Dark Matter

Dark Matter

A Novel

Paperback - 2018 | First mass market edition.
Average Rating:
Rate this:
116
11
2
 …
A mindbending, relentlessly surprising 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.
Publisher: New York : Broadway Books, [2018]
Edition: First mass market edition.
ISBN: 9781524763244
1524763241
Characteristics: 475 pages ; 19 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Jason Dessen is leading a double life but he doesn’t know it. Apparently in one of those other lives, the bright physics professor unlocked a door to the multiverse. Problem is, one of his parallel selves isn’t happy in his own timeline and wants to switch places with Jason. A speedy, twisting ri... Read More »

This one will twist your brain, but in the best way possible. Multiple timelines, alternate universes… these are deep ideas, but don’t worry: Crouch makes them accessible and compelling.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch is hands down my favorite book of the year, the one I’m telling everyone to read. Several people had recommended it to me, saying it’s original and mind-blowing. I’ll admit: At first, I wasn't sure what they were talking about. This is a multiverse/alternate reality st... Read More »

Comment
JohnK_KCMO Sep 27, 2016

Everyone told me this book is original and mindblowing. I admit: at first, I wasn't sure what they were talking about. It's a multiverse / alternate reality story. An exceptionally well-done multiverse story - much better than most - with interesting characters, high stakes, a driven plot. But th... Read More »


From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment
d
dschirmer
Jan 18, 2021

While reading this book you have to suspend rational thought and accept that the premise is possible because of SCIENCE and PHYSICS. You also have to put up with the screenplay style of writing that pops up and can be annoying. Additionally, there is a character who just disappears never to be heard from again.

These items would usually render this book a 4 out of 5 max BUT the story is so good I can see past it. It is a thriller so you want to devour it as fast as possible (I even let out an audible 'OH SHIT' at some point) and the questions you ask yourself linger for days after.

Read it and enjoy!

SuJF Jan 10, 2021

Excellent sci fi thriller. Just when I thought I had an idea where this story was going it would twist. One of those books where I know the ideas and concepts will stay with me and make me ask lots of what if questions.

a
AndyPL22
Dec 31, 2020

This might just be the best thriller I've ever read. Tore through it in two sittings. Boggled my mind and brought me to tears. Read it!

c
cjhi
Nov 16, 2020

Another media writer who has skimmed a couple of science books and thinks he has an astounding original idea -- because he's too young to have seen _Outer Limits_ and _Twilight Zone_ and apparently doesn't read SF. Slam-bang action, piled-up improbabilities ("why does X happen?" "Because otherwise the story would collapse."), violence for violence's sake (what does the Evial Corporation think it will actually accomplish?) and no explanation for a college physics teacher not realizing a lot earlier what has happened to him. Unbelievable hairsbreadth escapes, unbelievable ending (not survivable), emotions mostly pulled out of a Hollywood file without being made real.

VaughanPLZena Sep 30, 2020

A completely absorbing sci-fi, love story hybrid.

IndyPL_SteveB Sep 16, 2020

High adrenaline thriller with a bit of science fiction flavor. (NOT connected with the TV series “Dark Matter”.)

Chicago college physics teacher Jason Dessen is happily married with a son. Although he and his wife Daniela recognize that if they hadn’t gotten married, perhaps their careers would have resulted in greater success, they are a happy family and have no regrets. One evening Jason attends a congratulatory party for his old college roommate, Ryan, who has won a major science prize. On the way home, Jason is kidnapped by a masked man, taken to an abandoned building, drugged, and placed in a metal box. When he awakens, he is told that he has been missing for 14 months. He was supposedly the lead scientist and first participant on a project, he is unmarried, and he instead won the prize several years ago that Ryan won. It becomes clear very quickly that this is some alternate universe and that the Jason of this one has found a way to move between universes, in order to take over what he sees as a better life. And someone wants to make sure that original Jason becomes dead very soon.

While the basic plot isn’t terribly complicated, the working out is reasonably creative and the blood-pumping narrative drive is maintained with little let-up. It is not perhaps as deep as the author wants us to believe it is, but it is hard to put down.

a
Alpha_zzz
Aug 01, 2020

Sort of engaging but sort of long and monotonous

t
Tijerinn
Jun 25, 2020

A bit slow at first. I read while I work (call center) and I almost wanted to just sit and read while ignoring my work after the first hour or so. At about the halfway point, I Googled if this has been made into a movie or show. It definitely has the qualities to be a good show to binge. Great book. Nothing major I didn't like. I don't like the writing style when it comes to certain phrasing, which is probably more so just a personal preference. This is the first book I've read from Mr. Crouch and I am eager to look into his other work. I can hope they are just as good.

*Somewhat Spolier*
One main question I have is, why did all the other Jason's converge on Jason 1's timeline? Are all of them just splinters of Jason 1 after entering the box, or are these all different versions who also got jumped by a Jason 2? If so, when they would've notebooked their exact world, why were they brought to the one we know?

d
d_sullivan
Jun 23, 2020

I picked up Dark Matter yesterday after hearing many recommendations and, well, I finished it already. This book is the absolute definition of a thriller. I would recommend it even if you don’t usually read thrillers or sci-fi (I don’t). The book builds intensity quickly and never lets up, dragging you to its surreal and nightmarish finale which will leave you questioning reality.

If you like series like Black Mirror or movies like Inception you will enjoy this book. It has a cinematic quality which makes you wonder why Netflix hasn’t already made a series out of it.

5 stars in every possible universe.

h
hollyharkener
Jun 16, 2020

Nuts, in an egg-heady way. Gripping. A fun read. Loved it.

View All Comments

Quotes

Add a Quote
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.

View All Quotes

Age

Add Age Suitability
s
s_e_m_
Mar 21, 2017

s_e_m_ thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

p
professorxfm
Aug 22, 2016

professorxfm thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

Summary

Add a Summary
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.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at KCLibrary

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top