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Super Flat Times

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  279 ratings  ·  27 reviews
With a heightened sense of the boundless possibility and lurking doom that Orwell and Huxley once envisioned, Matthew Derby's stories provide a glimpse into an intricately imagined world: a world in which clouds are treated with behavioral serum, children are handicapped by their ability to float, and all food (including Popsicles) is made of meat.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published May 5th 2003 by Back Bay Books (first published May 2003)
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3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  279 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
Jan 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Joshua Nomen-Mutatio by: Ashley Crawford
An excellent, often bordering on five-solid-stars, collection of stories that are unified by a singular dystopian world. This is a world in which all that can go spectacularly wrong in a society has. We peer at it through the oft-demented and bleak perspectives of characters who struggle with situations both specific to this uniquely imagined version of the world and those which rumble with something of the universal: love, loss, family, meaning, and so on.

I rather quickly got a Ben Marcus vibe
John Eskew
Sep 21, 2017 rated it liked it
The writing in this book was imaginative and unique. I had a hard time finishing the book - but only because it was a dystopian account and dystopia seems all too possible these days.
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
I read this book because it was recommended to me based on my reading of George Saunders. Maybe I came in to reading it expecting too much from it because of that. The whole premise of the collection sounded really good, and I love short story collections that are linked to provide a larger overall story. However I found myself rather disappointed. The first stories are enjoyable, and the stories pick up well again at the end, but the whole middle I found rather dull, pointless, and forced. I re ...more
Eric T. Voigt
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spring-twelve
All about the pathos. Got stronger in the last part of the middle years and the entirety of the latest years represented of the Super Flat Times. The kind of science fiction I crave, where the future described is full of incidental advancements, the advancements in technology taken as old hat, just how life has to be lived. Sympathized like crazy with these people. The characters. I was remarking on how it felt Saunders-y earlier, and their styles are quite different, don't get me wrong, and I m ...more
Ben Brackett
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
While it had some wonderful passages, there were just as many that fell flat. Supposedly the stories were interconnected but other than the odd, easy to throw in element here or there they felt like they pretty much had no relation- things never come together in a way to make up for the pain of reading it, and without being able to be shown as part of a larger context the stories weren't that strong.
Will Kaufman
Jul 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is a collection of literary science-fiction short stories that can be enjoyed by fans of either genre. I really think Derby has done something amazing with both. A warning: this book can get a little bleak, but it's never unbelievable or pretentious in its hopelessness (I'd just like to warn people who are looking for an upbeat fantasy, this ain't it).
If you're at all dubious, I highly recommend the story "Crutches Used as Weapon."
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
I'd been looking forward to reading this for ages, so was a bit disappointed by how patchy it was. Some of the stories (particularly towards the beginning and end) were good, but the middle section was pretty flat. The volume is also awash with many excellent ideas, but which weren't fully explored or followed up on, and so didn't bear fruit. Frustrating.
Dec 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
This is a VERY strange book. Through a collection of short stories - well, vignettes is perhaps a better term - the book recounts a fictional future. And while it is a fast, engaging read, very reminiscent of The Handmaid's Tale, it frankly makes little sense. The writing is strong... but there isn't really enough of it there to redeem the book. Maybe this would be better for a book club so that there could be a discussion about it... because, I must admit, some meaning was definitely lost on me ...more
Benjamin Champagne
Feb 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Derby is another slipstreamer, fabulist, whatever. But he is ivy league educated and so maybe his stuff is a bit above me. The good thing is that the stories function as one whole story. This is a motif I really enjoy in short story collections. But the use of other themes are a bit bizarre and off-putting. That said, the book still gets a four from me on the merit of creativity and freshness. I've never read anything like it.
Eugenia Williamson
Oct 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
As I'm reading The Children's Hospital, I was thinking of other high-concept fiction (some would call it literary science fiction, but why the genres, people?) that I've enjoyed. I adore this book. It's so clever yet approachable. Derby was Ben Marcus's student, and that's pretty obvious, but he's kind of Marcus-lite, and I like him more, so there.
Brent Legault
Nov 16, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: robot fathers, future-mongers
This book. This thunderous. This book. This. It has given me heart worms. It has maken me. This book. I have learnt nothing from it. Nothing from it. Why has he did this to me? Matt Derby. With his word weapons. With his weeping wonder. This book has. I am. He will, Matt Derby, one day, write a novel that will undo us all. I hope.
Sep 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ahh some good dystopia always makes me feel lonely and appreciative for how the world really is compared to the mess it could become..

I read so much sci fi I need stuff to break up my reading routine and Super Flat Times hit the spot.

Oct 15, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I love dystopian fiction, and I hate not finishing a book, but I could not finish this book. It was like a very bad and much more disjointed version of White Noise.
Sep 02, 2008 rated it liked it
I suspect that this guy really hates himself, which was a turn off in the stories.
Peter Darbyshire
Oct 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
George Saunders meets
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
Haunting information-age, revolutionary fiction providing link between science fiction and literature... get on the wavelength of this book, please!!!
Oct 02, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: randomchoice
Beautiful language and style, but the ideas felt unfinished, like the author couldn't clearly get his points across. Great potential that left me a little disappointed.
David Musgraves
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
So clearly a compilation of MFA short stories, rather than a coherent work, that I could hardly focus on the rest
Jan 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My most favorite book ever, several bracing doses of pathos in surreal circumstances.
Aug 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
A book of short stories sort of pretending to be a novel. A few of the stories I really admired and enjoyed, but for the most part I found myself a little bit annoyed.
Kel Lind
Dec 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
A collection of short works, and ideas, within a cohesive future universe. It definitely carries vibes of Philip K. Dick, in very positive ways.
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I really like the stories that I really like in this collection. They are a whole new world to me. They might be for you, too, so check it out!
Jun 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
good, but a little hard to follow sometimes. pretty dark stuff, post apocalyptic
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