Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Flashback” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.25  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,972 Ratings  ·  600 Reviews
The United States is near total collapse. But 87% 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
Audio CD, 0 pages
Published July 1st 2011 by Little, Brown & Company (first published January 1st 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Flashback, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Flashback

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Dear Dan Simmons,

We have taken your family hostage. If you want to see them alive again, immediately write a dystopian novel that incorporates the following ideas:

1) The election of Obama in 2008 triggers a wave of socialist entitlement programs that bankrupts the United States. Be sure to repeatedly point out that the debt run up by the liberals is the key factor in this. Do NOT mention that Bill Clinton‘s administration paid off a huge national debt that had increased dramatically during the R
People dislike this book for pretty much two major reasons, those being the politics he uses to drive the story, and the far too overused these days cries of racism: but same critical people have no problem with when Stephen King or Douglas Preston add in their own politics and Christian bashing to their respective novels.. .. Guess it all depends on which side of the isle you sit on.. .. I was able to get through Under the Dome and and to me it took continuous cheap shots at christianity (which ...more
Dan Schwent
In a former United States devastated by economic and political collapse, former police officer Nick Bottom, a Flashback addict like much of the country, is pulled from the ruins of his former life and hired by a Japanese businessman to solve the six year old murder of his son. But what does the murder have to do with the car accident that killed his wife and sent him into Flashback's warm embrace?

When I saw that Dan Simmons' next book was going to be called Flashback, I pre-ordered it immediatel
Jubilation Lee
I have an occasional problem with dystopias, friends, where I feel like the future is just too bizarre to actually exist (cough Divergent cough), and I wonder why the author didn’t bother to tell us what exactly brought about their particular collapsed society.

This was not my problem with Flashback. Dan Simmons’ detective-turned-drug-addict Nick Bottom very clearly spells out the destruction of the United States. The country decided to claim “a more humble role” on the world stage, an endless re
Paul Wade
Nov 25, 2012 Paul Wade rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely loved The Terror. Really liked Drood. Hyperion was pretty darned good too.

But this book? Holy sh*t!

I'll take a guess that the author never put it past an editor. The book is 80% overwritten -- and chock full of the author's political rants. I mean do we really need to know about how much you hate the Boulder, CO city council? For christ's sake. Does the truck driver really need to launch off on a long tirade about the 2012 election?

This book is absolute crap. I've tried to push throug
Dec 21, 2012 Gena rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Sep 18, 2011 Susan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Disappointed with this book. Liked Simmons' earlier sci-fi; unfortunately, this book seems to be mainly a smokescreen for some conservative and possibly racist perspectives that I don't agree with. I don't have a problem with political undertones in novels if they are well integrated thematically, even if I disagree with them, but the characters come out with these rants that detract from the story - or worse, there will be a block of awkward exposition about the cost of U.S. entitlement program ...more
Chance Maree
Mar 07, 2015 Chance Maree rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopian

Dan Simmons envisions a dystopian future triggered by the Obama administration. Truthfully, had I known this was going to be an atrocious, righteous, xenophobic right-wing fantasy novel, I would not have read it. My brain hurt from all the prejudicial contortions in logic and historical perspective. Delivery of the world-unbuilding was atrocious and defied reason.

I thought often of abandoning it. However, it occurred to me that right-wingers must feel the same way when they read novels about cl
Tim Hicks
Two stars for the complex mystery plot. Otherwise, I'm looking for negative numbers. This book makes Heinlein look like a sissy.
The hero is the usual super-tough ex-cop who isn't too smart but always figgers it out in da end. Takes lotsa hits, spits out teeth and gets up again. Bruce Willis in Die Hard. John Wayne in anything. There's a bottle in his right-hand desk drawer.

90% of the people in the world are liberal wimps or stereotypical foreigners, and everything is Obama's fault.

Whenever a
Steve Lowe
Oct 24, 2011 Steve Lowe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In lieu of a long, rambling review, I'd just like to point out that, had the president who started the shit spiral that leads to the downfall of America is this book been identified as George W. Bush, rather than Barack Obama, the average rating would be a full star higher than it is. Just my opinion.

This is a solid mystery, great characters, in a very well imagined and fleshed out world, regardless of what your political slant is (come on, you can't suspend your political disbelief for 500 page
Nov 16, 2011 Bondama rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love Dan Simmons - I just don't love his "twin brother" who takes over the writing chores sometimes. Apparently, the same Simmons twin that wrote "Darwin's" Blade" decided to try another one with "Flashback."

A friend of mine who recently reviewed this book called it a tea-party approved view of the future -- I couldn't agree more. "Flashback" is filled with the worse kind of xenophobia. Set in the near future, apparently 95% of Americans are addicted to a drug that draws them back to the "good
First let me state that I like Dan Simmons. But I didn't care for this one. What the heck happened to Mr. Simmons? This book is the right wing counterpart of Soft Apocalypse and while the mystery storyline is stronger than what passes for a plot in Soft Apocalypse it's just as obnoxious. In it's totality this novel is more of a 500 page political/social scree by Mr. Simmons than a novel. It merely uses the dystopian/science-fiction setting to make it a little easier to go down.

I consider myself
May 23, 2012 Dave rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crimedetnoir
I like much of Dan Simmons work, but this particular novel is a clunker. The story takes place in the dystopian near future. America has become financially bankrupt and administered by the Japanese government. All because of Obama.

Them damn Muslims have taken over much of the world and administer a kind of new caliphate in what used to be Europe. Also, 9-11 is celebrated as a national holiday in America and kids have become indoctrinated with mandatory Islamic education in schools. All because o
Josh Lub
Jul 25, 2011 Josh Lub rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I couldn't even finish it. After 30 pages I thought, "this is not up to the Dan Simmons standard". After 100 pages I thought, "really? A two page rant about debt-to-GDP ratios?" And around 200 pages, when I got to the passage which went something like "Once the climate scientists finally admitted that anthropogenic global warming was a hoax, it was too late...", I gave up. Thankfully I got this book from my local library, and didn't pay money for it!

This book is basically an episode of the
Jul 06, 2011 Lori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well I am stumped on this, and doing a major re-evaluation on Dan, who has written some very great books. I've been a major fan. But with this I am torn between a good detective story set in a near future where everything has collapsed and political polemics that don't sit well with me. At all. The US has fallen apart because of Obama basically, and characters lecture airing Fox news reports on entitlements. Which in the case of this book, brought about a world that Crashed completely. And it's ...more
Anna Larson
Oct 09, 2011 Anna Larson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-novels
I read Flashback before looking at any of the reviews and I'm glad I did. I found the storyline intriguing and the bleak future portrayed a great use of Simmons imagination. Regardless of ones own political beliefs this is simply an interesting take on one possible future with the current political climate. Is it realistic? I think you'll find liberals screaming no while libertarians kow tow to the great wise Dan Simmons.

I'm surprised so many readers couldn't get past the politics and dystopian
Sep 22, 2011 Marvin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This may be the best novel I ever read that had a fatal flaw.

Flashback does have a lot of good things in it. Simmons has taken the mystery detective thriller and placed it in a dystopian novel with the skill of a brain surgeon. He envisions an America in 2030 that is on the verge to being torn apart. The economy is in shambles, various states have seceded and foreign countries such as Japan and Russia are fighting over the scraps. Many Americans are addicted to a drug called Flashback that allow
Ben De Bono
Jun 23, 2011 Ben De Bono rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I'm a huge fan of pretty much everything Dan Simmons has published and Flashback is no exception. The book is part hard boiled detective novel, part dystopian nightmare, part Cristopher Nolan-esque sci-fi and manages to blend all those genres perfectly.

Flashback is set about 20 years in the future in which the US has undergone a major economic collapse. To add to the nation's troubles, the vast majority of its citizens are hooked on a drug called Flashback, which enables them to relive, in perf
Sahil Patel
Aug 27, 2011 Sahil Patel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
a steaming pile of shit. simmons' worst. book. ever.

ok, i'll put aside my beef with the libertarian nonsense. i don't care, and it's refreshing to read a book that's got left wingers on the defensive, since most dystopia novels hack at the right. however, had simmons used the politics to simply create an intriguing, layered world (which is what makes me worship all of his other books), this book could have been great. instead, he indulges in long, ayn rand-like diatribes. yes, i know the book do
Jason Bean
Aug 31, 2011 Jason Bean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dan Simmons is easily one of my favorite writers. His books 'The Terror' and 'Drood' are among my all-time favorites but 'Flashback' is an abrupt departure from these stories. Mixing modern themes with a near-future setting, Simmons tells a unique dystopian story that's just as compelling (and readable) as his previous works!

I loved the little details Simmons works into 'Flashback', particularly the grim state the U.S. is in. His complex (though not really likeable) characterizations are in ful
Jun 19, 2014 Robert added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
I'm not entirely sure what to make of this book. It's a lot of things; near-future dystopia, murder mystery, violent political thriller, tale of addiction and recovery and (partial) redemption. On most of these fronts it succeeds admirably. It starts slowly but builds up to become a gripping tale that kept me up half the night, desperate to find out what was going on. All the clues are there but the whole thing is baffling until the Agatha Christie style revelation (yes, revelation, not "reveal" ...more
Jan 13, 2016 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I have a real love/hate relationship with this book. For every one thing that I liked in the story, there were three things abhorrent. It is definitely sort of a masterpiece, a strange mix of Detective Story, high concept Sci-fi and spiritual journey. At the heart of the book is a noir detective mystery. Think of Raymond Chandler meets William Gibson. The window dressing for the story is a post apocalyptic, drug addicted future where America and the whole western world has succumbed to Muslim ex ...more
Mar 27, 2015 Jacqie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well, in this one, Dan Simmons goes back to his more noirish roots. We've got tough male characters. Man, are they tough. One's an ex-cop addict. He's hired by a Japanese businessman (it almost feels like a retro shout-out to the 1980's, this preoccupation with the possibility of Japanese supremacy) and his even tougher Japanese bodyguard. Most of the first scene is posturing among these characters to see who can gain the upper hand- who has the biggest balls of them all? Sadly, not the ex-cop, ...more
Jul 12, 2011 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
MAN, am I ever of two minds about this book. It combines two of my favorite genres (futuristic dystopia meets noir mystery) and succeeds mightily, with a nifty maybe-maybe-not ending.

On the other hand, it reminds me of State of Fear by Michael Crichton, in which the author constructed a whisper-thin plot as an excuse to go politicizing and act out a snuff fantasy of Martin Sheen getting eaten by cannibals.

The politics (in short, everyone is evil, especially Muslims and liberals, and DAMMIT LIBER
Curt Hopkins Hopkins
Most dystopia's are what I call right-wing dystopias, that ask, what if those things traditionally considered conservative (military, free market, etc.) progress to extremes? What bad things could happen to the world? This one asks the same things about things that are considered liberal (political correctness, accommodation, deficit spending*). Mostly it's a good novel, though I wish he wouldn't have spent so much time on exposition. Would have kept it tighter and more effective without the edi ...more
Jun 16, 2015 Mike rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It is sad to realize that someone whose work you had admired in the past has had their intellect eaten away by watching too much Fox News. In Flashback, Simmons basically channels all of his old white guy fear into a future of the United States that incorporates all of the conservative boogiemen, no matter how nonsensical or even contradictory they are. Let's see how many ways we can think of that the scary foreigners can sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids, shall we?

The inscruta
Aug 26, 2012 Claire rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, scifi
First off, I'm giving this two stars because I just couldn't put the book down and read on in fascinated astonishment. The dystopia, sci-fi noir part is quite interesting up til the end - who did kill billionaire Nakamura's son? The drug, Flashback, is also an interesting idea. I started feeling uncomfortable pretty soon on due to the Japanese stereotyping going on at the start of the novel. But then the novel also turns into a diatribe, a polemic for what I can only assume must be Dan Simmons' ...more
Genia Lukin
Like many others before me, I have divided opinions concerning this book. On the one hand, the mystery is pretty interesting, the twists go down well, the writing can be excellent and gripping... on the other hand there is the political polemics, the long stretches of economic lectures, the red herrings of conservative thought.

Let me get this out up-front: while I am a social-democrat, I don't have principled objections to conservative dystopias. Left wing authors get plenty of opportunities to
Nov 14, 2011 Kata rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dan Simmons is the only sci-fi/thriller author I will read simply because he typically takes something rather interesting from the past and spins a high-speed story into something new, intelligent, futuristic and it always leaves you hungering for more of the original seed he planted (i.e. Terror: arctic exploration, Illium: Homer and Drood:Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins). He also feeds your literary soul with his very own succulent nearly transparent honey of the future. This book is a bit ...more
Aug 09, 2011 Therese rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: specific-sci-fi
I don't read guy-fiction well, or most sci-fi. This book was both, and I pretty well gobbled it up. It's set only twenty years or so into a very rotten future, a future that the author roots in our very real present, then, some would say, manipulates very little to make horrible. A world where the economy has collapsed, radical islam has become a increasingly terrifying force in the world, and the government has become grotesque and useless as a dead clown. So, you have a great post-apocolyptic ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: scary new world 1 3 Jan 31, 2012 10:20PM  
  • The Devil's Alphabet
  • Seed
  • Mariposa
  • The Immortality Virus
  • The Disappeared (Retrieval Artist, #1)
  • The Five
  • America Pacifica
  • The Third
  • Arctic Rising
  • Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America
  • Bloodlands (Bloodlands, #1)
  • Heaven's Shadow (Heaven's Shadow, #1)
  • The Games
  • Ex-KOP (Juno Mozambe Mystery #2)
  • The Guardians
  • Ashes of the Earth (Hadrian Boone, #1)
  • Yarn
  • The Broken Ones
Dan Simmons grew up in various cities and small towns in the Midwest, including Brimfield, Illinois, which was the source of his fictional "Elm Haven" in 1991's SUMMER OF NIGHT and 2002's A WINTER HAUNTING. Dan received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970, winning a national Phi Beta Kappa Award during his senior year for excellence in fiction, journalism and art.

Dan received his Master
More about Dan Simmons...

Share This Book