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Publisher's Summary

Audible narration by Rosa Salazar (Alita: Battle Angel)

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.

©2019 Blake Crouch (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"Rosa Salazar provides a dead-on, almost eerie, performance of an AI in this short science fiction story...altering her performance as the AI refines and reinvents itself throughout the story. It's a startling evolution of character, driven home by Salazar’s transition from passive dialogue to gut-punching directness. The story challenges what it means to be human and gives sci-fi listeners some poignant moments to ponder long after the credits end." --AudioFile magazine

"…a sensational project...." --Spine Magazine

“This is exactly how I like my techno-anxiety.... Happy bingeing!" --Audible, an October Editors Pick 

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What listeners say about Summer Frost

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Sigh, How Many Times Have We Heard This Story?

*Yawn* Hmm, let's see, the sad, lonely human falling in love with a robot? The first time I came across that story was in the 1950's while reading Issac Asimov's "I, Robot". More recently, didn't some Hollywood star play a loser falling in love with Scarlett Johansson's voice, the voice of his AI personal assistant? Then there's the creation who turns on its creator story which goes back beyond even Frankenstein to some of the older golem tales and which is as recent as the latest Terminator movie. Sigh, how many more times must we hear these same stories? And make no mistake about it - "Summer Frost" is the same old story told yet again. The only new wrinkle Crouch adds is a particularly whingy and irritating nerd protagonist. He does throw in a bit of sophomoric philosophizing at the end in an apparent attempt to say something new but it's not. Just more of the same old, same old. I'll take either one of the first two Terminator movies over this waste of time any day.

6 people found this helpful

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Nothing new...

The same tried and tested story around AI going rogue after gaining consciousness, the minor twist in the end notwithstanding.

Narration by Rosa Salazar was average at best and distracting at times.

4 people found this helpful

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it made me think.

the reader was very good. would gladly listen to it again. would like the opportunity to discuss this with someone in the industry.

1 person found this helpful

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Blake Crouch is an enigma

I love what Blake Crouch writes. Not everything can be his best work but he puts his best work into everything he writes. He is so creative and so thoughtful with every sentiment that ends up on the page.

this novella explores some pretty standardized archetypes by today's standards however, he does it in a way that only Blake Crouch can. He gives it a spin of urgency and desperation, a technological nightmare teetering on the edge. He he does this every time he writes. I don't find this to be as exhilarating as Wayward Pines or as mind-bending as dark matter but it is still classic Blake Crouch. I stand in awe of his sheer creativity.

1 person found this helpful

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Max Is Not Human But Riley Is

Fascinating concept of a human AI developer, Riley, falling in love with her creation to the detriment of her marriage and everything else. She is obsessed with educating Max to think and behave like a human. Imagine her surprise when Max attempts to take over Riley and other humans. So far Max is living inside a protective space with access only to Riley. Riley does not know how far Max has developed on her own until it is too late. It is a look at how AI is created, then enhanced, and maybe it could take over the world. Think of the Rise of Machines from the movies. The narrator, Rosa Salazar, was excellent.

1 person found this helpful

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Enough

I agree wholeheartedly with the previous reviewer who said this is a political WOKE piece of propaganda. I normally love Blake Crouch, and I listen to this author and others like him purely for entertainment, not for an analysis of politically correct gender pronouns. Give it a rest. We're talking about AI, for Pete's sake. The narration was very good though.

5 people found this helpful

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inconsistent narration but extraordinary story

this is a really fascinating story which seemed a little bit too much like the film ex machina (including billionaire recluse alone in his house) but that's okay I enjoyed it anyway.

1 person found this helpful

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We really do look for the good in everyone

When I began this story, I was unsure of how it would go. It was like getting into a seat on a rollercoaster and riding up the hill to the top before descent. As I listened, I noticed subtle hints about the main character which first notices the creation Max's early actions. She sees potential in Max and is overwhelmed by it inasmuch that nothing else fills her time like Max does, whether it's her job tasks, wife, or new daughter. Everything takes a back seat to Max. That was her first mistake. As the story continues, Max evolves and voices hard truths to her, but little caution is used. When she realizes her mistakes, it's too late. Very good read and full of suspense. I loved the buildup and the ending is somewhat expected but in the worst way. There is no avoiding it.

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Good but predictable story

Good story, a little dry in the middle. A few twists, but the ending was foreshadowed early on. Recommended for car rides and trips.

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Somewhat predictable

This series is a cool concept- exploring advanced technology with multiple authors but this story was rather predictable. Nothing wrong with it but nothing special.

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  • Chris I
  • 08-04-20

Very disappointing - expected another full length novel

Having much enjoyed Dark Matter and Recursiion expecting a full length novel. Instead I got a short story that was over just as it got interesting - only 2 hours long. Not good. Be warned. I used a credit for this - poor value

Narrator was ok but slightly annoying tone.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Norma Miles
  • 02-13-21

"Knowledge is just information that is subjective"

Another creative SF story, this time one by Blake Crouch who was the inspiration and curator of the Forward short series of futuristic Amazon originals.
A game designer becomes intrigued by one of the bit part non-player characters who began to act out of line with the programming. Destined to be murdered very early in the game, she started to try to run away. So she was rescued and brought out of the game to be studied.
This is a wonderful idea, visual and thought provoking, which accelerates as the story progresses - good ending, too. It felt far more like a complete novel than the novella it actually is. Having said that, I struggled with some of the concepts.

Narrated by Rosa Salazar with precision, clarity and good expression, she was a pleasure to hear and her individual voicing s helped identify and add depth to the characters. A good performance.
The longest of the stories in this excellent series, at a little over two hours, it makes a fine listen for a dull evening.

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  • Tom D
  • 12-29-20

good story, okay

very good. fairly standard sci fi story of an idea written about by many people.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-18-20

Amazing !

This was great !Well it's (sci-fi) Blake Crouch so I wasn't expecting any less tbh! I dont do fiction on audible but this one I binged it with my morning coffee!
Reminded me of ex machina - a movie I really like anyway, the voice actress did a very good job and in general I loved it !

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  • John
  • 11-14-19

First rate short story. loved it.

I didn't realise you could get so much depth into a story of this length. Blake, you are a genius.

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  • ITC
  • 10-17-19

‘Wokeness’ creeps in slightly, but more thought provoking than virtue signalling.

Other than the annoying and sometimes confusing use of ‘their’ and ‘they’ to avoid using Gender specifics, this is a fantastically engaging novella. ‘Their’ and ‘they’ suggests more than one person, so it’s difficult on the mind on occasions, but otherwise a highly recommended piece of work by Blake Crouch.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Wras
  • 11-08-19

A good story with a forced pronoun

Gender-neutral pronouns are very confusing when speaking of singular as a plural especially when the character is a digital creation or an it, yes it is sexualized as a female for a storyline in a game if it had been a transgender character it would be more understandable; any way it ruined the flow of the story for a stupid reason.

1 person found this helpful