Blake Crouch 2019. Recursion. Macmillan: London. 329 pp.

My initial judgement on this (about a third in) was faulty: “fair SF combined with B-grade thriller”. Fortunately I didn’t abandon it, and the author brings it all together splendidly.

The fundamental premise is that time is an illusion, and that reality is a creation of consionsness (the inverse of Immanuel Kant, if i understand correctly). Since our consciousness is just memory (spread out a bit), in Brad Crouch’s novel it follows that if you could map memories in the brain you could return to that reality. And thus, if you add in a brilliant neuroscientist, an Elon Musk-type-techno-entrepreneur with a past, and a New York detective, you have a novel of multiple timelines, converging.

All this cries out for a bit more physics. One wishes Brad Crouch had consulted with Carlo Rovelli, who would surely have been on board with this brave attempt, and might have tried to stop the author taking thermodynomics quite so lightly.

Nevertheless a top effort, and I’ll be seeking out Dark Matter by the same author. I stick with one element of my initial impressions though: this ripping novel could have been even better (to hard SF enthusiasts) if Blake Crouch backed off just a tad on the thriller component and instead beefed up the science in the science fiction.