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Blast from the Past

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  2,750 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
Ready to follow Nick Hornsby and Helen Fielding as the next big thing from Cool Britannia to hit America is Ben Elton. Already known to a wide public television audience as the funnyman behind Blackadder, The Young Ones, and The Thin Blue Line, Elton, author of Popcorn, lights up the literary sky with Blast from the Past.

Part noir thriller, part hilarious send-up of the po
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 10th 2000 by Delta (first published 1998)
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Community Reviews

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Meirav Rath
Jan 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Humor fans, Ben Elton fans
You need to be in the army and know the type of men who stay there to understand this book and how brilliant it is.
An impossible love affair has left its mark on both the ex-hippy and the army man as their lives crash together again in one final night.
Elton's wit and criticisms describes both the characters and the times through which they lived marvelously, making this book Elton's best.
Highly recommended, it's a great book!
Dec 12, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
As I mentioned to a friend, I wanted to read this book because I felt I could use a little humour. I picked it up second hand for $3 and apparently got an early edition. The dust cover on the back contained reviews for Elton's previous book Popcorn. Those reviews seemed to imply that Blast from the Past was also a comedy.

There were funny moments, but it certainly wasn't a bag of laughs. Maybe I missed the point, but whoever decided to put reviews from Popcorn that contain lines like "The funnies
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant novel with such an unexpected twist it was literally impossible to see it coming until the last minute.
Polly works for the council, her life is going nowhere, she is lonely, depressed and a failed freedom fighter against the world's injustices.
Also foremost among her thoughts is the doomed love affair when she was seventeen she had with an American soldier who abruptly left her with no explanation.
Then there is the problem of "the bug" a stalking pest who is obsessed with Polly so al
Glen Engel-Cox
I've long meant to read the novels by Ben Elton, a writer whom I have admired for his movie and television work of comic genius such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Blackadder, and Love Actually. This is his fourth or fifth novel, and I figured that me must have been able to shift into a new medium with some success, not to mention that I had seen some recommendations for his novels in places that I usually trust.

Unfortunately, this book didn't work for me. I did finish it, but I think that was
Gayatri Swaminathan
Jul 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
I like his books because they always manage to turn my assumptions topsy-turvy... This book is a favourite, because it just grips you when you start reading and you HAVE to breathlessly reach the end before you can let the shock of it take over. I've passed it on to friends, with the same effect being replicated - only it's more fun then, because then I can go "which part have you reached?" and then say "Oh, wait, you haven't seen anything yet!"
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I would have enjoyed this book more if not for the characters. Neither army career obsessed Jack nor protest obsessed Polly were very likeable, and their ideological arguments (both in the past when Jack was a US captain stationed in Britain and Polly was a 17 year old protesting the military, and in the present, when Jack was a high ranking general and Polly was an EXTREMELY messy council member still protesting) were tedious to me. But I plodded on, and was rewarded near the end by something u ...more
Jenny Sparrow
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
Это четвертый роман Бена Элтона, прочитанный мной, и первый, прочитанный у него в оригинале.

Ваша первая реакция на телефон, вдруг зазвонивший в 2.15 утра? Уж точно вы не ждете от него ничего хорошего, как и героиня книги Полли. Однако даже в самых смелых своих предположениях она и представить не могла, к чему приведёт этот звонок из прошлого... Сюжет завертится головокружительно, и до самого конца страсти будут только раскаляться. От начала и до конца повествования пройдет всего два часа, но для
Mar 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is funny and scary and deeply sad. At its core, it is a love story about how a ruthlessly ambitious army man has a passionate affair with a teenage radical pacifist. The affair changes her enough to the leave the movement and changes him enough to become a little more sensitive. They meet again, decades later, and end up comparing their lives. The question that creates the tension is whether they still love each other and whether they changed each other enough.
Unfortunately, th
Sep 12, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, general-fiction
I have read a couple of Ben Elton's other works in the past and quite enjoyed them (one was a Big Brother type spoof, the other vicious satire of crap like Pop Idol). And both were better than this one.
The whole story is set over about three hours, but the flashbacks that set the context span about seventeen years. The structure of the book is quite dodgy, the flashbacks would have been better together as the first part of the book.
The characters are wooden and to dimensional, caricatures in f
Oct 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a re-read for me. I always enjoy Ben Elton's writing style, and I had forgotten enough of the book that it mostly felt like I was reading with fresh eyes.

I liked the premise, the confluence of people and events over the course of one night, and thought it was cleverly played out.

My biggest niggle was the wrap up at the end felt like it was trying to stuff too much epilogue into not enough words. Apart from that, highly enjoyable.
Aug 06, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
I thought this book started out lighthearted and funny, however it seemed that the further into the book you get the darker and more sinister it became, what with stalkers, people with histories and secrets that needed to be kept at any costs, it all got a bit too heavy in the end!!
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My favourite book of all time, a must read.
Рамон Меркадер
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Страхотна история, накара ме да се замисля за доста неща от моя живот.
Колко много може да се каже в толкова малко, шапка му свалям на Бен Елтън за този роман!
Evan Micheals
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
It must be almost 20 years since I read this the first time. The war of gender politics was coming to an end, and the current one is just heating up. I read this to find what arguments still hold true, and I found yes, similar battles, but a different context. Then it was Military Officers, now it is celebrities.

I can say I enjoyed it just as much the second time around, and I literally laughed out loud on a number of occasions. 20 years ago I politically emphasised with Polly more than Jack, n
Feb 10, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
With his inimitable style and wit Ben Elton returns with his 5th novel Blast From The Past (BFTP).

Elton has never been one to step back from confronting the reader with moral dilemmas, competing arguments of contentious issues, and some uncomfortable situations. This continues as he turns his hand to multiple themes in BFTP including obsession, gender equality, left and right wing politics, true love, and sacrifice.

The main characters are Jack Kent, a four star General in the US army, Polly Slad
Kathryn Wardell
Feb 01, 2018 rated it liked it
This book takes place in the 80’s and is a bit of a blast from the past. Elton is engaging and develops conflict on several levels through his characters. The surprise ending is worth the read. Won’t spoil it but enjoyed it for a beach read.
Leila P
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, in-english
I devoured the book fast, it was an intriguing thriller. The end twist took me totally by surprise!
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Would've been less awful had it been about 200 pages shorter (i.e. the point where I worked out what was going to happen at the climax, more or less...)
Samantha-jane Osmond
Jan 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Easy reading, fast paced, humerous, and a great twist at the end - a love story with a difference!
Therese Bergwall
Aug 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked this book a lot. Set for the most part over one night with a great deal of flashback it told the story of a love affair between an american soldier and a young greenham common protester. he rises in the ranks and goes back to find her many years later and spends a night not quite getting to the point. The other main character is her stalker. It was tense and gripping though I did find some of the flashbacks a little long. I kinda knew what the outcome was gonna be early on but i second g ...more
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoy Ben Elton's fun books. Some really funny bits with an overall message. Easy reading. Great holiday book.
Hannah Read
I've read a few of Ben Elton books and, although I've enjoyed them all, some have definitely stood out from the others. My all time favourite is 'Gridlock', but I'm going to have to put 'Blast From The Past' on the side for the better.

The book itself has an interesting premise - two people fall in love, but cannot pursue the relationship as they are entirely different people. 32 year-old Republican American soldier Jack Kent meets 17 year-old aggro-feminist war protester Polly in a café one summ
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
If not a spontaneous purchase in a thrift shop, I would probably never touch this book in a million years. And the reason for this, other than being dead most of that time of course, is that it is unlike anything I usually read. And it would be a reasonably painful loss, because I’ve enjoyed it quit a bit.

Blast from the past, despite it’s title, is a rather slow book, with deliberate narration of an old army's general story that once lost the love of his life. We're constantly switched from one
John Marsh
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Julie Mestdagh
Jun 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Al snuisterend in de boekenkast van het huisje dat we deze vakantie in Polen huurden, vond ik dit boek van Ben Elton. Een mij onbekende titel, al deed deze wel ergens een belletje rinkelen (is er geen film met die titel?), maar met een veelbelovende achterflap. En dus diende het boek gelezen!

De achterflap verwijst naar een onverwacht telefoongesprek in het midden van de nacht, en dat is precies hoe het verhaal begint. Polly, een 34-jarige Britse feminist/pacifiste/activiste krijgt in het holst v
Aug 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Ben Elton fans who want to read all his work
Shelves: fiction
I wanted to love this book; I truly did. I fell in love with Elton's humor and political satire when I read Stark years ago. This book doesn't measure up. The pacing was great, and I confess there were times I had trouble putting the book down. I did find parts quite amusing, and, as a political junkie, I enjoyed the debate.

The problem I had was two-fold. First, I didn't think the story had enough depth. I found it frustrating that on one hand Elton seemed to be trying to tell a serious story a
Sep 15, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started this book on a plane journey once, many years ago. I think the person next to me fell asleep and left it on their tray and I thought why waste a good opportunity to read!

The start is very interesting as you are trying to figure who is who, and where this story is likely to lead.

As I recall, the book owner woke up at one point and was more than happy to allow me to carry on reading. As the plane came into land, they even said that I could borrow it and return it to them by post... Proba
Oct 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british
I know this book will age but it depends from what perspective - I would describe the style as stream of consciousnesses and to be honest, it didn't all appeal in 'bulk'. Unlike Polly with fertilizer I don't really get things in bulk (*cough* kindle books *cough*)
Less of that might have meant it would be timeless... I didn't understand it all but did find some of the situations reminded me of times when things weren't so far off...
It didn't mean that it was hilarious. I was expecting slightly di
Aug 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
This is only the 2nd Ben Elton book that I have read and although not quite as good as the first (Past Mortem) it was still a very good read and the right ratio of thriller/drama/comedy/romance just like the other Elton title I have read. The method of writting used in this book was also a perfect balance of real time and flashbacks which enabled the reader to learn the story of the two main characters at just the right pace. I also liked the fact that this book was not overloaded with personali ...more
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Ben Elton was born on 3 May 1959, in Catford, South London. The youngest of four, he went to Godalming Grammar school, joined amateur dramatic societies and wrote his first play at 15. He wanted to be a stagehand at the local theatre, but instead did A-Level Theatre Studies and studied drama at Manchester University in 1977.

His career as both performer and writer encompasses some of the most memo
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“You didn't wake up, your dreams just changed gear.” 8 likes
“When the phone rings at 2.15am in the morning it's unlikely to be heralding something pleasant. What chance is there of its being good news? None. Only someone bad would ring at such an hour. Or someone with bad news.” 5 likes
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