In somewhat of a coincidence, the last story left for me to read in Amazon’s Forward Series was The Last Conversation by Paul Tremblay. I didn’t plan it that way. It just kind of happened.
Reading a short story is different than reading a long form novel. The author has a limited amount of pages to develop characters and explore a topic. It means there are usually fewer characters, the pace of the plot tends to be faster, and the author leaves it up to you the reader to fill in more of the details. In a well written short story, the ending is typically a stunning plot twist or reveal – the more unexpected the twist, the better. It’s not unusual for the ending to be abrupt, lacking closure. One gets to use their imagination to create their own ending, or to debate possible endings with others who have read the book.
Some are put off by this format, but I like it, a lot.
I’m a fan of the short story format. It’s impressive when an author tells a captivating story with well-developed characters in a condensed number of pages. I’ve also found it a great way to explore new authors to get a feel for their writing style.
So in the breaks between books on my reading list, I’ve been working through the short stories in the Amazon Forward series. I’ve read four of the six stories, and recently finished the 5th – Ark by Veronica Roth. If the author sounds familiar, she wrote the Divergent series of books that was made into a series of movies starting back in 2014.
When in between books on my reading list, I’ve been taking a break to explore the works in the Amazon Forward Collection. So far I’ve read Summer Frost by Blake Crouch, which I really liked, and Randomize by Andy Weir, which was decent. For my next selection, I chose Emergency Skin by N. K. Jemisin.
I really like the idea behind the Amazon Forward series. They pulled together six up-and-coming science fiction authors and had each of them write a short story.
I started off the series by reading Summer Frost by Blake Crouch, which I thoroughly enjoyed. For my second read in the series, I chose Randomize by Andy Weir. I’ve read other books by Weir which include The Martian and Artemis. The Martian was the best book I read back in 2014, and it remains one of my all-time favorites.
Based on my experience with Summer Frost and my prior experience with Weir’s writing, I was looking forward to diving in to Randomize. Here’s my take on it.
I have a love-hate relationship with the Amazon recommendation engine. There are times when I get email recommendations that leave me scratching my head, saying “What the…?” And then there are other times when I feel like it knows me better than I do.
For example, I love the short story genre and feel it is underrepresented in books these days. It feels like so many authors and publishers are focused on prolonged series. Now it could be my ADHD speaking, but there’s something to be said for a captivating short story. So when I got an email from Amazon saying they created a new short story series focused on science fiction by the genre’s up and coming authors, called Forward, I was intrigued.
Favorite genre? Check.
Favorite authors? Check.
Short stories? Check.
Available to Prime members for free (via borrowing)? Double check.
Count me in. Since Blake Crouch has become one of my favorite authors as of late, I decided I would start with his contribution to the series, Summer Frost.