Watch out for the story within the story hidden inside of Peter Watts’ imminently interesting THE FREEZE-FRAME REVOLUTION

A trio of fresh reviews for Peter Watts’ THE FREEZE-FRAME REVOLUTION.



What I love about this novel is the same thing I love about all of Watts’ novels. It’s an excellent blend of “feels like it could be real” science and then driving it all the way out to “this asteroid flying through space is millions of years past our timeline”. Their reasonable explanation for how this ship has survived so long is the perfect combination of magic and reality. It touches philosophical topics around artificial life and what it means to possibly be the last humans. I really don’t have a lot of fault it on. I clamor for more, but I can have more by reading the short stories. There’s even a short story hidden in this novel! The end, as usual for Watts, left me agape. I will be re-reading this.


CROSSING A VOID enjoys the story.

Concepts are introduced and in some cases aborted, before they can be fully understood. And given the proclivity of Watts to adhere to a very hard kind of sci-fi, it can at times be bewildering.  That said, it is from beginning to end, an imminently interesting story. It’s the kind of book I can see Watts mining for stories for quite a while (he created sixty-million years of continuity for crying out loud). On that note, should you find yourself reading THE FREEZE-FRAME REVOLUTION, keep an eye out for the little red characters. Make a note of them as they appear. It’s a fun game, an interesting experiment, and leads to a pretty cool bonus for when you’re done with the book.


THE HYSTERICAL HAMSTER finds the novella fun.

The novella or short novel format compels Watts to be lean and mean with his storytelling.  Even when he’s explaining warp-gates, how the different crews on the ship interact, the nuances of the AI that runs the whole shebang, he never wanders far from the central core of the story – a mutinous crew playing a cat and mouse game with a single-minded AI over the course of centuries.  The fact that Sunday Ahzmundin is a fantastic character – she’s smart but conflicted – makes it all the more satisfying.

Like all good science fiction, Watts uses the big ideas to discuss freedom, agency and purpose.  In particular, the novella critiques capitalism, especially regarding the value or cost-benefit of a single person when compared against the significance of the mission and limited resources (this leads to one of the more chilling scenes in the book).  Most importantly though, THE FREEZE-FRAME REVOLUTION is a great deal of fun* to read.

*I mean yeah it’s disturbing and creepy and dark, but I class those things as fun.

For more info on THE FREEZE-FRAME REVOLUTION, visit the Tachyon page.

Cover and design by Elizabeth Story