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Flashback [Hardcover]

Dan Simmons
1.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 30.99
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Book Description

July 1 2011
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 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.

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Review

'a thrilling detective novel with a grand, compelling mystery at its centre' SFX. 'Relentlessly compelling' SciFi Now. 'Abundantly entertaining ... Flashback is first-rate' Washington Post. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Dan Simmons is the award-winning author of several novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Olympos and The Terror. He lives in Colorado.

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Customer Reviews

1.7 out of 5 stars
1.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rife with racism June 27 2011
Format:Hardcover
I've always thoroughly enjoyed Dan Simmons. Song of Kali was a brilliant book; the Hyperion/Endymion series was one of the best science fiction series ever written; and The Terror is without a doubt the best historical fantasy book I ever read.

Sadly, Flashback is an entirely different beast altogether. The amount of overt racism and bigotry in this novel is so staggering; it's hard to believe that in this book, at last, some of Simmons' own political proclivities aren't shining through. I tried really hard to enjoy the story (which I suppose isn't bad although a tad far fetched) but when the racism is lathered on so thickly that every other paragraph is some outrageous dig at another minority, this because frankly impossible. I especially have a hard time understanding all the official critics that describe this book as a "realistic vision of the future". Really? A United States overrun by Islam, with 24 hour decapitation channels, a super-mosque built on Ground Zero and 9/11 celebrated as a national holiday of Martyrs (the bombers, not the victims) is somehow "realistic"?

Nor are Muslims the only group to feel the wrath of Dan Simmons' extreme xenophobia - native Americans, Mexicans, the Japanese.. none are spared and all are just gunning for those "poor oppressed white Anglo-Saxons".

I have a hard time understanding what Simmons was aiming for here? It almost feels like he was trying to write a 21st Century version of "Mein Kampf"; complete with it's own Dolchstoßlegende (dagger-in-the-back, a popular meme between the two World Wars that supposedly explained Germany's defeat in WWI and helped bring Hitler to power) - in the form of American soldiers betrayed by a largely Muslim run resupply chain.

The whole book feels like Fox-on-steroids. About the only redeeming thing I could say about it is that if you want to know exactly how crazy some of the lunatic fringe on the right is, this is a good overview.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Difficult Dystopian Dec 31 2011
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Simmons' The Terror, Black Hills, and Drood made for amazing reading. Flashback's depressing view of America's future presents an interesting premise. All aspects of society are eroding and the majority of people are finding escape in a narcotic that brings back the better past. The author uses a murder mystery to tug the reader through the bleakness.

Unfortunately the whole thing was a bit too bleak for me. It lacked the subtle layers found in his other work and characters that drew you in. I have been intrigued by fellow reviewers who have panned it for racism and right-wing leanings. That is the wrong critique because Simmons is entitled to his views, I just found it long and boring.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The second worst novel in the Dan Simmons ouevre June 29 2011
Format:Hardcover
In his introduction to PRAYERS TO BROKEN STONES, writer sui generis Harlan Ellison wrote that, if for nothing else, he believed he would be remembered for discovering Dan Simmons (Ellison entered an early Simmons short story in an important short story contest, and, most importantly, introduced Simmons to his agent). Like many others, Ellison was understandably blown away by Simmons's ability with prose and narrative. And novels (nay, classics, like HYPERION & THE FALL OF HYPERION, CARRION COMFORT, SONG OF KALI, PHASES OF GRAVITY, and THE CROOK FACTORY bore out his praise). But time will tell, and something -- gravity, a phsyiological imbalance, an "undigested bit of beef" -- changed the way Dan Simmons performed as a writer sometime just before, or just after, 2000 or 2001. And so it can be said, without exemption, that FLASHBACK is the second worst novel Dan Simmons has ever set loose on the public. The last two thirds of OLYMPOS, about half of THE TERROR, DROOD and BLACK HILLS, bad as they are, will have to fall in at shabby third in the really crummy Simmons novel sweepstakes -- and DARWIN'S BLADE is still uncontested as the absolute worst.

Here's the basic setup: Nick Bottom, failed detective, longtime addict of a new drug called "Flashback" (supposedly invented by the Israelites, but that proves to be false), is asked by billionaire Hirosho Nakamura to reopen the case into his son's murder. The mystery surrounding why Nakmura would ask a drug addict (one who failed to his job right the first time) to cover old ground turns out to less interesting than the over-the-top, far-right political histrionics that dog nearly every chapter (Obama? He was responsible for the economic downturn -- not Dubya or Cheney. Global warming? A hoax! Muslims?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Pedestrian, cliche-ridden prose, which seems mostly a Libertarian screed, it fails as satire, contains no new ideas, gets bogged down in irrelevant details and like most political pamphlets is just tedious. May I have my time back, please?
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A flashback indeed Nov. 29 2011
Format:Hardcover
There was another flashback in this story besides the drug in qiuestion. I saw glimpses of the eerie, post-human future of Illium/Olympus, from the hints of a final conflict against the global caliphate to the breathing of heavily oxgygen laden fluids after "drowning" in a tank. The story kept me riveted, and I could see this as a worst-case scenario looking 20 years into the future. I also kept an open mind and found nothing upsetting about the characters or the reasons why "it all hit the fan". Getting a glimpse of a future not so far off made some of the events going on in the present look very scary indeed. Dan Simmons remains one of my favoutite authors and I'm looking forward to more of his novels.
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