Dark Matter

Dark Matter

A Novel

eBook - 2016
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A brilliantly plotted, relentlessly surprising science-fiction 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. From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, [2016]
ISBN: 9781101904237
1101904232
9781925480535
1925480534
1101904224
1447297555
1447297563
1447297571
1410491455
Branch Call Number: FICTION Cro
Description: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

Opinion

From Library Staff

Selection for 6/20/2019

List - CRRL Picks: Believe Me
CRRL_MegS Sep 12, 2019

After an evening out, physics professor Jason Dessen is kidnapped at gunpoint by a masked man, driven to an abandoned industrial building, and injected with a drug. As he wakes from his stupor, a man Jason has never seen before smiles down at him and says, "Welcome back, my friend." Thi... Read More »

Jason Dessen is knocked out. He regains consciousness to find himself strapped to a gurney and surrounded by people who seem to know him. But this life is not his. He recognizes neither his wife, nor his son and rather than being a college professor, he's an eminent genius. Which of his lives is ... Read More »

List - The Maze Runner
CRRLTeens Jul 13, 2018

"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, &q... Read More »

List - Shutter Island
CRRLAdults Jun 27, 2018

One night after an evening out, Jason Dessen, a forty-year-old physics professor living with his wife and son in Chicago, is kidnapped at gunpoint by a masked man, driven to an abandoned industrial site and injected with a powerful drug. As he wakes, a man Jason's never met smiles down at him and... Read More »


From the critics


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k
kiml00
Mar 27, 2020

The story is very original (at least for me since I’ve not read anything similar to this). Moves really fast and some parts are pretty dark that I had to put it down and read something else for a little bit. Not super scary but just get you thinking about deep dark terrifying psychological things. The type that gets you because it’s all in your head. Blake Crouch is very good at doing that. Just like his other books, there’s some science in it that would take a little bit to process. I didn’t understand some parts (can’t discuss or it will be a spoiler) but is still able to forward with the story line. Highly recommend this book if you like sci-fi thrillers. Blake Crouch is my new favorite authors right along with Michael Crichton and Richard Preston.

l
LBJ
Mar 12, 2020

Great read.
I like to read novels by Crouch. Always intriguing , suspenseful .

j
jebolker
Feb 20, 2020

Trippy, descriptive, vivid and almost insane. One of the best, most enlightening books I’ve read in years!

d
dkrauter
Feb 19, 2020

The author should write for Marvel comics and Stan Lee! Stretches your thinking to new limits.
"What is left by brain - hurts"! Be prepared for an experience you probably haven't taken.

d
danielestes
Jan 26, 2020

** No Spoilers **

This book is my worst sci-fi nightmare come to life.

It might sound like I'm recommending readers to stay away, but honestly quite the opposite. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch is so vivid and so unexpectedly terrifying in the quieter moments that it seemed like I was holding my breath for chapters at a time. I won't go into the story details for fear of spoilers but know that this thriller/mystery is layered with one shocking turn after another. And I'm talking existential threats and not just the mortal peril kind.

I figure it's only a matter of time before Dark Matter is made into a movie. The imagery alone would sell it. Many of the scenes continue to haunt me to this day.

g
GSforever
Jan 22, 2020

For Syfy fans. If you're not one, this is not for you, you won't get it.

j
jennerssbooks
Jan 20, 2020

If.
You.
Ignore.
My.
One.
Star.
Rating.
And.
Read.
This.
Book,
you will understand the ANNOYING line of words above. The story was incoherent, the writing melodramatic in the extreme, every event was a major emergency, and the main character's moral compass swings wildly, making him unlikeable.

s
scottwill
Jan 18, 2020

"The multiverse exists because every choice we make creates a fork in the road, which leads into a parallel world." Though many sf stories have taken off from Heisenberg's voodoo physics, this has got to be the baldest in pushing the conceit that the universe is based on human consciousness. There are lesser absurdities and plot flaws as well, but just enough puzzles, character depth, and action to keep most readers aboard, I suspect. The idea of being able to see a panorama of possible life outcomes based on personal choices as well as outside events is even more intriguing than the time travel do-over theme. Maybe some young writer-to-be will read this (or wait for the movie?) and be inspired to do it more credibly.

s
shethewriter
Jan 06, 2020

Solid 3.5 stars. This will make a better movie than a book. The dialogue and writing style is very dry, but there are strong (if conventional) images, and the book asks some really excellent questions for its central theme. At the beginning, I was excited that the couple was maybe going to explore different realities after second guessing their professional sacrifices, but of course it was just Jason. Missed opportunity.

The central theme is the kind that can really branch into some meaty literary fiction, but in this book, the answer is pretty clear in the first third (destiny is not binary), and the middle dragged as you wait for the characters to catch on to the very obvious way that the box works. Especially since Angela is a psychologist, a lot of her behavior didn't make sense to me. Jason is very smart with his strategy and schemes, but really slow when it comes to other things. I guess that makes sense, since he is a scientist. Anyway, I do think this will make some really great cinematic fare. It's also a good book for people who don't usually read.

I enjoyed the twist, but it didn't make sense. If Jason went back into the box every time, why should there be so many of him all of a sudden?

Also (and I think this could just be me), but it's hard for me to process how much Jason seems to love his wife. I've just never seen that, and maybe it was just a way to motivate him a la "male lead in thriller does anything for family." But I've never seen that kind of love in real life. It seems like a peculiar extension of self-preservation.

It would have been interesting to see Jason actually try to adapt to his life as the big time scientist, or actually just be honest with the scientists about what he experienced. But he didn't go through much change. No curiosity about it, so the stakes didn't feel high to me. He just wanted to go home from the get go. So his struggles were more external than internal; another reason this would work better as a film.

k
Katie_Dublin
Jan 04, 2020

Simply fantastic.

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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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s
s_e_m_
Mar 21, 2017

s_e_m_ thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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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.

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