Dark Matter

Dark Matter

Book - 2016
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A mindbending, relentlessly surprising thriller from the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy.

"Are you happy with your life?"

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason's never met smiles down at him and says, "Welcome back, my friend."

In this world he's woken up to, Jason's life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that's the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could've imagined--one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

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.
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, [2016]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781101904220
1101904224
Branch Call Number: SCIENCE FICTION CROUCH B
Characteristics: 342 pages ; 25 cm

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From Library Staff

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.

September 2017- we continued the theme of parallel worlds with this sci fi thriller about the choices we make.

Comment
LPL_EliH Sep 15, 2017

More Crichton than Arthur C Clarke, it leans on the thriller pacing, letting the lofty quantum concepts play second fiddle. This is probably for the best, though, and I was surprised by how effective and enjoyable the story became with its solid action sequences and interspersed "wow" m... Read More »


From the critics


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alburke47 May 05, 2021

I remember watching Wayward Pines a few years ago. In fact, I remember it very well as I enjoyed the hell out of it. It took Blake Crouch out of “just another author tin he library” status to my dreaded TBR. This in no way means a book will ever be read, so it required getting a discarded copy from the book sale cart to inspire me to get around to reading it (although this is also no guarantee). So, was it worth the princely sum of 50 cents (Canadian at that) that I paid for it?

Disclaimer - I read this in August, so forgive me if I’m a little hazy on some of the details.

So, what’s it all about?
This is not my first Blake Crouch novel. I read Recursion a while back, and while it was good, I didn’t love it. So, despite the author’s reputation, I went in with my guard up. Well, that probably lasted about 10 minutes as the hero, physics professor Jason Dessen, is captured by a masked man, only to wake up tied to a stretcher surrounded by people he’s never met before who mysteriously welcome him back. Wait, what? From here on in, it gets wild. I’d love to waffle on about the story, particularly the section that is way too close to our current situation, but I think that would spoil the fun. To put it mildly/simply, this is an exploration of time, reality and love, not necessarily in that order.

Is it any good?
Yeah. Actually, it’s rather awesome. It starts fast and never lets up as it steamrolls towards the end. Jason chooses love over success, marrying and settling into a scholarly role instead of chasing Nobel success, clearing the path for his best friend to take the prize. When he starts on his (literal) trip, he is helped by a scientist at the lab where he initially awakes. There is a smattering of will they-won’t they throughout, as Jason doubts his ability to return “home”. The worlds he visits are diverse, and some are potentially terrifying views of our possible futures. Jason is constantly on the run, whether from hazards in each world he visits, lab security or alternate Jasons (yes, I said that). For a book that deals with some big philosophical ideas, it certainly doesn’t give you the time to mull them over, but if that is the only criticism (and it’s not really a criticism), then that’s a good sign. I suppose.

Verdict
A breakneck-paced, reality-questioning, trippy must-read.

s
stewstealth
May 02, 2021

Interesting plot and a good look at the meaning of self. Definitely need a suspension of disbelief to accept the long shot science aspect of it. This is a book that is written with a movie or TV show in mind. Only worth reading if the subject matter interests you.

j
jdanilo
Apr 19, 2021

Excellent science fiction. I perused a few pages at the library and I was hooked. As soon as I got home I got comfy and started reading. I was so enthralled I finished the whole thing in a single sitting. The twists are very satisfying and logical. Strong 4/5.

ArapahoeCody Apr 09, 2021

I can't believe I sat on this book for so long! It is one of the most enthralling sci-fi books I have read in a while. I feel like a full review would give too much away but it is full of twists and turns and you won't want to put it down.

r
rrickman
Apr 02, 2021

That was a stellar book. I read the entire thing in one sitting, it was a quick read but that doesn't mean it's an easy read. I was very confused and taken by surprise many times. I have so many questions!! What is my life!! I would really enjoy a sequel following a certain character that disappeared in the story.

Dark Matter begins by following Jason Dessen, an average dude, through his average life. Suddenly, he is taken hostage and driven to an abandoned power plant, drugged, and passes out. He wakes up not sure where he is but everyone seems to know him. But he doesn't know them...

I can't say anything more about the plot without giving too much away but wow this book took me on a WILD ride. I can't recommend it enough to readers that enjoy using their critical and logical thinking skills while reading. It is the opposite of a fluff novel.

After reading this book I had an existential crisis about infinity and which version of myself I am. This book reminded me of how I felt while I was reading Piranesi, so I would recommend both of them to the same reader. Only read this book if you want to question the existence of life and matter itself.

I will never look at a box or dark corner the same again...

WPL_Erin Mar 12, 2021

Absolutely incredible.

Gripping right from the first page all the way until the heart stopping ending. Wonderful story, and beautifully told.

JCLJenV Feb 10, 2021

What a wild ride! This science fiction thriller was fully engaging the whole way through!

k
knighted
Jan 26, 2021

I remember reading this a couple years back . It was snowing outside and I got lost in this book for a couple of hours. The mystery and suspense kept me going. I was having a good time , until halfway the story he goes I miss my wife “ her brown Mexican eyes “ that was it . It took me completely out and I started to realise how unrealistic half of the action have been anyway.

d
dschirmer
Jan 18, 2021

While reading this book you have to suspend rational thought and accept that the premise is possible because of SCIENCE and PHYSICS. You also have to put up with the screenplay style of writing that pops up and can be annoying. Additionally, there is a character who just disappears never to be heard from again.

These items would usually render this book a 4 out of 5 max BUT the story is so good I can see past it. It is a thriller so you want to devour it as fast as possible (I even let out an audible 'OH SHIT' at some point) and the questions you ask yourself linger for days after.

Read it and enjoy!

SuJF Jan 10, 2021

Excellent sci fi thriller. Just when I thought I had an idea where this story was going it would twist. One of those books where I know the ideas and concepts will stay with me and make me ask lots of what if questions.

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Quotes

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a
ahodonicky
Sep 23, 2019

What a strange thing to consider imagining a world into being with nothing but words, intention, and desire. It's a troubling paradox - I have total control, but only to the extend that I have control over myself. My emotions. My inner storm. The secret engines that drive me. If there are infinite worlds, how do I find the one that is uniquely, specifically mine?

j
jimg2000
Mar 02, 2018

What might have been and what has been Point to one end, which is always present. Footfalls echo in the memory Down the passage which we did not take Towards the door we never opened. —T. S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton”
===
No one tells you it’s all about to change, to be taken away. There’s no proximity alert, no indication that you’re standing on the precipice. And maybe that’s what makes tragedy so tragic. Not just what happens, but how it happens: a sucker punch that comes at you out of nowhere, when you’re least expecting it. No time to flinch or brace.
===
“I was reading Chicago Magazine’s review of Marsha Altman’s show.” “Were they kind?” “Yeah, it’s basically a love letter.”
===
“I was trying to create the quantum superposition of an object that was visible to the human eye.”
===
In this sliver of quiet and calm, the principle of Occam’s razor whispers to me—all things being equal, the simplest solution tends to be the right one.

j
jimg2000
Mar 02, 2018

What if all the pieces of belief and memory that comprise who I am—my profession, Daniela, my son—are nothing but a tragic misfiring in that gray matter between my ears? Will I keep fighting to be the man I think I am? Or will I disown him and everything he loves, and step into the skin of the person this world would like for me to be?
===
Experimental physics—hell, all of science—is about solving problems. However, you can’t solve them all at once. There’s always a larger, overarching question—the big target. But if you obsess on the sheer enormity of it, you lose focus.
The key is to start small. Focus on solving problems you can answer. Build some dry ground to stand on. And after you’ve put in the work, and if you’re lucky, the mystery of the overarching question becomes knowable. Like stepping slowly back from a photomontage to witness the ultimate image revealing itself.

j
jimg2000
Mar 02, 2018

I hold my ring finger up to the neon light coming in through the window. The mark of my wedding band is gone. Was it ever there?
===
We’re all just wandering through the tundra of our existence, assigning value to worthlessness, when all that we love and hate, all we believe in and fight for and kill for and die for is as meaningless as images projected onto Plexiglas.
===
Nothing exists. All is a dream. God—man—the world—the sun, the moon, the wilderness of stars—a dream, all a dream; they have no existence. Nothing exists save empty space—and you…. And you are not you—you have no body, no blood, no bones, you are but a thought. MARK TWAIN
===
Most astrophysicists believe that the force holding stars and galaxies together—the thing that makes our whole universe work—comes from a theoretical substance we can’t measure or observe directly. Something they call dark matter. And this dark matter makes up most of the known universe.

j
jimg2000
Mar 02, 2018

Imagine a cat, a vial of poison, and a radioactive source in a sealed box. If an internal sensor registers radioactivity, like an atom decaying, the vial is broken, releasing a poison that kills the cat. The atom has an equal chance of decaying or not decaying. It’s an ingenious way of linking an outcome in the classical world, our world, to a quantum-level event. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics suggests a crazy thing: before the box is opened, before observation occurs, the atom exists in superposition—an undetermined state of both decaying and not decaying. Which means, in turn, that the cat is both alive and dead. And only when the box is opened, and an observation made, does the wave function collapse into one of two states. In other words, we only see one of the possible outcomes. For instance, a dead cat. And that becomes our reality.

j
jimg2000
Mar 02, 2018

“When you write something, you focus your full attention on it. It’s almost impossible to write one thing while thinking about another. The act of putting it on paper keeps your thoughts and intentions aligned.”
===
So if the world really splits whenever something is observed, that means there’s an unimaginably massive, infinite number of universes—a multiverse—where everything that can happen will happen.
My concept for my tiny cube was to create an environment protected from observation and external stimuli so my macroscopic object—an aluminum nitride disc measuring 40 µm in length and consisting of around a trillion atoms—could be free to exist in that undetermined cat state and not decohere due to interactions with its environment.

j
jimg2000
Mar 02, 2018

What if our worldline is just one of an infinite number of worldlines, some only slightly altered from the life we know, others drastically different? The Many-Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics posits that all possible realities exist. That everything which has a probability of happening is happening. Everything that might have occurred in our past did occur, only in another universe. What if that’s true? What if we live in a fifth-dimensional probability space?
===
In some presentations of quantum mechanics, the thing that contains all the information for the system—before it collapses due to an observation—is called a wave function. I’m thinking this corridor is our minds’ way of visualizing the content of the wave function, of all possible outcomes, for our superposed quantum state.

j
jimg2000
Mar 02, 2018

Why do people marry versions of their controlling mothers? Or absent fathers? To have a shot at righting old wrongs. Fixing things as an adult that hurt you as a child. Maybe it doesn’t make sense at a surface level, but the subconscious marches to its own beat.
===
If there are infinite worlds, how do I find the one that is uniquely, specifically mine?
===
All the tiny, seemingly insignificant details upon which my world hangs.
===
If you strip away all the trappings of personality and lifestyle, what are the core components that make me me?
===
“You know what the definition of insanity is?” “What?” “Doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.”
===
I’ve always known, on a purely intellectual level, that our separateness and isolation are an illusion. We’re all made of the same thing—the blown-out pieces of matter formed in the fires of dead stars.

j
jimg2000
Mar 02, 2018

It’s a classic setup, pure game theory. A terrifying spin on the Prisoner’s Dilemma that asks, Is it possible to outthink yourself?
===
What led to this decision was a unique experience that was mine alone. Then again, I could be wrong. I could be wrong about everything.
===
The multiverse exists because every choice we make creates a fork in the road, which leads into a parallel world.
===
All your life you’re told you’re unique. An individual. That no one on the planet is just like you. It’s humanity’s anthem.
===
“I’ve seen so many versions of you. With me. Without me. Artist. Teacher. Graphic designer. But it’s all, in the end, just life. We see it macro, like one big story, but when you’re in it, it’s all just day-to-day, right? And isn’t that what you have to make your peace with?”
===
“So you’re saying it’s fate.” She smiles. “I think I’m saying we found each other, for a second time.”

j
jimg2000
Mar 02, 2018

“Where we live, our friends, our jobs—those things define us.” “They’re not all that defines us. As long as I’m with you, I know exactly who I am.”
===
“Every moment, every breath, contains a choice. But life is imperfect. We make the wrong choices. So we end up living in a state of perpetual regret, and is there anything worse? I built something that could actually eradicate regret. Let you find worlds where you made the right choice.”
“Life doesn’t work that way. You live with your choices and learn. You don’t cheat the system.”
===
It’s the beautiful thing about youth. There’s a weightlessness that permeates everything because no damning choices have been made, no paths committed to, and the road forking out ahead is pure, unlimited potential.

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Age

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l
LUKE ZHANG
Mar 10, 2021

LUKE ZHANG thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 16 and 99

m
mingeronvacation
Feb 12, 2021

mingeronvacation thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 18 and 99

s
s_e_m_
Mar 21, 2017

s_e_m_ thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

p
professorxfm
Aug 22, 2016

professorxfm thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Summary

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SPL_Brittany Oct 17, 2016

“Are you happy with your life?” Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before his abductor knocks him unconscious, before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits, where a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable - something impossible. Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves?

Blake Crouch writes a gripping science fiction thriller that will hook you from the very beginning, and will have you reading late into the night. A thought-provoking read full of twists and turns, that takes you down the scientific rabbit hole, delving into questions of our own existence and the consequences our life decisions. This novel will delight those who enjoy Orphan Black, the Matrix and Inception.

p
professorxfm
Aug 22, 2016

College professor bored with his life, due to the routines, finds himself being kidnapped on the way home one night, after running an errand. After meeting his alternate reality and realizing his other "self" has switched places, he desperately tries to get back to the life he knows and realizes he "loves" in all its imperfections.

Notices

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m
mingeronvacation
Feb 12, 2021

Violence: Has lots of Violence that would not be suitable for young people.

m
mingeronvacation
Feb 12, 2021

Sexual Content: Has sexual intercorse and other sexual actions.

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