Title: Dark Matter
Author: Blake Crouch
Publisher: Crown; 1St Edition edition (July 26, 2016)
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Science Fiction, Technothriller, Suspense, Horror, Romance
Trigger Warnings: Multiverse Theories
I bought Dark Matter as a part of my January Book of the Month club box. All opinions are my own.
A typical family night in the Dessen’s brownstone involved making dinner and enjoying each other’s company. This time, while on his way back from picking up ice cream, Jason Dessen is abducted and drugged by a masked figure. When Jason wakes up, he is not in his world. He is no longer a college physics professor. He no longer has a wife or child. His brownstone is still his home, but none of the furnishings -down to the location of the electrical outlets- are the same. Instead, he is “friends” with a man he never met, who has been funding his “research” for the past eleven years. Jason cannot tell if this is an elaborate prank or just a dream. While he battles with his sanity, another Jason comes home from getting ice cream, three hours later, and makes love to his wife.
Dark Matter was the February selection for my local Girly Book Club. I was thrilled to see Dark Matter as the selection! It has been on my TBR since it came out, but I have never gotten around to reading it. I was extremely happy to see that I could still purchase on Book of the Month club. Originally, I wanted to save this review until after my book club meeting so I could include some of their opinions as well. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the meeting anymore for a work function. But, I still went ahead and finished reading the novel and WOW!
This novel was nothing like I expected but everything I have ever wanted in a Sci-Fi novel. I have always been a huge fan of the Multiverse theory. That every decision we make branches off into two separate realities, creating an infinite amount of universes. Dark Matter goes deep into the theoretical concept. If you already had some experience with Schrodinger’s cat, then you will easily follow along to the concept of the novel. If not, don’t worry! Crouch spent a chunk of the novel explaining Schrodinger’s cat in layman’s terms.
When I read Dark Matter, I could not stop thinking about Langston Huges’ poem Harlem. “What happens to a dream deferred?” haunted me as I flipped through the chapters. In the multiverse, there would be no dreams deferred. There would always be some version of you accomplishing what you want. In Dark Matter, Jason Dessen (Jason) was a budding physicist, that gave up his research to accept an undergrad teaching job when the women he loved said she was pregnant. In an alternate reality, Jason Dessen (Jason2) decides that he wants to keep his career, not the child. Thus, he wins the Pavia Prize and creates a quantum superposition of an object that was visible to the human eye. For those of you who read the We are Legion (We are Bob) Audible review, this novel will create a similar existential crisis.
What I did not like about Dark Matter was how Jason accepted that he was in the multiverse but only focused his timeline as the one and only timeline in which he resided. He was so determined to get back to “his” home; but, due to the theory, his “home” is no longer his home. In the time that Jason was gone, an infinite amount of universes would have sprouted. Some Jason never went to get ice cream, some Jason never got kidnapped, even some Jason2 would have been kicked out by Daniela. I understand Crouch t we could make this connection. However, I wish he would have had Jason make this connection as well. It was almost as if Jason knew there were multiverses, but when I came down to it there was only one multiverse to go back too.
Overall, I gave Dark Matter a 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. For fans of Rick and Morty or Black Mirror, like myself, you will love this novel. If you don’t, you would still love this novel. Dark Matter honestly had a little something for everyone. Personally, I thought this would be classified better as a romance novel than a horror novel. I had tears by chapter five because of how deeply Jason loved Daniela and how he tried anything to get back to her. Plus, it helped that Daniela was actually an amazing human given the circumstance she was put in.
My heart is going so fast, the room threatening to spin, and then Ryan Holder is standing next to Daniela with his arm around her. He’s wearing a tweed jacket, his hair is graying, and he’s paler and less fit than the last time I saw him, which was impossibly at Village Tap last night at his celebration for winning the Pavia Prize.
“Well, well,” Ryan says, shaking my hand. “Mr. Pavia. The man himself.”
-Dark Matter by Blake Crouch