Flashback

Flashback

by Dan Simmons
3.4 36

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Flashback 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For just about a deacade now, Dan Simmons has been spiraling further and further down as a writer. The guy who wrote classics like CARRION COMFORT, HYPERION and THE FALL OF HYPERION has managed to publish aborted ideas-cum-novels like OLYMPOS, DROOD and BLACK HILLS,filled with didactic passages (in which one can almost see the author standing on his soapbox), rightwing politico rants toward Muslims and homosexuals, stilted dialogue ("The revolving Hotchkiss cannon had five thirty-seven-millimeter barrels and was capable of firing forty-three rounds per minute", one helpful character says to another in BLACK HILLS, sounding a lot like a tour guide), and two dimensional characters. Now, after failing to climb higher than 18 or 19 on the NYTimes bestseller list with any of his last three novels (all historical thrillers), Simmons is trying his hand at another mainstream thriller (THE CROOK FACTORY, his best effort in that area was all but ignored; and DARWIN'S BLADE, a laughable and embarrassing piece of work -- the "cases" were obviously cobbled up from "Darwin Awards" that have proven to be urban legends). He's also throwing in a bit of SF for good measure. Set in the not-too distant future, FLASHBACK involves a drug that lets addicts relive a past day (or month, or year, or moment). Protagonist Nick Bottom has, er, um, reached the bottom (hence the clever use of that surname), after the death of his wife. His skills as detective (once renowned) have (like Simmons's skills as a writer) bottomed-out. Japanese billionaire Hiroshi Nakamura asks Bottom to reopen the investigation into the death of his son, Keigo (it was Nick Bottom who originally flubbed the investigation, years before). We know Nakamura wants Bottom to re-investigate, because he opens the conversation in classic (also known as cliche) style, by saying (I kid you not), "You're probably wondering why I asked you to come here today, Mr. Bottom." From there, things go downhill fast. And Glenn Beck-style political preaching (disguised as characterization) pours onto the pages (and all over the plot): Radical Islam has conscripted most of the USA! Various states and territories have seceeded! And, of course, Pres. Obama is to blame. The author would have some believe FLASHBACK is patterned on Shakespeare (Bottom...Midsummer's Night Dream...). But there is more of the teapot -- or Teaparty -- and less of the Tempest in this (highly) derivative craziness.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The hard part about writing dystopian fiction, especially that set in the near future, is creating a believable future. Dan Simmons has created just such a world. I do not know the authors politics, nor do I care. I do believe that those who have rated this book low have done so, not because the book is anything but a stellar example of the author's work, but because they do not like the fictitious world the author created. This is a very entertaining book that left me guessing till the end.
Bubwolf More than 1 year ago
No one can beat mr. Simmons w mhen it comes to writing outstanding science fiction. The future portrayed could be all too real. The mystery leaves one guessing until the end. There is plenty of action as well. There is politics but at least it is an intelligent approach rather than the under the dome crap from last year. Bravo mr. Simmons for writing a novel that needed to be written.
GrindingMetal More than 1 year ago
A good story and well written. It kept me guessing until the end. It's refreshing to read a dystopian novel that involves a different set of actors rather than the usual suspects ("evil corporations taking over the world", "unchecked pollution", "nuclear war", etc). I think most of the bad reviews listed here are from people that prefer the narcotic of reading something that fits their world view. It's a worthy read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An excellent read from the always entertaining Mr. Simmons. It's a shame some people are such haters that they use this forum for expressions of their political views, as if anyone really cares what those views are, rather than give an honest review of the books. This book has conservative views, but takes a jab at the entire state of politics nationally and worldwide while presenting warnings about the all-too POSSIBLE near future that will doubtless go unheaded. "Flashback" keeps you guessing until the end, as all good mystery-thrillers do and is a pleasure to read. Thank you Dan Simmons!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written with an interesting plot and good pacing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Holy cow, I wish I could've taken Flashback while reading this to relive when Mr. Simmons wrote better. He's off the rails with this one.
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motionview More than 1 year ago
Quite a few of the other reviews here are straight political hatchet jobs and should be dismissed as such. Flashback brings together everything that Dan Simmons does extremely well: interesting, nuanced characters, fast-paced plot, and new ideas seemingly on every page. The reality is that many of the progressives reviewing this book don't want to consider the potential negative consequences their well-intended actions of today portend in the near future world of Flashback. A great detective novel wrapped in a great science fiction novel, Simmons' work brings to mind two tremendous authors who likewise refused to say and believe false things in order to get along: David Mamet and Michael Crichton. Very highly recommended.
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HiHo More than 1 year ago
I was looking for some good science fiction and had not read anything by Dan Simmons before. The writing, characters, and story line started out well. Unfortunately, the story was quickly overwhelmed by "the tea party saves the world" theme. I think this could have been pretty good if the primary purpose had been to write good science fiction.
elvedril More than 1 year ago
I like a lot of Simmons' work, so I was excited to get started on this book. It, like the other books of his I read, is well written with a compelling plot. Unlike the other books I read it is really way too preachy for me. The book is constantly interrupted by one character or another explaining how the world really fell apart by actions of Americans in the beginning of the 21st Century. These passages seem completely unnecessary to the plot, they are bound to anger at least half the American population (particularly Democrats whose beliefs and policies the author has a particular distaste for), and generally diminish the reader's experience. I guess if you don't mind getting lectured on current politics in your near-future distopian fiction, or if you are a Libertarian who loves having their political views supported by fictional characters, it's well worth the read. Otherwise, I would suggest picking up either the Hyperion series or Ilium and Olympos, both pairs of books being much better than this one due to their sci-fi setting making it impossible to comment on the 2008 election...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago