Dark Matter


Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Blurb:

"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.”

Review:

What if I have lost my mind, what then?
What if everything I know is wrong?

Dark Matter is a surprisingly quick read. The writing is simple but beautiful, passages are sometimes drawn out over a long time (because Crouch tends to put each new sentence on a new line) and it's a generally interesting story, albeit a sometimes rather superficial feeling one.

I am not allowed to think I'm crazy.
I am only allowed to solve this problem.

I went into this book not knowing anything about it – well, actually, the German title spoiled me a little bit but I didn't know in what way it was connected to the story – and while I'm very happy about that decision I still felt like this book was kind of predictable. Not the science fiction part of it but the general succession of events, like the kidnapping. I immediately guessed whom Jason was being abducted by, I didn't know how yet but I knew what was going on. Or the ending of the book; I was pretty sure I knew how it would end without knowing how my scenario would/could happen (and I guessed correctly). I don't know what made this story predictable but, to me at least, it was.

Other than the predictability I also perceived the characters to be a little bit too distant. Meaning that I didn't care about them. Sure, when Amada suddenly disappears and is, basically, never spoken off again I did wonder what happened to her but I was never attached to the characters beyond a curiousity-level. Obviously, that makes it harder to convey emotions which, in this case, pretty much didn't happen for me.

Both my ability to foresee events and the distance I perceived towards the characters combined made me feel like this novel was rather superficial. Generally there is nothing wrong with that, moreover there were quite a few sci-fi novels which I love but only connected to superficially. However, in those cases the superficiality is usually balanced out by an overwhelming saturated story (like Mortal Engines a collection of fairy tales for robots by Stanislaw Lem). However, this book wasn't. The story was interesting and the science aspect was the best thing about it but it wasn't enough to overpower the feeling of superficiality.

"And we're not lost."
We are so fucking lost. Literally adrift in the nothing space between universes.
"We're not lost."

What I did like about this book, however, was the science aspect. I guess everyone has, at some point, wondered about the possibilities of the multiverse (a concept, in my experience, rather easily explained and pretty quickly grasped) but this book did manage to put such reflections into context. It manages to convey an uncanny message about all the possibilities of development we encounter but never notice. At some point of the story I wondered whether it could have been possible to simply change the narrator without anyone noticing. A thought whose possibility, in and of itself, I find highly interesting. 

Rating:

Frankly, I'm kinda disappointed but that doesn't mean it's a bad story (at all): 3/5 stars, maybe I'll change it to 3.5/5 stars at a later point.

Details:

Name: Dark Matter
Deutscher Titel: Dark Matter – Der Zeitenläufer
Author: Blake Crouch
Publisher: Crown
Pages: 342
Where?: Amazon (English edition), Amazon (Deutsche Ausgabe)

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