Dark Matter

Dark Matter

A Novel

Book - 2016
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A mind-bending, relentlessly paced science-fiction thriller, in which an ordinary man is kidnapped, knocked unconscious--and awakens in a world inexplicably different from the reality he thought he knew.
Publisher: New York, New York : Crown, ©2016.
ISBN: 9781101904220
Characteristics: 342 pages ;,25 cm.

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b
B_Strong
Aug 09, 2018

Ahhh this book!

Maybe not the best book to read before sleeping, not because it’s scary but because it keeps you up at night thinking of all the versions of yourself out there.

Well written, action packed, great piece of science fiction.

That ending though. *angry sigh*

Also, side note, if you’re a Rick and Morty fan, this is the book for you.

ArapahoeJohanna Jul 24, 2018

While I loved some of the science fiction elements in this, it's essentially a book about white male existential angst. By the halfway point, I was so bored with the main character that I only stuck with it till the end out of curiosity. I was impressed that the author was able to make a coherent plot out of quantum incoherence, and the plot was intense and suspenseful, so it was worth the read in the end. Even so, it's a narcissistic exploration of "the male condition" that doesn't really add anything to the discussion. There are plenty of other books that explore the same themes with more far depth and skill.

j
jplante825
Jul 10, 2018

Didn't think I would like this book, but I found it hard to put down. The writing style is easy and the quantum physics is explained in a way that is easy to understand, and appreciate! Great summer read.

t
TEENREVIEWBOARD
Jul 04, 2018

Science fiction has always been a gripping topic, as it explores themes beyond what we interact with every day. Dark Matter is a fast-paced thriller that delves into quantum physics, and combines it with well-developed characters among an intense plot. The novel takes readers on a journey through multiple universes, where the main character, Jason Dessen, struggles to find his way back to his own world. As he was forcefully put through an inter-dimensional portal, he discovers that his wife was not married to him, and they never had a son. What compels readers is the determination of getting back to his world; his love for his wife and son allows him to make his way through the countless different universes -- some truly frightening, others mind-bending. The author uses various techniques in developing the story, which helps readers feel sympathy, for example, towards the characters. Dark Matter is optimal for readers who enjoy science, as actual theories are discussed, such as Schrodinger's cat, thus adding to the wonderful intricacy of the plot. What hooks one on to the book is the pacing of the action throughout, as Blake Crouch does an excellent job of keeping the unknown an intriguing factor and twists riveting along the way. Rating: 4.5 of 5
- @Mercurial_Series of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

s
slang123
Jun 16, 2018

An amazing multi-universe story that really holds together - and is both terrifying and compelling.

Next step? Find and watch the movie.

h
hannmsha
Apr 29, 2018

This book really packed a punch. It had the perfect amount of twist and turns, awesome science, and mind-boggling, heart-wrenching scenarios and consequences. It was a thrilling read, and I read almost all of it in one sitting. Everything about it was so compelling. The ending leaves you wanting more, leaves you thinking and thinking and thinking. I honestly don't even have the words for this. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in science-fiction, thrillers, and/or mysteries. Wowza.

j
jcatiis
Mar 30, 2018

Recommended by Kiana

DBRL_ANNEG Mar 05, 2018

This is a book I could easily have read in 1 sitting (if I didn't have to eat, sleep, and work!) I was sucked into Jason's world (well worlds, really) and the story just kept picking up speed as it went along. This is a great read for someone who loves suspense and a little bit of sci-fi mixed together.

j
jimg2000
Mar 02, 2018

From the dedication page: “This book is for anyone who has wondered what their life might look like at the end of the road not taken.” The author weaved a sci-fi thriller about a scientist who was shanghaied into the meta-universe and … desperate to find his way home to his beloved wife and teenage son. While the science behind its “Infinite Universes” or “Daughter Universes” theory takes a great leap of imagination, the plot was fresh and its ending was very clever.

e
erinneisewander
Feb 22, 2018

One of the best books I have ever read.

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Quotes

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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.”
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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.
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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.
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If there are infinite worlds, how do I find the one that is uniquely, specifically mine?
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All the tiny, seemingly insignificant details upon which my world hangs.
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If you strip away all the trappings of personality and lifestyle, what are the core components that make me me?
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“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?
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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.
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The multiverse exists because every choice we make creates a fork in the road, which leads into a parallel world.
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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.

k
KaseyNB
Apr 13, 2017

“We're more than the sum total of our choices, that all the paths we might have taken factor somehow into the math of our identity.”

Age Suitability

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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

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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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