anthony morris

Recursion

written by Blake Crouch

 | finished reading on July 25th, 2020

I've been wanting to get through more sci-fi. I've always enjoyed space, time travel, and futurism. For some reason I just haven't gotten around to reading too much sci-fi. After binging Dark on Netflix, I decided I was ready to get into another time travel adventure.

Recursion is a really fresh take on time travel adventures. The book isn't even time travel; not exactly. We follow two characters through space and time. Two stories separate, but intertwined. Crouch weaves two emotional and human stories together through colourful storytelling.

There are some deep thoughts within Recursion as well. It's a thrilling sci-fi ride but it makes you think about your mistakes and the truth of your reality.

Part of life is facing your failures, and sometimes those failures are people you once loved.

Have you ever sat back to think of what a memory really is? Crouch presents the idea, "a memory is nothing but a specific combination of neurons firing together". It's amazing the power our brains have. They construct an illusion for us, the present. Recursion plays with this idea in ways that made it hard to put down.

If you could change your past, or history itself, what would you change? As we've seen time and time again, meddling with the past usually brings unintended consequences. With Recursion, that's still the case. That's one thing making time travel stories so thrilling.

At the end of the day, Crouch suspects that being human is all about embracing the beauty and the pain in our lives. They lose meaning without each other. We fantasize about going to the past and "optimizing for the avoidance of pain" but in the end that takes away from who we are.

Crouch leaves us with a great quote:

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. ~ Søren Kierkegaard

We cannot redo the past but we can learn from it. I think it's best we own our failures and the lessons they provide and make the best of the present while we can. Maybe time is illusion, but it's a pretty damn convincing one.


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