Title: Dark Matter
Author: Blake Crouch
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 3 of 5
This book explores the idea of the infinite multiverse where every decision made generates a new alternate universe. What would happen if you were able to travel to alternate universes where an alternate you made different major life choices? It’s sort of an It’s a Wonderful Life scenario, but with a
magical sciencey box instead of Clarence the junior angel.
Okay, that’s a bit of an oversimplification, but I don’t want to give away any major spoilers. Suffice it to say that interaction with alternate universes, alternate selves, and alternate loved ones gets pretty convoluted. Some of the characterization is a bit flat and chichéd, and our main character makes some pretty dumb decisions for a world-class physicist, but if you’re really into the idea of an infinite multiverse (and aren’t put off by moderate amounts of profanity, drugs, semi-explicit sex, and gory violence), you’ll probably enjoy this book as fairly well-written, trippy sci-fi.
Personally, while I admired a lot of the plotting, this wasn’t my favorite. To me, the whole concept of every choice generating one or more alternate universes with alternate yous renders moot the very idea of a plot…why is the person who we are following any more the “real” person than one of the infinite alternates spawned by every choice made? To be fair, the book does acknowledge and incorporate this dilemma to a degree, but for me it kind of kills the joy of stories. Sure, the version I read ended this way, but it also ended in an infinite number of other ways none of which is more true than any other. Maybe I’m just overthinking it, but this kind of multiverse fiction just doesn’t work for me (I had similar issues with Michael Crichton’s Timeline).
3 thoughts on “It’s a Wonderful Life: Multiverse Edition”
My issues with Crouch stem from the fact that most of his “ideas and plots” seem to spring from shows like Star Gate SGI and Sliders. Which he can get away with with younger readers, but as a, ahem, “mature” man, I’ve seen that and his stuff is nothing but a pale copy. Not that I’m ready to rant against Crouch at the drop of a hat mind you 😉
It’s funny you mention Crichton, as I feel that Crouch has taken his place with pseudo-scyenze thrillers that are half baked 😀
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I don’t think I’ve read Crouch before, and I doubt I’ll bother again. The “box” that they travelled in was so ill-described that it was essentially magic. I don’t understand how it could exist in alternate universes where it was never invented or pop out in places other than the lab where it was created…makes no sense to me
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