The last thing Jason remembers before waking up was being abducted by a person in a mask, who asked him if he was happy with his life before knocking him unconscious. Now he’s woken up in a world where everyone who knows him is strange and unfamiliar, and everyone that he knows either doesn’t exist or doesn’t know him for who he is. His wife isn’t his wife. His life isn’t his life.
But which world is the dream? Which one is real?
I absolutely adored this book. It’s a fast-paced read, and Blake Crouch continually took the story to places I had never anticipated.
This science fiction novel explores the multiverse theory: that for every decision that you have made, and alternate universe exists where you made a different decision. The multiverse theory has fascinated me ever since I first heard about it. My favourite television show for a while was Fringe, which hinges on the multiverse theory. So when I realised that’s what we were dealing with in this book, I was so onboard.
When a science fiction novel is well written, the “science” makes sense. It sounds plausible and realistic. A good science fiction author makes it easy for the reader to make the jumps that are necessary to buy into this world where technology is so far beyond what we have access to now. And Blake Crouch did that in Dark Matter. Dealing with alternate universes is complicated, and it is so easy to get confused and muddled up when you’re trying to follow a story through different universes. But here, the “science” felt like it could really work. It felt as if this were something that wasn’t too far off from possibly happening. And I think that’s what made this story so compelling.
And in the midst of all of this science-y, different universes, technological jumble, we get these wonderfully human, realistic relationships. We get a real, good, hard look at the humanity of these characters. We question what it is to be human. Who am I, really? If I had made just one or two different decisions in my life, how different would I have turned out? Would I be proud of who I became? Would I even recognize myself? What would that person think of me and who I’ve become? And through these questions, where it would have been so easy to have simply given the answer that obviously life is meaningless and we are who we are from a series of random chance, we get this bright light that kind of shines through the whole book. That life is full of meaning, and the choices that we make build that meaning.
I highly recommend this book. Even if you’re not into science fiction, even if it’s not the type of book that you would normally pick up, give it a try. It’s full of humour, and action, and heart-wrenching drama. I cannot wait for this story to be turned into a film, so that I can spend even more time in this(these) world(s).