Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.
Science fiction is a genre that seems to lend itself especially well to the anthology format. For generations, versions of The Twilight Zone have enticed audiences with tight glimpses at what the world could look like in the future, and a similar format was adopted by the BBC & Netflix series Black Mirror, which has boomed in popularity over the past few years with episodes that revolve around a technological development that often…or maybe always…points society in the wrong direction.
Now, Amazon is offering a similar series of speculative fiction anthology entries for readers. In a series of six short novellas that collectively make up what Amazon calls the Forward collection, notable authors take their stabs at predicting the future within the realm of fiction. Authors including Blake Crouch, Veronica Roth, Andy Weir and more have each written stories that vary in length from 27 pages to 74 pages. Roth’s installment tells the story of a researcher helping prepare for a max exodus from Earth as an imminent comet strike threatens to wipe out the planet’s ecosystem, while Crouch’s tackles a video game developer who grows obsessed with one of her characters. Each of the six stories can be easily digested in one sitting, much like an episode of Black Mirror, and Amazon even offers audiobook versions so you can listen to them on a run or bike ride.
There’s something undeniably fun about looking through someone else’s eyes at where the future might take us. It’s long been the appeal of The Twilight Zone and Black Mirror, and now Amazon is giving readers a similar experience by way of the written word. It’s a cool experiment that serves to highlight some of the exciting names currently working in fiction, and offers some fun bite-sized entertainment that can be consumed in a marathon afternoon or over the course of six evenings.
The Forward collection is available as both eBooks and audiobooks on Amazon.com, and the collection is offered for free to Amazon Prime members.
I’m Evan Rook.