Robert J. Sawyer is one of Canada's best known and most successful science fiction writers. He is the only Canadian (and one of only 7 writers in the world) to have won all three of the top international awards for science fiction: the 1995 Nebula Award for The Terminal Experiment, the 2003 Hugo Award for Hominids, and the 2006 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Mindscan.
Even with no one at the helm, the world continues to turn. Time for chaos to take over, and so it reigns triumphant. For two paralysing minutes, humanity checks out of the present and shoots frighteningly into its own future.
Physicist Lloyd Simcoe and his associates who work at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) in Geneva, Switzerland, have the weight of the world on their shoulders. Using the Large Hadron (particle) Collider, the collaborative of top scientists were attempting to recreate energy levels Earth had not experienced since the "Big Bang". As the countdown comes to zero for maximum acceleration, so does the world's human population as every single man, woman and child loses consciousness. During this time out, most see visions of their own future, fleeting glimpses of who they will be 21 years ahead of the now. For some, the visions are blessed and for others, they are terrible prophecies. Worst, some see nothing at all of their future lives as death by then will already have taken them from the ranks of the living.
With no one to bear witness, even security cameras have blanked out during this time. It becomes necessary to accept such things during this read as the "observer" effect of quantum theory, in that if there is no one to see what is occurring, events will occur in a manner as what may best be assumed as a logical consequence of the original action.