“Dark Matter” is a sci-fi thriller with a side of romance (but in a good way). Jason Dessen is a physicist at a small college in Chicago. That is until he’s kidnapped, drugged, and wakes up in a world that is familiar and foreign all at the same time. Soon he realizes that the only way he can get back to his world is to remember what anchors him to his reality: his wife and son. Thus begins his journey back to his world and to find those he loves most.
Due to its thriller nature, it would be unfair of me to say more. To prepare yourself for this read, you’ll need a basic understanding of Schrodinger’s Cat (don’t ask me what the actual theory is). This becomes the basis for what happens in the plot; each time Jason attempts to get back to his world another reality is created. If you’re already feeling overwhelmed, the science really doesn’t take a major role in the book but every now and then there’s a few scientific tangents. If you can power through it, you’ll not become too bogged down.
One of the problems I did have with the book is the amount of science that is discussed and yet, by the same token, not really follow-through on. For instance, Jason delivers this monologue about how they’re safe in the box and reality, blah, blah, and then they hear someone else enter the box and another Jason walks by them, wounded and terrified. They never come across him again yet he’s mentioned later, but there’s not explanation given for how he would find his way into box. It might be a minor point, but it drives me crazy when there’s such a dramatic deal that ends up meaningless in the end.
The last item that really impacted my reaction to the book is the ending. After this thrilling journey back to home and loved ones and even then having to fight off pretenders to what Jason values most, the ending just happens. Some may like the open endedness of the ending, I found it lazy. I wanted more of a pay off after giving so much time and effort.
While the elements that I mentioned above impacted my rating for the book, I would still recommend it. It’s a very humanized look at science that you don’t often see in science fiction. The author was able to portray a man who is strong, but who also has weaknesses. His love for wife and son aren’t a distraction for him, but his anchor to reality. There’s also the many action scenes are very well written and make for an entertaining read.