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  • Jeff Somers 5:00 pm on 2016/09/26 Permalink
    Tags: , blake crouch, dark matter, peter clines, pines, , richard coz, the boys of summer, the fold   

    5 Books to Read After Dark Matter Rewires Your Brain 

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    If you’ve read Blake Crouch’s newest, Dark Matter, then you’ve likely been walking around with an expression on your face that is half deep contemplation and half paralyzing paranoia. You can pick out fellow Crouch readers by similarly haunted expressions. Dark Matter, a story about a scientist who chooses love and family over scientific immortality and major awards—only to run headlong into versions of himself who made different choices—is peak Crouch: cleverly imagined, dizzyingly plotted, thrillingly told.

    So now that Crouch has shaken your belief in everything you thought made you you, the only question is…what to read next? Here are five more books as unsettling, pulse-pounding, and sci-fi inflected.

    Pines, by Blake Crouch
    Go back to the source: Crouch made a big splash with the Wayward Pines series, which was briefly adapted into television series. It brings the same off-kilter mood as Dark Matter to the story of Secret Service agent Ethan Burke, who comes to in a hospital in the small town of Wayward Pines, a place that seems just a bit…off. Burke’s investigation keeps turning up dead ends, and his attempts to contact the outside world keep hitting brick walls. If you thought the ending of Dark Matter was unexpected, just wait until you get to the end of this series—or, heck, through the first book.

    Brilliance, by Marcus Sakey
    In Sakey’s universe, less than 1 percent of the population is made up of Brilliants—people with incredible mental or physical abilities. Some Brilliants use their abilities selfishly, destabilizing society. Nick Cooper is a Brilliant who works to track and defeat those who are terrorists, and the story focuses in on his attempts to defeat one of them. The story zigs and zags, finally dropping the bottom out from under the reader in a flurry of twists that leave you with that “Crouch feeling”—a sense that the world around you can no longer be trusted.

    The Breach, by Patrick Lee
    Lee’s bestselling thriller has it all: inscrutable technology, inter-dimensional holes in reality, horrific events, and apocalyptic possibilities. Travis Chase stumbles onto a downed plane in the Alaskan wilderness, filled with soldiers and high-ranking government figures. Yet no rescue is underway—and soon Chase is drafted into a world turned sideways by The Breach, a rift in space/time that has been “leaking” incredibly advanced technology for decades. Some of the gadgets it provides seem to do nothing; others have ghastly effects; and others are incredibly powerful—and often wind up in the wrong hands. What ensues is a mind-bending adventure that continuously one-ups itself, finding increasingly clever ways to introduce these gadgets in unexpected ways. If you loved Dark Matter but felt like it needed even more insane sci-fi technology, The Breach was written for you.

    The Fold, by Peter Clines
    Clines’ novel has a fundamental twist at its center that essentially requires you read it twice. The first time through, this story of a teleportation device that works perfectly, save for the seemingly random times it doesn’t, is intriguing. When the twist hits, your perception of the story fundamentally changes, and a second reading is required if you want to follow the subtle trail of breadcrumbs Clines litters across the first half. The second half is a fast-paced maelstrom of action, doom, and crises of identity fans of Dark Matter will devour.

    The Boys of Summer, by Richard Cox
    Cox’s latest novel is a slow-burning mind-bender that builds and builds and builds its mystery, until you’re ready to burst in anticipation of the reveal. And that reveal doesn’t disappoint, landing in your brain like a seed that will take root and continue to grow and change long after you’ve finished the book. When a deadly tornado hits the small town of Wichita Falls, the lives of four young boys are forever changed in different ways. When another killer storm threatens the town in 2008, the now-grown men are drawn home to confront their childhood crimes and face down the reason they’ve all experienced flashes of other realities. Be careful: reading this one right after Dark Matter might result in a condition scientists call “Permanent Freak Out.


    The post 5 Books to Read After Dark Matter Rewires Your Brain appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Nicole Hill 9:00 pm on 2016/07/18 Permalink
    Tags: blake crouch, , , , , ,   

    Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter Is a Thrilling Meditation on What Might Have Been 

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    In his latest novel, Dark Matter, Blake Crouch asks us to imagine we’re fish, swimming in a pond. Within our cozy confines, we can swim all day, and in any direction we please; to us, that pond is the whole universe. All we can’t do is get out of the water. Imagine, however, that someone reaches into the pond and lifts us out. Suddenly, we see trees, and sky, and other ponds, too. “You realize,” Crouch tells us through the words of his main character, Jason, “you’re a part of a much larger and more mysterious reality than you ever dreamed of.”

    Crouch demonstrated the art of the twist in his enormously popular Wayward Pines trilogy, and here, he brings his skill for suspense to a science-driven thriller, and to breathtaking effect. Dark Matter is a meditation on love and life and the paths untaken along the way, and it is simultaneously a taut and tense science fiction thriller.

    By most measures, Jason Dessen leads a solid, pleasant life. He is in good health. He has a good, if not thrilling, job as a physics professor. When he comes home, he finds a good-natured teenage son and a wife he adores.

    Still, he has made sacrifices. Jason’s reminded of this when he meets up with his old college roommate, recently the winner of a major scientific award for his work. Much like his wife, Daniela, who gave up her art career because of a surprise pregnancy, Jason abandoned his own research and altered his career path to accommodate his new, unexpected family. Seeing Ryan’s success—and being needled by Ryan about it—is a tough pill to swallow.

    Could Jason, as Ryan believes, have gone on to do something great? Did he settle when he settled down? What might have been if he’d continued his research, or if Daniela had terminated the pregnancy, or if either of them had made a thousand other choices in life?

    There are, of course, plenty of stories about what might have been. The difference here is Dark Matter’s intensity as a thriller. Not long after his encounter with Ryan, Jason is abducted by a masked assailant, who forces him to drive to an abandoned power plant, where he’s promptly stripped, beaten, and drugged into oblivion.

    When Jason wakes, it’s to unfamiliar faces, in an unfamiliar place. Everyone seems to know him, and all tell him they want to help. But nowhere in the picture is Daniela, or their son, or any semblance of the life Jason knows. To these people, Jason isn’t a married ho-hum college professor; he’s a scientific genius who has made an incredible breakthrough.

    What’s unclear—even more than the mechanics of what has happened—is which life is a dream, and which is reality? Or, in fact, are they both realities, spawned at the divergence of one or several small moments? As Jason struggles to parse these questions, and to find a way back to the family he left behind, he must also confront the parts of himself he has tried hard to ignore.

    Most of us are curious about what our lives would be like if we’d made a different choice, or chosen a different path. We dream about the presumed greatness that passed us by. But given the opportunity to live that other life, we might hesitate. Things in the here and now start to look a little rosier. The opportunity costs escalate when you leapfrog realities. For Jason, confronted with two strong, tactile worlds that claim he belongs in them, the choice to go home is made more difficult. Which is home? And which Jason is the real Jason: the one who built a family, or the one who built a legacy?

    Those moral quandaries, and the accompanying questions of identity and sense of self, share the stage with the science in this fiction, which involve the titular dark matter and more than a few mentions of Schrodinger’s cat. If Crouch, at times, seems to play a little fast and loose with the concepts he’s discussing, it’s in the name of maintaining the suspense and propelling the plot’s pace at a quickening, thickening rate, and because of that, is quickly forgiven.

    The story never flags, and never grows cold. Jason is a sympathetic, flawed narrator, whose problems, exacerbated by unique and technologically mysterious circumstances, will be relatable to anyone who has ever wondered about the direction their life has taken.

    “It’s terrifying when you consider that every thought we have, every choice we could possibly make, creates a new world,” Jason says. Disregarding the more speculative points of the novel’s central dilemma, Dark Matter will leave readers wondering about their own ponds, and whether there’s more outside their borders.

  • Jenny Kawecki 7:33 pm on 2015/04/24 Permalink
    Tags: , , blake crouch, , , , , , just one day, , , , , ,   

    This Week in Page to Screen: Fifty Shades, the Little Prince, and a Whole Lot of YA 

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    You’ve probably heard by now that director Sam Taylor-Wood and screenwriter Kelly Marcel jumped ship after the release of the first Fifty Shades installment, leading to much speculation that there might not be an adaption of the second and third books. But not to worry, fans, because the franchise has already acquired a new writer for Fifty Shades Darker: Niall Leonard, E.L. James’ husband. Meanwhile, Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan are looking for a pay raise before getting back on board.

    Fifty Shades isn’t the only book-to-film adaptation with a new screenwriter: Universal just hired a screenwriting team for Gayle Forman’s Just One DayIsaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, the screenwriting duo who recently adapted Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler’s The Future of Us, will be handling the project, Forman’s second novel-turned-movie. Just One Day (and it’s accompanying novel, Just One Year) follows the changes that one romantic, adventurous, inspiring day in Paris can bring (especially when said day is spent with a handsome actor named Willem).

    In other YA news, film rights to Kiera Cass’s The Selection have been bought by Warner Bros., which hired Katie Lovejoy to adapt the novel (Lovejoy is the scriptwriting genius behind Black List). The Selection, the first book in Cass’s series, is about America Singer, a regular girl who’s thrown into a competition to marry her prince—despite the fact that she’s in love with someone else. Meanwhile, the fourth book in The Selection series, The Heir, is coming out May 5.

    With the release of Insurgent, the second film in Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, rumors about the upcoming Allegiant movies (the final book is getting split into two parts) are circling. While it has yet to be confirmed, all signs point to Aaron Eckhart playing David, Tris’s nemesis in the third and fourth films. In response to fans’ concern that the final films are going to stray from the book’s bittersweet ending, Theo James would like to assure everyone there’s no need to worry—even though Insurgent wandered away from the source material, Allegiant is sticking pretty close to the plot.

    Blake Crouch, however, has no such expectations about the television adaptation of his Wayward Pines books.  The series follows Ethan Burke, a secret service agent on a mission to locate two fellow agents who seem to have gotten lost in a small Idaho town. It was recently transformed into a TV show by M. Night Shyamalan (which Crouch says is “a dream come true”), but Crouch readily admits he hopes the show won’t stick too closely to his novels. Wayward Pines premieres on Fox on May 14.

    And finally, in case you haven’t had enough feelings today, do yourself a favor and watch the second trailer for The Little Prince movie. If you, like me, were a bit skeptical about the computer-animated adaptation of this beautiful classic, there’s a 98% chance this trailer will change your mind. The story-within-a-story setup looks promising, and the animation style is absolutely enchanting—and no, I’m definitely not crying at all. The movie will be premiering at Cannes this May before widespread release in July.

    What page-to-screen adaptations are you excited about?

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