Peter Watts’ intense THE FREEZE-FRAME REVOLUTION is the best novella of the year


It’s clear that the full story of this universe is something which Watts has had in development for at least a decade, because the worldbuilding in the novelettes “The Island” (which won a Hugo in 2010), “Giants” (2013), and “Hotshot” (2014) is solidly intertwined with that of THE FREEZE-FRAME REVOLUTION. And it is a wonderfully-rich, hard science fiction universe, filled with big concepts and unique imagery woven together in a plausible execution.

I was just as blown away by this fantastic story as I have been by all of his other works. THE FREEZE-FRAME REVOLUTION has earned a place at the top of my Hugo Novella nomination ballot next year – and I will be very surprised if I read anything this year to displace it from its Number 1 spot.

SPECULICTION likes the story.

In the end, THE FREEZE-FRAME REVOLUTION is a story that begins a bit ragged, but congeals into a tight climax that, Watts being Watts, addresses the inevitably of humans beating their heads against the very walls that make us human.  The contrast between Chimp (har har) and the human crew is real.  THE FREEZE-FRAME REVOLUTION A quick read, said wobbling at the outset does not last long, allowing the setup to swiftly reveal and resolve itself, making for satisfying reading.

Scott Schlueter enjoys the book.

Intense as a standalone, though part of a larger body. Hard Science fiction, exquisitely character driven, and very interesting / unique journey. Could not put it down until it was completed. Still need to digest the ending, so I am without doubt reading the rest of the Sunflower cycle to give it a new spin.

THE FREEZE-FRAME REVOLUTION engenders two separate REDDIT discussions.

Peter Watts’ new novel(la) The Freeze-Frame Revolution is out:

[–]sblinn 6 points 13 days ago

Official publication date appears to be June 12 in the US, with the (already available) Kindle edition listing a June 19 publication date.

[–]sinebubble 4 points 13 days ago

I was able to download it last night and got about 25% in before going to bed. Weird.

[–]doctorbranius[🍰] 4 points 13 days ago

What’s it about?

[–]X-51[S] 13 points 13 days ago

Humanity sends out an AI controlled ship with a human crew coming and going out of stasis to build stargates and then you can’t really say much more without getting spoilery

[–]punninglinguist 5 points 13 days ago

Same setting as The Island?

[–]X-51[S] 5 points 12 days ago

Yes this is all in the Sunflowers setting


[–]shamivr 4 points 13 days ago*


Does anyone know what the deal is with the red letters? I’ve got the URL, but don’t understand the gene map thing…

[–]sellanra 2 points 13 days ago

mind PMing me what you found? i noticed something was up but im not patient enough to piece them together right now…

[–]demiller 2 points 13 days ago

I’m in the same boat. Noticed, but haven’t taken the time to piece it together. Far too absorbed in the story. I think this is my favorite Watts setting.

[SPOILERS] Discussion of ‘The Freeze-Frame Revolution’ by Peter Watts (and its hidden message):

[–]whywhisperwhy 5 points 6 days ago

Regarding the main work (I haven’t had a chance to read Sundays eighth notes yet)-

I thought it was a well-written and enjoyable, and it’s a good anchor for the series. I will also say that I wish it had been the first work I’d read in the setting. Mainly, it took a lot of the suspense out when you can guess very early on that the plot is about the ‘spores rebellion, which is doomed to failure. Even the twist about the presence of the smart AI felt a bit anticlimactic to me, unfortunately. So it’d still be a highly-rated novella for me, but it didn’t cover much new ground, as you said there were a few extra tidbits about the ‘spores history and Society, as well as a glance at Eriophora.

In general there just wasn’t a lot of new information about the setting, either, although it fleshed out Sunday a bit. Then again, Watts can be a pretty subtle author and maybe I’ll need to reread it to really get anything…

[–]sinebubble 6 points 6 days ago

Bingo. The story fleshed out the world a bit, but given what we knew from the future stories, it seemed a bit anti-climatic. Probably best to have been trimmed a bit more and presented as a short story. Or bundled with the rest of the other stories in the series and sold as a book.

And like Siri, this Sunday character seems to just float around. Never really felt like I had a deep grasp on her.

The bit at the end about the additional AI… Paranoid speculation? It does seems like the original designers were waaaay too focused on keeping the mission going and never really wanted it to complete. I think the real plan was to keep the mission wiring the galaxy until heat death.

I’d like to see more situations like the Ahzmundin story where they actually interact with the beings outside the ship. Particularly anything coming through the wormholes.

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

Cover by Elizabeth Story