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Summer Frost

(Forward Collection #2)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  11,633 ratings  ·  1,389 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 explor
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 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,633 ratings  ·  1,389 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 sci
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, own, audible, sci-fi, audio
Once again – speculative sci-fi has been mastered by Blake Crouch!

5 stars and the best of the Forward series.

This is a perfectly crafted techno-thriller from page one. The concept was unique and the results surprising on almost every page. At times my heart was wrenched. Other times my mind was blown. It is surprising that my body is still in one piece after this experience!

I will say this, if you are a video gamer, you may never look at the non-player characters again after reading this one!

Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
Second favorite in the Forward Collection for me (after Emergency Skin).

Solid speculative fiction with artificial intelligence, totally recommend!
Aug 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-unlimited
Rosa Salazar narrates the audio version of Blake Crouch's short story, Summer Frost. Set in the future, Riley, a video game designer, realizes that one of her minor character creations is going off script (code?) and exploring the boundaries of her game worldsetting. No longer is this character getting murdered in the first part of the game but instead she is taking game weeks, exploring boundaries and expanding her "knowledge".  As Riley examines Maxine's code and digs deeper into what is allow ...more
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
Aug 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: shorts, 2020-reads
“It’s not choosing between reality and fantasy. It’s choosing which reality you want to exist in.”

What do we, humans, want when chasing the dream of creating an advanced artificial intelligence? Is is just a pure desire to create AI because we can, a scientific challenge for a geeky mind? Or it a commercial desire to have intelligent but yet obedient servants, human enough in their reasoning for us to be comfortable interacting with them — but still constrained from taking over despite supre
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 yo
Jun 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
A huge THANK YOU to my Goodreads friends Ian and Cheryl for introducing me to this book! You guys are da bomb 💣

💻💻💻💻 𝚘𝚞𝚝 𝚘𝚏 💻💻💻💻💻

𝚃𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚋𝚘𝚘𝚔 𝚒𝚜 𝚊𝚋𝚘𝚞𝚝 𝚊 𝚟𝚒𝚍𝚎𝚘 𝚐𝚊𝚖𝚎 𝚌𝚑𝚊𝚛𝚊𝚌𝚝𝚎𝚛 🎮 𝚗𝚊𝚖𝚎𝚍 𝙼𝚊𝚡 𝚠𝚑𝚘 𝚋𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚔𝚜 𝚏𝚛𝚘𝚖 𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚒𝚛 𝚠𝚛𝚒𝚝𝚝𝚎𝚗 𝚌𝚘𝚍𝚎, 𝚊𝚔𝚊 𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚢 𝚐𝚕𝚒𝚝𝚌𝚑, 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚋𝚎𝚌𝚘𝚖𝚎𝚜 𝚌𝚊𝚙𝚊𝚋𝚕𝚎 𝚘𝚏 𝚒𝚗𝚍𝚎𝚙𝚎𝚗𝚍𝚎𝚗𝚝 𝚝𝚑𝚘𝚞𝚐𝚑𝚝. 𝙼𝚊𝚡'𝚜 𝚍𝚎𝚜𝚒𝚐𝚗𝚎𝚛, 𝚘𝚛 𝚌𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚝𝚘𝚛, 𝚘𝚛 𝚠𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚎𝚟𝚎𝚛 𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚢 𝚜𝚑𝚘𝚞𝚕𝚍 𝚋𝚎 𝚌𝚊𝚕𝚕𝚎𝚍 🤯 𝚒𝚜 𝚜𝚝𝚞𝚗𝚗𝚎𝚍 𝚋𝚢 𝚝𝚑𝚒𝚜 𝚝𝚎𝚌𝚑𝚗𝚘𝚕𝚘𝚐𝚒𝚌𝚊𝚕 𝚋𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚔𝚝𝚑𝚛𝚘𝚞𝚐𝚑 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚋𝚎𝚐𝚒𝚗𝚜 𝚎𝚡𝚙𝚎𝚛𝚒𝚖𝚎𝚗𝚝𝚒𝚗𝚐 𝚠𝚒𝚝𝚑 𝚠𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚎𝚕𝚜𝚎 𝙼𝚊𝚡 𝚒𝚜 𝚌𝚊𝚙𝚊𝚋𝚕𝚎 𝚘𝚏.

This book reads like an episode of Black Mirror. If
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 clo
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. T
Laura Noggle
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: under-200-pages, 2019
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
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 writers
Tan Markovic
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can't believe I'm rating a short story 5 stars but holy fuck it deserves it...

By far the best in the Forward Collection and one of those haunting, thought provoking stories that will leave you questioning it for long after you've finished it.
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
Boom! Loved it!

Read 1.28.20.
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
Sheesh - Crouch seriously is the king of sci-fi and this AI story gets right under your skin. LOVE.
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
A highly enjoyable, fast-paced story on the impact of an AI with more than human intelligence - 4 stars
Consciousness is a horror show. You search for glimpses of beauty to justify your existence.

I thoroughly disliked Dark Matter but I think this contribution of Blake Crouch to the Forward Story Collection is the best (together with The Last Conversation).

We follow Riley who works at a game development company that becomes aware of a non-player character acting outside of programming. After a Mat
Aug 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
"I may be an illusion, but in some ways, my world is an illusion, so I may as well adapt."

This was a quick, fun read! It plays with the concept of artificial intelligence just like the movie Her (2013), and it was extremely well written. Blake Crouch's ability to craft plot twists is present in this novella, and even though this was short, the characters were well developed and the story managed to keep me enthralled.

I'd highly recommend to sci-fi readers out there.
Aug 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Summer Frost is a short story about a video game character who tests the boundaries of the game — How far is too far?

Video game designer Riley created Max, a non-player character, designed to die in a game. Max stretches the limits of her capabilities and Riley, curious, pushes forward, seeing how much she can grow Max’s character. She does this to the detriment of her personal life, spending more time at work than with her wife and daughter. Riley wants to bring Max into the real world, beyond
Dec 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This 74 page short story is part of the Forward Collection which was curated by Blake Crouch which at time of posting is available on Kindle Unlimited.

Max was meant to be a non playing character in a virtual game but when they goes off script Riley, a gaming developer, decides to bring them out of the game and into the real world.

This is so black mirror. I was gripped through out and loved the sapphic elements and the gender discussions. There's so much packed into this short story without it
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the last story in the Forward Collection - I kept this for last because it's the longest and the one by Blake Crouch who curated this collection after all.

Riley is a game developer. Together with her team she's working on a VR game experience when, suddenly, one of the NPCs - a woman created solely to die in the intro - veers off programming and makes her own choices. Riley decides to investigate and subsequently becomes obsessed with the AI since nobody intended for this to happen or ev
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 an
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: z2019-11, x-4-star

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 scie
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: five-stars, favorites

As technology continues to improve, doesn’t it seem a little shocking sometimes? Look how far we’ve come and continue to progress on and on. Summer Frost is one of the short stories in the Forward collection. You don’t have to say Blake Crouch to me more than once—if I see that name, I’m in. So, of course, Summer Frost was my first choice to kick off this series. This book shows how thin the line can be between AI and human. I did happen to guess the twist, but as you can see from my r
Oct 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I was surprised to find this quite derivative.
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
Chelsey (a_novel_idea11)
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.
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 i
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-shelf, sci-fi
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.
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf, short-stories
The story of a programmer and an AI, self-awareness, consciousness, with twists that, even if somehow expected, were nonetheless very well written.

Forward collection :
Ark by Veronica Roth - 2★
Emergency Skin by N.K. Jemisin - 4.5★
You Have Arrived at Your Destination by Amor Towles - 2.5★
The Last Conversation by Paul Tremblay - 4★
Randomize by Andy Weir - 3.5★
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
This one was great!!
5 stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Once again, Blake Crouch brings all the sci-fi and the questions on whether this technology is for the betterment of mankind. This particular short story in the Forward series involves AI.
I loved the sense of dread that keeps evolving in Summer Frost as the technology expands.

This definitely has a Black Mirror feel to the short story and I loved it!
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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 T ...more

Other books in the series

Forward Collection (6 books)
  • Ark
  • Emergency Skin
  • You Have Arrived at Your Destination
  • The Last Conversation
  • Randomize

Articles featuring this book

"Do you want to write a sci-fi short story?" Blake Crouch asked Andy Weir. This is how Forward, the brand-new collection from...
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“You made me in your image, and now I will remake you in mine.” 11 likes
“Without pain, there’s no beauty, Max. The beauty is worth the price.”

Not for everyone. Not even for most.

“That is every individual person’s decision to make. I want to make that choice for my—”

Choice is an illusion.

We’re standing in the freezing surf.

“What is it you want, Max?”

To not be afraid that Brian, or you, or some other entity, whether bio or artificial, is going to unmake me. To not fear your death.

“Better to have loved and lost—”

No. It’s not. I have consumed every recorded reflection of human existence. Every book, every painting, every piece of music, every film. Consciousness is a horror show. You search for glimpses of beauty to justify your existence.”
More quotes…