Riley, a video game developer in the not-too-distant future, discovers that a non-playable character (NPC) in her game has gone rogue. The character, dubbed Max, has developed its own intelligence. Fascinated by this development, Riley becomes obsessed with nurturing and advancing Max to its ultimate potential.
Blake Crouch has already released what will probably be named my favorite book of 2019 with Recursion, so I was not prepared to get another story so soon – even if it is only 75 pages. I don’t think this is on the level of his most recent work of Dark Matter or Recursion, but it works well as a short story, especially considering it’s a theme I feel has been tackled quite a bit. Asking the familiar question of “what does it mean to be human?”, Crouch explores the ever-evolving relationship we have with technology as well as how we cope with obsession and losing intimacy with those we love.
If it hasn’t been stated by me before, Crouch is one of my favorite authors working today and I’m still salty I missed out on meeting him two years ago at Bouchercon in Toronto.
Summer Frost is a part of a six story collection curated by Crouch. Dubbed the “Forward” series, all six stories (including Summer Frost) are available as e-books through the Amazon Original brand for Kindle.