"Dark Matter" by Blake Crouch

I can officially say that I got tired of Blake's fiction, just like Asimov's style — which is more of a compliment than a criticism. "Dark Matter" looks too much like "Recursion" in how the story progresses. We have the main character that gets thrown out of his life by some sci-fi mumbo-jumbo, then we slowly learn about how the world of the book works. We think there can be nothing else to surprise. Then Blake throws a banger at us with a new plot twist. Then he escalates the sci-fi to the extreme — all followed by a happy ending.

This system works, which is why both "Dark Matter" and "Recursion" read so well. Unfortunately, my expectations were too high after multiple people remarked that "Dark Matter" was more mind-blowing than "Recursion." Even though the author wrote the novels three years apart, it almost feels like the spacial travel from the earlier work has evolved into the temporal travel in the latter. Even though the two books have nothing to do with each other (probably even set in different universes), one could make an argument that you should first read "Dark Matter" and only then "Recursion," not the other way around like I did.

One thing that "Dark Matter" does better is the feeling of negative premeditations. The main character loses his "perfect" life and struggles to return it. Blake describes the protagonist's thoughts at lengths, making him ever so human. I didn't only relate to Jason, but the author stroked some intense strings in my consciousness. Finishing "Dark Matter" made me value "my world" more than before. Even though I'm an avid follower of stoicism, experiences like this — living in the skin of a fictional character — uncover the true nature of one's desires.

I don't think I'll read any more of the older works by Crouch — but I will indeed read the new ones, and I'm now anxiously awaiting the movie adaptation of the "Dark Matter" in the works!