Beyond Reality discussion

Dark Matter
This topic is about Dark Matter
57 views
Previous BotM--DISCUSSIONS > Dark Matter: Finished Reading "**SPOILERS!**

Comments Showing 1-30 of 30 (30 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Nick (new)

Nick (doily) | 966 comments Please let us know if you have finished Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.

You may include **SPOILERS!** in this thread. Feel free to start up a lively discussion. (As always, be courteous and respectful to the opinions of others.)


G.H. Eckel (gheckel) | 4 comments The center of the book is Jason wanting to get back to his wife. I think it's what humanizes Jason and helps us care for him.

The multiverse is very odd science. I think all of us can relate to it in this novel not as physics majors but as someone who has ever said, "If I'd only done this then, my life would be better."

The fact that Jason actually gets the chance to live his "what if" life only to discover that the choices he did make in his life (to be with his wife) made him happier is interesting and something we can learn from.


carol. | 173 comments Interesting that you think Jason's wanting to get back to his wife humanizes him, G.H. By the end of the tale, I thought he was obsessive-creepy. Yes, he wanted his own life back, but he basically stalked his wife in most of the scenarios, not his child. I had a very hard time with characterization in this book. I felt like Jason was very underdeveloped, and couldn't see where Jason and Jason2 were supposed to be the same core people (until that time point). Except, of course, their obsession with Dani.


G.H. Eckel (gheckel) | 4 comments LOL. I get the creepiness but really it was just an overwhelming desire to be back with the woman and life he loved. It only appeared like an obsession to the reader because Jason had to go through 48 universes to get back to her. :-)


message 5: by Rob (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rob | 15 comments I finished this a few weeks ago and found the writing style to be compulsively readable. This one took two days and actually started Pines on a flight last night and ended up staying up way too late finishing it.

That being said I did have some issues with the writing as well. I have to agree with Carol that Jason was kind of creepy and not terrribly developed or likable. The most interesting character for me was the psychiatrist who travelled with him. I was hoping he would give up on his wife who also bored me as that relationship was much more interesting. I guess in thinking about it I'm not such a fan of Blake Chrouch's characters, but love his storytelling.

Another thing that drove me crazy though was the constant references to how poor Jason was, how he never had money, but it never really mattered. I know he was homeless / a bum for a few pages but every time he was broke it seemed he would go to another reality and somehow money was no longer an issue.


message 6: by Chris, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chris (heroncfr) | 513 comments Mod
I'll join in the consensus with both "obsessively readable" and "creepy". I couldn't put the book down, just what I needed in between heavier reading assignments for class. At first I was behind Jason's motivation for returning to his wife (save her from Jason 2!), but he definitely became more compulsive and stalker-ish. At least he didn't become as demented and homicidal as some of the other Jasons. Rob, I agree with your observation on the money situation as well -- lack of money was never a problem for long. But overall I thought this was an entertaining tale.


Random (rand0m1s) | 820 comments As someone who has been married for 22 years (and hope to stay that way for the rest of my life), I can very much relate to Jason's desire to return to his family and his life. And after all those years, we can be pretty boring at times. That feels very realistic to me, especially since we actually see very little of Dani until near the end of the book.

What I found most fascinating was the multitude of Jasons who came about after he was first sent into the box and how they differed from one another. It could be seen as an example about how much we can be changed by our life experiences.

I am glad he didn't dive too far into Dani's quandary at the end. All of them had actually been her husband up until the moment he was put into the box. All of them (other than Jason2) were just as legitimate as the rest. That could have been dragged out into some serious drama.

The ending seemed perfect to me. Actually once we knew the plan was to go back into the box, I remembered thinking that ending the book just as they were going into the new world would be perfect. Though I think I would have ended it before we had any idea of what was on the other side.

The multiverse is infinite. In mathematics, infinity divided by any number is still infinity. This means that there are an infinite number of possible outcomes, good, bad, or boring. Not showing anything past that point I feel emphasizes that idea.

I did have a couple of technical issues. First, in order for the box to completely isolate you from the reality outside, it would have to be air tight. You'd start having difficulty breathing after a while, depending on the box's size.

The second is, how in the world did Jason2 manage to send Jason back to his very specific world? It had been established that destination could be controlled somewhat by the person's subconscious. He was pretty much out of it the entire time. Unless jason2's prompts about things he regretted were the stimulus? I am unsure there.


carol. | 173 comments Random wrote: "The second is, how in the world did Jason2 manage to send Jason back to his very specific world? It had been established that destination could be controlled somewhat by the person's subconscious. He was pretty much out of it the entire time. Unless jason2's prompts about things he regretted were the stimulus? "

Yes! I had that same thought as I was writing my review--since it took so much searching for the original Jason to find his exact time.

It also occurred to me that though we as humans love to think of our lives in terms of 'choices,' both made and not made, there's also the circumstances that are the slow erosion of choices, of the lack of anything working well, when any action we take still won't make things different, and our only 'choice' is how we cope (what if Dani had stage 4 incurable breast cancer?). I think there was one brief section where Crouch started to get into that topic, but most of the story was written with the 'choice' paradigm. I thought that was a serious limitation in the story.


Random (rand0m1s) | 820 comments Carol. wrote: "It also occurred to me that though we as humans love to think of our lives in terms of 'choices,' both made and not made, there's also the circumstances that are the slow erosion of choices, of the lack of anything working well, when any action we take still won't make things different, and our only 'choice' is how we cope (what if Dani had stage 4 incurable breast cancer?). I think there was one brief section where Crouch started to get into that topic, but most of the story was written with the 'choice' paradigm. I thought that was a serious limitation in the story. ."

I don't know if I would exactly call it a limitation. It was touched on in a couple of worlds (the one frozen over and the one with the sickness). I don't think he could spend too much time exploring the different worlds, I think it would have made things drag on a bit too much.

But I would agree that I feel that is also an important factor. I've long been a proponent that sometimes there are no right decisions. No happily ever afters no matter how hard those involved try. Sickness, an earthquake, a drunk driver. Charlie was born premature and maybe the doctors weren't able to save him.


message 10: by Jim (last edited Feb 07, 2017 11:33AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim Mcclanahan (clovis-man) | 480 comments I'm wondering if the author is a David Byrne fan:

"And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself
Well...How did I get here?
And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go to?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right?...Am I wrong?
And you may say to yourself
My God!...What have I done?! "

A somewhat Dan Brown-ish tale with a lot of one sentence paragraphs. It moves along well and doesn't bog down in details. But I'm not sure this really qualifies as "Science Fiction". Jason's obsession with finding his family, the morphing of many characters into evil antagonists, the vapid and somewhat sappy dialogue push this one outside my comfort zone. Although lip service is given to the laws of physics (easily broken, it seems), there is no real examination of the process, just a magic box.

The basic human questions regarding our ultimate roles in life and our need to fulfill our dreams while also having familial satisfaction could be explored in many other contexts which could also be more credible. The obsessive pursuit of Daniela and Charlie grows pale as the story progresses.

An interesting tale, but I won't be looking for more from this author.


message 11: by G.H. (new) - rated it 5 stars

G.H. Eckel (gheckel) | 4 comments Did anyone else think there was going to be a love triangle with Jason, his wife, and the woman, whose name I forget, that travels with Jason? In the middle of the book, that woman disappears. I guess love triangles are a bit cliche but it held me in some suspense.


message 12: by Jim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jim Mcclanahan (clovis-man) | 480 comments G.H. wrote: "Did anyone else think there was going to be a love triangle with Jason, his wife, and the woman, whose name I forget, that travels with Jason? In the middle of the book, that woman disappears. I guess love triangles are a bit cliche but it held me in some suspense."

The way it was presented, it seemed to provide an opportunity for Jason to underscore his virtue. I wondered why Amanda didn't ditch him earlier, even before he showed all his creepy stalker traits. After all, she facilitated his escape and then went along for the journey when they were just figuring it out. But after a time, it seemed odd that she would continue to travel with him. Her ultimate choice to leave made good sense, but would have been more logical to have happened earlier.


message 13: by Bruce (last edited Feb 08, 2017 07:36PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bruce (bruce1984) I thought Dark Matter was an effective way to illustrate the multiverse superposition idea of the universe to us non-physicists. It kind of brought the theoretical into the realm of real choices and what it could mean for real lives.

I thought the book itself started out fast and moved along good. The writing style, short paragraphs, some of them even one word paragraphs, lent well to the fast pace. It bogged down a bit for me in the middle while they were chasing through all those other worlds. I could have done without some of that, but the ending was pretty good again with Jason fighting all the other Jason's to get his wife back.

I agree that the "magic box" was lame, but anything else might have slowed down the pace too much.


Random (rand0m1s) | 820 comments Bruce wrote: "It bogged down a bit for me in the middle while they were chasing through all those other worlds. I could have done without some of that, but the ending was pretty good again with Jason fighting all the other Jason's to get his wife back.

I agree that the "magic box" was lame, but anything else might have slowed down the pace too much. "


That's exactly where it bogged down for me as well.

In regards to the "magic box", it doesn't bother me quite as much as the POV Jason had little idea how it worked either. Or at least that's what I tell myself. :)

Of course, I'm also very curious how the formula for the drug works as well.


Bruce (bruce1984) Random wrote: "In regards to the "magic box", it doesn't bother me quite as much as the POV Jason had little idea how it worked either. "

That's a good point. If the POV Jason didn't know how it worked then it would seem like 'magic' to him.

I don't think I would have taken that drug!


message 16: by Todd (new) - rated it 4 stars

Todd | 27 comments Well that was a fun read, I actually enjoyed very much his writing style.

Felt that Jason ended up in a very dark place with his obsession, and indeed a lot of his actions were quite oogly creepy - seems weird this behaviour is more easily forgiven when it's about love and coupling, but that's our world I suppose. Ugh.

While reading I kept having flashbacks to The Man Who Folded Himself, I suppose parallel universe types of books do that?

Haven't read any others by this author, have seen a couple of episodes of Wayward Pines, didn't know he wrote it, so now very interested in reading that trilogy. If it's half as good as this well then I'm sure I'll enjoy those books too.

Good choice this book!


Rachel | 67 comments Just finished Dark Matter which seemed like a thriller trying on mommy's sci-fi clothes. It just didn't have the feel of science fiction despite the multiverse and mysterious drug, etc. Certainly seemed made for tv/movie - just not comparable to things like too like the lightening or ninefox gambit, or deaths end which I'll probably do next.

Side note - how do you link books from the GR app???


message 18: by Alexandra (last edited Feb 14, 2017 12:17AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alexandra I joined the group because I was itching to discuss this book with someone. I just posted a loooong review on it. I saw that some people here complained about the "magic box".
I personally was OK with the box, because it reminded me of the time travel concept from Time and Again by Jack Finney where all you needed for time travel was hypnosis. So the box controlled by subconsciousness was fine with me.

What really bothered me from the sci fi part is this (copying from the review)

!!! Geeky!!!

The number of worlds in the multiverse is infinite. So if Jason gets branched, it should be also infinite number of copies. Infinite number of copies can go to infinite number of worlds and you can argue that each world will get just one copy. However, they all try to get to one and the same world. Part of infinity, by the way, is also infinity. So even if not all Jasons make it back to the home world, it's still an infinite number. Guess what? There won't be 50 or 100 Jasons. There should be a constant stream of Jasons coming out of the box. Hordes of them. They would simply take over the world, finally - Earth is not infinite, so some Jasonpocalypse is coming to his home universe.

Also branching of Jasons have another problem. Where is energy for creating those copies coming from? Infinite worlds were created at Big Bang or similar events. They are not created constantly, they already exist, just in infinite numbers. However, new Jasons do not belong to any of the preexisting worlds. They are being created anew. What provides the mass for those extra human bodies? Is it coming from one of the worlds? Which one? Multiverse is a closed system, as far as this book goes. The energy conservation law still applies.

And finally, if Jason1 can branch, then Jason2 can branch too. So Jason2, the inventor, comes into the box and travels there for some time. He gets branched, but he is not looking for one particular world, he is looking for a world where he made a different choice. There is an infinite number of those worlds, so each of those Jason2s can get his own.

However, at least a part of those Jason2s decides to send original Jasons back to his home world. And part of the infinity is still infinity. So even in the world where the box was invented, they should not get just a single Jason - they should get an infinite number of them. So... no book. Or at least a very different book, with Jasonpocalypse in the Jason2's world.

--------------

What do you think of the above? Is there anyway out of that logical trap? To be honest, the book/the author/the character never discusses any of those things, so it's just me wondering.


message 19: by Random (last edited Feb 14, 2017 11:24AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Random (rand0m1s) | 820 comments Some interesting points.

Re: infinite worlds and infinite copies
In the same vein, the last bit was likely mirrored, with slight variations, in an infinite number of worlds.

Re: Energy of creating the Jasons.
Future branches basically come from the same place as past ones. To at least have a Jason, there was a big bang, humans evolved, wars fought, achievements achieved, etc.

Re: Branchesof Jason2.
Yep, there are likely an infinite number of Jason2s triggering similar or the same events. In some he never found the one he wanted. In some, he perhaps died in a hostile world. In some, something didn't go right and he never went anywhere. This ties into my first comment that the portion of the book where Jason returned to his world was likely played out in variations in an infinite number of worlds.

One thing to keep in mind. All of those Jason's at the end came about because of that Jason2's actions. They all split off from the MC Jason after he escaped into the box from Jason2's world.

Isn't infinity fun. Divide it by 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 and you still get infinity. :)

Though I do agree I feel it is still a stretch that Jason ended up in that specific Jason2's world.


message 20: by Bruce (last edited Feb 15, 2017 06:47PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bruce (bruce1984) My limited understanding of quantum physics is that it's not individual superpositions. The universe is one ginormous superposition all interconnected. So the Jason's wouldn't actually have their own individual wave functions. They would be part of the ginormous universe superposition.

Physicists often talk about the wave function for this or that particle collapsing, (much like they talk about particles that don't actually exist) but my understanding is that its one part of an interconnected wave function looking into another part of an interconnected wave function making it appear to collapse into choices.

And if you understand that, you should be giving speeches at MIT or something!


Alexandra Random wrote: "
Re: infinite worlds and infinite copies
In the same vein, the last bit was likely mirrored, with slight variations, in an infinite number of worlds.
"

I see... So although Jason thinks he got back to his real home world, there is actually an infinite number of those home worlds, so we have this spread of infinity over infinity still. But yes, multiple Jasons in one world (Jason's world) and only one in another (Jason2's world) still doesn't make much sense.

Bruce wrote: "The universe is one ginormous superposition all interconnected. So the Jason's wouldn't actually have their own individual wave functions. They would be part of the ginormous universe superposition. "

Not sure I understand (no MIT for me)... But from what you are saying there should be no book at all. Jasons are parts of their own universes and no box can help them to escape. Right?


Random (rand0m1s) | 820 comments Wish I could quote from the mobile app.

Not quite. Technically there are an infinite number of Jasons who originated from that specific world (they split when Jason left Jason 2's world).

But at the same time there are also an infinite number of Jason2 who created the box and may or may not have set off a similar set of events. In those cases, confrontation at the end would have taken place in different worlds, if a confrontation happened at all.


Bruce (bruce1984) Alexandra wrote: "Not sure I understand (no MIT for me)... But from what you are saying there should be no book at all. Jasons are parts of their own universes and no box can help them to escape. Right? "

No MIT for me either, but that sounds right. Still, the premise of the book is more fun.


message 25: by Random (last edited Feb 19, 2017 08:33PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Random (rand0m1s) | 820 comments Random wrote: "Technically there are an infinite number of Jasons who originated from that specific world (they split when Jason left Jason 2's world). ."

Is it a sad sign when you start quoting yourself?

I'm actually unsure where the divisions happened that created all of the Jasons we saw near the end. All of them chose Dani over his career. All of them had Charlie. All of them taught undergrad physics. All of them went to the bar that night to see his friend (forget name) on his achievement. All of them felt jealous. All of them were taken by gunpoint to the box, etc.

The important concept is that it wasn't all of them, it was just one. They just stopped being just one once they went into jason2's world.

Now here's the fun part. Every steo along the path is a new branch of divergence. And, as someone else mentioned earlier, its not even Jason's choices that cause divergence.

The book, however, followed only one major branch of divergence.

Bruce, thanks for the book suggestion. I have really enjoyed some of Sean Carroll's other works. I will have to give that one a go. Which also reminds me, there;'s another one of his books I've been wanting to give a try for quite a while now.


Bruce (bruce1984) Random wrote: "Bruce, thanks for the book suggestion. I have really enjoyed some of Sean Carroll's other works. I will have to give that one a go. Which also reminds me, there;'s another one of his books I've been wanting to give a try for quite a while now. "

Sure thing! Just so you know, it's more about the bayesian reasoning and the existence of a soul than about quantum physics.


message 27: by Christopher (new) - added it

Christopher Brennan | 8 comments Back up a second here and explain something very basic to me, please.
The last act hinges upon the idea that the fragmenting nature of the multiverse caused 100 variant Jason1 to split off and all get home to Universe1.
Now if that's the premise, explain to me why there aren't 100 fragmented Jason2 copies showing up in chapter 1 at the start of all this.


Bruce (bruce1984) Christopher wrote: "Back up a second here and explain something very basic to me, please.
The last act hinges upon the idea that the fragmenting nature of the multiverse caused 100 variant Jason1 to split off and all ..."


Yeah that's a good point. Presumably Jason2 would have done the same thing in the first chapter that Jason1 did later in the book, so there should have been.


message 29: by Tad (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tad (tottman) | 17 comments Christopher wrote: "Back up a second here and explain something very basic to me, please.
The last act hinges upon the idea that the fragmenting nature of the multiverse caused 100 variant Jason1 to split off and all ..."


That's the problem with the infinity portion of the multiverse. There is a universe like you describe. We're just not reading about it. We're in the one where 100 Jason2 copies didn't show up.

One of the things I took from the book is that the original Jason had to wrestle with the fact that he may not be back in his original universe but in one that is "close enough". Likewise, I enjoyed that dilemma in the middle part of the novel as he contemplates, either explicitly or implicitly, whether he will ever find his way back and whether at some point he will either make the decision or not have any more options and have to stay in a universe he knows is not the one he came from.


message 30: by Christopher (new) - added it

Christopher Brennan | 8 comments It does bring things back to the infinite multiverse dis-proof by contradiction: if there are infinite parallel worlds of all combinations ever possible, then one of those would be a world where there is no infinite multiverse of variants.


back to top