Christopher asked:

Is this book as racist as Flashback? That made me question my Dan Simmons love and wonder if I would ever buy a book from him again. I try to separate people's kooky politics from their writing, but it was so overwhelming and hideous in Flashback.

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Midas68 There were so many so called tolerant enlightened ones who not only were intolerant of Simmons Flashback book but were damn right hateful to the point of death threats.

The Ironic thing about many modern liberals is that they refuse to consider if they are being hypocritical.

The Hated Book Flashback just happened to be a revision and expansion of a novella he did in the 80's. Since the president was Republican back then, He took the story from Reagan's era and took the fictional future of his govt and did a dystopia from that.

When he decided to expand it into a novel a few decades later. A Democrat was then President and he took the Obama era and expanded that possible future into a dystopia.

Ironically the same people that hate Simmons for presenting opinions they have disdain for in the Novel, would have loved the same story he wrote as it was from a left and not right perspective.

The funny thing is basically all we have is left and right politics, Both sides ignorantly hating the other even though they need each other like a dysfunctional Siamese twin. But it's quite amazing when a science fiction writer writes a fictional dystopia that isn't liberal agenda based in nature and becomes something akin to a "Enemy of the State"

I myself fell for this and refused to read the book for quite a few years because of this same bias, It' was all that "Hope and Change" that came out to just be "More of the Same" that eventually allowed me to overcome my preconceived bigotry on the subject and give this fiction book a chance.

Oh and if anyone has trouble finding it. It's in his collection called "LoveDeath" and The name of the Novella is called "Flashback"
Gatorman There was nothing racist about the book nor were there any kooky politics in it. Simmons answered questions about the politics on his website. You should read that first before making such statements.
Michael This book sounds like it will be very similar to Drood in regards to the storytelling where it will interweave historical facts with fiction. The premise sounds even odder actually considering Sherlock Holmes is in it and he's questioning his own existence.

As far as Flashback goes I'm pretty confused. I don't recall any racism in the book as you describe and I read it thinking I would hate it due to the politics involved (because I read user reviews) and I ended the book rather confused. Yes, there are political themes in the book but it's all very much a "this could happen" scenario that has been used in thousands upon thousands of other works. It was simply a work of fiction with a unique take on a dystopian future. I never felt like I was being browbeat by any of it which is what I expected.

So what racism are you talking about? And what hideous political elements were there in your opinion?
Walter Foddis I missed the racism and the political "kookiness." I actually thought his articulation of political ideas in Flashback was above average in novels with political themes. Can you elaborate?
gamelon I recently read "The Song of Kali" and I'm now mid-way through "The Terror" and I've noticed a concerning pattern; at least with these books. Both novels portray white protagonists in conflict with "the other" i.e. other ethnicities, nations, customs etc. Whether deliberate or not, Simmons is definitely perpetuating Orientalism and tired Colonial prejudices. On a positive note, it's rare to discover a writer of suspense/adventure fiction who writes as well as Simmons. Therein lays the conundrum: writers of this calibre usually transcend bigotry and seek to actively condemn it in their prose. With Simmons, I haven't given up hope; I'll keep looking.

Just to address a comment on this thread... death threats are never ok but when someone is willing to aggressively speak out against hate that is not hypocrisy, that's heroism. To suggest other wise is crypto-Facist spin.
Matt Yaeger Nope. There's a very few racial terms in the book, but they're within the context of the historical time period that the book takes place in.
Delores The Fifth Heart does not seem racist to me, but it is very much written in the context of the times (1890's). Than again, I don't see racism in Simmons writings. I have enjoyed everything he has written and greatly admire his scope - he can write about anything and make it pull you in to read on and on. I can't wait until his next book and I love the fact that his books are long. You can really sink into his novels and care about the characters and the stories. The Terror is still my favorite of his novels, but this one is next in line! Read it!
Jacki Busk This book is just plain AWESOME! There is no "underlying political agenda" which seems to be a problem for some of you, its just a really GOOD book! The whole idea of Holmes being "a fictional character" (Clemens and James also question their place in the scheme of things) and the fact that Mr. Simmons can "channel" these authors into his writing style (which he done many times in his other work) is brilliant! It is such a PLEASURE to read something this well written-hands down this is a MUST READ!
Jody Blowers I think he is a racist. He literally makes fun of the way the Japanese speak. He is someone I wont read again. Too much of this going around to spe d my spare time reading it.
Lukas Persson I've read EVERYTHING from Simmons, save for Flashback and Drood, I think, and I've NEVER noticed any racism in his writing. I'm not saying your wrong at all, again, I've not read it, but is it possible that the racism you speak of is just a part of the story/characters in the book?
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