The good thing to say about this book is that I bought it about a week ago and read the whole thing in about three days. So it (mostly) moves swiftly, or I read well and swiftly, or both.
Otherwise it is very disappointing. Not a bad read, exactly, especially for these rainy days; but you hope more from the author of The Terror. Flashback certainly isn't more. The plot is okay, not great; the characters are not fully drawn. Worse, though, is that the atmosphere and detail don't inspire--really bad for a dystopian novel set 20 years from now. Where The Terror excelled in its description, mood and feeling, Flashback falls flat.
Worse still is the political and social commentary. Simmons is smart enough not to make these comments an author intrusion, but that's what they are, even when he's making other characters say them. So Simmons very clearly distrusts liberal agendas and Islam, and he doesn't seem keen on the Japanese, either. There's a little too much verbal pandering for my taste, and there are also just too many tropes to deal with--including the flashback addiction itself.
So, overall, very readable, but disappointing on a few levels. He can do much better.
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