tries to prove that free will is a myth. Theo discovers that he will be murdered and begins to hunt down his killer--tempting fate as in the Greek dramas of his ancestors. Some people start on their appointed roads early, others give up on life because of what they've seen. Using a third-person omniscient narrator, Sawyer shifts seamlessly among the perspectives of his many characters, anchoring the story in small details. This first-rate, philosophical journey, a terrific example of idea-driven SF, should have wide appeal. (June) FYI: Sawyer is the president of the Science Fiction Writers of America.
Reviewed on: 05/31/1999 Release date: 06/01/1999 Genre: Fiction
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