Thursday, May 18, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

The synopsis of Dark Matter is:
From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of.
I found this description quite accurate because the book really is about "the paths not taken" and it really is a thought-provoking, action-packed sci-fi thriller.

The premise of Dark Matter is preposterous: somehow a guy named Jason Dessen has created a device which allows access to the multiverse, i.e. the collection of all possible realities which are spawned by the various choices made and alternate events that occur every second.

The Jason Dessen we (the reader) meet is a physics professor at a small-time college in Chicago who lives with his loving wife Daniela and their 14-year-old son Charlie. At one point Jason had researched the possibility of building a device that could access the multiverse but when budding artist Dani announced she was pregnant they got married, Charlie was born and Jason abandoned his project to access the multiverse.

It's that point in time 15 years ago which two competing universes are generated by the two choices that Jason made that is the key moment which animates Dark Matter

Jason2 (the one who invented the multiverse device) regrets his decision so he goes back and kidnaps Jason1 (Charlie's dad) and swaps places with him.

It takes an annoyingly long time for Jason1 to realize that he's in an alternate universe. (It's never a good sign when the reader/audience understands more about the character's predicament than the character does.)

However the book is quite engaging despite the bizarre nature of the situation. It poses key questions: what makes a person unique? How should one deal with regret and decisions made that changed the trajectory of one's life? And (this is very central) if you lost access to the life you knew how far would you go to get that life back?

It's clear that Dark Matter will be a modern motion picture soon (I could see Chris Pratt or Matt Damon as Jason, or hey why not switch it up and try Michael Pena, Riz Ahmed or Steven Yeun for colorblind casting?!) but I honestly don't have high hopes for a film adaptation. The book is compelling but also not without its flaws and it would be a rare movie indeed that exceeds its source material.

Title: Dark Matter.
Blake Crouch.
Paperback: 354 pages.
Date Published: July 26, 2016.
Date Read: January 17, 2017.


OVERALL GRADE: A- (3.67/4.0).


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