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Books Like Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

If you're excited for the TV adaptation of Blake Crouch's bestselling Dark Matter, be sure to try these great sci-fi thrillers.

This screenshot of the 'Dark Matter' trailer displays two versions of the same man
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  • Photo Credit: Apple TV / YouTube

Blake Crouch's bestselling sci-fi thriller Dark Matter is now an Apple TV+ series. With Crouch himself on showrunner duties, anticipation is high for this lavish drama. Joel Edgerton plays Jason Dessen, a physicist in Chicago who finds himself stuck in an alternate version of his life. He must fight to return to his own existence, lest the other version of himself hurt his wife and children.

In anticipation of Dark Matter, here are eight sci-fi works full of thrills and alternate realities that are perfect accompaniments to Crouch’s work. 

Across the Void

Across the Void

By S. K. Vaughn

Commander Maryam “May” Knox wakes from a medically induced coma alone, adrift in space on a rapidly failing ship, with little to no memory of who she is or why she’s there. Piecing together the past, she remembers that she’s the captain of the ship, Hawking II, bound for Jupiter's moon Europa on a research mission. Her entire crew was massacred and now she's alone, adrift in space with dwindling resources and no hope of rescue. 

Back on Earth, it’s been weeks since Hawking II has communicated with NASA, and Dr. Stephen Knox is sure that all hope is loss. But when he gets word that NASA has received a transmission from May, Stephen comes rushing to her aid. What he doesn’t know is that not everyone wants May to make it back alive.



By Gregory Benford

Charlie Moment is a disenchanted middle-aged professor in the midst of a messy divorce. While driving his car, he gets into an accident and wakes up in his 16-year-old body in the year 1968. He uses this as an excuse to live out his childhood dream. He becomes a writer in Hollywood, living out the decadent life of a hot young talent before dying in the '80s. Then, the cycle begins again and he's back in 1968. 

Charlie realizes things he didn’t see the first time. There are others like him, like Albert Einstein, Philip K. Dick, and Robert Heinlein. In fact, there is a society of folks who loop through time to change the world for their agenda. What does he do now? Does he make his own life better or try to change the world?

The Shimmering State

The Shimmering State

By Meredith Westgate

Lucien moves to Los Angeles to be with his grandmother as she undergoes an experimental memory treatment for Alzheimer’s. A brand new drug named Memoroxin could help to greatly reduce the cruel disease's symptoms, or even reverse them. Lucien meets Sophie, a ballet dancer who waitresses during her off-hours at the Chateau Marmont. There, Memoroxin has become the recreational drug of choice for the Hollywood elite. 

Abusing Mem allows people to consume memories that are not their own, sending them into a spiral that could destroy them. Lucien and Sophie meet at The Center, founded by the ambitious yet conflicted Dr. Angelica Sloane as a way to treat patients who’ve abused Mem. They've no idea how they got there or why they feel so connected to one another. What happened to them before Mem, and can they ever uncover their true memories?

best science fiction books

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

By Philip K. Dick

If we’re talking about sci-fi thrillers then we have to acknowledge one of the true icons of the genre: the one and only Philip K. Dick. Best known as the book that inspired Blade Runner, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? can easily staked out its place as one of the most influential pieces of science fiction ever written. 

In the year 2021, detective Rick Deckard has a license to kill and a job to do. He must track down several rogue androids who have fled their robotic duties to live among humans. Deckard must "retire" them, but differentiating between androids and humans is easier said than done. They look exactly alike, and they're doing everything in their power to avoid Deckard's wrath.

altered carbon

Altered Carbon

By Richard K. Morgan

Four hundred years in the future, mankind has spread across the universe, living in colonies linked together by colony ship voyages and hyperspatial data-casting. Human consciousness can be digitally uploaded and transported across the galaxy. It can also be downloaded into any number of bodies. It's a process that is easily exploited. 

When Takeshi Kovacs, an ex-envoy and recent convict, has his consciousness and skills downloaded into the body of a former thug with iron fists and a nicotine addiction, he's forced into making a new deal. He must discover who murdered the last body of a billionaire with obvious shady intentions, and finding the culprit will draw Kovacs into a dark conspiracy that permeates all known corners of deep space.

Lock In: A Novel of the Near Future (Lock In Series Book 1)

Lock In: A Novel of the Near Future (Lock In Series Book 1)

By John Scalzi

The world is ravaged by a mysterious pandemic. A highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who fall sick get better, but 1 percent of the populace fall victim to Haden's Syndrome: they're fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus. 25 years later, the world has changed. The sleepers, those living trapped within their own bodies, can remotely communicate with androids to fulfill their daily duties. That might involve murder. 

Rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann to investigate what seems to be a Haden-related death. But what starts out as an already atypical murder investigation evolves into something far more complicated as the future of the locked-in changes before their very eyes.

To Say Nothing of the Dog

To Say Nothing of the Dog

By Connie Willis

The history students of Oxford University have a unique method of academic study. They are able to travel into the past to experience their chosen era first-hand. As long as they follow the rules and don't mess with the future, it's the perfect way to be a true historian. 

When too many jumps back to 1940 leave 21st century Oxford history student Ned Henry exhausted, a relaxing trip to Victorian England seems the perfect solution. Unfortunately, nothing is ever easy when you're messing with the timeline itself.

the city and the city

The City and the City

By China Mieville

When a murdered woman is found in the city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks to be a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad. But soon, the evidence reveals that this is no ordinary death. Borlú must travel from the decaying Beszel and cross the border into a new realm where two cities exist in the same place at the same time. 

In the other city, Ul Qoma, Borlú unites with his equal-slash-rival, detective Qussim Dhatt. Uncovering the dead woman's secrets pits them up against strange conspiracies and a quietly growing war between rabid nationalists and unificationists who fight to either keep Ui Qoman as the dominant force or mesh together the duelling cities as one.

Featured image: Apple TV / YouTube