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Flashback [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Dan Simmons
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 2011

AMERICA, 2036: A WASTELAND IN RUIN.

Terrorism and ultra-violence plague a once powerful society, whose only escape is to numb itself on flashback: a euphoric yet cripplingly addictive regression drug.

Ex-cop and addict Nick Bottom has seen flashback take his badge, his reputation and the love of his son. Alone and in despair, he has hit rock bottom.

Nick is about to receive a proposition. Billionaire magnate Hiroshi Nakamura needs his services, and, in particular, his memories.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 871 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company; Lrg edition (July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031617792X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316177924
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,548,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dan Simmons was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1948, and grew up in various cities and small towns in the Midwest, including Brimfield, Illinois, which was the source of his fictional "Elm Haven" in 1991's SUMMER OF NIGHT and 2002's A WINTER HAUNTING. Dan received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970, winning a national Phi Beta Kappa Award during his senior year for excellence in fiction, journalism and art.

Dan received his Masters in Education from Washington University in St. Louis in 1971. He then worked in elementary education for 18 years -- 2 years in Missouri, 2 years in Buffalo, New York -- one year as a specially trained BOCES "resource teacher" and another as a sixth-grade teacher -- and 14 years in Colorado.

His last four years in teaching were spent creating, coordinating, and teaching in APEX, an extensive gifted/talented program serving 19 elementary schools and some 15,000 potential students. During his years of teaching, he won awards from the Colorado Education Association and was a finalist for the Colorado Teacher of the Year. He also worked as a national language-arts consultant, sharing his own "Writing Well" curriculum which he had created for his own classroom. Eleven and twelve-year-old students in Simmons' regular 6th-grade class averaged junior-year in high school writing ability according to annual standardized and holistic writing assessments. Whenever someone says "writing can't be taught," Dan begs to differ and has the track record to prove it. Since becoming a full-time writer, Dan likes to visit college writing classes, has taught in New Hampshire's Odyssey writing program for adults, and is considering hosting his own Windwalker Writers' Workshop.

Dan's first published story appeared on Feb. 15, 1982, the day his daughter, Jane Kathryn, was born. He's always attributed that coincidence to "helping in keeping things in perspective when it comes to the relative importance of writing and life."

Dan has been a full-time writer since 1987 and lives along the Front Range of Colorado -- in the same town where he taught for 14 years -- with his wife, Karen. He sometimes writes at Windwalker -- their mountain property and cabin at 8,400 feet of altitude at the base of the Continental Divide, just south of Rocky Mountain National Park. An 8-ft.-tall sculpture of the Shrike -- a thorned and frightening character from the four Hyperion/Endymion novels -- was sculpted by an ex-student and friend, Clee Richeson, and the sculpture now stands guard near the isolated cabin.

Dan is one of the few novelists whose work spans the genres of fantasy, science fiction, horror, suspense, historical fiction, noir crime fiction, and mainstream literary fiction . His books are published in 27 foreign counties as well as the U.S. and Canada.

Many of Dan's books and stories have been optioned for film, including SONG OF KALI, DROOD, THE CROOK FACTORY, and others. Some, such as the four HYPERION novels and single Hyperion-universe novella "Orphans of the Helix", and CARRION COMFORT have been purchased (the Hyperion books by Warner Brothers and Graham King Films, CARRION COMFORT by European filmmaker Casta Gavras's company) and are in pre-production. Director Scott Derrickson ("The Day the Earth Stood Stood Still") has been announced as the director for the Hyperion movie and Casta Gavras's son has been put at the helm of the French production of Carrion Comfort. Current discussions for other possible options include THE TERROR. Dan's hardboiled Joe Kurtz novels are currently being looked as the basis for a possible cable TV series.

In 1995, Dan's alma mater, Wabash College, awarded him an honorary doctorate for his contributions in education and writing.

Product Description

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.

From the Inside Flap

America, 2036. A wasteland in economic ruin. Terrorism and ultra-violence plague a once powerful society, whose people's only escape is to numb themselves on flashback - a euphoric yet cripplingly addictive drug that allows its users to revisit happier, past experiences. Ex-cop and addict Nick Bottom has seen flashback destroy his life. All he has left are the flash-induced memories of his beloved wife, taken from him in a fatal car accident. In despair, and at rock bottom, Nick receives a proposition. Powerful magnate Hiroshi Nakamura wants his services and, in particular, his memories. As head of the original investigation into the murder of Nakamura's son - an unsolved and seemingly impossible mystery - Nick's flashbacks now, six years later, hold the key to solving what was the greatest failed case of his career. This mission will bring Nick nearer to a hidden truth, one he may not be prepared to face, and will place his life in ever-increasing danger. Flashback: Dan Simmons' vision f a terrifying not-too-distant future; his fusion of awe-inspiring imagination, heart-thumping pace and surging plot cementing his status as one of the most versatile and visionary talents of his generation.

--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Simmons's best, but... 22 July 2011
Format:Hardcover
I'm not a fan of US right-wing politics. Nor do I think well of Dan Simmons's personal politics -- and neither would be worth mentioning if that scatter-shot set of nationalist fear-mongering beliefs weren't reflected so strongly in this book. Nearly every chapter had an awkward, suspension-of-disbelief shattering callback to the current events of 2008-2010. I felt physically thrown out of the story every time I read about Obama's campaign, or a mosque at Ground Zero, or that global warming hoax, or...well, you name it -- if Glenn Beck has cried about it or Fox News has pontificated over it, it's here.

If it were simply a matter of world-building, that would be fine. I found nothing wrong with the future he painted; indeed, it was an interesting and thought-provoking scenario with the quirks and curve-balls I expect from a Simmons novel. Even the politics themselves aren't the issue -- it's the heavy-handedness, the constant intrusion of the author shattering the experience.

Authorial intrusion on this scale is especially obnoxious because Dan Simmons knows better. One quote that he's often referenced in his own Writing Well series comes from Gustave Flaubert: "In his work, the artist should be like God in creation: invisible and all-powerful. He should be felt everywhere and seen nowhere."

Unfortunately you see Dan Simmons shining through every time a character in the 2030s, in a bankrupted, drug-addicted, drawn-and-quartered United States, ruminates over the concerns and uniquely American fears of the present day. This never-ending interruption very nearly ruined what would have otherwise been another spectacular work from a spectacular writer.

I say "very nearly" for good reason.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Annoying 16 Sep 2011
By Dan224
Format:Hardcover
The question I have to ask myself is am I annoyed at this book (and I am annoyed at this book) because its plot and characterisation are poor (another book that deals with disgruntled wayward son and estranged father? What is it about the father son relationship that American authors in particular get so hung up on?) or is it because the author so clearly has a vision of the world (as is and what its going to become) that is reactionary, anti Muslim (though I suspect he would say its anti fundamentalism - not sure I'd agree), and in political terms somewhere to the right of the TEA party.
Don't get me wrong I like (if that's the right term in this instance) good dystopian fiction, SF is littered with warnings about what might happen and how characters would react / live in such a society and like the best SF it's a comentary of what's happening now in the so called real world.
But Flashback isn't in that catergory.
Flashback postulates a world where appeasment to Islam is the norm, democracy is not only dead but should never have been invented, and Japan is going to be the new superpower having forged an alliance with elements in the USA (that might be giving a way a bit of the plot).
And all of this comes about by an economic collapse triggered in part by the USA introducing proper health care for its poorest citizens? Apparently it has absolutely nothing to do with Banks playing roulette with other people's money or a large percentage of very rich people doing their best not to pay taxes.
This is reactionary SF of the worst kind but still I might even have forgiven it if not for the crack about the UK for (slightly paraphrasing here) introducing the evils of the NHS.
So to answer my own question; what is annoying about this book?
I think the answer is just about everything.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Islamophobia makes for ugly reading 14 May 2012
Format:Hardcover
After reading The Terror a couple of years ago, I was looking forward to reading another Dan Simmons. Despite the gushing about Hyperion and the other space operas he's written, it isn't really my cup of tea, and after picking up Carrion Comfort (too heavy for my bag)my interest was piqued when I saw that he'd turned his considerable imagination to the near future. But this is a disappointing and at times, repellent book, when Simmon's right wing politicking, racism, islamophobia, and patriotic gung-hoism gets in the way of what could have been a good thriller.

The story concerns a down and out detective, called Nick Bottom, who is a flashback junkie living in the near future. This future is a dire mess of poverty stricken former superpowers; islamic fundamentalism; terrorism as a daily occurrence; warring factions; independent states; Orwellian levels of state interference, and some rather nifty technologies like stealth copters. Flashback is a highly addictive, inhalation drug which allows the user to tap in to their own memories and re-live them in crystal clear clarity. For Nick, this means constantly revisiting a happier time when his wife was alive, six years ago (that isn't a spoiler) and before the birth of their son (now a wayward, estranged teen).

At the start of the book, Nick is hired by an outrageously rich Japanese man (in the book, Japan has become one of the predominant powers in the world) to find the person who killed his son six years ago. Nick was a policeman during the original investigation, which turned up no leads and, since that time, Nick has fallen deeper in to Flashback usage. But he takes the job, in order to get more Flashback (so he can see his wife).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars This is not one of Dan Simmons' better books, in fact it's without...
This is not one of Dan Simmons' better books, in fact it's without doubt the worst one to date. Nothing is essentially wrong with the story, which generates enough interest and... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Gene Young
3.0 out of 5 stars A good book let down by excesive right wing political commentary
“Flashback” by Dan Simmons is a mystery novel set in the former United States now devastated by economic and political collapse. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Killie
5.0 out of 5 stars Flashback
Absolutely fantastic read (and I'm not usually one for superlatives). A thought-provoking sci-fi background of a dystopian future, great edge-of-the-seat action sequences, a... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Miketang
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
I thought this was a superb book, with a theme that is very current. It's easy to imagine a scenario like this in the future, although perhaps not as near in the future as... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Hydra
1.0 out of 5 stars Nasty undertone of racism
I do think that Dan Simmons is an accomplished sci-fi writer and this is a beautifully crafted book, but honestly do we have to put up with such right wing nonsense running... Read more
Published 13 months ago by mermaid33
4.0 out of 5 stars In the future, society lives in the past...
Dan Simmons is an odd writer. Some of his stuff is simply sublime and verging on the point of excellence, as with his novels Carrion Comfort and The Terror, whilst others are... Read more
Published 15 months ago by sparkymarky1973
5.0 out of 5 stars Exellent
A really enjoyable novel on every level. I read this directly after Great North Road and the difference was astounding. Read more
Published 15 months ago by T. jones
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much better
I absolutely adored the Ilium/Olympus series and The Terror, so I was very excited to get my hands on this. Read more
Published 15 months ago by A-Canadian-in-London
1.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment
What a disappointment. Its hard to believe that this is the author who wrote Hyperion. The plot is wholly eclipsed by the political ideas. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Buffy
4.0 out of 5 stars An Original and Interesting Novel
It's refreshing to read a well written novel, and one with something interesting to say. (SPOILERS AHEAD! Read more
Published 16 months ago by Kublai
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