t’s been a while. I’ve read pointless SciFi, stale SciFi, and dated SciFi. After a while I was only reading SciFi to relax on the train. Nothing was challenging me.
And then I read Dark Matter.
The story starts out brilliantly. A middle-aged college professor is enjoying a “family night” with his wife and son. Going out to fetch ice cream from the shop a few blocks away, he sees an old acquaintance in a bar. In talking to this man, we get a glimpse of the purpose and gift our protagonist possessed, that is, before the day-to-day world sucked him in and robbed him of his golden future. But of course, he continues on his errand, giving it little thought. He is happy now. Quietly happy.
And that’s when, under a dark railroad bridge ,a stranger in a geisha mask with a gun hijacks him. He’s forced into a car, made to drive to an industrial wasteland, his clothing is removed and, freezing and desperate, he is forced into the basement where a strange metal box with a door awaits him.
You’re going to have to find out what strange mind-bending place this fellow ends up in. But I can tell you it’s astounding, the only way good science fiction can be. This book, amid it’s crazy scenery porn of exotic places and realities and situations also looks at the idea of contentment and life-path. What is a happy life? What is purpose? And what happens when the true value of what you have (or had) breaks open before you.
I thought the book was good, but the final fifty pages is a double-whammy of crazy circumstance that I did not see coming. I just wanted to shout “Bravo!” when the realization sunk in.
If this site had a reading list, Dark Matter would be on it. I figure this one will make my best-of for 2018. Yeah, that good. I’m calling it in February.