Review – The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts

The Freeze-Frame Revolution
By: Peter Watts
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Series: Sunflower Cycle
Received From: Publisher
(All reviews are our own, honest opinions.)

The Freeze-Frame Revolution is a story of revolution aboard a space ship tasked with traversing the galaxy building warp gates. In order to keep building for as long as possible the humans aboard are cryogenically frozen between builds, waking only when absolutely necessary. But not everything is as it seems.

The story is faced paced, partially due to the first person point of view. The main character is Sunday Ahzmundin, one of the crew aboard the Eriophora, a ship run by an AI called CHIMP. Sunday is CHIMP’s favorite human aboard, someone it’ll wake from cryostasis for support on builds or whatever else needs attention.

This isn’t the sort of revolutionary story with space battles and high octane action. The story is quieter than that. It’s a quiet, smart tale. Characters are faced with enormous odds. They are only awake once every hundred thousand years. Sometimes the stretches when they remain in stasis are even longer. There’s no choice on when they’ll be awake, or who’s going to be on duty at the same time. Sunday and her fellow conspirators are left with using clever means of communication. Sheet music and dungeons and dragons (or the far future’s equivalent) are used in code.

Time is used very interestingly here. It is certainly not something that’s on Sunday’s side. There is a feeling of not having enough time to stage this revolution, but at the same time there is this almost oppressive feeling of eternity. These people have been traveling for literal eons and they are utterly alone.

The ship and its crew are very much alone. A very bleak picture is painted as the ship travels through the universe. They are alone, waiting for orders that never arrive, waiting for a futuristic humans – or whatever humans evolve into – to save them from their lonely journey with no word on how the human race has fared since the ship left earth. There is a real air of uncertainty here. All Sunday and the others have to rely on are their intellects. There is no outside help, and there may never be again. The only other being’s they’ve encountered have attacked the ship, with no clues as to their true identity or reasons for attacking.

It was very refreshing to have a main character who is quite clever and is surrounded by clever people. Yes, she doesn’t always make the right choices. Sunday is a complex character, one with very relatable, very human emotions. I liked reading from her point of view a lot.

If, like me, you found the world this book was set in fascinating, you’re in luck. The Free-Frame Revolution is part of a series of stories all set in the same universe. The other stories in the Sunflower Cycle can be found on author Peter Watts’s website. Reading these other works first isn’t necessary to understanding this novella. However, if you’d prefer some greater context in regards to world building you might want to read these first.

The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts is a good book exploring some great topics. I would definitely suggest giving this book and the rest of the series a read.

About author

Kathleen Townsend

Kate writes things, reads things, and writes about things she reads. She’s had a few short stories published, and works as a freelance editor. Favorite genres include epic & high fantasy, science fiction, time travel stories, video game related tales, light novels, and manga.

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