by - June 26, 2019


Recursion is a wild ride.I've gotten to the point now where I expect nothing less from this author, who is pretty much an auto- buy for me. Told from the point of view of Barry, a detective with the NYPD, and Helena, a scientist who invents a way to recover memories, it's such a mind twisty story I don't even know how to review it. Crouch's previous book Dark Matter is one of my favorite reads of the last few years, so I was expecting this one to be a mindbender as well. Let's just say Crouch takes it up to eleven here. 

We start with Barry being called to a suicide attempt, as New York is beset with a wave of False Memory episodes. People are suddenly recalling things they've never done- it's almost like they're exeriencing someone else's memories- but they do recall this other life, it's just different. Some people cannot handle it, hence the suicides. As Barry learns more, we then segue to Helena and see how this all came about,  as an unintended consequence of her working on a project to help Alzheimer's sufferers. Eventually her story and Barry's collide and then things get really crazy. 

This is seriously a mindfuck of the highest order. I don't know what else to say- it's thought provoking and touches on themes of memory, regret and the nature of reality itself. I mean, if you could go back and relive a favorite memory, would you? At the same time, if you could go back and change something, would you? What even is time? Is it illusory, a construct of our perceptions, or is it an absolute thing? The genius of this story (and, frankly, Dark Matter before it) is that the author finds a way to get you thinking about these things, even as he keeps the story moving and makes you really care for these characters. 

Barry's daughter died eleven years before, and Helena's mom is destined to due from Alzheimer's- surely if you could do something about these events, you would, right? Or are the consequences of action too risky? Who has the right to make a decision like that? Like so much good science fiction, this book makes you think- just because we potentially can do something doesn't mean we should. There is emotion here and moments where I was shocked, or just had to step back and process what I'd just read. It's amazing. 

I say read this if you like the idea of what if, if you are entranced by the possibilities of time travel or even if you don't like time travel- this is more about memory and loss but also hope and possibilities. Not taking things for granted. Living life and making choices. I started with this author on the Wayward Pines trilogy and then devoured Dark Matter- and while that one is probably my favorite of his, this book is so mindbending and enthralling, I can't recommend it enough. 

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