Friday, July 27, 2018

Book Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Sometimes when I almost do something really dumb (like almost blurt out something I shouldn't or almost slip and fall in a dramatic fashion), I think to myself, a parallel universe version of my self is none too happy right now. There is an idea about parallel universes that every choice we could possibly make exists in parallel universes. So if you turned right, a parallel universe version of yourself turned left. If you didn't say something foolish in this universe, a parallel universe version of you did! And if you you hopped over a banana peel in this universe, there is another you in another universe that slipped and fell on that very banana peel. Imagine the infinity of parallel universes that would have to exist if this were true. This is the concept that is played with in the novel 'Dark Matter.'


A family man named Jason with a fairly ordinary life finds himself kidnapped by a masked assailant. Before his encounter with the kidnapper, he enjoyed his life as a physics professor and a father to his son Charlie and a husband to his wife Daniela, but he did sometimes wonder with a whiff of regret the things he could of had if he had made different choices.

The kidnapper puts Jason in a world where he did make different choices. After being drugged by the kidnapper, he finds himself in a world where everyone knows him as a highly respected physicist who had been working on a top secret project. His experience in this world teaches him and reaffirms for him, what he really wants and values in this world.

This book was a face paced action/thriller/sci fi/romance novel that was full of unexpected plot twists. It was definitely a quick read with lots action. When I was younger growing up in the 1990's I really liked watching the TV shows Outer Limits and Sliders. Outer Limits is an anthology sci fi show that often feature stories with disturbing scenarios of the future. Sliders is about a young man who discovers how to travel to parallel universe and along with a rag-tag group of adventurers, spends much time traveling to different universes. After reading 'Dark Matter,' I really want to watch some of these shows again, especially Outer Limits which had some really thought provoking subject matters.

'Thought provoking' is a good way to describe Dark Matter. It makes you think about your own decisions and what your life would be like if you made different decisions, and what decisions define you and truly make you who you are. It also makes the reader ponder about the infinity involved in parallel universes.

From here, I may go a bit into spoiler terrain, so continue reading at your own risk. In the beginning of the multiverse travel, Jason has a traveling companion, Amanda. At one point Amanda decides to leave Jason so the two travel apart. Then, we never hear from her again. I didn't like that we didn't find out Amanda's fate. It made the character feel disposable. She was important to teach Jason about the multiverse and how to travel from multiverse to multiverse, but once it didn't seem too weird to just get rid of her, the author did so. This irked me because this is how women characters are treated far too often. They are important as so much they serve the needs of the male protagonist, but disposable after they have served there purpose. Which, let's be honest, is still how women are often treated in real life. It might seem inconsequential, but not to me. I didn't like that Amanda didn't really matter. And now...I AM REALLY going to get into true blue spoiler time..... later in the book, different versions of Jason make it back to his original world...but wouldn't of some of those Jason's be traveling with Amanda?? I kind of think the only way to really redeem this is if the author was always planning on writing a sequel starring Amanda. If so, all is forgiven in my mind.

This one qualm I had wasn't enough to make me dislike the book, it was still a really fascinating novel that made me think! I like books that force the reader to really, truly ponder the nature of reality and what we all know about the world.

When I was younger, parallel universes were on the same plane as ghosts or the Bermuda triangle. But now, main stream physicists believe they could exist. It is amazing to think that something that once sounded so far-fetched and magical might actually be real.

I recommend reading 'Dark Matter' on a muggy summer night with all the windows open and the fans whirling while listening to Erlend Øye. You should be sleeping, but you just want to know where Jason is going to go to next. 

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