Dark Matter by Blake Crouch is a book I didn’t expect to leave a lasting impression on me. I picked up this book with the idea it would be a fun scifi novel to read over the weekend at my cottage. I didn’t have any high expectations. I definitely did not expect it to become one of my favourite books. I can almost guarantee you that I’ll be thinking about this books years and years from now.
So, what is Dark Matter all about? The story centres around Jason Dessen who is a physics professor in Chicago. He has a normal, and happy life, with a wife and teenage son. One night he is kidnapped by someone who asks him if he’s truly happy with the choices he has made in life. After being beaten, and drugged, Jason wakes up to a world that is eerily similar to his. But, it’s not his world. Throughout the novel, he tries to figure out where he is, and how he can get back to his family, and his world.
I don’t want to get too detailed about the science, and plot of this novel, because I think what makes this novel so great is the discovery of what Jason is going through. The one resonating message of the novel that stands out to me is the topic of choice. Choices are made by everyone, and these choices have consequences. Unknowingly to us, these choices determine where our lives end up. A lot of people have regrets about the choices they made, and wish to correct their wrongs. Maybe you went to a university you didn’t like, or your first career choice wasn’t the right one. What this novel explores is what happens when you have the chance to live out the life you could have had.
What I found so thought provoking was this question of choice, and what it does to us. The easiest way to look at life is to regret all the poor decisions you’ve made. But, what this novel suggests is that even with these choices, we can still have a life that we can still appreciate. You can live with the regret, or you can make your present and future better. I think the latter is better. Since I finished reading Dark Matter, it almost reaffirmed my belief of not living with regret. I can mope and pout about all the things I did, or didn’t do, but I wouldn’t have the life I have now without those choices. I’m extremely happy, and appreciate where my life has taken me. This is probably not what you were expecting from a scifi novel, right?
Dark Matter reminded me a lot of All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai. They both have similar concepts, but I think Blake Crouch touches upon the science, and philosophy, in a more eloquent way. I still think All Our Wrong Todays is a fantastic book, but Dark Matter is almost exceptional in comparison. I think Dark Matter is great book to read if you love science fiction, and if you like books that will resonate with you in a profound way. I would definitely recommend this book if you also liked All Our Wrong Todays.
I give Dark Matter by Blake Crouch a 5/5.