Review: The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts

36510759I’ve read another Peter Watts book before, and it was quite fascinating while being at least a little fun (it was Blindsight, if you’re curious, which caught my interest by having a not-your-typical-vampire spaceship captain – and yes that was as amazing as it sounds).

So, when I saw this one on NetGalley, I put in my request, as this sounded fascinating AF!

So, I’d like to thank the author as well as Tachyon Publications via NetGalley for the review copy of this book!

She believed in the mission with all her heart.
But that was sixty million years ago.

How do you stage a mutiny when you’re only awake one day in a million? How do you conspire when your tiny handful of potential allies changes with each shift? How do you engage an enemy that never sleeps, that sees through your eyes and hears through your ears and relentlessly, honestly, only wants what best for you?

Sunday Ahzmundin is about to find out.

“We’re still alive, Lian. We’re doing fine- better than fine, we’ve overperformed on any axis you could name. And we’re exploring the galaxy. How can you have forgotten how amazing that is? Back on Earth- they never could’ve dreamed of the things we’ve seen.”

“Living the non-dream.” She giggled again. “That’s just fucking aces, Sunday.”

So, I’ll start out by saying that this story has a really unique and fascinating premise. Sunday Ahzmundin is part of a crew of 30,000 people that are flying through the galaxy on their spaceship, the Eriophora. I’m not sure I 100% understood the technology that is involved, but from what I do think I understand a bit, it uses a singularity drive (so, a black hole), and they continuously make ‘gates’ with it, which I believe are used to make wormholes that they travel through.

That’s not really important, in the grand scheme of things, but what is important is that out of these 30,000 people, only about 5 or 6 people, usually the same ‘tribe’, but sometimes mixed up a bit, are awake at a time. Everyone else is… well, pretty much dead. Frozen, or… in stasis… but still, mostly dead. The imagery is there. The place they’re stored are called crypts. The vessels in which they are stored are coffins. They’re only woken up once every few thousand years, and even then, only for a few days at a time.

So, this crew of people have been out in the universe, travelling on their mission… for 60 million years. But for them, maybe… twenty something conscious years have actually passed. Something they remember from a day ago really happened thousands of years ago. The ship’s AI, an entity called The Chimp, talks to them and helps them through their days, wakes them randomly depending on perceived necessary specialties depending on where they are. A lot of people are starting to… not really trust Chimp though… Some people are starting to want more freedoms… And some are noticing that some shady shit is happening…

And so…. space-mutiny! But… well, I mean how do you coordinate something like that when you and your mutineers are only awake one day of every thousand?

I was absolutely enthralled by this book. As I said, I’m not certain that I ‘got’ all the intricacies of the science/technology and probably theoretical physics that this ship runs on, but I absolutely loved the premise and the adventure that Sunday and her friends had. I really liked Sunday as a character as well. She’s pretty snarky at times, which I always like in a character. Having her story be in first person, seeing things from her point of view, which I could somewhat relate to as a sometimes-snarky gal who swears a lot… well, even when I didn’t always get it, it didn’t matter. I was never bored with it. I never felt like the really sciencey bits (that didn’t always so much go over my head as smacked me in the forehead a bit) really made this hard to understand or boring. I’m not sure if I can put this more eloquently, lol. You don’t have to be a theoretical physicist to enjoy this story. It’s pretty hard sci-fi which I’m not always a fan of, but I hoped since I liked Blindsight that I’d like this one, and it turns out that I liked this one a lot!

It’s also pretty short. Maybe not quite a novella (or maybe just a very long novella), but not as long as I was expecting it to be. Just long enough! I finished it in a couple of hours.

Yeah, I’m going there. There was a little bit of a HAL9000 vibe sometimes! Not in a bad way!

Really well written and fast-paced novella with a fantastic and unique premise, fun characters, and twists and turns. I give it 4.5/5 stars!


Thanks again to Tachyon Publications via NetGalley for the review copy. 🙂

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