The United States is near total collapse. But 87% of the population doesn't care: they're addicted to flashback, a drug that allows its users to re-experience the best moments of their lives. After ex-detective Nick Bottom's wife died in a car accident, he went under the flash to be with her; he's lost his job, his teenage son, and his livelihood as a result.
Nick may be a lost soul, but he's still a good cop, so he is hired to investigate the murder of a top governmental advisor's son. This flashback-addict becomes the one man who may be able to change the course of an entire nation that is turning away from the future to live in the past.
A provocative novel set in a future that seems scarily possible, Flashback proves why Dan Simmons is one of our most exciting and versatile writers.
©2011 Dan Simmons (P)2011 Hachette
I read the reviews, and being fairly liberal myself I kept an open mind about it, and I wasn't all that bothered by the right wing agenda of the characters. Most of what everyone is complaining about occurs in static scenes where two characters talk (playing chess, in the cab of a truck, at a desk) and blame the bleak future on Obama (specifically) and American policy in this decade, and because these are isolated incidents, it just sounds like a cranky old author bitching because he can. But the story itself is fascinating -- it is BLEAK as hell, but incredibly compelling -- bleak in a different way than 2030 by Albert Brooks was bleak (I still can't believe that ALBERT BROOKS the comedian wrote that? He had to have had some help). In Flashback, the Japanese are a superpower, whereas in 2030 it is the Chinese. All extrapolating plausible outcomes based upon current trends (remember when the sci fi books of the 80s blamed the bleak future on the Reagan administration?).
However, if you are a Dan Simmons fan, you will enjoy this book tremendously despite the occasional political griping. He is still one of the most interesting writers working today, and this story is layered and rich, and it will throw you many surprises along the way. Just try not to get too depressed. It is worth it all the way to the end.
I'm afraid to quote, paraphrase, or summarize this book, for fear of the author's views being taken as my own. If you hate all democrats, Japanese, Muslims, and Mexicans, you might like this book. If I could get past the racism and politics, I'd be reading a book about unlikeable jerks. I've endured over 5 hours of it, and I can't take it anymore. I'm deleting this one from my library.
Sci Fi Reader
This is not a political book, it is speculative fiction, it has a sense of humor to it. It is a crazy scenario of the future and Mr. Simmons is doing his best to give an idea of what would happen if in a bad economy a new drug arose which people could relive their past. I do not believe that Mr. Simmons is a republican, he is fearless in his portrayal of the future when everyone basically gives up. I really enjoyed this book and I loved how he ended it. The narration was terrific.
From my political perspective, the story was spot on with a credible future based upon the politics going on right now with the Obama and liberal agenda. Very frightening yet very possible.
The description of the People's Republic of Boulder
Nick and Soto!
A really entertaining story!
I loved Simmons' Hyperion, but the political detritus in this novel is to much. The narration was well done.
I would listen again because the form is a murder mystery and now that I know the solution I would like to reread to find the clues.
The solution to the mystery is very dramatic.
It is the tone of this book that makes it so good. It is very politically incorrect and presents a believable dystopian future. In fact, this book, originally published in 2011, accurately predicts things that have since happened (although he failed to foresee the dramatic rise of ISIS). Indeed, one prediction came true today, 7/14/15.
Some of the sociopolitical content was so disturbing this title might need to be considered horror. I absolutely loved it from beginning to end. With what's happen with Iran and Israel currently it makes for truly terrifying reading.
Dan Simmons is an great storyteller; The Terror is one of my favorite books. However, in Flashback he made the unfortunate decision to shoehorn half-baked rightwing talking points into an otherwise solid narrative. Throughout the story, characters break into extended monologues tracing this or that sorry state of affairs back to some liberal policy.
It's perfectly natural for an author's political opinions to inform his or her work. But the exposition was awkward, and way too long. If I want to listen to long-winded, poorly-informed zealots, I'll visit my inlaws.
I don't care for multiple narrators reading one story. Also, the man reading the flash gang chapters was incredibly annoying.
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