Blake Crouch
July 11, 2022

Blake Crouch

Blake is a bestselling novelist and screenwriter. He is the author of a dozen novels, most recently, Dark MatterRecursion, and Upgrade, for which he is also writing the movie for Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Partners. His international-bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy was adapted into a television series for FOX, executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan, that was Summer 2015’s #1 show. With Chad Hodge, Crouch also created Good Behavior, the TNT show starring Michelle Dockery based on his Letty Dobesh novellas.

Q. The future described in Upgrade is bleak—full of famine, inflation, shortages, climate change, and more. Outside of the story, what are your thoughts on the direction humanity is heading?

Blake: I have three children who are inheriting an infinitely more complex, interconnected, and terrifying world than I grew up in. The existential threats we face are myriad, many of them technology-driven, many of them human-behavior driven. I am deeply concerned with the direction our species is heading, and if we don’t do something to right the ship in short order, the future looks incredibly bleak. I didn’t set out to write about this in Upgrade. I just wanted to write a cool story about gene-editing. But once I dove in, the state of our world intruded.

Q. One of my favorite details of Upgrade is the reference to specific genes and how those affect our protagonist’s expressed genetic traits. What did research for the story look like?

Blake:  The research was far and away the most challenging I’ve ever undertaken. Luckily, I found a tremendous subject matter expert by the name of Michael Wiles, who is a molecular geneticist. Dr. Wiles read several iterations of my early, ungainly manuscripts and helped to make the science as realistic and plausible as possible. The research involved countless conversations about the state of gene-editing technology now, and what it might be in several decades assuming the current rate of technological progression.


Q. Now that Amblin Partners has acquired the screen rights to Upgrade and you’re attached as executive producer, there’s buzz about a future adaptation. What can you tell us about the process or future for this project?

Blake: All I can say at the moment is that I am over the moon to be working with Amblin on this adaptation. I can’t wait to get started on the script.


Q. How did writing Upgrade compare with your other major hits?

Blake: Brutal. Just brutal. I thought that with Recursion I had set a high bar for how difficult a book could be, but I discovered a new level of pain with Upgrade. The challenge was very different from Recursion, where I discovered in my first draft I had written myself into several blind alleys. Here, the challenge was the science of DNA, and how to dramatize a story that is inherently interior. What I mean by that is Logan’s journey is one of incredible change at the molecular level, which impacts how he sees the world, his family, himself, his goals. Figuring out how to make that exciting was an intense hurdle.


Q. When you’re not writing, what do you do for fun?

Blake: I love the outdoors—trail-running, mountain-biking, skiing. And I love to travel, because it fuels my creativity like nothing else.


Q. What’s next? 

Blake: A new book and the Upgrade film adaptation!


Blake Crouch's Latest

Upgrade Blake Crouch


At first, Logan Ramsay isn’t sure if anything’s different. He just feels a little . . . sharper. Better able to concentrate. Better at multitasking. Reading a bit faster, memorizing better, needing less sleep.

But before long, he can’t deny it: Something’s happening to his brain. To his body. He’s starting to see the world, and those around him—even those he loves most—in whole new ways.

The truth is, Logan’s genome has been hacked. And there’s a reason he’s been targeted for this upgrade. A reason that goes back decades to the darkest part of his past, and a horrific family legacy.

Worse still, what’s happening to him is just the first step in a much larger plan, one that will inflict the same changes on humanity at large—at a terrifying cost.

Because of his new abilities, Logan’s the one person in the world capable of stopping what’s been set in motion. But to have a chance at winning this war, he’ll have to become something other than himself. Maybe even something other than human.

And even as he’s fighting, he can’t help wondering: what if humanity’s only hope for a future really does lie in engineering our own evolution?

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