I read all six novellas in the Forward Series on Amazon Prime Reading by various science fiction authors for a review/vlog on my YouTube channel. This is a quick, spoiler free review for each of these novellas as opposed to the longer vlog-style review on YouTube. I will additionally have detailed reviews with spoilers for each of these novellas in separate posts, so please consider signing up to get notified when those get published.
This series is described as “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” (Goodreads).
These novellas are very short, most of them being under 40 pages. However, just because they are low time commitment does not mean all of them will be worth your time. So, I have done you the favor of reading all of the novellas in this series, in order to let you know which ones may e worth your time based on your reading preferences.
On to the books
Final ranking in order from highly recommended to least recommended
- Emergency Skin by N.K. Jemisin
- Summer Frost by Blake Crouch
- Ark by Veronica Roth
- The Last Conversation by Paul Tremblay
- Randomize by Andy Weir
- You Have Arrived at Your Destination by Amor Towles
Quick Spoiler Free Thoughts for each novella
Emergency Skin by N.K. Jemisin
I think everyone should read this novella, especially if the concepts make you uncomfortable or defensive. Although, if discussions of racism and sexism are triggering for you, please take a moment to examine your current mental state before deciding to pick this up. This is a difficult story to read, and could be very triggering for anyone who isn’t in the right headspace.
- second person narration
- intrusive thoughts/internal voice
- slurs, insults, and manipulation
- high quality writing with masterful craft
- commentary on colorism, racism, sexism, politics, classism, and more
- theories on possible solutions to global warming and pollution through global unity
Summer Frost by Blake Crouch
This novella is 70ish pages, which is about twice the length of the other novellas in this series. This extra time with the characters really paid off and benefitted the story.
- AI and super intelligence
- queer representation
- relationship troubles
- adoption and IVF
- discussions about consciousness and existence
Ark by Veronica Roth
This novella is very short and needs content warnings for suicide, loss of a parent and family, existential questioning, and more.
- study of plants
- asteroid heading for Earth
- found family
- dreamlike, introspective, and nostalgic
- abrupt ending
- vague language
The Last Conversation by Paul Tremblay
This novella includes a pandemic, so if that is not something you would like to read while experiencing one yourself, please proceed with caution.
- limited narration/figuring things out with the main character
- second person narration
Randomize by Andy Weir
I loved The Martian by Andy Weir, so I had high expectations for this one. Randomize is definitely not on the same level as Randomize, and I didn’t feel that same passion from The Martian as I did in this novella. Weir’s passion and effort just didn’t shine for me. I was going to put this as last, but my husband pointed out that I was probably being harder on it than the others in this series, because I had higher expectations.
Additionally, the characters just felt like stereotypes based on perceived race/ethnicity. I do not belong to any of the groups represented in this novella, so I cannot speak on that. I hope to see some opinions from own-voices reviewers.
Lastly, I felt like the ending was very rushed and didn’t match the rest of the story. It just read as odd for me personally.
- quantum computing
- con artists
- casinos and gambling
You Have Arrived at Your Destination by Amor Towles
I absolutely hated the second half of this novella and felt so irritated by the end. It had an interesting beginning with a lot of potential, but the second half was wild in a bad way. I could absolutely tell that this book is written by a man, even though I didn’t know the author’s name or gender when I began reading. Take from that what you will.
- genome editing
- choosing unborn child’s personality/future
- questioning one’s life choices
- looking at one’s life as a whole picture
- conspiracy theory
If you would like a bit more on my reading experience or to see more of my personal life, consider checking out this post’s video companion:
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