What I’m reading right now — and recommend

A friend recommended that I read Dan Simmons’ Flashback.  It’s a futuristic dystopian crime thriller with a twist:  the dangerous, crime-ridden, war-torn disaster that is the United States in the  mid-21st century came into being directly because of Progressive policies.  This could have become a Tea Party polemic — and I’m not fond of polemics, which are boring even when they support my viewpoint — but this book works because Simmons is the real deal as a writer.

Nick Bottom, the story’s “hero” is a washed up detective in thrall to flashback, an addictive drug that allows people to relive their happiest moments.  He’s been asked by America’s Japanese overlords to investigate a crime committed six years before.  Although he’s not much good, since he was one of the chief detectives on the case, he can use flashback to relive his investigation.

I’m only halfway through the book and I can’t put it down.  I know that I’m going to discover why a Japanese documentary maker was murdered, how Nick’s wife died, what will happen to his son and father-in-law, and whether Nick’s eventual discoveries will have any effect on the war-torn America in which he lives.

I’ll let you know if the book jumps the shark (because even made-up futuristic worlds can get to silly to tolerate), but I’m currently optimistic that the second half will be as good as the first.

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  1. LSBeene says

    Please let me know after you finish it if this is good – I LOVE reading, but hate getting wrapped up in a book that is badly written or has some trite ending.

  2. Mike Devx says

    Flashback is a very good novel.  If you’d like to try more of his work, I recommend in science fiction “Hyperion” and “The Fall Of Hyperion”.  In horror, his “Carrion Comfort” is fascinating – and I think you’ll love Saul Laski, the concentration camp survivor who battles wits against a former-SS mind vampire.  It’s good stuff.

  3. says

    DSimmons isn’t a bad author. Although I can’t quite say that I cried at his Hyperion series, like some have claimed for their own reactions.
    I can’t quite remember the style he used for endings, but I was not dissatisfied with them. Of course, this was before the era of Japanese culture or media absorption.

  4. Mike Devx says

    Yeah, I agree Ymar.  Dan Simmons does not evoke strong emotional reactions from me.  I admire his writing and enjoy how well he does it, but I don’t cheer or curse or respond emotionally to his work.  And I think you’re right, his endings are not strong.  They don’t wrap up with a bang; they just get to the last page and end.
    But I do still enjoy him a lot.

  5. says

    It’s been a long time since I read Hyperion, back in the library checkout days, so forgetting the ending doesn’t have to do with the specific ending made in his books.
    His creations of enemies are still present in mind, due to the jagged blades. I don’t remember much of the endings of any other books from that time. I do remember some of what happened in general.

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