Hello, friends! I hope you’re having a good week.
This week, while watching BookTube, I watched BookswithEmilyFox reading this collection of short stories from authors I recognized. I don’t typically read science fiction, but I’m trying to branch out. Anyway, I had such high hopes for this collection. It didn’t really come through for me but that’s okay. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, and I went in blind to every story. I’m not going to give you much information about each book because I found it fun to go in blind to each one, and I think it would benefit you as well.
Ark (Forward Collection #1) by Veronica Roth
“On the eve of Earth’s destruction, a young scientist discovers something too precious to lose, in a story of cataclysm and hope by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Divergent trilogy.”
A very average short story that tried to be more thought provoking than it probably needed to be. I understood where the author was coming from, but I didn’t think it worked with this specific short story. There was no background on the characters except for the little bit the author offers us. Samantha, the main character who helps with the Ark Project in Svalbard, is very melancholy in nature while not at the same time. I received mixed signals from her. It seemed like a very dark story with the end of the world looming over the few people left on Earth, meanwhile it was a story filled with hope. It’s a good contrast, but I think I needed a long story if that’s the case. Overall, it was an okay start to this collection. It’s a rocky journey from here, though.
Summer Frost (Forward Collection #2) by Blake Crouch
“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.”
This one, by far, is the creepiest short story in this collection. I hate the thought of AI becoming smarter than humans. The dry, scientific writing works for the story, otherwise I wouldn’t have given it four stars. I thought there was a lot of good discussion about gender and how we as humans assume gender so easily. No, there’s not a lot of character development, but the uneasiness this book provides really makes up for that. The downfall of this short story is the ending. I found it to wrap up at the last second and it seemed a little cheap. I know this wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’d say go ahead and read it if you want to feel uncomfy for an hour.
Emergency Skin (Forward Collection #3) by N.K. Jemisin
“What will become of our self-destructed planet? The answer shatters all expectations in this subversive speculation from the Hugo Award–winning author of the Broken Earth trilogy.”
Ugh, I thought for sure this would be my favorite one out of all six stories. Honestly, it’s at the bottom above The Last Conversation by Tremblay. I will give it points for how eye-opening this one is. There’s a good discussion about how terrible humans are to the Earth. I thought the point of view worked, but I was extremely aggravated by the “voice inside your head.” I understood why that was there, but there had to be a different way to do it. Maybe I’m being too harsh, but I can’t raise my rating. There’s a lot to unpack in this story, so if you’re interested, then I’d recommend you give it a shot.
You Have Arrived at Your Destination (Forward Collection #4 by Amor Towles
“Nature or nurture? Neither. Discover a bold new way to raise a child in this unsettling story of the near future by the New York Times bestselling author of A Gentleman in Moscow.”
This is my favorite one from this collection, and I’m just as shocked as you are. I thought this one had the best character development, plot, and unsettling dialogue. The only thing that made me drop a star was the ending. I don’t think I understood what it all meant. It’s one of my pet peeves with books. I hate being intrigued just to catch “eh” feelings at the end. It makes me want to scream. Anyway, it was my favorite……that’s all.
The Last Conversation (Forward Collection #5) by Paul Tremblay
“What’s more frightening: Not knowing who you are? Or finding out? A Bram Stoker Award–winning author explores the answer in a chilling story about identity and human consciousness.”
This book didn’t slap, and that’s putting it kindly. I don’t even know what I read and why, but I’m not here for it. There was nothing intriguing about this! I don’t want to drag this anymore, so I’ll just end it with: don’t read this.
Randomize (Forward Collection #6) by Andy Weir
“In the near future, if Vegas games are ingeniously scam-proof, then the heists have to be too, in this imaginative and whip-smart story by the New York Times bestselling author of The Martian.”
The amount of conniving characters in this one was a nice change of pace since it is the last story. There’s quantum physics, casinos, and random number generators. If that doesn’t make you want to read it, then I don’t know what will. I thought the writing was fine. I think this one has the lowest rating out of all of them, but I’m not really sure why. I still recommend it.
If I had to rank them from most favorite to least favorite:
You Have Arrived at Your Destination, Summer Frost, Randomize, Ark, Emergency Skin, and The Last Conversation.
If you’ve read any of these, you should let me know your thoughts in the comments.
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