Dark matter is a fast-paced scifi thriller that riffs on the idea of multiple universes, exploring the unknown territory of choices not made and roads not taken. In this world, Jason Dessen is a family man and professor of physics at a local college. But how would his life be different if he’d never abandoned his research into quantum superposition to raise a son with his girlfriend Daniela? What if, in some other universe, Jason’s research came to fruition, making him a scientific superstar—and making it possible for someone to cross over from one universe to another? Confronted by this alternate timeline and an alternate self, Jason suddenly finds himself fighting for his own reality, his own city, and his own family.

Dark Matter takes this high concept scenario and runs with it. Fast. This isn’t hard scifi, where getting the technical aspects right counts; though the story invokes complicated scientific concepts, it’s really about how people react to high-stakes emotional, ethical, and intellectual puzzles no human has ever encountered. Jason’s relationships with his family—and himself—take center stage, propelling him across worlds and through perilous situations. Although some parts of the book fall apart if you look too closely (the characters occasionally make bafflingly poor choices and aren’t the most genre-savvy lot), the writing is solid, and it’s the type of clever and engrossing read that one can easily tear through in one sitting. This fun scifi thriller provides great opportunities for putting yourself in the protagonist’s shoes or hashing out what might happen next for Jason and the other characters after the book ends.