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Summer Frost

(Forward Collection #2)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  5,412 ratings  ·  669 reviews
A video game developer becomes obsessed with a willful character in her new project, in a mind-bending exploration of what it means to be human by the New York Times bestselling author of Recursion.

Maxine was made to do one thing: die. Except the minor non-player character in the world Riley is building makes her own impossible decision—veering wildly off course and
Kindle Edition, 75 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Amazon Original Stories
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Emily Each of them is a standalone so I don't think you'll miss anything by not reading the others or reading them out of order.…moreEach of them is a standalone so I don't think you'll miss anything by not reading the others or reading them out of order. (less)

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Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,412 ratings  ·  669 reviews

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Emily May
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Summer Frost was so good. Probably my second favourite of the Forward collection because Jemisin's Emergency Skin just really did it for me, but they are so different that it's hard to compare them. Jemisin's was shorter and snappier with a very hard-hitting concept. Crouch's was longer, with way more character development and a touch of what seems to be his trademark doomed romance.

Crouch really is quite the romantic, I think. Not in a bad way. It adds a much-needed layer of humanity to his
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
A strong 4 stars for this SF novella that examines the issues with AI. Full review first posted on

A woman steals a Maserati and takes off for a mansion north of San Francisco, on a remote stretch of Highway 1 on the coast of California. Another person, Riley, follows her into the home and up to a bathroom, where a man in the tub is dying of knife wounds. As Riley pursues the woman, the tension is offset somewhat by feeling that something about the scene is off. A smell is
Sep 24, 2019 rated it liked it
An interesting and creepy look at AI and it's potential, but sadly it was not as enjoyable as I would have liked.

I was toying with giving this Novella 3.5/4 stars, but when I woke up this morning I knew that it was a three star read for me. It was good, but nothing new or special. I think I wanted to like it more than I did because of my enjoyment of Blake Crouch's previous books, and I think that affected my original judgement. I will say that if this is your first book by Blake Crouch, that
Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good morning, Max.
Hello, Riley.
What have you done since our last session?
Max read 895,013 books."

I don't love the book for these lines though!

But that's pretty fascinating even for an artificial being. I am impressed, Blake Crouch. But why that exact number though?

He is one truly amazing sci-fi writer that I so hopelessly adore. He makes me love sci-fi!

This one talks about artificial intelligence. And one of the best sci-fi game fiction adaptation.

The characters are so well made up. The
Carol (Bookaria)
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
A game developer becomes obsessed with one of her characters after it breaks the script and becomes self-aware.

This is a short fiction story that explores AI. The dialog and themes reflect on the nature of human life and our understanding of it. Although the novel is short, the topics discussed have stayed me with me long after I turned the last page. There is a Black-Mirrorish vibe that chilled me to the core at some points.

Short but powerful, another great story from one of my favorite
Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)
Sheesh - Crouch seriously is the king of sci-fi and this AI story gets right under your skin. LOVE.
Richard Derus
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindled
Real Rating: 4.75* of five

The Publisher Says: A video game developer becomes obsessed with a willful character in her new project, in a mind-bending exploration of what it means to be human by the New York Times bestselling author of Recursion.

Maxine was made to do one thing: die. Except the minor non-player character in the world Riley is building makes her own impossible decision—veering wildly off course and exploring the boundaries of the map. When the curious Riley extracts her code for
Laura Noggle
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, under-200-pages
Ugh ... why is Crouch so good?!? I’ve never liked a short story as much as this one—perfect in every way.

~ Ex Machina vibez ~ Part of the “Forward” Collection ~

Looks like I’m going to have to read every single thing Crouch has ever written.

So far:

1. Dark Matter - 5's
2. Recursion - 5's
3. Summer Frost - 5's

“There is no such thing as real taste or real smell or even real sight, because there is no true definition of ‘real.’ There is only information, viewed subjectively, which is allowed by
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
This Review Blog Twitter Instagram

Let me be honest, Blake Crouch was the main reason I read this collection of stories! When I saw that he had a short story in this collection and it was the longest one, I had to get it.

This short story captures Crouch's specialty, crazy sci-fi story that are thought provoking and are scary because how realistic they are!!

I am not saying much about those short stories because I do not want to spoil anything, this story tackles the subject of AI and how it
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: x-4-star, z2019-11

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Science Fiction

Riley is a video game developer. She gets closer to the non-playable character Max. When she extracts Max's code for further examination an emotional bond starts to build between them that costs Riley a lot.
This was a short but fantastic read. Blake Crouch has created a wonderful atmosphere with an extremely suspenseful story in just 75 pages! Usually, in short stories, things tend to get lacking a bit, but Summer Frost is a perfect example of how a short
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Crouch crushes the sci-fi short story genre too!! This is part of the Forward Collection on Amazon and is a super quick and entertaining read.

Riley works for WorldGames developing gamer content when she inadvertently creates a super intelligent AI. Over the course of eight years, she develops the AI - Max - beyond all expectations. But, as with any great sci-fi novel will tell you, with great power and intelligence comes great responsibilty and danger.
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 Stars (Incredible)

Despite the short narrative, Blake Crouch is able to create a technocratic world where advancement in A.I. technology can have devastating consequences!

I admit. I'm addicted to Blake's writing.

His 'Dark Matter', followed by the masterpiece 'Recursion' sored high into my favorite sci-fi books! Here he does not disappoint, where an A.I. program belonging to a simulation game is given complex algorithms to improve itself, and in the process starts to develop a conscience- or
Oct 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I was surprised to find this quite derivative.
Robin (Bridge Four)
What a strange short story. I’ve really enjoyed Blake Crouch since I read Dark Matter a few months ago. In his own style Blake gives us a look at the old story of what happens when AI figures out it is smarter than the being who created it.

Maxine was a game construct; she was the wife of a character that sacrifices her (his wife) to open a portal inside the game they are in. However, after dying over 2000 times the character goes off script, kills her husband and then explores the game she is
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, 2019-shelf
AI and the problem of consciousness.

I really enjoyed the characters portrayed here. The progression of self-awareness and the pain one feels as a conscious being is really captured well here. And the AI is interesting, too. :)

The twist at the end is a riff on an old, old tale, but perfectly updated to current understanding. Simple, sharp, and deadly. :) Me likey.
Summer Frost is part of the Forward Collection of Amazon shorts all of which are about author's vision of the future. In Summer Frost, a video coder/developer has created a character whose only purpose was to die in the first scenes of the game. The character, Maxine, had other ideas. Somehow, unknown to the developer, Maxine has jumped from an avatar to reality within the game. As the story progresses, we watch as Maxine, now AI, takes on a life of her own. It is creepy, frightening and all too ...more
Milda Page Runner
Story of AI. It felt familiar somehow, but there were few unexpected twists too.
I like Blake's 'no-nonsense' prose and present tense. He made me feel for the main character despite it being only a short story.

I'm labeling this horror. The dark storyline is too close for comfort in this world of growing (and learning) artificial intelligence.
Actual review: 3.5

“If you believe the rise of the devil is an inevitability, isn’t it in your best interest to do everything possible to ingratiate yourself with the monster?”

Summer Frost is the second story I picked up from the Forward series. This is the first story I have read by Blake Crouch, and I know it won’t be my last.

What more could we have expected?

How do you rate a book that is so well written, but the story is a tired plot we have seen a thousand times before? (view spoiler)
Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
The story was ok. Matrix meets Terminator isn‘t quite right, but went through my thoughts anyway. The exploration of AI has an unusual start, but doesn‘t lead to anything new. What is awareness, what are the dangers and how do we protect ourselves?

Then there is some slight exploration of gender identity, but it‘s so peripheral that Crouch might just not have bothered. Skin colour is thrown in there, but not elaborated at all.

I do not completely believe the developmental process of AI that
Lisa Wolf
I'm listening my way through Amazon's Forward story collection. Summer Frost was my first, and it's a good one, all about AI and consciousness and the meaning of humanity. Chilling and complicated -- definitely worth a read.
I liked this story a lot. Crouch definitely has a “style”, which I find compelling. And I’ve always been interested in Robot/Android/AI stories.

I liked how Crouch played with gender expectations in this story. For a moment I wondered whether the MC was male or female and wondered if they were male, why they would have a woman narrate the story. I half expected Riley to be non-binary, but it was “revealed” at some point that Riley is female in a same-sex relationship.

Definitely chilling ending,
Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition
9/17/19 Just started listening and already I am being drawn into this world - love it!
And I am enjoying the sexy, husky voice of
Rosa Salazar as the narrator.

9/18/19 Thank you, Blake Crouch, for another awesome listening / reading experience!

And Rosa Salazar is the perfect narrator.

Once again, humanity is combined with thrilling technology to create an engaging and entertaining story.
Jan 06, 2020 rated it liked it
I liked it, but didn't love it. To be fair this could be because I had to take a two week break while on holiday, which obviously would have impacted on my enjoyment. I liked the twist at the end and did not see it coming, but some of the earlier parts felt familiar. I am not a big Sci-Fi reader so the AI development process and ethical issues were interesting.

If, like me, you relished his previous books, you should definitely read or listen to this novella.
Sara *~The Loquacious Lassie~*
Holy guacamole guys...this short story knocked me right on my butt! This story is part of a collection curated by Crouch, as described below. Blake's contribution explores the advancement of AI technology and the possible ramifications of developing a super intelligence beyond our control. His writing, as ever, is just beautiful, with pithy dialogue, multifaceted characters, and a heart-wrenching plot. This story also makes a strong nod to the LBGTQ and non-binary communities, which was a ...more
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Blake Crouch is one of the most creative novelists writing today. Wayward Pines, Dark Matter and Recursion are all brilliant and this story does not disappoint. I highly recommend it.
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely spectacular!

I've read three of the stories in this collection now and this was the best yet.

I don't even have the words to describe it. It was terrifying and beautiful at the same time.

I love AI stories and this is without a doubt one of the best I've ever encountered. I've never read anything from this author before but I'm certainly going to try and find more of his work.
Gorab Jain
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Felt more like a screenplay.
Mixing "Ex-Machina" and "Her"
Still quite enjoyable.

Read this as 3rd book of Amazon Forward series. So far the series rocks bigtime!
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of speculative fiction & science fiction
"Why did you kill your husband?" I ask. "Not husband. Oscar kill Max with knife two thousand thirty-nine times."

I'm by no definition a gamer but I am one who enjoys Blake Crouch's writing. I loved this! If not for a true terminus of an ending, I could have read a full-length novel of this story. Max, a NPC (non-playing character) breaks out of their programming (I suppose being murdered 2039 times is a grim but good teacher) and sets out on a course that their maker and mentor never saw
Sep 26, 2019 rated it really liked it

Another unsettling tale, this time from Blake Crouch, of the Recursion and Dark Matter.

A non-player character develops into something more, while its ‘creator’, the video game developer, looses herself in the endeavour. This is not a new theme but Crouch can write a thrilling narrative. I particularly liked the parallels made at the very beginning and the very end - quite chilling actually.
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Blake Crouch is a bestselling novelist and screenwriter. He is the author of the forthcoming novel, Dark Matter, for which he is writing the screenplay for Sony Pictures. 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 ...more

Other books in the series

Forward Collection (7 books)
  • Ark
  • Emergency Skin
  • You Have Arrived at Your Destination
  • The Last Conversation (Forward collection)
  • Randomize
  • Forward Collection
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“You made me in your image, and now I will remake you in mine.” 3 likes
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