Recursionby Published 11 Jun 2019
|Publisher||Crown Publishing Group (NY)|
Memory makes reality.
That’s what New York City cop Barry Sutton is learning as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.
That's what neuroscientist Helena Smith believes. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious memories. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.
As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face-to-face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.
But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?
A dark, sci-fi thriller that had my mind bending in many directions!
From the author of Dark Matter , which has been on my reading list for some time, but still haven't read it yet.
Would you like a do-over of your life? Hmm, that seems like a loaded question and it is! This was quite an edge of your seat, genre crossover that had me needing answers and quick.
A brilliant neuroscientist Helena Smith, has developed technology that will redefine how we think about time and memory. Playing with time and timelines is where she is headed and some seedy people just might want a piece of this technology. "Pandora's box has been flung open."
I really enjoyed this fast read, although it took some "work" on my part. A lot happens and moves quite quickly- think Evelyn Hardcastle meets time machine. Lets talk equations, science, timelines, and memory loopy de loops. If you have the patience, this is an entertaining, far-out puzzle to enjoy.
Interested? Step right in, buckle up, place the helmet on and lets mess with time!
Thanks to NG/Crown for my review copy.
Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
Fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.
Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.
Pink Floyd - Time
I am just going to say it – Blake Crouch is the King of Modern Speculative Science Fiction!
Here is your crown, Your Majesty! We are not worthy!
Imagine trying to follow up Dark Matter with something just as unique and mind blowing? I think I probably would have just stopped there if I had written it. The apex would have been reached. There is no way I could have topped it. Even trying would probably have fallen flat . . . feeling like I just could not have done any better.
To which Emperor Crouch says, “HOLD MY BEER!”
Recursion is just as mind blowingly unique as Dark Matter. And, much like Dark Matter I cannot say too much about why it is awesome and mind blowing without ruining it. So, I will give you an idea of in what way it blew my mind by comparing to a scene from an episode of Black Mirror. This comparison will not spoil Recursion, but it will spoil Black Mirror, so I will put it in a spoiler tag. If you have watched all Black Mirror episodes or don’t care about spoilers, you can click it without concern.
So, my mind was blown in the same way as [spoilers removed] Trying to wrap my brain around that scenario is the exact same type of brain wrapping I had going on with this book!
If you loved Dark Matter, you must read this!
If you love speculative fiction/sci-fi, you must read this!
I have no complaints, to me it is just as perfect as I thought Dark Matter was. The only downside is now I will have to wait a long time to see what King Crouch will do next!
Creative. Though-provoking. Emotionally-charged. Memorable.
Whether you’re a reader that frequents the sci-fi genre, or one that only occasionally takes a risk when it comes to the suspension of disbelief (hello, that’s me!), recognizing and appreciating the level of creativity behind Blake Crouch’s work takes little effort. Time and again, Crouch has proven just how rewarding it can be to take a chance on something different. Something totally outside of my typical. With Dark Matter (one of my all-time favorite books) and now Recursion, Crouch presents readers with a mind-bending reality. While each book provides its own unique and fully immersive journey, they share the provocation of deep thought and emotion on the part of the reader.
Fair or not, my feelings for Dark Matter sent me into Recursion with the highest of hopes. Hopes that I thought were going to be shattered early on when focusing felt undoable. A science guru I am not. Wrapping my head around what these characters were trying to achieve with memory recalibration, while simultaneously trying to foreshadow how Crouch would tie the two timelines together, felt taxing on my brain. So much so, I had to take a breath for a few days. Following that brief timeout, I did would I should have from the beginning. Instead of trying to make sense of it all—way too early on—I handed the reins back to Crouch and put my faith in his ability to tell an unforgettable story. And sure enough, along the same vein as Dark Matter, there was no walking away unscathed or unmoved by his words or these characters.
The first tease of the storylines converging was all it took for the pitter-patter of this idealistic heart of mine to speed up. And wouldn’t you know, the two characters in question not only managed to steal my heart, but to hold it captive for the entirety of the remaining pages. It was with hope, fear, and bated breath that this lover of love watched the couple’s pilgrimage play out. There’s something to be said for Crouch’s ability to relay a love story of this caliber within such an intricate and science-based thriller. There are romance authors out there who fail to pull off such an unwavering love; one that transcends several iterations, at that.
“My soul knows your soul. In any time.”
From the very beginning to beyond the final words, Crouch’s exploration of memory, and what it would mean to have the ability to go back and undo those moments that tether our pain, proves to be more than just imaginative fiction.
Life with a cheat code isn’t life. Our existence isn’t something to be engineered or optimized for the avoidance of pain.
That’s what it is to be human—the beauty and the pain, each meaningless without the other.
*Thanks to my #bookbestie Haley for sending me a gorgeous ARC and for ensuring that I didn’t miss out on this mighty piece of fiction. ♥
But what do you cling to, moment to moment, if memories can simply change. What, then, is real?
Imagine you woke up one morning and discovered that your entire life - your job, your kids, your friends, all your experiences - wasn't real. It still feels real. You remember it vividly. But you also suddenly remember another life; your real life. And you are told that the life you remember is a result of FMS (False Memory Syndrome)-- an illusion created by your brain.
I don't know about you, but that thought is horrifying.
In this book, New York City cop Barry Sutton investigates the suicide of a woman with FMS. She killed herself after trying to make contact with the husband from her false memories and finding him married with a child. How strange it is that she remembers an entire life with a man who exists, but he doesn't seem to remember her at all. Barry finds himself needing answers.
Eleven years earlier, neuroscientist Helena Smith conceives of a technology that can preserve memories and could eventually be a cure for the Alzheimer's that is stealing away her mother's mind. Funded by a mysterious billionaire, Helena builds something that enables people to relive their precious memories. But she never foresees the darker side of the project-- the side that triggers an unraveling of, not only the past, but reality itself.
Needless to say, these two stories collide and it is some mind-bendingly awesome stuff. Crouch has written yet another weird, compelling and oddly romantic book. Like Dark Matter, you can expect this book to get bigger and wilder than you ever imagined before even a hint of a solution rears its head.
I do also really enjoy how the author brings a lot of heart to these sci-fi thrillers. Sometimes sci-fi books feel a little cold and emotionally-distant, but Recursion is ultimately a very emotional and human story. Stories about memories really get to me, because our memories and experiences make us who we are. I am my memories. And one of the saddest things I can think of is not being remembered by someone you love deeply.
A thrilling story with very moving moments.
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"He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past."
- George Orwell, 1984
This was a book I had to sit and think about before writing my review, mainly because I had to let it sink it. What would it be like to live your life over again? What would it be like to go back and change past events? How would this action affect your future? How would it affect the future of others? This book is deep and is thought provoking.
Blake Crouch has written a very ambitious and carefully crafted book about memory, preserving memory, shifting reality, and using our memories and dangers associated with altering these things. He does this with skill and finesse. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall while he was writing this.
Neuroscientist Helena Smith has dedicated her life to inventing a device which will preserve our memories. Her intentions are pure. She wants to help her Mother who has Alzheimer’s, she wants to help those experience their happy times once again. But what happens when people begin experiencing False Memory Syndrome - a syndrome that causes irrational behavior in those who experience memories of lives they never lived.
NYC police officer Barry Sutton begins to investigate the syndrome, he learns that there is more going on than meets the eye (or memory). As he digs deeper, he becomes more involved until he is knee deep in neuroscience, time, memories and a lifetime of trying to get things right.
I highly recommend making note of the date/YEAR on each chapter as this book is told in both timelines. Things jump around a bit and can be confusing if you are not on your toes keeping track of your time lines. This is a book I really needed to sit and ponder after reading. I found that the more I thought about this book, the more I enjoyed it.
Blake Crouch has a brilliant creative mind and he puts it to good use in this book. The beginning of this book was work for me until I found my rhythm with this book. Fans of his previous book Dark Matter will enjoy this one as well. I did enjoy Dark Matter more mainly because I found it was easier to follow but his one is good, but it took a little more (okay, a lot more) work on my part.
I also loved that not only is this science fiction it is also a love story and Crouch writes some beautiful passages such as “...I want to breathe the same air as you every minute of every day of my life, no matter how many timelines I live." and "My soul knows your soul in any time line."
Science Fiction fans, Crouch will not let you down with this book. Read those chapters headers and keep them in mind while reading each chapter as time does jump around.
Thank you to Crown Publishing and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.