A provocative dystopian thriller set in a future that seems scarily possible, Flashback proves why Dan Simmons is one of our most exciting and versatile writers.
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
In the not-too-distant future, America is in tatters, its states ruled by corrupt tribes and its ruin-dwelling citizens addicted to reliving their pasts through a high-potency drug called, literally, flashback. And although disgraced detective Nick Bottom—the hero of Dan Simmons’ story—is himself a fiend, a high-profile cold case pushes his sharp instincts to the forefront. This dystopian novel presents a harrowing vision of where technology and greed might be leading us. Simmons’ detailed vision of humanity's grim fate makes Nick’s search for the truth—and his long-lost sense of hope—feel especially urgent.
Simmons makes some logical if depressing extrapolations from current political and economic developments in this outstanding mystery thriller set in a near-future dystopic United States. The loss of credible deterrence after the U.S. drastically reduced its nuclear arsenal as part of a deal with Russia has led to devastating attacks by Muslim terrorists on Israel. Most Americans take flashback, an addictive drug that brings back favorite memories, to relive the past when they should be planning for the future. One such addict is Nick Bottom, a former Denver police officer, who loses himself in re-experiencing good times with his late wife. Billionaire Hiroshi Nakamura, one of the fragmented nation's nine regional Federal Advisors, hires Bottom to find the unknown assailant who cut the throat of his only son, 20-year-old Keigo, six years earlier. Bottom, who worked on the unsolved crime, uses flashback to pick up a trail suggesting a far from simple motive for Keigo's killing. Simmons keeps the action moving briskly and smoothly, despite the novel's length.
Too easily believable; frighteningly so.
Great book; well worth it. And if it hadn't been for macwhizNY's whiney review, I might have passed it by. But with that kind of feigned outrage, I couldn't resist!
Wow, what happened to Dan Simmons?
Well that was certainly a large steaming pile! I used to like Simmons, but this latest one seems like it could have been ghost- written by Glenn Beck. It showcases all the usual laughable right-wing paranoid fantasies, with a little greasy blob of blatant racism for seasoning. The story and characterizations had about the same quality as a Beck book as well. Too bad that Simmons has lost it so badly out there in Lesser Wingnuttia.
I had to give it 2 stars though, because of the hilarious ending, in which Nick pays for Leonard's heart operation in the private-sector utopia of Texas with... His government job as a Texas Ranger!! Priceless!
This is billed as a sic-fi thriller, but it quickly becomes a dystopian right-wing political polemic. The more Fox News you watch, the more likely you are to be entertained by it. I didn't expect this from Simmons.