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.