Book review: Recursion


Recursion by Blake Crouch

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This type of story is catnip to me: high concept present-day science fiction wrapped around a slick, fast-paced action-adventure.

The story asks a simple question: Do our memories determine our reality? What if we could not just revisit memories, but control them, effectively making the past, present and future exist simultaneously? Could our minds cope with multiple timelines occupying them?

This is a story best read without too much knowledge of the specifics before hand, so I’ll simply say I enjoyed watching the main characters of police detective Barry Sutton and neuroscientist Helena Smith interact as they grappled with the very nature of reality. While the nuts and bolts of the depicted science are kind of hand-wavey, it’s perfectly acceptable for the type of story Crouch is telling, which is less about how we might be able to manipulate memory, but whether we should, and what the effects could be.

As with any story that dabbles in time travel, you can pull apart the plot and argue about how things wouldn’t really work this way or that—the characters themselves even have these kinds of conversations—but this is a romp, full of both spectacular disaster and quiet moments that show what it means to be human.

If you like this kind of story, Recursion comes highly recommended.

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