The tech bro villain we probably deserve.
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Why I love it
Author, The Municipalists
Did you know that everything is a memory? By the time your brain filters and processes everything you experience, as we learn early on in Recursion, the present is already gone. Even the words you’re reading now are in the past. This is the sort of mind-bending and disorienting concept upon which the best science fiction is built.
Recursion—the new book from the author of 2016 Book of the Year finalist, Dark Matter—begins with dual storylines that gradually converge. In one, we learn of the outbreak of a mysterious condition known as False Memory Syndrome, in which sufferers are haunted by past lives and loves that exist only in their memories. In the other, a brilliant young scientist is making groundbreaking strides in the field of memory, unaware that the mysterious benefactor who funds her research may be guiding her toward a discovery so massive that soon she—and the rest of humanity—are drawn into a dangerous, world-shaking intrigue that turns reality into a treacherous labyrinth.
One of my favorite aspects of this book is how it thrusts you into a world of the impossible while bringing you to a deeper understanding of the world around you. Crouch is a novelist in the spirit of M.C. Escher. He is a meticulous, mad architect of suspense and adventure. While reading Recursion, I was awed by the massive scope of his vision, made all the more satisfying by the human warmth that causes this world to feel lived-in and worth saving. This book is dizzying fun.
Memory makes reality.
That’s what NYC cop Barry Sutton is learning, as he investigates the devastating phenomenon the media has dubbed False Memory Syndrome—a mysterious affliction that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived.
That’s what neuroscientist Helena Smith believes. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious memories. If she succeeds, anyone will be able to re-experience a first kiss, the birth of a child, the final moment with a dying parent.
As Barry searches for the truth, he comes face to face with an opponent more terrifying than any disease—a force that attacks not just our minds, but the very fabric of the past. And as its effects begin to unmake the world as we know it, only he and Helena, working together, will stand a chance at defeating it.
But how can they make a stand when reality itself is shifting and crumbling all around them?