Book review: Sci-fi novel, ‘Dark Matter,’ asks ‘what if?’
This book review was written by Alysa Selby, digital services librarian at the Bud Werner Memorial Library. This review was originally published in Steamboat Pilot.
Not a scifi fan? You will be after reading Blake Crouch's mind-bending, science fiction, thriller love story, "Dark Matter." It's the type of novel you fall into and dread the day you have to put it down. It will twist your sense of the possible and leave you contemplating your very existence.
Jason Dessen, a community college professor, was once a rising star in the field of physics until he got his equally talented, artist girlfriend, Daniela, pregnant and chose the alternate path of family and home. Several years later, during family night, he finds himself in his kitchen ruminating with Daniela over the success of his friend, Ryan, who just received the Pavia Award, an award Jason would have surely earned himself had he pursued his career. Though he feels a twinge of regret, he realizes he is happy and he dearly loves both his wife and teenage son. So, with the encouragement of Daniela, he breaks the family night tradition and joins Ryan for a celebratory drink at a local bar before dinner.
It will be a choice with drastic consequences.
At the bar, Jason quickly tires of Ryan's gloating about the award and condescending attitude toward Jason's life choices and heads for home. On his way, he is attacked, taken to an abandoned warehouse and given a powerful injection by a masked man who seems oddly familiar and who insists on asking him questions about his life and happiness. Jason awakens strapped to a table but is surrounded by people who are happy to see that the workaholic, "Dr. Dessen," has returned. Despite the celebratory mood, he is kept under close observation, locked in a room and given few details. It doesn't take long for Jason to decide he needs to escape and find his family.
Thus begins Jason's adventure, and to tell any more of the story would rob the reader of the element of surprise. Delving into the science of choice, Crouch uses two popular theories — Schrödinger's Cat and the Copenhagen Interpretation, to examine the idea that realities do not exist until we conceive of them or experience them and that, for every choice we make, there are an infinite number of instances of our lives existing simultaneously in a reality in which we have made a subtly different choice.
Wrapping one's mind around these concepts as Jason tries desperately to reunite with the family of his memory makes for a heart-pounding thriller that transcends the familiar, ushers readers to unexplored dimensions of infinite possibility and probes the consequences of paths not taken. It is a story of regret, passion, deep love and perseverance in the wake of confusion and profound distress.
This novel is highly recommended and will leave you begging for more.