I was introduced with the concept of the multiverse and the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics by way of the television series Sliders (1995-2000). In the series, we met four travelers traversing the seemingly unlimited worlds of the multiverse and trying to get back home. I found the concept intriguing and when a story touches upon parallel worlds I grab it and watch or read it (as evidenced by my last book review). But, this review is not for Sliders (I will post reviews of its episodes when I start my rewatch.), this is a review for Dark Matter, a 2016 science fiction-thriller book, by Blake Crouch, which, like Sliders, features the multiverse.
The book revolves around Jason Dessen, a college physics professor, a husband and a father. He was abducted one night and then woke up and found out that he is now a famous scientist, just like he always dreamed, but he is not married to his wife and his son was never been born. Realizing that this is not his world, he will find a way to get home to his wife and son by passing through world after world.
The definitely liked how the pace of the story. Though this is a science fiction book, you need not know the complexity of quantum mechanics and neurology to follow the plot, although I appreciated the well placed info dumps. There is also a romantic aspect to it by way of Jason’s love to his wife Daniela, this love fuels Jason’s desire to get home. I found the scenes on their romance a bit off. Just a bit.
I might get spoil something (but not the book’s ending) on this next section.
The many-worlds interpretation implies that all possible alternate histories are real, each realized in their own world in their corner of the multiverse.
It’s terrifying when you consider that every thought we have, every choice we could possibly make, branches off into a new world.
In this book, the alternate world branched off fifteen years ago when Jason faced a decision: to continue the relationship and build a family with Daniela or to continue his work as a scientist and make a breakthrough. I always play the “What if” game, what if I did this, what if that happened. In the end of the game I always tell myself, at least somewhere in the multiverse a version of me will get what he wanted. In life there is no do-overs – there are no time machines, yet — but it is harmless to dream once in a while.
I liked how the main conflict of the book was written. I was surprised because I haven’t seen the branching of worlds affecting the main character on other multiverse stories.
Quick rating: I very much loved it.
I was afraid to start this, truth be told, because I read many reviews that said it was very mind-bending, confusing, and scientific. I was really afraid it would break my brain. I am happy to report that now that I’ve finished my brain is no more broken than it was before I began Dark Matter. So if you’ve been hesitant to read this based on those on rumors, have no worries. It is not in any way shape or form a horror novel however so if you’re expecting that you will be disappointed. It’s more of a character based thriller and a pretty awesome one at that.
I will not go so far as to say that I understood the mechanics behind everything, especially at the turn of mind-boggling events in the last act, but I can say that it never slowed down the book for me or left me hopelessly lost in a sea of scientific jibber-jabber. I wanted to keep going because it was exciting and captivating and all of those delicious things and mostly because I grew to care about the characters so much.
I’m not saying anything about the plot because everyone else has done that already but also because I am lazy and you will enjoy this most going in cold, if you still can. Just read it. It’s good stuff!