Dark Matter: A Novel

Dark Matter: A Novel - Blake Crouch In time machine novels (which this is not), there are always two kinds of stories. One just assumes the time machine exist and uses it as a vehicle to tell the story, the other kind is the one that gets down into the weeds and explains what is really going on and what the paradoxes would be and so on. This story is not about time travel, but is about space travel and this one definitely falls into the first camp were the multiverse gateway pretty much just exists and the story itself is what is most important.

The author really is mostly interested in telling a story about how what it means to have an identity and how our choices matter. Every choice we make leads to the creation of potentially new reality with its own universe. Who we are is a sum of all the previous decisions we've made and also a dot product of the matrix of the choices that everyone in our world have made before us. Our identities are determined by the world we're thrown into and it's up to us to realize that our understanding about our own understanding can lead us to want a world where we just might not belong.

This story uses the Copenhagen Interpretation (CI) of quantum physics, a version of 'scientific anti-realism',which means events at the quantum level don't exist until they are observed (or cohere, or interact with other particles). Reality is not real until it is observed by an observer or coheres. Also, with that he'll take the interruption to the most extreme version of 'scientific realism' namely Hugh Everett III's Multi-World Interpretation (MWI), the point of view that actually takes away the observer from the CI and applies Occum's Razor leading to the elimination of having to have an observer and creating a new universe where every thing that is possible will happen with certainty. (For some reason the author didn't credit Hugh Everett III but pretty much mixes and explains the CI with the MWI).

The book was perfect book for me and my wife to listen to together on a long car trip. She found the story exciting (same as I did), and wasn't bothered by the lack of science know how within the story itself. For the life of me, I don't know why the book was called "Dark Matter", because Dark Matter (the glue that holds galaxies together, or has Neil deGrasse Tyson calls it, "Fred", the place holder for the currently unidentified matter transparent to light) doesn't play a role in the story.