Review: Flashback by Dan Simmons

Every now and again I get the urge to pick up a science fiction novel – especially if it’s been recommended by my husband or it’s written by an author I like. I can’t say enough good things about Simmon’s previous books, Drood and The Black Hills, both of which are very different books from Flashback. Happily I was not disappointed with this new novel.

Ingesting the substance called flashback allows the user to relive personal events in their past as many times as they have enough drug for. The protagonist, Nick Bottom, is an ex-detective with a nasty flashback habit and uses the drug to revisit times spent with his now dead wife, Dara. When he’s called upon to solve the murder of a government official’s son, Nick’s main concern is how much flashback the case’s fee will buy him. It turns out that the case has much more going on than Nick is lead to believe.

When I first started reading about flashback and its affects I thought it was too unbelievable. How could a drug exist that could take someone into their past to relive their best memories? But the more I read, the more I came around to thinking it could happen. The way the author presents the drug and how it’s used started to make perfect sense. The world in the not-too-distant future as described by Dan Simmons is a changed one and I could easily see how so many people would want to escape from the present into their much happier pasts.

I really enjoyed this book. It’s one thrilling ride after another. But it’s also a chilling example of what could happen to our world if economies, politics and cultures take a huge downswing in their evolutions. There were a couple of spots that I couldn’t understand very well – an explanation of how the economy ended up as it did and parts of the political situation were a bit difficult for me to envision but overall this did not detract from my enjoyment of the story.

This is another Dan Simmons book that I highly recommend. I’d even go so far as to say that Flashback would make an excellent choice, though maybe a bit of a departure, for book clubs. Though it is set 30 or 40 years into the future, there are many issues touched on that would be relevant to today’s world.


bermudaonion on September 1, 2011 at 2:00 PM said...

I've only read one of Simmons' books - Drood - and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm glad to see you could suspend disbelief enough to enjoy this one.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea on September 1, 2011 at 8:26 PM said... happy u liked this one Amy. I won a copy recently, so hope it arrives soon.


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