Recent experiments along the lines of flash sintering are revealing their (rather unexpected) broader and richer implications in materials science. Two effects are particularly noteworthy: (i) the formation of phases that are far from equilibrium, and (ii) enhanced ionic conductivity of grain boundaries in 8 mol% yttria stabilized zirconia when processed by the flash method. Result from flash experiments with single crystals of cubic zirconia, and of titanium oxide are providing fundamental insights from the examination of (transparent) “before and after” specimens. Cubic zirconia single crystals show the development of energy levels just below the conduction band which are consistent with the peaks seen in the electroluminescence spectra. Pair distribution function analysis of data obtained from total X-ray scattering at Brookhaven National Laboratory shows large and asymmetric displacements of O and Ti atoms in titania, suggesting the proliferation of optical phonons. In this presentation I will attempt to provide context and, hopefully, some degree of synthesis to these seemingly disparate manifestations of “flash”. In parallel with fundamental work, applications of flash sintering to technically important ceramics are starting to emerge; these will be briefly summarized.