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The Siren's Call: Apocalyptic world? Forget about it!
The Siren's Call: Apocalyptic world? Forget about it!

Marcel Proust, the great author of memory, gets a swift kick in the pants in Dan Simmons' latest novel of an apocalyptic future, "Flashback" (Reagan Arthur/Little, Brown: 560 pp., $27.99). Remember all that stuff Proust wrote about memories returning to him with the taste of a madeleine cookie? For Simmons, memories can be summoned and controlled far more easily, and reliably, with a few snorts of a drug called flashback. In this novel, most Americans — about 85% — are hooked on flashback, preferring to spend their days in soiled clothes on grimy cots, reliving the cozy past rather than facing a chaotic world. Simmons' portrait of the near-future presents...

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