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Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
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Dark Matter (edition 2016)

by Blake Crouch

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1,0122018,419 (4.02)133
Member:ursula
Title:Dark Matter
Authors:Blake Crouch
Info:New York : Crown Publishers, [2016]
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****1/2
Tags:fiction, science fiction, thriller, 2016, 21st century, 2010s

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Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

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Showing 1-5 of 205 (next | show all)
Thriller pacing (lots of one-sentence paragraphs) and a mind-bending multiverse concept make for a breakneck read. It lost some steam for me in the middle when the characters were bouncing in and out of various realities, but overall a good thriller. ( )
  beaujoe | May 19, 2017 |
"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." p. 1

Which version are you? Are you happy with the version you are or would you rather be a different version, one that's more successful, more inline with the way you envisioned your life to be?

Can you imagine what it would be like to see all the multiverse versions of yourself? How each different decision could have altered your current life? This book makes you wonder what your life would have been like had you made different decisions. I really enjoyed this book; there were a few moments during the third portion of the book where I was annoyed with Jason's recklessness and his hopeless despair. I can't imagine how I would have acted any differently, but as a reader his despair became annoying. Thankfully it passed and the remainder of the book was amazing. It was such a quick read and so engaging. I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. ( )
  jthao_02 | May 18, 2017 |
Jason Desser could have really made his mark in the world of physics, but instead he made a choice, fifteen years ago, to prioritize family over career. He's very happy with the results, but does occasionally wonder "what if?" Then one night he's kidnapped at gunpoint, thrust into a strange box, and finds himself in a world where things went very differently.

This book got a lot of attention when it came out last year, and for about the first half of it, I really couldn't figure out why. The basic premise was mildly interesting, but not especially original. The writing was adequate, but not great. (And, seriously, what is it with writers who think that choppy little one-sentence paragraphs are the best way to draw readers along? Sure, that can make your writing feel punchy and fast, but it rapidly loses its effectiveness if you overuse it instead of saving it for the moments when you really need it.) And, while I was happy enough to swallow the sci-fi premise, a lot of the little details just didn't feel particularly believable to me. So I was kind of shaking my head a lot and thinking, "Well, this is okay, I guess but, wow, was it really over-hyped."

But then I was surprised by how much better I liked the second half. It's still flawed, but it gets entertainingly crazy in a way that mostly worked for me.

Rating: It's hard to know how to rate this. Putting the two halves of it together, I guess I'm going to call it 3.5/5. ( )
  bragan | May 12, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
WOW!! This book surprised me. I really didn't know what to expect when I started this book!! I loved the whole concept of there being multi-universes derived from our choices. I found myself remembering how I always wonder what would have happened if had chosen something else. Went down a different path, etc.

This book starts out with Jason, Daniela and Charlie in their house preparing dinner. Daniela makes her husband go to his friends party to celebrate his award. He does this reluctantly and that is when his whole life is altered.

To read a story based on a possibility of a physicist being able to create something that can take you down the different paths that could of happened if you had made a different choice, was just mind boggling. The ending leaves you wondering and I would love to see what happened. ( )
  crazy4reading | May 12, 2017 |
Jason Dessen is a physics professor at a small college in Chicago. His wife dispatches him to a reception for his grad-school roommate, Ryan, who has won a prestigious physics award, the Pavia.* Pulled aside by the honoree, Jason is reminded that he—Jason—was universally seen as destined to earn this award, not Ryan. But Jason set aside his research aspirations to marry Daniela and share in raising their son, Charlie.

That taunt rattles Jason, stirring up his insecurities, making him question—yet again—his self-worth, his contentment, his career-path choice. And it serves as the linchpin of this bizarre (ok, not bizarre for science-fiction) tale.

As he leaves the party, Jason is abducted at gunpoint and taken to an abandoned industrial site, relieved of his clothes, wallet, keys, and cell phone. Injected with drugs, he passes out. Coming to, he finds himself in a spotless, brightly lighted room, where a man named Leighton Vance welcomes him as an admired, long-lost colleague. While Vance is solicitous about Jason's well-being, he's displeased that Jason does NOT know him or anyone else in the place. Neither does he know anything about this brilliant work he's expected to continue. Worse, Vance is keeping him prisoner, preventing him from returning to his wife and son. He's terrified about what they are thinking of his failure to return, about what his abductor might have done to them. Given a bathroom break, Jason squeezes through a tiny window and takes off, Vance and posse of armed guards in hot pursuit. Eluding them at last, he makes his way home. Daniela and Charlie aren't there, and the house is different. As if it's occupied by just one guy, not a family. Next stop, a hospital ER. There he gets food and a good night's sleep. He learns that whatever chemicals are still in his system can't be identified and that efforts to contact Daniela Dessen have failed. She apparently doesn't exist. Neither does Charlie.

Jason again takes flight. Settled in a seedy hotel, he analyzes his predicament. The key, he tells himself, is to start small.

Focus on solving problems you can an­swer…. I have to separate myself from the fear, the paranoia, the terror, and simply attack this problem as if I were in a lab—one small ques­tion at a time….Why weren't Daniela and Charlie at our house last night?...No, that's still too big, too complex. Narrow the field of data….So this is where I'll start: Where is Daniela?...The sketches I saw last night on the walls of the house that isn't my house—they were created by Daniela Vargas. She had signed them using her maiden name. Why?...Then I return to the phone book and thumb through to the V's, stopping at the only entry for Daniela Vargas. I rip out the entire page and dial her number.

I'll leave you hanging there, but move on to the scientific jumping off point underlying Jason Dessen's enterprise. Accept, if you will, that he's recaptured by a Vance thug, returned to the lab, and there shown a twelve-foot cube the color of gunmetal.

My work in my late twenties involved a box much like this one. Only it was a one-inch cube designed to put a macroscopic object into superposition.
  Into what we physicists sometimes call, in what passes for humor among scientists, cat state.
  As in Schrodinger's cat, the famous thought experiment.
  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.
  But then things get really weird.
  Is there another world, just as real as the one we know, where we opened the box and found a purring, living cat instead?
  The Many-Worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics says yes.
  That when we open the box, there's a branch.
  One universe where we discover a dead cat.
  One where we discover a live one.
  And it's the act of our observing the cat that kills it—or lets it live.
  And then it gets mind-fuckingly weird….

So now you can clearly see where this story is going, right? I couldn't either. But it was great fun following along to the resolution. This is a rip-snorter that author Blake Crouch has created, a compelling page-turner. Both thumbs up for this'n.

*Fun Fact: in [Dark Matter], the prestigious physics award is named the Pavia Prize. In the Acknowledgements, Crouch thanks his "genius editor, Julian Pavia, who pushed me as hard as I've ever been pushed and made this book better on every page."
3 vote weird_O | May 11, 2017 |
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I love Thursday nights.
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Regrets and what-ifs /
Define a life the same /
As the choices made
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