This Thursday, the ABC television network will premiere FlashForward, a drama series based on Robert J. Sawyer’s science-fiction novel of the same name. While the details of the television series are being closely guarded, nuclear and particle physics is at the heart of the novel. Sawyer’s novel kicks off at CERN, where the Large Hadron Collider provides the setting for an event that triggers global mayhem, and features physicists and engineers as main characters.

In an e-mail interview with symmetry, Sawyer discussed why he chose the LHC for the plot of Flashforward and which physics laboratory is next in line for the science-fiction treatment.

“The TV series based on my novel is a fairly liberal adaptation,” said Sawyer, “and what causes the consciousness-displacement in it I can’t say; they’re presenting that as a big mystery and certainly have brought their own creative juices to bear on the question—but it is amusing that the series and my book both ended up being set at almost exactly the same time.”

“I was thrilled to find how many of the actors—including Joseph Fiennes, Sonya Walger, and Zachary Knighton—had chosen to read the novel; actors, of course, have no obligation to read anything but the script. It was fun talking with them about the philosophical notions from the novel—the central questions of fate vs. free will and of the nature of time and consciousness.”


It’s cool that the author will be writing one of the episodes this season. Hopefully the show does well and isn’t cancelled. It sounds pretty cool to me. What do you think?