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Flash Hardcover – 24 Sep 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (24 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765311283
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765311283
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.8 x 24.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,507,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

No matter what anyone claims, writers are made, not born, and what and how they write is the result of just how they were made... or how they made themselves. I began by writing poetry, which was published only in small magazines, and then went on to write administrative reports while I was a U.S. Naval aviator, followed by research papers, speeches, economic and technical studies, and policy and briefing papers. Along the way, I've been a delivery boy; a lifeguard; an unpaid radio disc jockey; a U.S. Navy pilot; a market research analyst; a real estate agent; director of research for a political campaign; legislative assistant and staff director for U.S. Congressmen; Director of Legislation and Congressional Relations for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; a consultant on environmental, regulatory, and communications issues; a college lecturer and writer in residence; and unpaid treasurer of a civic music arts association.

As a result, my writing tends to incorporate all of the above, in addition to the science fiction I read from a very early age. After close to sixty published novels, and perhaps a score of short stories, it's fairly clear to me that "what kind of writer" I am for readers tends to depend on which of my books each reader has read.

Along the way, I've weathered eight children, a fondness for three-piece suits [which has deteriorated into a love of vests], a brown Labrador, a white cockapoo, an energetic Shih-tzu, two scheming dachshunds, a capricious spaniel, a crazy Saluki-Aussie, and various assorted pet rodents. Finally, in 1989, to escape nearly twenty years of occupational captivity in Washington, D.C., I escaped to New Hampshire. There I was fortunate enough to find and marry a lovely lyric soprano, and we moved to Cedar City, Utah, in 1993, where she directs the voice and opera program at Southern Utah University and where I attempt to create and manage chaos in the process of writing.

Product Description


Praise for "Flash""Another political yarn set in the future world of Modesitt's superior "Archform: Beauty "(2002). Modesitt's abundant novelistic virtues -- great characters and plotting, impressive attention to detail -- aside: this is smart, aware, provocative, and engrossing on several political, economic, and professional levels."-"Kirkus" (Starred Review) "Nonstop action, which . . . never sidelines good world-building and characterization. . . . A marvelous thriller that plausibly extrapolates from current possibilities in IT, AI, media, and crime, it also constitutes the way for newcomers to get acquainted with Modesitt-at his best."--"Booklist""Modesitt returns to the future world of" Archform: Beauty" for a stand-alone tale that resonates with current ethical dilemmas. DeVrai, with his troubled past, is far more than your average one note SF hero, and his interior landscape is nearly as complicated as his adventures. There are plenty of plot twists to satisfy the most critical mystery fan, and more than enough nifty futuristic technology for hardcore SF readers. This novel doesn't fall into the trap of making futuristic Earth denizens less than human or creating complicated technology just for show....Corporate conspiracies, rigged elections and the ubiquity of advertising are just a few of the issues Modesitt takes on, and he deftly handles the complicated plot threads."-"Romantic Times" --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

About the Author

L. E. MODESITT JR., is the bestselling author of the fantasy series The Saga of Recluce. His science fiction includes "Adiamante," the Ecolitan novels, and "Archform: Beauty." He lives in Cedar City, Utah.

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Cracckk! "Down!" Down! At the sound of the ancient slug-thrower, I dropped flat onto the squashed soyl plants at the edge of the field. Read the first page
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By TimG on 28 Feb. 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
LE Modesitt seems to be known for his fantasy, whilst in this humble reader's opinion his sci-fi is by far the better writing and an excellent read. I highly recommend dipping into any of his sci-fi work and then buying every one you can get your hands on! Involving plots, moral dilemmas, believable universes and characters - this is how sci-fi should be, in my opinion.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D. R. Cantrell on 1 Mar. 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is poorly structured and poorly written. Every single one of the characters is a flat cardboard cut-out, the world they inhabit isn't at all well-explained, and so the resulting story is mostly confusing and hard to follow.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 23 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Adult protagonist nice change, but worldbuilding a bit short 17 Sept. 2004
By Indy Reviewer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Flash is an interesting one-man-against-the-world story but ultimately falls short as the world doesn't quite support the plot. Still, an interesting read.

Jonat deVries is an ex-Marine colonel who resigned after running one too many missions for a government doing the bidding of heartless multinational corporations. He founds a consulting firm that specializes in analyzing the effectiveness of emotionally charged advertising, and then discovers the newest contract he has is a setup. The story basically revolves around his attempts to discover the why, what, and who of his enemies, the use of his spec ops training to destroy them, and how he falls in love.

The fact that deVries is a full adult protagonist is a nice switch from the typical Modesitt junior officer pilot, as well as the fact that he ends up having to deal with family issues - something none of Modesitt's heroes outside of the Spellsong series have ever faced. Modesitt is clearly trying to break out of his formulaic rut, and the plot as a result is better than his last few scifi ventures.

The problem - unusual for Modesitt - is that the world he builds up doesn't quite support the characters. Part of the problem is that the predecessor Archform: Beauty was an interesting exercise for Modesitt in writing 5 separate characters, but the world built up was not particularly well fleshed out given how much the plot shifted around. Flash isn't helped by this. We're still not really sure what happened to cause the ecological disaster that changed the world, how humanity recovered, or for that matter how the technology that deVries analyzes affects people. Modesitt usually gets away with ok plot writing by making a really interesting world; in this case, the plot is above average but the world isn't. Modesitt does a nice job as usual with ironic political observations; as in the Ghost series some of his most powerful observations come from the alternate world he creates.

Still, an interesting read and better than average...just not worthy of 5 stars.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Reads like a diary 30 Sept. 2005
By Joe Hughes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In this tome, Modesitt demonstrates a real talent for putting words down on the page without advancing the plot one whit. The story's OK, when it's moving, but in the meantime we get so much detail about the protagonist's workday at his consulting practice that we could easily write his invoices for him. Do we really need to know about every single time the character gets up to make a pot of tea, or what he had for lunch and what he thought about the quality of the food?

If Modesitt had cut out half the pages, this book would've been a solid 80's-style cyberpunk yarn. As it stands, perhaps he should've gone for stylistic novelty by presenting the novel as a LiveJournal circa 2100, since that's what the content basically amounts to.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Thoughtful, well-done SF thriller -- 4.5 stars 5 Jun. 2005
By Peter D. Tillman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is a thoughtful, well-done 25th century SF thriller, set in the same world as 2002's ARCHFORM BEAUTY -- but this one's better, I thought. An ex-Marine commando, now an advertising consultant(!), gets caught up in a web of political intrigue when he accepts a seemingly-innocuous consulting assignment. In what is (in retrospect) a weak, ad-hoc auctorial plot-pusher, the ruthless Secret Masters of Earth and Mars decide to make a patsy of ex-Col. Dr. Jonat deVrai, then murder him. DeVrai turns out, unsurprisingly, to be both hard to kill and good at turning the tables on his attackers. Besides having a curiously apposite surname.... <G>

This is all pretty basic, plot-boiling stuff, but Modesitt makes the book more intriguing by going deeply into his protagonist's life, and makes 25th century ad-consulting sound pretty interesting. Really. Plus there's a heavy dose of quotidien details that I (mostly) liked, setting up some startlingly-effective juxtapositions. On an 'interesting' day, deVrai's 'To Do' list might read:

1) Get the kids fed and off to school.

2) Make sure Charis practices piano for an hour.


7) Blow up Mahmed Kemal, a local ganglord.

There are the customary Modesitt ruminations re what's a good guy to do if the system won't stop the bad guys? Answer: "Get them before they get you." DeVrai also gets involved with an unusual police AI and its attractive cydroid remote, Paula Athene(!), in a clear setup for a sequel or two. Jonat de Vrai's not quite up to Johan Eschbach, the very resourceful environmental-economist protagonist in Modesitt's excellent "Tangible Ghosts" trilogy, but he's cut from similar cloth. Recommended for Modesitt and political-thriller fans.

Happy reading--

Pete Tillman
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Did anyone read The Octagonal Raven? 9 Aug. 2005
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have yet to find a Modesitt book I didn't like. I read this technothriller in one sitting, and sucked it down like candy. Don't get me wrong, it was smart and superb - great characterization and plot.

But, did anyone read The Octagonal Raven? We've got a similar storyline and a similar protagonist.

Octagonal Raven features a former military space pilot, now a freelance media consultant, who becomes embroiled in corporate interests and politicians when his sister is assassinated. Flash stars a former Marine, now a freelance advertising consultant, who becomes embroiled in corporate interests and politicians when his sister is assassinated.

Flash does feature the new character types of an intelligent computer (but then again, so did "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress") and linked to the AI is an android that becomes independent and a romantic interest - quite cool.

The Octagonal Raven does feature a lot more (foiled) assassination attempts than Flash, and more flying cars :-)

Both espouse the philosophy of "Big Business Sucks and must be taken DOWN", with lots of internecine squabbling of corporate boards that is really fun to read...

So, buy it anyway - I own 'em both!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Powerful world-building, great adventure 6 Dec. 2004
By booksforabuck - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Ex-marine Jonat deVrai suffers from flashbacks to his marine days--when he was sent around the world fighting battles to keep North American multinational corporations from facing competition, but mostly he is a successful consultant. He's parlayed his economics expertise into a business analysing the impact of product placement in commercial entertainment--a job made difficult by privacy legislation. When he gets a major contract to see if product placement is being used in political campaigns, it seems like an interesting extension to his business. He knows his employers have a hidden agenda--who doesn't? What he doesn't know is that his report will have a lot more credibility if he ends up dead just after presenting it.

deVrai is tougher to kill than most men. He has maintained (semi-legally) his marine enhancements. But he is just one man against the power of multinational organizations with much of the government, significant parts of law enforcement, and the ability to hire gangland thugs. He quickly realizes that he's in a moral quandry. If he does nothing, he'll end up dead, as will what remains of his family. But the only actions he can think of turn him into something of a terrorist. For an ex-marine, the choice isn't easy.

An artificial intelligence within law enforcement offers a degree of information and some more tangible assistance. But everything deVrai does seems to make his own death that much of a necessity for the multinationals that rule most of the world.

Author L. E. Modesitt, Jr. creates a fascinating near-future world building on political, environmental, and economic trends that are evident now. There is a strong political message in the story, but it's a message that neither current political party (in the US at least) is likely to be completely in synch with.

Fans of SF will see Modesitt's debt to classics such as Heinlein's THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS and others in his development of the relationship between humans and computer-based intelligence.

I thought FLASH got off to a relatively slow start. Still, half the fun of Modesitt's work is in the world-building and this was very strong. Althoug FLASH lacked some of the emotional impact of some of Modesitt's works, I have no hesitation in recommending it highly.
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