Memory makes reality. That’s what New York City 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.
Neuroscientist Helena Smith already understands the power of memory. It’s why she’s dedicated her life to creating a technology that will let us preserve our most precious moments of our pasts. 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?
“Life with a cheat code isn’t life. Our existence isn’t something to be engineered or optimized for the avoidance of pain. That’s what it is to be human – the beauty and the pain, each meaningless without the other.”
Recursion is my second Blake Crouch book and it is without a doubt, better than his first book, Dark Matter. This started off with a detective, Barry Sutton who is investigating on a case which involves an ongoing phenomena called the False Memory Syndrome (FMS). Those who got the FMS experienced vivid memories of previous lives or alternate lives that they thought they never lived. We also follow Helena Smith, a neuroscientist, who created a technology (referred to as a “chair” in the story) which is able to preserve a person’s memories. Initially, this technology is created by Helena with a purpose to cure her mother’s alzheimer’s disease. But of course, all kinds of technology will be misused by some other party at the end of the day, which links us back to the FMS.
Recursion is fast paced and most importantly, mind-twisting. I have to be so focused as I’m afraid that I will miss out any important details or timelines in the book. The interaction between the characters are more believable than the characters in Dark Matter. Recursion is definitely a “Black Mirror” material as it highlights the disadvantages of technology. Apart from the sci-fi and thriller elements, a lesson to be learned from Recursion is that you can’t live life twice or cheat your way through life. Live it without regrets. That to me, is what Recursion shouts to the readers.
Blake Crouch in a way has set a very high bar for sci-fi thrillers. A strong 9.5/10 stars from me and if you are a sci-fi fan, you would not want to miss out Recursion from your TBR pile!