Thursday, August 18, 2011

Book Review: Flashback by Dan Simmons

FlashbackDepressing, yet compelling. That about sums up Flashback, by Dan Simmons, for me. The book takes place in the dismal, not too far off future. The world is an entirely different place, a much more unpleasant place. Yet it all seems so very possible.

Flashback is a drug that has taken over the lives of most Americans. Used to hallucinate/dream back in time and re-live happier moments, it prevents people from facing the wretched reality in which they are now living. A reality where the U.S. is crumbling and its citizens have grown accustomed to living with violence and destruction. A world where it is far too dangerous to gather in large numbers in public places, thus forever eliminating such things as sporting events and concerts. A world with few jobs, where most people can't afford to shop - thus the malls have been converted to low income housing.

The main character is a widower, flashback addict, and former cop. He cares about nothing more than wasting away what's left of his life by re-living the happiest days of his marriage. But everything changes for him when he is hired to solve a murder mystery. His life has a focus that's been missing for years, and he eventually discovers that it is still worth living after all.

There's a lot of (to me) mumbo jumbo talk related to things like weapons and tanks in Flashback, not to mention a plethora of violence and melancholia. Yep, totally depressing. As I read I kept thinking to myself, "wow, I could totally see this happening," as well as, "crap, I hope this stuff never really happens." It was a thought-provoking story, and I could envision it as a movie. Read it yourself and see if you think the world of Flashback is the world we'll all be living in a few years down the road.

No comments: