“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.”
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? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.
Novels with parallel universe typically confuse me. I spend a lot of time trying to follow the thread of each story lines. It’s a complicated subject that I more often than not, usually stay away from. I don’t know what it was that attracted me to this book. But when Penguin Random House Canada sent me an email, my curiosity won out and I requested a copy.
The story begins with a married couple whom on the surface, looks content. One is a professor teaching college level Physics and his wife, a former artist who is also a teacher. Their lives couldn’t be further from what they imagined them to be. But they could not admit the regrets of the choices they’ve made. See, Jason Dessen was once a brilliant Physicist on the cusp discovering something big; and his wife, Daniella was an artist on the verge of stardom. When she got pregnant with their son, they’ve made a choice to forgo their dreams and focus on the family they’re about to become. During the course of their marriage, Jason couldn’t help but think about how different their lives would’ve been. And like a self-fulfilling prophecy, Jason got his answer when he was abducted, beaten and woke up in a facility he doesn’t know and a life that wasn’t his.
So this was unexpected. I didn’t think it was possible to enjoy a Sci-Fi such as Dark Matter, but it happened. And with all the versions of Jason’s I had to sift through, it was a wonder how I didn’t end up screaming for the hills. It has a very interesting concept. One that involves a lot of Science I’d rather not bore you with. Basically, it’s about a guy who has an evil version of himself that invented this cube that can take him to different worlds – universes that had an infinite number of Jason’s. He had to find his home but each door leads to terrifying versions of his realities. I was terrified for him and had to constantly fight off the urge to skip ahead just to see whether or not he made it home. With every turn of the page, you’ll see every conceivable versions of the worlds dictated by his thoughts before jumping into the “box”. It was a heart stopping torture.
Dark Matter could easily have been confusing especially when the author chose a seemingly omniscient narrator to tell the story. With all the versions of Jason running around, it was tough to make sense of what was happening sometimes. But if you’re fully vested in the story, it wouldn’t be so bad. I like that this Sci-Fi has a heart. You’ll feel for the Jason that was lost and one who was willing to sacrifice himself just so his wife and his son can have a future and a life without having to worry about being hunted all their lives. I also like that no matter how technical Crouch can be at times, it wasn’t all that clinical or sterile like most of the Sci-Fis I’ve read so far. I didn’t have a hard time understanding all the thingamajigs and such. Overall, Dark Matter is easily a 2016 favorite. Multiverse trope isn’t a new thing to Sci-Fi, but for once, I didn’t have to work too hard to understand all its idiosyncrasies.