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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,319 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Dan Simmons Narrator: Bryan Kennedy, Joe Barrett, Richard M. Davidson Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The United States is near total collapse—but 87 percent 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 alive who may be able to change the course of an entire nation turning away from the future to live in the past.

A provocative novel set in a future that seems scarily possible, Flashback proves why Dan Simmons is one of our most exciting and versatile writers.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Simmons is a consummate master of intriguing spins, shifting between time periods and situations more gracefully than a chameleon changes colors.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “An abundantly entertaining, often outrageous right-wing fantasy…Flashback is first-rate.”

    Washington Post

  • “Outstanding.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “[A] gritty, ambitious thriller…Another winner from Simmons, whose imagination seems to know no bounds.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “As always, Simmons keeps the reader’s attention from start to finish.”

    Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Patrick McCoy | 2/17/2014

    " Way, way, way to much "fluff"! and I feel DS gotta a little preachy at times. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by James Boardman | 2/15/2014

    " Far from Dan Simmons best effort, which I think is Terror. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Gena | 2/3/2014

    " This is quite possibly the worst book I have ever bothered to read in its entirety. I counted myself a Dan Simmons fan after The Terror and Drood; earlier this year I struggled a bit through Black Hills, which I found a little dull, but I still found myself recommending it to people I thought might be interested. The most generous response I had to Flashback was to wonder whether Dan Simmons had had a stroke--no, seriously--and to be genuinely concerned about his mental and physical health. As a work of fiction in the hardboiled future-cop vein, the book is hackneyed and unoriginal. Every character is a sketch of a caricature. Not only do the Japanese characters confuse their Rs and Ls, but the main character notes how funny it is. REPEATEDLY. The book relies on interior monologue and dialogue not only to lay out but to repeat, absurdly, the translation of post-apocalyptic mid-21st-century culture into terms its (apparently severely challenged) early 21st-century readers will understand. "'But where are you going to going to come up with five million new bucks, or the equivalent of a thousand old dollars? No one has had that kind of money lying around since the extravagant entitlements spending of the early twenty-first century led the Arabs to nuke Israel,' he said. 'Now I have to go see a guy at Coors Field Detention Center, which used to be Coors Field, as in the local baseball stadium, you know, back when it was that, which it is not now. You know, because of the orientals.'" I just made that sentence up, but there is a good chance it appears verbatim in the book. I am simply not exaggerating here. As a piece of political propaganda, the book is repetitive, shrill, impressively racist, and, again, unoriginal. More than anything, it is an account of how we castrated America. Unequivocally: the "extravagant entitlements spending" (this phrase does in fact appear repeatedly throughout) of a certain first African American president drove the US economy into the ground; Canadian multiculturalism allowed the Muslim horde to invade North America; and, I don't know, a bunch of other nutty crap lifted directly from the Fox News stream, like the imposition of wind turbines and socialized health care, thus, it really sucks to be a white guy thirty years from now, except in the utopia of Texas, which, having seceded from the emasculated Union, has preserved the American dream of free enterprise, no taxes, and conquering Mexico. I suppose it is kind of remarkable that the book manages to cover *every* pet peeve of the hysterical right-wing media, giving its half-baked characters plenty of time for mental meandering during their life-or-death, high stakes adventures, so they can contemplate the ways ethnic studies ruined college, environmentalists ruined industry, stupid "modernist" architects ruined that new building in downtown Boulder, and liberals ruined everything. There is an aged "left wing professor" (i.e. he taught literature and his third wife was a black woman named Nubia, no, FOR REAL) who is installed for the distinct purpose of contemplating all the ways his beliefs turned out to be utterly, devastatingly wrong about anything he ever had a liberal thought about. The narrative gives him a second chance after allowing him to confess that in his heart of hearts he would have liked to see a certain former president of the early part of the century and his administration "strung up by their necks in Washington" (NOT MAKING THIS UP); he uses this chance to fully embrace his Jewishness and recolonize the Middle East (the whole thing this time) as part of a second wave Zionism. There's all this other stuff but there is no point in going on. One might call it a bold move to frame such a delusional piece of work, however incoherently, as the ass's dream of A Midsummer Night's Dream. I think boldness is merely the unintended effect of writerly incompetence here. I did think, at one point, that the only thing that could redeem this book was if it ended, "And then Rush Limbaugh woke up, grinning. He was a very bad man." Spoiler: it does not. Maybe I was dreaming that Simmons's other books were good. I don't think I can bring myself to read him again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by James Crusty | 2/3/2014

    " Ohh happy, sexy, pre-crisis days. To be clear: this is a smart book in spite of its paranoid/stuffy conservative politics, not because of them. "

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