Books to Film: ‘Dark Matter’ book review

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Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (Photo credit:

I just finished this book called Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, and it is mind-blowing. I’ll avoid spoilers, so you can enjoy it yourself, but basically, it’s a story of a college physics professor who gets abducted one night, taken to an abandoned location and drugged. When he wakes up, he finds himself in a different world where he’s a genius atomic physicist living a successful but career-oriented life, his wife never married him and his son was never born.

This sci-fi thriller deals with quantum mechanics and the concept of multiple universes, what happens down the road not taken and the choices we didn’t make, and what makes us *us*. I know quantum mechanics sounds boring, but the author explains it in a way in which a layperson can mostly grasp — though even if you can’t, just suspend your disbelief and pretend it is possible to travel to infinite parallel universes where anything that can happen has happened. At the same time, it’s a love story about a man doing everything he can to get back to the woman he loves. Fairly late in the game, there is a pretty creepy TWIST — capital letters, because I was totally not expecting it — that is also absolutely stunning and completely makes sense, and the payoff is entirely worth it.

The book is being developed into a film with Roland Emmerich set to direct. The film rights to the book was sold based on a partial manuscript before the book was completed, which is a pretty unique circumstance. But also understandable, because I was imagining the book as a film while I was reading it, and the author’s film and TV agent must have thought so too. So did Hollywood — five studios bid on the property before Sony Pictures won at a fairly extravagant sum of US$1.25 million, which I believe is much higher than most film rights usually cost. The author Blake Crouch does have the advantage of having Hollywood connections since his Wayward Pines trilogy was adapted into a mystery TV series with Matt Dillon, Carla Gugino, Terrence Howard and Toby Jones, and his Letty Dobesh books are the basis of Good Behavior, a TV series about a “bad girl” thief and con artist starring Michelle Dockery (and a pretty far cry from her ladylike role in Downton Abbey).

Roland Emmerich is best known for his disaster movies like Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow and 2012, and while I see how that expertise will be useful for certain scenes encountered in the book, I’m not sure that he is the right director for an intelligent sci-fi thriller as this (especially after Independence Day: Resurgence, which is as far from “intelligent” as a film can get). Then again, Blake Crouch is writing the screenplay himself, so it can’t go too wrong.

Besides, anything can happen during the development and even production stage, and it could take up to *decades* before it is eventually made, so who knows. After all, it’s already 2020 and there’s still no progress on the film, despite the studio buying the rights 5 years ago and bringing on Roland Emmerich 3 years ago, plus he’s focused on other projects right now.

Anyway, since I’ve been picking up more “proper” books to read, I’m starting this new category on my blog called “Books to Film”, where I talk about books that have been or are being adapted to films and TV series, and their film adaptations. Honestly, it’s just so I have a viable excuse for writing book reviews for amazing books I *have* to talk about, while not veering too far off my blog’s mission to focus on films and TV. (As for books not related to films, I’ll find somewhere else to talk about them.) And yes, I realise that all my Game of Thrones posts can actually be dumped into this category, but I feel that it would be cheating, since I haven’t actually read those books. I’ll adapt as I go along.

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