If you’re a science fiction fan, you may well have come across Blake Crouch’s work on television. The Wayward Pines series, based on Crouch’s bestselling trilogy, captured a wide audience—and deservedly so. But you’re going to see a lot more of the man’s work on the screen in the future, as his bio below shows clearly. But read the novels first. With only a single exception I’ve come across so far, they’re terrific.
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Pines – Wayward Pines #1 (2012) 320 pages ★★★★☆ – A truly original work of speculative fiction
You know the story, or at least you think you do. Our hero arrives in a small, out-of-the-way town in an unfamiliar part of the country . . . and everything seems off, just a little bit. There’s something strange going on, but it’s deep below the surface. Then the violence starts, and there’s no rational explanation. The suspense quickly becomes unbearable. And that’s what you’ll find in this brilliant example of speculative fiction. But if you think you’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s going on, you don’t. If you enjoy speculative fiction, you’re likely to love this book. You’ve probably never read anything like it at all.
Wayward – Wayward Pines Trilogy #2 (2012) 400 pages ★★★★☆ – Paradise lost in a small Idaho town
At a casual glance, Wayward Pines is an idyllic settlement, free of poverty, crime, terrorism, or any of the other afflictions of modern civilization. However, with barely fewer than 500 inhabitants, the town is the last human settlement on Earth—and more than 1,800 years have passed since Former Secret Service Special Agent Ethan Burke arrived in town. Yes, it’s now the 39th century. Burke’s role is essentially to keep the residents in town in line, preventing them from attempting to escape. In reality, they are all captives, ignorant of the circumstances in which they live.
The Last Town – Wayward Pines #3 (2014) 400 pages ★★★★★ – A science fiction trilogy reaches a surprising conclusion
Sheriff Ethan Burke is confronting the catastrophe he triggered when he told the people of Wayward Pines the truth about how and why they came to live in this seemingly idyllic little town. As we now know, the megalomaniac who built the place had kidnapped the people who became its residents. His name was David Pilcher. When Ethan defied him by disclosing his secrets, he reacted by cutting off all the power and other services to Wayward Pines. If Ethan fails to act, it’s a certainty that the entire population will be eaten alive by invaders.
Dark Matter (2016) 342 pages ★★★★★ – A journey into the multiverse
Imagine that every decision you make throughout your life creates a new universe: the old one representing the path you actually take, the new universe conforming to the alternate path. Over the years, then, your life branches into innumerable possible universes. So does the life of everyone else on earth—an infinity of possibilities all together. This is the conceit at the heart of Dark Matter, a bestselling science fiction novel about the multiverse by Blake Crouch.
Recursion (2019) 324 pages ★★★☆☆ – A disappointing new novel from a terrific science fiction author
In Groundhog Day, Harold Ramis’s 1993 hit film, Bill Murray is caught in a time loop and repeatedly relives the same day over and over again. Blake Crouch’s disappointing new novel, Recursion, is a lot like that. But Dr. Helena Smith and Barry Sutton are forced to live through the same thirty-three years again, again, and again. Unfortunately, the logic that imposes this cruel fate on them escapes me. Crouch’s explanation strikes me as lame.
Upgrade (2022) 352 pages ★★★★★ – Gene editing is a federal crime in this near-future thriller
Robotics. Artificial intelligence. Nanotechnology. These fields, among others, compete for attention as the seminal technology of the 21st century. But no field of scientific endeavor holds more promise of bringing greater change to the world around us in the years ahead than gene editing. Powered by CRISPR-Cas9 and its siblings, molecular biologists now possess the capability to alter our minds and bodies by manipulating the DNA code that makes us who we are. The brilliant science fiction author Blake Crouch explores this potential in his near-future thriller, Upgrade. At times shocking, the novel points the way to a time not far off when the post-human future might open up.
About the author
Blake Crouch is the author of seventeen novels, most recently Upgrade, for which he is writing the movie for Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners. As his author website notes, “his international-bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy was adapted into a television series for FOX, executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan, that was Summer 2015’s #1 show.
“With Chad Hodge, Crouch also created Good Behavior, the TNT show starring Michelle Dockery based on his Letty Dobesh novellas. His novel, Recursion, is currently being developed as a Netflix series by Shonda Rhimes and Matt Reeves, and Skydance is developing a film adaptation of his novella, Summer Frost, based on Crouch’s script.
“His novels have been translated into forty languages and his short fiction has appeared in numerous publications including Ellery Queen, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and Cemetery Dance. At the moment, Crouch is writing a new book and creating a nine-episode adaptation of his novel Dark Matter, for Apple TV+. Blake lives in Colorado.”
For related reading
Blake Crouch is one of 10 new science fiction authors worth reading now.
For more good reading, check out:
- These novels won both Hugo and Nebula Awards
- The ultimate guide to the all-time best science fiction novels
- 10 top science fiction novels
- The top 10 dystopian novels
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