"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.
From the author of the best-selling 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.
©2016 Blake Crouch (P)2016 Random House Audio
"Brilliant. A book to remember. I think Blake Crouch just invented something new." (Lee Child, New York Times best-selling author of the Jack Reacher series)
"Exceptional. An exciting, ingeniously plotted adventure about love, regret, and quantum superposition. It's been a long time since a novel sucked me in and kept me turning pages the way this one did." (Andy Weir, New York Times best-selling author of The Martian)
"Wow. I gulped down Dark Matter in one sitting and put it down awed and amazed by the ride. It's fast, smart, addictive - and the most creative, head-spinning novel I've read in ages. A truly remarkable thriller." (Tess Gerritsen, New York Times best-selling author of the Rizzoli & Isles series)
I'm surprised people are so hostile about this book. My three stars reflects that it was an average, entertaining, non-waste of time read. Maybe people expect too much from what is, I assume, supposed to be pulpy science fiction. I was entertained. The science, while certainly not qualifying for "hard" sci-fi, was at least rational and reasonably well explained.
It's a book about the decisions one makes in life, the impacts a simple choice can have. The frailty of the human condition. This is certainly not a new concept or theme, but it's executed reasonably well here. Yes, some aspects get played out to a silly extreme, but it's also not necessarily wrong. And to address one reviewer's statement that it was egocentric... well, no kidding. We're all the heroes of our own story and think, no matter how much we may attempt otherwise, that the universe does revolve around us. And, in taking this book's premise at face value, it literally is the point- the chaotic nature of each decision causing a split off of new universes has the additional reality that for every person new universes are splitting constantly. Thus the concept of an infinite number of universes since each split is affected by all the other simultaneous splits occurring... perhaps this is simply too much for some to comprehend.
I understood the title to be a reference to the great unknown mysteries of existence- in the universe or our own lives. Also, to the reviewer who suggested "Where the Hell is Tesla?" ignore him, that was a terrible and incredibly stupid book.
It was entertaining brain candy, nothing more or less. Fun concepts and an engaging delivery. Worth the time, but don't expect a masterpiece.
Oh wow, do NOT get this book. Honestly, just get Where the Hell is Tesla? by Rob Dircks. It's the same book/story except good.
The most grievous sin of this book is the physicist protagonist is so dumb that he should be nowhere without a chaperone. To avoid spoilers, imagine Groundhog Day. Now imagine if Bill Murray couldn't figure out he was repeating the same day over and over again, even given the overwhelming amount of evidence. This goes on in Dark Matter until the 44% mark, I know because I noted it. Then the next 40% or so is that meme where a cartoon dog is drinking coffee in a burning room and saying, "This is fine."
You will not be able to relate to the idiot of a protagonist. You will root for him to lose, because he deserves it. The science isn't there, because the whole setup just spawns so many plot holes. That's why this book gets three stars, because it is like a bad movie. It is fun to sit there and point out all the flaws and wonder about our hero's intelligence.
Speaking of, this book insults the listener's intelligence by existing, but beyond that, the last few pages explain the whole theme! I guess Crouch really wanted to make sure we understood the point he was trying to make.
I do not recommend this book, I recommend Where the Hell is Tesla? Seriously, it's the exact same book but written tongue in cheek instead of trying and failing to be serious.
I haven't read the print version but given the complex theory that drives this story, I think the audio version would be easier to digest - at least for me.
The concept of many parallel universes is intriguing. Who wouldn't want to explore a parallel world where another version of yourself existed?
The presentation of the main character was very solid. The whole story is seen through this character's eyes and the character had depth and was very genuine.
I think the first time that Jason walked down the endless corridor of possibilities that existed in the black cube had the biggest impact. Jason realizes for the first time that his chances of getting back to "his universe" are very, very slim. Also, when he begins to understand that he is "creating" all these alternate realities just by thinking of them was also very effective.
This story lives or dies on the concept of the multiverse - i.e. the possibility of limitless parallel universes. The only problem I had with this story was that the author was tied very tightly to all the nuances of current theoretical thinking in this regard. Maybe that element could have been more restrained for the sake of the story. However, it was a challenging concept and the story moved along very well. I enjoyed it but some might be put off by the emphasis on the theoretical concepts the story uses.
I actually struggled to start this book and tried listening multiple times. I didn't like the combination of the writing and the narration. Finally I made it though the first hour and I was hooked. I grew to enjoy both the writing and narration. This is excellent science fiction, with action, romance and some serious thought into the science of it all. I highly recommend!
I'll never get over Macho Grande
The corridor scenes and journeys into the multi-verse were the best parts of the book. The sense of dread was done really well, along with the evil lab and how to escape it. This should have been the heart of the story.
The author's constant thoughts about Daniella take up 80% of the book. Charlie is just an afterthought. The lovemaking scenes were cliche and annoying.
I think someone else mentioned this, but the women would have been better depicted with just the narrator's normal voice, or an actual second female narrator. The change of the narrator's voice to a high-pitched voice was just completely distracting and cheesy.
Find a better story here on Audible.
I love Science Fiction! Unfortunately, Blake Crouch assumes his readers have never read or watched anything else in the Sci-Fi genre before. There is literally nothing original in this story.
The main character is supposed to be this genius scientist, but he acts like a complete idiot. As a reader, I could see everything coming from a mile away, but the super smart scientist couldn't figure anything out until it hit him in the face.
Better character development, more interesting characters, less cheese.
Anyone who knows anything about sci-fi knows what's going on very early, and it takes most of the book for the main character to get it... but wait, he already got it just didn't tell us. /eyeroll.
Not that I can remember. The narration was good enough, it wasn't his fault the characters were boring.
Disappointment, until the end, then a little excitement, but still disappointing.
I'm pretty good at letting my expectations stay neutral... but I have to say, listening this reminded me of why Da Vinci Code was so popular and so lame. I like the concept, I know it's hard to write about this subject and make it work... but honestly you can't just let your good concept float your story without stepping up your structure and narrative.
First off. The naive family love angle was struggling for real purchase. If your reader is going to take everything the author says at face value, fine... have at it... "Dan Brown generic handsome character has complex life with equally beautiful archivist because I say so, GO!" But I was barely convinced of his second hand love for his wife and kid. Too simple, I didn't live in his shoes long enough, I didn't feel his affection, I didn't sense the every day, I just heard about it whenever the main character whined that it was gone. Without the REASON for him to care, I questioned everything he did, and the story could not carry that amount of scrutiny.
Then there's the main concept, it's well worked out, with the multiple hims, himming. That's where I finally stopped rolling my eyes. The bad guy was just a generic bad guy, but the bad him was a desperate version of himself. Well done. His helper girl was forgettable, but I liked that she left him, well done, was not expected because I was expecting something more generic. He was always saving her anyways because the author made her fragile. Anyways, at this point you're like at the last 1/5 of the book. Yeah, you spent that whole time being told how sad this guy was and listening to this SCIENTIST be completely irrational and stalkery.
The book ended ok which is why I didn't give it lower scores. Not satisfying, but ok. Yes, lets leave it all up to the kid we've known for like 7 pages.
So yeah, if you like being spoon fed your drama, you'll like this. If you like multiverse stories no matter what they're about, you'll like this. But if you're wanting a meaty thriller with a cool concept, deep emotion and equally deep characters, go listen to something else. I truly hope Blake Crouch takes his time and gives his next story better legs to stand on.
I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^
"I suppose we're both just trying to come to terms with how horrifying infinity really is."
-- Blake Crouch, Dark Matter
On the back of this book is a blurb by Lee Child where he says: "Brilliant. A book to remember. I think Blake Crouch just invented something new."
Then problem here is this book isn't new. I'm not saying it isn't good. It is a fine book. It is a screenwriter writing a book about science. We get line or two about the multiverse, some thoughts about game theory. The narrator talks with vague, and broad-strokes about Schrödinger's cat, the Copenhagen interpretation, the multiverse, and even a bit of quantum entanglement. But beyond the superficial use of quantum mechanics this novel seems all slickness with no soul.
Too me it is a degraded copy of a better book. The better, more literary version of this book was written by Stephen Peck and is called A Short Stay in Hell. Steven Peck is a scientist (Professor of biomathematics and entomology. Peck's novel is more literally, scary, and came out about four years. I should be clear here. I'm not saying Crouch ripped Peck off. There are many ways to use infinity and the desire to return home in a SF novel. I'm just saying that Dark Matter, for me, was the dead cat of the two in the box.
It seemed too Hollywood. Too made to be optioned. I am sure (as sure as Crouch's film and TV manager and entertainment attorney) that it will be made into a movie. Perhaps, Tom Hanks will star in it. It just isn't a great book. When it gets made into a movie, I'll shell out the $12 to see it, I just think Peck's novel was better, more philosophical, had a better grasp of the fundamental science of large numbers, and didn't sell out the end to a pitch-packaged, happy ending.
I'd love someone else to read both and tell me I was wrong, but I don't think so. I've opened both doors, experienced both worlds. The differences are as glaring as the difference between a house and a home. One was SF beauty, this was just a cold, slick, uncanny valley. I know I'm in the minority here. Most of my friends who have read this loved it. I don't know. It just seemed too predictable, too soft, too secure in its protagonist. History, and I guess in multiverse fiction too, gets written by the winner. I guess what I'm saying is I'd rather have read a book written by Jason2, 3, 4 or 70.
No - decent story that could have been half as long.
I won't seek him out.
I liked the story but many times it felt too wordy, like the story was written too short and the author was forced to double the word count. I literally yelled "we get it!" during the chat room conversations.
If you've ever read/listened to "The Fall" by R. J. Pineiro or "Where the Hell is Tesla?" by Rob Dircks, then this story will feel very familiar. The idea of an event that puts you in an alternate universe has been done many before.
What makes this one different is how the multiverse works and the heros...or hero...but I can't say more without spoiling it.
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