Narrator: Jon Lindstrom, Abby Craden
Published by Penguin Audio on June 11, 2019
Genres: Science Fiction
Length: 10 hours, 47 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, iTunes
Barry Sutton is driving home from another long shift as an NYPD detective when the call comes in. A woman is threatening to commit suicide, and someone’s got to try to talk her down. Only as he stands on the rooftop, mere inches away from her, does he realize that the woman is infected with False Memory Syndrome, a mysterious disease that drives its victims mad with memories of a life they never lived. When Barry is unable to save her, he’s rocked to his core–not only by her death but the fear that he’s been exposed to this devastating illness.
Helena Smith is a brilliant but frustrated neuroscientist. If she could only get the funding, she’s sure she could build the ambitious device she’s long imagined–one that would allow people to preserve their most intense memories and relive them whenever they want. So when a billionaire entrepreneur offers to bankroll her project, she jumps at the opportunity–even if there are some strange conditions attached.
As Helena’s efforts yield stunning results, Barry investigates the mystery behind the woman he failed to save. He finds himself on a journey as astonishing as it is terrifying, ultimately revealing the true danger posed by Helena’s invention–and a plot that could bring about the end of reality as we know it.
Weaving together Barry’s story and Helena’s in ways even the savviest reader will never guess, Recurson is a brilliant science fiction thriller about time, memory, and the illusion of the present, built on our inability to escape the flashbulb moments that define us.
Recursion is a love story. Probably not what you were expecting and I don’t blame you since this is definitely in the Sci-Fi, what-the-hell-is-happening camp too. After reading Dark Matter, which is a book that still pops into my mind from time to time, I was ready to read this author’s entire catalog and go on whatever twisted, messed up mindscrew he had in store for me.
In the beginning, we learn of False Memory Syndrome (FMS). There have been new occurrences of this popping up for about a year and one woman is sitting at the edge of a building ready to jump because of it. She woke up a month ago and remembers an entire life, where she was married with a son and worked with her husband. But those memories are all grayed out and it isn’t what her life is. She is single, never been married and the man she remembers being married to is married to someone else. What do you do when the life you have, isn’t as good as the life you remember?
Recursion is told in dual time line perspectives. One is present day with Barry a cop just trying to figure out why a woman vividly remembers two different lives, dealing with the disappointment of his own life. The other follows Helena, a brilliant scientist, set years before as she is trying to build a way to help her mother who is ailing from Alzheimer’s. Much like Einstein, she is about to regret the greatest discovery she has ever made.
Barry and Helena have had very different lives and I felt really attached to each character. Eventually they end up meeting and having an extraordinary impact on each other. I don’t want to say too much because the beauty of the story is the mystery and the sheer chaos of it at times. But eventually Barry and Helena have a romance for the ages, even though it isn’t the focus of the story it added to my overall enjoyment and connection to the characters.
I really loved how it was all teased out, I thought I might get a little bored due to the recurrent nature of the story, but I never did. I was invested almost from page one and it never stopped. Wow, there are so many things to think about that really stuck with me in this story just as much as they did with Dark Matter.
This isn’t my normal genre; I stay away from Sci-Fi a lot as I’m a scientist and a lot of the time it is so flawed, I can’t look past it. But Blake Crouch did all of his homework and this is smart and plausible, without being dry. As I learned what FMS really was, it was just a matter of time before it all blew up.
Blake Crouch is definitely Auto Buy list from now on.
“If memory is unreliable, if the past and the present can simply change without warning, then fact and truth will cease to exist. How do we live in a world like that?”
“Saint Augustine said it perfectly back in the fourth century: “What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.”
Jon Lindstrom and Abby Craden did a fantastic job with the narration. Each embodied the character so well and made me feel what was happening to them. I enjoyed Jon Lindstrom recently when listening to Dark Matter and his voice seemed perfect again for the character of Barry.
Listen to a clip:
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