Book Reviews, Bookish Posts & Tags

First Impressions Friday: Forward Series


For some, it’s the end of the world. For others, it’s just the beginning. With brilliant imagination, today’s most visionary writers point to where the future is headed-whether plotting a high-tech casino heist, exploring the boundaries of a video game, or debating the very definition of identity. From the darkly comic to the chilling, they share common DNA. They all look forward.

For the past few months I’ve been trying out Kindle Unlimited because one can never have access to too many books. I haven’t decided if I will keep my subscription because it’s hard to justify £7.99 a month when I already have so many physical and e-books I own that I haven’t read yet. Plus I am an avid library user so I already receive a lot of books without a monthly subscription fee.

So far, though, I’m enjoying the experience of KU because I’ve come across quite a few great reads that I wouldn’t have read otherwise. My most recent find has been the Forward series, a collection of speculative and science fictions short stories and novellas penned by several well known authors.

Presented by Amazon Original Stories, the Forward series is brain child of best-selling author Blake Crouch (Recursion, Dark Matter, Wayward Pines). At the end of each story he explains that a conversation with his partner about emerging technologies led him to think about how authors would approach these technologies in fiction. Luckily, several big names like N.K. Jemison and Andy Weir jumped on board to try their hand at this speculative prompt and thus the collection was born.

From the author and Amazon: 

“The short story is one of the hardest, most rewarding forms in fiction, and with Amazon Original Stories, we had the tools to gather together the best of the best in sci-fi, fantasy, YA, horror, and historical and bring these groundbreaking stories to a true mass audience,” said Blake Crouch, bestselling author of Dark Matter and the curator of Forward. Crouch’s Wayward Pines trilogy and his novel Good Behavior, both of which were adapted for television, were also published by Amazon Publishing, under the Thomas & Mercer imprint.

“Amazon Original Stories is all about innovating on what storytelling looks like today, and Forward’s all-star cast of beloved authors is helping us do just that,” said Julia Sommerfeld, Editorial Director, Amazon Original Stories. “We think of our story collections as reading’s answer to podcasts, and are proud to offer our readers—and listeners—fresh ways to fit binge-worthy narratives into their lives.”

Reviewers seem to be all over the map with these stories, with people either loving them or hating them. My first impressions of this series, however, have been mostly positive, leaving me really looking forward to reading the rest of them.

To date, I’ve read Ark by Veronia Roth and Summer Frost by the curator himself, Blake Crouch. Both were fairly impressive, with the latter being my favorite of the two. It approached the advancement of sentient AI in an intriguing way and as someone thoroughly terrified of the robot uprising, this story shook me to my core.

In short fiction, it’s often hard to flesh out a full narrative with characters you actually understand let alone care about. Both authors managed to achieve this with their Forward contributions, especially Crouch. As someone who is trying to read more short stories and novellas, this collection thus far has me glad that I’m continuing to read in a genre I used to avoid.

Have you read these? What are your feelings about short fiction? Let me know in the comments!


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