A Quick Chat About the Future with Andy Weir, Veronica Roth, and Blake Crouch

Posted by Hayley on September 12, 2019
Forward

This post is sponsored by the Forward collection from Amazon Original Stories.

"Do you want to write a sci-fi short story?" Blake Crouch asked Andy Weir.

This is how Forward, the brand-new collection from Amazon Original Stories, began. It's the kind of thing that comes together pretty magically—when you're a bestselling author with bestselling author friends.

Forward features six original short stories, curated by Crouch, the author of the Wayward Pines series, Dark Matter, and Recursion. Each story explores a central theme: What is it like to live through a technological breakthrough?

The contributors include celebrated science fiction and fantasy authors Andy Weir (The Martian), N.K. Jemisin (The Fifth Season), and Veronica Roth (Divergent); along with horror writer Paul Tremblay (A Head Full of Ghosts) and historical fiction master Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow).

"It was a total surprise that Andy said yes," Crouch admitted. "It was a total surprise that any of these guys said yes. They’re all incredibly busy."

Goodreads got the opportunity to talk to three of the collection's star contributors: Crouch, Weir, and Roth. We asked the beloved authors about their imaginative short stories and debated the pros and cons of time-traveling into the future.


Blake Crouch and the video games of the future


GR: Tell us about your story.

BC: My story is called Summer Frost. It’s about a character in a video game.

It’s set slightly in the future where video games have become like the new tentpole movies. And they’re immersive. You don’t even have Marvel or DC anymore. This is the new premiere form of entertainment.

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And an NPC, a non-playing character, begins to gain sentience in this game. And the game designer decides to bring this NPC out of the game and into our world to see if this emerging sentience is a glitch or something more amazing...or perhaps nefarious.

GR: Can you talk to us a bit about what it was like to curate Forward?

BC: I wrote a really broad prompt for it. It had to be about emerging technology, but it could be set in the distant past, the future, or now. It just has to have technology. It could totally just be anything they wanted it to be.

And there was a chance everyone was going to write about AI or the end of the world. And we all, interestingly enough, wrote completely different stories.

GR: If you could time travel into the future, how far would you go?

BC: Hah! I don’t know.

GR: If it helps, it’s a round-trip.

BC: Oh, round-trip? I get to come back? The way things are going I wouldn’t want to go too much farther than fifty years. We’re all going to be underwater here.

GR: What’s your favorite thing about science fiction?

BC: I like that it’s a reflection of where humanity is heading. And I also like that sci-fi isn’t really science fiction anymore. I don’t really think of my books as science fiction. We’re kind of living in the future that we all dreamed of years ago. It’s just a comment on our times now.


Veronica Roth and the literal end of the world


Goodreads: Tell us about your story.

Veronica Roth: My story’s called Ark. There is an asteroid heading toward Earth and everyone has evacuated except for a team of scientists who are trying to document as much genetic material from Earth to preserve it.

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My main character is a horticulturist named Samantha who is considering staying behind to watch earth die. A little grim!

GR: How do you think this story will resonate with your fans?

VR: Well, I have a collection of different types of readers who have gravitated toward Divergent, for maybe the love story, so maybe they won’t be as into this. But especially sci-fi readers who are into emotional stories will enjoy this.

GR: What do you like most about science fiction?

VR: I like imagining the possibilities of what might happen, especially the consequences of things we’re doing now, whether positive or negative—just exaggerating them and thinking them through to their conclusion is really fascinating. It’s like a “choose your own adventure.”

GR: If you could time travel to the future, how far would you go?

VR: Oh boy, I don’t know. I’m kind of doomsday about it. As far as I can go where the earth still exists. Maybe a little bit into the future, see if things get better or not.

GR: What science fiction shows are you a fan of?

VR: I’m rewatching Battlestar Galactica. It’s definitely interesting on a rewatch. The Expanse is really good. And I just started Star Trek: Discovery!


Andy Weir and the high-tech casino heist of tomorrow


Goodreads: Tell us about your story.

Andy Weir: Basically, as quantum computing becomes more and more powerful—and more and more available—pretty soon it will become possible to reverse engineer the random number generators that are used in Las Vegas machines. So this presents a problem for casinos. They need to upgrade their machines...but then there’s someone who takes advantage of that.

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GR: What do you love most about science fiction?

AW: I like science. I don’t think that surprises anyone. I’m a big hard sci-fi nerd. I like stuff that could really happen.

GR: Who are the authors you’re inspired by?

AW: My “holy trinity” aren’t necessarily hard science fiction authors. I love Heinlein, Asimov, and Clarke. They were actually pretty solid sci-fi. I also like Ben Bova’s Mars, which was really great.

GR: If you could time travel into the future, how far would you go?

AW: That’s a dangerous proposition. I would probably want to go a short distance. Do I get to go back?

GR: You can. It’s a round-trip.

AW: Maybe like a hundred years then. I definitely think as a species we just get better and better over time.

The thing I always say: Pick any date in history a hundred years ago. Would you rather live then or now? Then pick any two dates in history that are at least a hundred years apart? Would you rather live in the further back one or the further forward one? You’re always going to pick the further forward one because it’s always better.

I see no reason why that won’t continue. It’s not just technology; it’s social progress, everything. We just keep getting better.


Forward will be available for free on September 17 to Prime and Kindle Unlimited customers.

How far would you time-travel into the future? Which Forward short story are you looking forward to reading? Let's talk sci-fi in the comments!

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Comments Showing 1-14 of 14 (14 new)

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message 1: by TMR (new)

TMR I am really intrigued and excited to try some of these stories, kinda pushes me to go out of my comfort zone and even enjoy something new. I look forward to the stories in my shelf from here.


message 2: by Alan (new)

Alan Teder Also available on Audible Sept. 17, 2019 with each book narrated by actor/actresses popularly known in fantasy/sci-fi film/tv. https://www.audible.com/series/Forwar...


message 3: by Nicki (new)

Nicki Alan wrote: "Also available on Audible Sept. 17, 2019 with each book narrated by actor/actresses popularly known in fantasy/sci-fi film/tv. https://www.audible.com/series/Forwar..."

:)


message 4: by Jacki (new)

Jacki Damn! That collection looks amazing! Cannot wait to check this out.


message 5: by Shreya (new)

Shreya Gupta Ohmigawwwd! I'm sooo excited. Can't wait!!!!!


message 6: by Adrianna (new)

Adrianna I'm interested! I'll definitely check these out.


message 7: by Chris (new)

Chris I'm a Prime member but Amazon keeps prompting me to pre-order. lol It'll be nice if the Audible version is free as well. If so, this series will quite frankly rate as the best book-related benefit I've ever received from Prime.


message 8: by Gretchen (new)

Gretchen Pierce Hey All, I'm a Prime member. So how does this work? Does Amazon send me an email and let me know I can download it for free at some point? As https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5... pointed out, right now it's only showing pre-order as an option.


message 9: by Chris (last edited Sep 12, 2019 09:15PM) (new)

Chris Gretchen wrote: "Hey All, I'm a Prime member. So how does this work? Does Amazon send me an email and let me know I can download it for free at some point? As https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5... poin..."

On Amazon's website for each installment of the Forward series, it says, "Prime Members: Read this story for FREE with your Prime membership starting on September 17, 2019. To be notified when this becomes available, follow [author name]." Here's the link to the Andy Weir installment. https://www.amazon.com/Randomize-Forw...
So just follow your favorite author.


message 10: by Trish (new)

Trish This sounds awesome! I immediately got them all (Amazon Prime means it's free) but I'm soooo tempted by the audios - just look at those narrators!


message 11: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Vanicek Chris wrote: "I'm a Prime member but Amazon keeps prompting me to pre-order. lol It'll be nice if the Audible version is free as well. If so, this series will quite frankly rate as the best book-related benefit ..."

The collection will be free on 9/17 - your download on Amazon.com comes with a free Audible version as well :)


message 12: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Vanicek Chris wrote: "I'm a Prime member but Amazon keeps prompting me to pre-order. lol It'll be nice if the Audible version is free as well. If so, this series will quite frankly rate as the best book-related benefit ..."

The collection will be free on 9/17 - your download on Amazon.com comes with a free Audible version as well :)


message 13: by Chris (new)

Chris Ashley wrote: "Chris wrote: "I'm a Prime member but Amazon keeps prompting me to pre-order. lol It'll be nice if the Audible version is free as well. If so, this series will quite frankly rate as the best book-re..."

That's awesome! Thanks for confirming!


message 14: by Gretchen (new)

Gretchen Pierce Chris wrote: "Gretchen wrote: "Hey All, I'm a Prime member. So how does this work? Does Amazon send me an email and let me know I can download it for free at some point? As https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/54..."


Thank you! I had looked on the page for the entire Forward collection, and for some reason it doesn't provide that info. I appreciate you sending me in the right direction.


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