Book Review – Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Sometimes science fiction can be really heavy, and quite an undertaking. Committing yourself to a science fiction novel sometimes requires a heavy look in the mirror, because you know the next month of your life will be absorbed by deep science and alternate universes (aka heaven). But sometimes you’re just looking for some light sci-fi, and I found that in Blake Crouch’s novel, Dark Matter.

Here’s the rundown: Jason is a scientist and college professor. He’s married to the love of his life and they have a wonderful son. But his life isn’t perfect – he used to be a brilliant scientist and sometimes thinks of the life he could have had if his wife hadn’t gotten pregnant so soon and he continued his work. When a mysterious stranger takes him hostage, Jason’s life is flipped upside down. When he wakes up, he’s still himself, but his entire life has changed – his wife is not his wife, and his son was never born. Now Jason must find out where he is, and how to find his way back.

Heads up that this review WILL have spoilers – no way to avoid it on this one I’m afraid. This novel was really fun and really light. The alternate dimensions were really interesting to think about, each one the result of every individual’s decision making patterns. Yes vs no, for example, creates two dimensions in which you said yes in one, and no in the other. This means there are thousands upon thousands of dimensions! The differences in some of the dimensions were staggering, with one having advanced the standard of living by tenfold, and another having a deadly pandemic which killed off most of society. Watching Jason journey from dimension to dimension to find his family seemed almost impossible. I definitely admire his persistence.

When he does finally find his way back to his dimension, the shocking twist really threw me. Even though I knew every decision created another dimension, I didn’t even consider that Jason’s journey through the box was STILL creating new dimensions. The converging of all of the different Jason’s was almost too much – I felt that he would never make it back to his family. The ending was a bit bittersweet. He does win his family back, but they must leave their home dimension forever. Not even moving to a new country, but a new dimension!!!! I can’t imagine the ordeal that must be.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a quick sci-fi escape. Worth the read!

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