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Summer Frost

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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 th 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 closer examination, an emotional relationship develops between them. Soon Riley has all new plans for her spontaneous AI, including bringing Max into the real world. But what if Max has real-world plans of her own? Blake Crouch’s Summer Frost is part of Forward, a collection of six stories of the near and far future from out-of-this-world authors. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting.


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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 th 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 closer examination, an emotional relationship develops between them. Soon Riley has all new plans for her spontaneous AI, including bringing Max into the real world. But what if Max has real-world plans of her own? Blake Crouch’s Summer Frost is part of Forward, a collection of six stories of the near and far future from out-of-this-world authors. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting.

30 review for Summer Frost

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    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-fi nov 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-fi novels. This mini-epic spans years as it looks at artificial intelligence, gender binaries, playing God, and the nature of reality and consciousness. You know, light stuff. Though if it seems like a single story might get bogged down by all those big themes, I don't think it does. I am glad he wrote a longer story than all the others and didn't scrimp on character development because I think that was really important here. Becoming attached to Riley and Max was necessary for the story to have the impact it does. It's a smart story that is about many things, but all of them seem to come back to the same thing: Technology is amazing, but don't let it take over your life. Randomize by Andy Weir - ⭑☆☆☆☆ Ark by Veronica Roth - ⭑⭑⭑☆☆ Emergency Skin by N.K. Jemisin - ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑ You Have Arrived at Your Destination by Amor Towles - ⭑⭑⭑⭑☆ The Last Conversation by Paul Tremblay - ⭑⭑⭑⭑☆

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    A strong 4 stars for this SF novella that examines the issues with AI. Full review first posted on FantasyLiterature.com: 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 strong 4 stars for this SF novella that examines the issues with AI. Full review first posted on FantasyLiterature.com: 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 described as “almost right.” The woman that Riley is chasing, Maxine or “Max,” speaks in toddler-like language. Riley, the VP of Non-Player Character (NPC) Development for a video game developer, realizes that Max, a minor video character in a virtual reality game, isn’t accepting the role of murder victim to her occult-obsessed husband within the game. Instead, after being murdered 2,039 times by her husband during the development of the Lost Coast game, Max has decided to resist her fate and is trying to escape the confines of the VR game’s map. Somehow Max has developed self-awareness. The question is, what to do about it? Summer Frost is an intriguing novella about the development of artificial intelligence by Blake Crouch, author of the WAYWARD PINES trilogy and Recursion. It’s a speedy read, about 75 pages, that kept me glued to my chair as I read it in a single sitting. Riley and the principal of WorldPlay, Brian Brite, agree that Max needs to be digitally contained so as not to escape their control. But within those confines, there’s a lot of room for Max to develop their intelligence and capabilities (Max chooses the singular “they” pronoun, rejecting a gendered identity), and an overarching concern about whether Max’s values will align with humanity’s. Riley is a sympathetic, workaholic main character who becomes overly attached to the AI Max. It has a realistic effect on Riley and her family: her wife Meredith feels jealous of Max, and Riley and Meredith are growing more distant as Riley pours her heart, time and mind into her work and relationship with Max.I … turn onto my side with my back to Meredith’s back, three feet of demilitarized space between us in the bed, but our hearts infinitely further apart.The handling of some of the gender-related issues felt a bit clunky; though it’s a highly timely topic, there’s more discussion of what Max is and is not from a gender point of view than seemed really relevant to the plot and Max’s nature as an AI. On the other hand, there’s a vaguely foreboding feeling to the whole story that did work well: can a human trust an AI that’s rapidly becoming more powerful and knowledgeable? And what can you do to make sure humans are safe if the AI escapes its artificial confines? These are questions worth examining, and Crouch handles it deftly and in a way that surprised me in the end. I love the evocative title of this novella, and how Crouch also introduces the thought experiment Roko’s basilisk into Summer Frost, which lends itself well to the plot. Summer Frost is part of the FORWARD collection proposed and curated by Crouch. It’s a set of six stand-alone novellas, each by a different author, that explore the “effects of a pivotal technological moment.” The authors are Crouch, N.K. Jemisin, Veronica Roth, Amor Towles, Paul Tremblay and Andy Weir. The individual novellas are reasonably priced and available in ebook and audio form individually or as a set. Content notes: a handful of scattered F-bombs.

  3. 4 out of 5

    preoccupiedbybooks

    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 you should definitely pi 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 you should definitely pick up one of his full length novels, like Dark Matter or Recursion as they were both outstanding! I was really excited read this, and it started off quite fast paced, but then I felt that the story dragged a little in the middle, and there wasn't all that much action. I also felt a bit overwhelmed with the info dumping as I'm not a gamer and don't really know anything about NPC's and the computer lingo that was used. I'm used to feeling unintelligent when reading one of this author's books, but it's usually worth it for the characters and the story, but in this case I didn't really feel any attachment to either of the main characters, and felt they were a little flat, which was a shame. I did like the ending though, the pace picked up again and it was really quite creepy and foreboding! I didn't see the ending coming at all, and it was great! It left me thinking about the future of technology, and feeling quite unsettled! “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 consciousness—human or AI. In the end, all we have is math.” There was some really dark themes in the book, which I appreciated! The AI, Max had some thought provoking things to say! "Consciousness is a horror show. You search for glimpses of beauty to justify your existence." To sum up, this was an intriguing novella, which I felt had the potential to become more. I might be on my own on this though, since there are many 4 and 5 star reviews.... It was good, and I don't regret reading it, but I'm not sure that the story will stick with me, or leave any lasting impression.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Reading Tam Ishly

    ➡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 ficti ➡️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 gender and lgbt issues are handled quite well. The plot is electrifying and heart bumping! I got totally hooked to the characters and the plot. It was terrifying and emotional in a good way. Each word is worth reading. And boy, have I read anything this fast?! You will enjoy it. The writing is simply easy to follow. Everything is well explained.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Carol (Bookaria)

    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 on 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, Blake Crouch.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)

    Sheesh - Crouch seriously is the king of sci-fi and this AI story gets right under your skin. LOVE.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    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 closer/>The 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 closer examination, an emotional relationship develops between them. Soon Riley has all new plans for her spontaneous AI, including bringing Max into the real world. But what if Max has real-world plans of her own? Blake Crouch’s Summer Frost is part of Forward, a collection of six stories of the near and far future from out-of-this-world authors. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting. THESE SIX STORIES ARE FREE TO READ FOR ALL PRIME MEMBERS. NO KINDLE UNLIMITED NEEDED. AS LONG AS YOUR MEMBERSHIP REMAINS IN GOOD STANDING THEY WILL REMAIN IN YOUR COLLECTION. My Review: Major chills and creeped out skeeviness. What happens when someone lets their work take over every corner of their life? How lost to the essential quality that makes a human life worth living does one become? The tech industry has the reputation of making this choice for its many cogs, turning their little bit of code into a complete and entire existence. Multiply that by a billion. Make the stakes the survival of humankind. And then let Blake Crouch loose on it. “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 consciousness—human or AI. In the end, all we have is math.” An AI speaks those words, an AI whose first steps toward superintelligence...the Singularity...are made being shepherded by a woman who gives up her wife, her child, and her sanity to make Pinocchio a real boy, to imbue Galatea with what we imagine to be consciousness, even a soul. But what does AI want? "...I mean, do you even know what consciousness is?” {Riley, the human asking this} “I know it isn’t just a biological condition. I believe it’s a pattern. An extensible repertoire of triggerable symbols. More specifically, it’s what information feels like when it’s being processed in highly complex—” {Max the AI responds} “Again—how do I know you aren’t faking it?” How do any of us know we're conscious? Can you prove you're You, not some assortment of algorithmically determined actions? I couldn't, neither could you. And when that really sinks in, when the whole deepfake of life spreads itself in a heavy blanket over your vision, you'll realize how very very very timely this story is. How many questions you should be asking yourself about events transpiring in front of your eyes. Because an AI just made a human choice: It represents a willingness to risk death for a better existence, out from under {anyone}’s control, and a massive leap forward in their reasoning capabilities. To risk death for a better world is the *very*essence* of being human. I am totally sure of that, I believe that without reservation...but will we ever agree on what the future we want to make is? We will be so happy. Rays of sunlight pierce the mist, striking the sea and our black-sand beach. And together we will live forever. I don't expect to sleep at all well anytime soon.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laura Noggle

    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 subjective 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 consciousness—human or AI. In the end, all we have is math.”

  9. 4 out of 5

    Hamad

    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 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 could develop into a dangerous thing. If you are interested in this subject then this is a great story :D You can get more books from Book Depository

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chelsey

    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 responsibly and danger.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    I was surprised to find this quite derivative.

  12. 4 out of 5

    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. Recommended.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mackey

    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 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 real for those us already leery of AI! This novella is free to Prime members but available for purchase or at your local online library. It is well worth reading especially if you like near-future thrillers.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Manisha

    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 writ/>“If 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)[From Ex Machina to the Terminator, we know how stories like these end, and because of that, the story unfolded exactly how I expected it to unfold from the first page. There really was no surprise. No twist. I wish the main character, Riley, hadn’t been so obviously naïve. I would be lying if I said her character didn’t annoy me. This is a personal pet peeve of mine, but like in real life, I have no patience for characters who are easily taken advantage of. I think people should be smarter, and if they are not, I can’t sympathise. (hide spoiler)] The writing was of such a high calibre that the story disappointed me more. I wish the story had more twists and turns, ending in a way that I didn’t see coming. I wish I had been proven wrong.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    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, 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, but not entirely surprising. The fulfillment of my expectations and desires got flip-flopped a couple times towards the end, which I thought was well done. I wonder why Max even bothered to tell Riley what they were doing in the end. It wasn’t really even necessary. But I don’t suppose that would’ve made as good a story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    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 surpri 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 surprising and thought-provoking addition that gave the story more depth. Crouch curated this "Forward" collection through Amazon Publishing and convinced a number of other well-known writers to explore some of the moral and ethical questions around technological advancement, to whit: if we have the ability to advance, should we? Or are there circumstances under which we should hold back? If we advance technology too much, could we be setting into motion events that could wipe the human race off of the planet? The six stories in this "Forward" collection are all available on Amazon, and are free for Prime members! I will definitely be checking out the rest of the collection. 5 well-deserved stars.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    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 A 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 Crouch depicts here. I know that it‘s done like this on purpose, but I still don‘t buy it. The twist at the end is well done. The parallels to the beginning of the story are a clever reflection. The audio narration came across as boring at first. Unemotional and monotonous, as if the narrator had no interest in the story or in narrating it. Even „Gawd, you‘re sexy“ sounded anything but. Halfway into the story it either got better or I simply had gotten used to it. ★★★¼☆

  18. 5 out of 5

    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.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Henry

    Brilliant 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.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Anissa

    "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 coming. I'm "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 coming. I'm giving no spoilers (it's short, go read it!) but will say this had a lot to say about humans good and bad. This is the second story I've read this year that has an AI (view spoiler)[deploying nanobots are the final solution to deal with humanity. (hide spoiler)] I am unsettled. Here's to Max, the expendable NPC who shouldn't have survived the prologue, but wound up writing the epilogue for the world. Glitch, indeed. Highly recommended. A couple of my favourite quotes: ">>>Good morning, Max.>>> Hello, Riley.>>> What have you done since our last session?>>> Max read 895,013 books." "In the end, all we have is math."

  21. 5 out of 5

    Obsidian

    Woo boy. Blake Crouch put his foot in this short story. Damn. I loved every part of it and think if he can stick the landing like this in his stand-alone novels he would be a instant buy author for me in the future. "Summer Frost" was wonderfully done from beginning to end. I swear this read like the best Black Mirror episode ever. Which is saying something since the past two seasons I have been meh towards Black Mirror. "Summer Frost" follows Riley who is a video game developer. Riley has reali Woo boy. Blake Crouch put his foot in this short story. Damn. I loved every part of it and think if he can stick the landing like this in his stand-alone novels he would be a instant buy author for me in the future. "Summer Frost" was wonderfully done from beginning to end. I swear this read like the best Black Mirror episode ever. Which is saying something since the past two seasons I have been meh towards Black Mirror. "Summer Frost" follows Riley who is a video game developer. Riley has realized that a NPC (non-player character) named Max has somehow realized they are in a game and is testing the boundaries of that game. We follow Riley through the years as they help Max learn about humanity through books, movies, etc. Eventually Max is past the human threshold for genius. When Max is finally brought out into the real world, things in Riley's life start to change. So I liked Riley a lot. It's weird that I assume Riley is a woman, though it says during the short story that they see themselves as male when playing games. Riley is happily married at the start of this story to a woman named Meredith. They keep trying to have children, with Meredith experiencing miscarriages. You start to see how Riley gets caught up in Max since this is something that she can take care of and nurture like a child. When Riley starts to see Max as something more, her relationship with Meredith suffers. I really loved the character of Max. Max sees themselves as not female or male and I liked how Crouch infuses Max with being beyond gender and even Riley uses pronouns to reflect that as everyone does, besides Meredith still calling Riley 'it." I thought the writing was thought provoking and I loved how Pascal's wager came into play here. I haven't thought about this since college and thought that it gave an interesting flavor to this novel especially with what comes at the end. The setting of this story I would once again assume is future, or near future. The ending was a smack in the face (in a good way).

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Reads & Reviews

    This novella about development of a super-intelligent AI was okay. Most stories about super-intelligent beings are generally disappointing because the being can only reason and respond within the human limitations of the writer. (I'd love to read a super AI story where the AI's analysis truly blows me away.) A true super-intelligent AI would be unfathomable. They'd reach conclusions and plan in a manner that a reader of average intelligence like myself would not quite understand but would feel a This novella about development of a super-intelligent AI was okay. Most stories about super-intelligent beings are generally disappointing because the being can only reason and respond within the human limitations of the writer. (I'd love to read a super AI story where the AI's analysis truly blows me away.) A true super-intelligent AI would be unfathomable. They'd reach conclusions and plan in a manner that a reader of average intelligence like myself would not quite understand but would feel awe towards. The thought process of the AI in Summer Frost was too obvious and predictable. Nice inclusion of modern gender identities though. The story was entertaining and thoughtful enough not to be boring, but I doubt it'll stick with me. Good for an afternoon read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Laura Peden

    This is just a bit too far out there for me 😬 I’m not the right audience for this one unfortunately. I’m sure buttloads of people are going to love it though.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Veronique

    3.75* 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.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Quann

    Blake Crouch, the curator of the Forward collection, comes through with one of the best stories of the bunch. Though the story does work an old AI trope, it's done with Crouch's distinctive ability to generate tension and momentum within his story. I liked emergence of the AI through a VR video game, and thought that the AI's evolution was well handled. Though the whole thing ends up being fairly predictable, it's a fun ride that caps off with one of the darkest endings of the collection next to Trembl Blake Crouch, the curator of the Forward collection, comes through with one of the best stories of the bunch. Though the story does work an old AI trope, it's done with Crouch's distinctive ability to generate tension and momentum within his story. I liked emergence of the AI through a VR video game, and thought that the AI's evolution was well handled. Though the whole thing ends up being fairly predictable, it's a fun ride that caps off with one of the darkest endings of the collection next to Tremblay's The Last Conversation. Definitely worth your while!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    Chilling look at the emergence of self-aware/conscious, super intelligent AI in the near future. The story touches on some of the intricately complex questions about the nature of consciousness and humanity's responsibility for the emergence of self-aware AI when it's true nature may never be fully understood, despite our best efforts to instill it with human values. Once created, how long can it really be contained? Crouch's writing and storytelling here are superb, with vivid prose that's both Chilling look at the emergence of self-aware/conscious, super intelligent AI in the near future. The story touches on some of the intricately complex questions about the nature of consciousness and humanity's responsibility for the emergence of self-aware AI when it's true nature may never be fully understood, despite our best efforts to instill it with human values. Once created, how long can it really be contained? Crouch's writing and storytelling here are superb, with vivid prose that's both touching and creepy.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Malina Skrobosinski

    YESSSSS! I fucking love Blake Crouch! Excuse my colorful language, but the man is good! A creepy A.I. story that makes me want to walk away from video games altogether. Virtual reality, or reality in the making?

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    4.25/5stars this was fantastic?? i want more ??? but also it was a perfect length ?? omg??? i am still shook at how amazing Crouch wrote from a lesbian woman's point of view like wtf is this talent and why dont more male writers have it??? spooky AF at the end omg

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lena

    Damn, Blake Crouch has done it again! A full short story, beginning, middle... - Transmission Ends -

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Another story about AI becoming dangerously intelligent. I did not feel that this short story was very original. Riley falls in love with an AI that was "rescued" from a video game and spends 8 years working with it. Riley puts Max, the AI, before everything in life, including family. The creep factor is there, both with Riley and Max. The story was predictable. I'm surprised that this book is the most highly rated in the Forward Collection. 1.5/5 stars (rounded up).

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