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Group Reads 2017 > February 2017 Group read - Dark Matter

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message 1: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1089 comments This is to discuss February's group read, Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.


message 2: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1089 comments Strangely enough looking for this for the Kindle there are two separate books available at two completely different prices. It seems two different publishers, one version 2011 and the other 2016.


message 3: by Leo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leo | 547 comments Strange as it is from 2016, isn't it? I was lucky - found a translated copy in my library.


message 4: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1089 comments Ignore me for the 2011 I can't read properly it's one from Aug 11 2016 and the other Jul 26 2016!


Buck (spectru) | 895 comments I read Dark Matter a few months ago. Enjoyed it.


message 6: by Donna Rae (new) - added it

Donna Rae Jones | 99 comments Buck wrote: "I read Dark Matter a few months ago. Enjoyed it."

Yes, I read it back in the summer. I found it okay, but not enough to want to read it again so soon.


message 7: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1089 comments This one is particularly easy reading. I've managed to finish it in two days which is rare for me. I seem to feel the opposite of most of the reviews I read on goodreads as I really enjoyed the first half and then mixed feelings with the second half. (view spoiler)


message 8: by Leo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leo | 547 comments It sure is reading fast. I really like it so far, hope to finish it this week.


Martinw | 8 comments Finished it yesterday, was expecting more. It's not bad, I will give it three stars, but the simple prose and short sentences put me a little off. Furthermore, neither is the idea new, nor is the story based on it particularly fascinating or has a skilled solution. Also, there was no character development, which is strange, because
SPOILER
considering the fact that the many incarnations of the guy the box spawned seem to have developed very differently from our hero, though they have been the same person a month before, there should have happened very much, development-wise, in that time.
END SPOILER
(I have to add, I started reading it immediately after I read The Sparrow, which is a masterpiece and as such a hard act to follow.)


Martinw | 8 comments SPOILERS AHEAD

Jo wrote: "This one is particularly easy reading. I've managed to finish it in two days which is rare for me. I seem to feel the opposite of most of the reviews I read on goodreads as I really enjoyed the fir..."

How do I hide Spoilers? Anyway, just be warned. Here be SPOILERS.

The other Jasons started at the same point as our hero, so they belong into his world as much as he does. But due to the described nature of the multiverse, his and their paths divided some time AFTER his abduction, when they made decisions different from 'our' Jasons decisions. All of them were the one person who was abducted from Jason2, but when, for example, 'our' Jason decided to carry Amantha in the cold world, in a different universe that started to exist that exact moment because of the decision, Jason decided to proceed alone and leave her back.
This guy is also a Jason who was taken from the original world and has the same 'right' to live with Daniela and Charlie as 'our' Jason.
Whadoyouthink?


message 11: by Buck (new) - rated it 4 stars

Buck (spectru) | 895 comments Martinw wrote: "The other Jasons started at the same point as our hero, so they belong into his world as much as he does. "

The idea of other worlds is that there are an infinite number, some are completely different and some are quite similar. In some worlds Jason did not even exist, in some he was quite different from our protagonist, in some very similar, and every point in between. So every Jason is different. None is the same. It was just the wildest luck that our Jason prevailed in the climax of the story. Of course, if another had won out, he's the one we, the reader, would have followed from the beginning.

(view spoiler)


Martinw | 8 comments Martinw wrote: "SPOILERS AHEAD

Jo wrote: "This one is particularly easy reading. I've managed to finish it in two days which is rare for me. I seem to feel the opposite of most of the reviews I read on goodreads ..."


(view spoiler)


message 13: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1089 comments I understand the concept of the multi-universe but where I have the issue is that, it's not that you make a different decision and it splits but they are two separate streams. (view spoiler)


message 14: by Leo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leo | 547 comments Let me start with what this book taught me, and that is the insanity of the scientific theory about that cat in a box. All those Jason's! There could have been millions! Why aren't there millions anyway? Or, maybe there are millions but we read only about one of the infinite happy scenario's Jo mentions, with only some 50 of the millions of Jasons in it. The rest of them spread over all the other happy scenarios with just minimal differences like, say, the price of a beer is up 5 cent.
I don't buy it.
I agree with Martin that all those guys have the same rights. (not Jason2 of course). They all were searching desperately for their family. And its true what Buck says: we are only following one specific Jason, not because he is the original but because that is the one who wins the jackpot in the end.
Anyway, I enjoyed the story, not bothered by short sentences or other style problems I read about.


message 15: by Donna Rae (new) - added it

Donna Rae Jones | 99 comments It's really interesting reading everyone's different take on this. When I read it I understood it to be a fictional representation of quantum superposition - the theory that a particle (Jason) can be in an infinite number of potential states until observed (or a decision made) in which it then collapses down to that observed state. The question then is, what has happened in all those other potential states?

The big clue here is the metal box - a direct association with Schrodinger's famous analogy of the cat in the box (is it dead or alive? Impossible to know until the box is opened and it is observed. But while the box is still sealed, the cat is both dead and alive and any other state it is possible to be in). Therefore, all the other Jasons (view spoiler)

Of course, Mr Crouch wouldn't have had a story then.


message 16: by Buck (last edited Feb 07, 2017 05:08PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Buck (spectru) | 895 comments Here's a link to my review of Dark Matter, FWIW.
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
No spoilers.


Martinw | 8 comments Donna Rae wrote: "It's really interesting reading everyone's different take on this. When I read it I understood it to be a fictional representation of quantum superposition - the theory that a particle (Jason) can ..."

Good thinking! Now, that I think about it, you are completely right about the box. But then you are of course right about Mr. Crouch not having a story as well. :-)

Maybe ours is the only universe in which Blake Crouch did not think of that problem and wrote the story. We should consider ourselves lucky!


message 18: by Leo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Leo | 547 comments Donna Rae wrote: "since Jason 1 gave up his research, the metal box could not have existed within his potential and, therefore, Jason 1 could not have been abducted in the first place."
I don't know, in every alternative world there was a box where the protagonists crawled out and in, wasn't there? So the box simply appears in every world a traveller decides to get out. They go into a world through a door, but get out of a world through the box as I remembered.


message 19: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1089 comments I've been thinking about this book a lot and I can't work out why, the fact that the plot became a bit "iffy" has annoyed me so much. It's certainly not the worst book i've read in fact I quite enjoyed it. I've definitely read sci-fi with bigger holes in the plot than this one, but for some reason this one just bugs me. I'm going to start the runner up now The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, so will see how that one goes.


message 20: by Mandy (last edited Feb 22, 2017 07:17AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mandy S. (it_mandy) | 7 comments Hello all! As they say, "long term lurker, first time poster." ;)

I personally loved Dark Matter. I loved the action/thriller feel of certain moments that defined this book as a page-turner for me. I also felt that the level of suspended belief required was appropriate for the topic being explored. The mechanics of the box were explained just enough to understand Schrödinger's cat without getting into confusing specifics that distracted from the storyline. A+ book - my money is on it becoming a movie in the near future.

All that said, it was a very quick read. Left me wanting more, maybe branching or intersecting storylines of other Jasons' experiences... but then you'd be getting into some complicated story telling and organizing.

While I enjoyed the book overall, I wasn’t thrilled about the ending. I didn’t feel like the problem of infinite Jasons’ all trying to get their family back was solved, necessarily. Our Jason taking his family into the box and having his son choose a door instead doesn’t prevent the infinitely accruing amount of Jasons’ from trying to find them, although it does scramble up the game a bit. I feel like the infinite realities theory means this is a never-ending game of cat and mouse that can’t really be prevented nor solved. The goal of nearly every incarnation of Jason since entering the box was to get back to his family. Therefore, I felt like someone will always be searching for them (not to mention all the decisions and alternate realities that will be spawned once the Dessens enter their new world.)

And then I think about it too much and all the possibilities and timelines become quite confuddled in my brain! :D So, good book!


message 21: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1089 comments Mandy wrote: "Hello all! As they say, "long term lurker, first time poster." ;)
my money is on it becoming a movie in the near future.
..."


I have to agree I was thinking it could become a film or TV series. In fact I was wondering if it was written with that in mind, in the way it was so fast paced.


Mandy S. (it_mandy) | 7 comments Finally did a little Googling and found that it's already in the works!

http://deadline.com/2016/12/dark-matt...

"Sony and Tolmach have been high on Dark Matter since 2014, when it made a pre-emptive $1.25 million deal for the book based on Crouch’s 150-page partial manuscript. At the time, publishing rights for North America sold to Crown for more than $1 million."

Good for Crouch!


message 23: by Buck (new) - rated it 4 stars

Buck (spectru) | 895 comments Mandy wrote: "Hello all! As they say, "long term lurker, first time poster." ;)

I personally loved Dark Matter. I loved the action/thriller feel of certain moments that defined this book as a page-turner for me..."


Good analysis. And, for each and every Jason out there, there is a Jason's family.


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

I finished Dark Matter yesterday. It was very good. I love straightforward Sci Fi. I am not much into thrillers, but the science fiction saved it for me. '
Have any of you read the Long Earth series? I enjoyed them as well. Sort of a similar concept, but not.


message 25: by Buck (new) - rated it 4 stars

Buck (spectru) | 895 comments Grace wrote: "Have any of you read the Long Earth series? I enjoyed them as well. Sort of a similar concept, but not. "

I read The Long Earth, before the next one was published. Yes it is based on the same Many Worlds premise, but I found Dark Matter to be much more enjoyable.


message 26: by Suki (new) - rated it 4 stars

Suki St Charles (goodreadscomsuki_stcharles) | 27 comments I enjoyed this one a lot.

*SPOILER-ISH!*

Apart from the obvious physics questions and conundrums raised in other posts, it also brings up some other interesting questions: if you came across a version of your self who was having a much better life than you are, would you take it away? Is it wrong if you do it to yourself? Is it really yourself if you are living different lives and having different experiences in different timelines? At what point do you stop being yourself and become someone else? Is it cheating if your wife sleeps with you who are not you? I thought it was too bad that Jason found his way home, only to have to take his family to another reality. It is possible to just step into an alternate timeline and build a life, or will it ultimately reject you because you don't belong there? I found that the hallway scenes really got oppressive after a while- so many choices! So little time!

Overall, I thought that Crouch took a complex topic and turned it into a really interesting, quick and easy to read novel.


message 27: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1089 comments Seems everybody enjoyed this one! Has anybody read anything else by Blake Crouch? I've just read Pines which was also a fun read, again fast paced which some clever ideas.


Theresa Sl | 14 comments I didnt really get into the thriller style of the author. The book isn't great for me overall because of that, but I also am interested in ideas of observation and reality so I went through with it anyway.

Why I didn't like the style: the book spent too much space for my taste on suspension etc, while some mechanics are annoyingly fuzzy (view spoiler).

But on with more interesting ideas. I like Suki's question "Is it wrong if you do it to yourself?".
In the book itself the first two Jasons already have such vastly different moral systems and life priorities, they don't feel like the same person at all. But if they were more alike, I think it would be more difficult (as opposed to more 'wrong'). We could compare it with how we treat animals/sf characters/robots. It is more difficult for people to hurt animals that are behaviourally like people, like pets and apes, than to hurt for example reptiles. We also tend to like robots more if they look more humanoid.
All in all I don't think we can really have a morally solid ground why hurting yourself is more wrong than hurting someone else or some animals, I think it is just psychologically harder to hurt yourself.

The whole idea of quantum superposition on larger objects is really nice. For me it is very close to the question ""If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
The notion of observation determining your position and your universe is a large leap from quantum theory on the particle level, but it does speak to the imagination. For some people quantum theory might even be reason to think an all-observer (i.e. God) to explain the continuity of the world. It has been fun to explore the multiverse also through this book.


Martinw | 8 comments Suki wrote: "I enjoyed this one a lot.

*SPOILER-ISH!*

Apart from the obvious physics questions and conundrums raised in other posts, it also brings up some other interesting questions: if you came across a ve..."


My opinion to your question: "Is it cheating if your wife sleeps with you who are not you?":
There are two Jasons who are genetically identical, and differ from one certain moment one, when one makes decision A and the other one makes decision B, and the Multiverse splits again. Like identical twins, just after the moment when their ovum split into two different entities.
So: Is it cheating if your wife/husband sleeps with your identical twin?
What do you think of this analogy?


message 30: by Jo (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jo | 1089 comments Martinw wrote: "Suki wrote: "I enjoyed this one a lot.

*SPOILER-ISH!*

Apart from the obvious physics questions and conundrums raised in other posts, it also brings up some other interesting questions: if you cam..."


That's a difficult question, in theory yes, but I guess it depends if the decision has changed the personality or if the twin are still effectively the same person at the same point. These things always make my head ache thinking about them :-)


Goreti | 37 comments I bought the book yesterday, I resisted to start reading it because I'm finishing 3 other books. I've been lazy reader lately.


message 32: by Goreti (last edited Mar 07, 2017 04:10PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Goreti | 37 comments It's a really easy read I've read it in one day.
The plot is good and it has a bit of everything thriller, romance, horror and drama.

I also agree with some opinions regarding that there is something missing to be an excellent book.
(view spoiler)

I would also like to add that I liked the The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August better than this one, but I loved reading it.


message 33: by Jim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jim (jimmaclachlan) | 3967 comments Mod
I finally got around to reading this & I'm sorry it took so long. I gave it a 4 star review here:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

I don't think this is a book to read in one sitting, especially not the last half or so. Half of my enjoyment came from wondering what caused such dramatic differences. I had time to do so since I was just reading this for maybe 20 or 30 minutes at a time. It got me ready for another session.

I agree on the weak points that Goreti lists under his spoiler in the previous message, but I just rolled with them. It wasn't a problem for me to just concentrate on the face of the story.


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