But on a night like this, of a restless mind and dreams of ghosts, time feels secondary to the true prime mover—memory. Perhaps memory is fundamental, the thing from which time emerges.Barry Sutton, from Recursion (Author: Blake Crouch)
I read a science fiction book after ages. There was a time in my growing up years, when I was obsessed with X-Files and Micheal Crichton. Science fiction was the only genre I read for many years. Now I feel, like a lot of the science fiction I read back then, has turned into reality now. And it hasn’t even been that long. Sometimes knowing the speed and power with which science and technology are disrupting and changing our lives, makes me tremble with excitement and fear 🙂
Coming to ‘Recursion’ by Blake Crouch. Another first for me. I haven’t read any of his previous works, but from reviews online, it seems that he has written a lot of amazing books, some which even have been adapted on screen. Some readers even felt that Recursion may not have been his best book, even though it has been nominated for quite a few reader’s awards in the sci-fi genre last year.
The story of Recursion at its heart is about the power of memories in our lives. Detective Barry Sutton and genius scientist Dr. Helena Smith are at the helm of this story. Helena creates a machine (a chair), which has the power of inserting a memory in the subject’s mind. Her study starts with the intent of helping patients with Alzheimers, but something happens, that results in a major breakthrough and changes reality as we know it. What happens after that, is pretty much the story.
I think as a species, we have always been fascinated with memories. Either via nostalgia, history, or by subconscious memories that turn up as dreams. Many science fiction shows are based on this – take many episodes from Black Mirror. What if we could relive our best memories, if we had that choice? There is an element of time travel and butterfly effect in the overall plot as well. Multiple timelines, multiple histories, but all resulting in some sort of the same ending. These are themes that have been my favorite too.
So, I really enjoyed the build up and the concept that the author explores in the story – memory and time. But I have to admit, that about 30% of the book towards the second half became really repetitive and frustrating for me, as a reader. I lost interest in those scenes and almost skim read to reach ahead, because nothing consequential was happening for a long time in the story. There were some moments towards the end, where the author muses about life, memories which redeemed some of that stalemate situation in the plot, but it didn’t feel adequate. Because the story and premise started with a bang, the ending felt flat to me – maybe a little too simple/easy? At least it was a sort of happy ending 🙂
I plan to read more of the author’s books to get an idea about his other work, because I really enjoyed his thinking and style of writing in this book.
Have you guys read Recursion? Or any other book by Blake Crouch? Would you recommend any other book that I should check out, by this author?
What is your take on memory? If we had the technology to revisit our past, would you take that option, or would you let the past be, and create more memories from the present for the future?