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The Freeze-Frame Revolution (Sunflower Cycle)

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  886 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
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, on
Paperback, 192 pages
Published June 12th 2018 by Tachyon Publications
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Eric Stanfield If you like Watts's stuff, you won't be disappointed. If you haven't read him, it's probably one of his 'easier' books to get in to.
Peter Watts Entirely new. Although it does fit within the context of the other Sunflowers stories (and any others that might come along afterward).

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First of all, this novella is not meant to be read on its own. Could be regarded as a standalone, but you’ll feel like something is missing. And that’s because it’s part of a series of stories, entitled the Sunflower cycle, which includes three more short ones (so far).*

Publication order is: The Island (2009) - Winner of Hugo Award for Best Novelette in 2010 -, Hotshot (2014), Giants (2014) and The Freeze-Frame Revolution (June 2018).

Now, after reading all, my advice is they are to be read in
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is some classy hard-hard SF. :) Black hole/worm hole drive using new and real theories? Hell yeah.

But beyond that, I love the whole idea of short periods of wakefulness during a single trip that takes 65 million years.

Add a rebellion against IBM... I mean HAL... I mean CHIMP, without expecting anything to go quite the way that 2001 went, or even remotely like it, and we've got a really fascinating story.

Watts knows how to build really fascinating locations and situations... maybe better th
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
9 out of 10 at:

For sixty-five million years, the crew of the starship Eriophora has been building gates to facilitate faster space travel for human expansion. The ship is ruled by Chimp, a “dumb” AI built with a lower synapse count to keep it at relatively human-level intelligence, and every few thousand or million or so years a build crew is selected and awakened from among its 30,000-plus population to assist in the logistics of gate construction. Sunda
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
GRAB IT! NOW! I just can't begin to tell you how much I loved this book. And I know for a fact I will be reading it again, and perhaps soon. There are just so many reasons why I could recommend it to you! It’s a book for the true scifi fan that manages to be refreshing and new, at the same time retaining all the benefits of being basically hard scifi. It also raises tough questions about natural versus artificial intelligence and their relationships. Which is the true, the real one? Is the ot ...more
Nikki "The Crazie Betty" V.
4.5 rounded up to 5 (Rating is for the entire Sunflower Cycle series so far)

I’ve held off reviewing this for some time now. Once I finished reading it, I just couldn’t fully wrap my head around what I had just read. In attempting to understand the story better, I went and looked at some other reviews of people who enjoyed the story to hopefully gather some details I may have missed. I’m so glad I did that because I found this great review by Claudia -, wh
11811 (Eleven)
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Watts is the only hard sci-fi author I’ve found so far whose writing is so dark it’s practically black. I actually stumbled on him somehow somehow through the horror community. Reading Blindsight was like having a religious experience. Freeze-Frame was just as enjoyable and probably more accessible due to the novella-ish length. I imagine Peter Watts isn’t for everybody. For people with a simultaneous interest in sci-fi and horror (or dark fiction,) he’s worth a look. If there are any other auth ...more
I really wanted to like The Freeze-Frame Revolution more than I actually did, but in the end it was just too far into hard sci-fi territory for me.

The concept is clever -- a ship filled with 30 000 or so crew members is on a long-term mission to build wormhole bridges throughout the universe. And by long-term, I'm not kidding! We're talking 65 million years (so far!) here. Each crew member is kept in deep freeze most of the time, with brief few-day periods of being thawed to assist the ship's A
The Captain
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ahoy there me mateys! I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .

This book was a bit of a stretch for me given that it is more hard sci-fi and physics is not me friend. At all. But I have always heard wonderful things about this author and the premise was too awesome not to give it a shot. And I be very glad I did.

So basically this story is told from the perspective of Sunday Ahzmundin. She is a human crew member aboard a ship n
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight


I had been super curious about this book since I first read its synopsis on Netgalley. But then I was kind of afraid that it might be a bit too "science-y" for my brain to handle. I needn't have worried, though! I decided to go for it and request after reading Evelina's review because she basically abated my fears while making me even more excited for the book. What I'm saying is, if
Steven Shaviro
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This new novella by Peter Watts is part of a series of stories he has been writing, on and off, for some time now. The series seems to be called Sunflowers. The other stories to date (Hotshot, The Island, and Giants) are available for free download from the author's website: .
The basic idea is this: a group of human beings live and work on a spaceship that is circling the galaxy, at a substantial fraction of light speed, in order to create wormholes - so that future spaceships from Earth will be
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: llegits-2018
Un universo excepcional. El mejor Watts ha vuelto
Luke Burrage
Full review on my podcast, SFBRP episode #370.

Also read the other short stories with the same characters in the same world, in this order:
The Freeze-Frame Revolution
The Island

The short stories are available to download/read on the author's website:
Sad Sunday (Princess Consuela Bananahammock)
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Probably nobody (or maybe very hard sci-fi fans)
Recommended to Sad by: Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
Really? Really? I am the only one who think this book is "meh"? Or Book Gnomes just put a different book into my hands?


Author often throws sentences how much time has passed. 50 million years, 7 hundred years, 3 billion years, but ummm, whatever. It was just telling, not showing. And since nothing changed at all with the passing years, I, as a reader, didn't feel the flow of time at all. And Holy Cow, all that billion of years is a long time, SOMETHING important must have happened - malfunctions
I received an ARC through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

“I’ll kill you if I can.”
“I’ll save you, if you let me.”

My rating: 4 stars

Let me start with this: if you love science fiction that really goes into the science aspect and has long descriptions about objects and happenings in space, and also you love stories about artificial intelligence, this story is for you. Personally, I found myself scrolling through a lot of the heavy science because it really wasn’t working for me, but I
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ve waited, and waited, and waited, and then I had it. First, pirated copies leaked online, but I kept waiting. Then my pre-order arrived, and still I waited. Then I was at the beach, and I waited some more. You see, reading a new Peter Watts book is like making love to a beautiful woman – it should not be rushed.

Should I even be reviewing this? Probably not. I mean, Watts is the writer I want to be. He writes what I would be writing, if I had the chops. All I can do is squee in glee that I ge
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Note: I received a copy of this novel via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions on this book.

I should start of by stating I don't read a lot of hard-sf based around AI... because I just don't get it. I am an absolute nightmare with anything related to computers, technology, physics... and these type of stories just go way over my head.

When I read the synopsis of this book though it immediatly struck me as a fascinating plot. And it was! It was a fascinating
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2018
5 Stars

The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts is a highly imaginative far futured space romp that is one enjoyable ride. The concepts covered here are top notch and not hard to follow at all. The sheer time frame covered makes this book a cool read.

Peter Watts is one of my favorite authors.

A great read.
I wanted to like this novella a lot more than I actually did.

Years ago when I first discovered Starfish, Watts’ writing felt like a revelation: Here was someone who could do hard science fiction right, who had done some hard digging into the scientific literature, thought a while, and come up with a well-reasoned “what if” near-future scenario. A tremendously bleak future, yes, but full of detail: it was never hard to imagine how that world arose from our present, what it would look like, what t
Christopher Farnsworth
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every time I read Peter Watts, I find myself looking up words that I had no idea existed. I like to think of myself as a pretty smart guy, and Watts' books blow a hole in that idea every single time. I love them despite this. Or maybe because of it. It is a joy to see someone work at the very top of their game and make it look so effortless. Watts invents whole worlds to support his stories and novels, and they are so well-engineered that they are practically invisible, humming along quietly in ...more
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Full review is here, on my blog.

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 tr
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a wild ride that was. As crude a metaphor as I can give, this ouroboros of a novella deals with humanity and Humanity, the innerworlds and the outerworlds we were bred from and try to populate/save ourselves to. The speed of events, dragged on for centuries, millenia, aeons even, unequivocally demands a perspective on actions which is not intuitive to a human, a creature of passion; yet passion is one of the things at the heart of the rupture in the story. This perspective on actions is not ...more
Anna Nesterovich
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi
I was waiting for this book, but perhaps without the proper enthusiasm. So I didn't read any reviews, blurbs, opinions.... and was completely unaware of any secret messages in the book. And then I opened the book and found a red letter on the very first page. And then another, on the second page. So over the next few minutes, perplexed librarians watched me going through the book with a pen and a piece of paper; then googling "mitochondrial introns just downstream from COX-five" (and coming up e ...more
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Freeze-Frame Revolution is an epic science fiction novella. Set across the vastness of both universe and time we follow the mutiny of the Eriophora crew against their AI controller Chimp.

How do you overcome an omnipresent keeper when you are only awake for a few days per millennia? A keeper who decides if and when you wake up?

This is hard sci-fi. Watts does not stop to explain every detail, character, or slang but all the information is there if you are willing to do a little work as a read
I’m always amazed at Peter Watts’ ability to incorporate scientific fact with well written plot. Added attraction in this novella was a hidden message! There are also several short stories in this universe I’ll be tracking down.
Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2018
Review forthcoming.
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts is a very highly recommended, dark, hard science fiction novel.
"Sixty-six million years, by the old calendar. That’s how long we’ve been on the road."

The construction ship Eriophora was built inside an asteroid and is controlled by AI called the Chimp. The crew of the Eriophora, referred to as spores, were all raised specifically to spend their lives building wormhole gates throughout space to make interstellar travel more accessible. They spend most of
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Peter Watts is one of the best writers of science-fiction at work today, and criminally underrated. 'The Freeze-Frame Revolution' is a stand-alone novella set on an AI-run starship circling the galaxy; having launched in our relatively near future, it now finds itself millions of years deeper into time, creating warp gates for a human race that is either long gone or long evolved into something unknowable. That, however, is the least of the crew's problems.

Watts's writing is as strong as ever, a
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
I’ll be the first to admit that Peter Watts’s The Freeze-Frame Revolution might be a better book than I’m willing to give it credit for. It was nice to take another trip into the mind-bending ideas and dark humor for which Watts is rightly loved, but I found myself unable to sink into this novella in a way that satisfied. It also didn’t help that I failed to realize that Freeze-Frame is part of a series until I was already most of the way through. Had I familiarized myself with the Sunflower Cyc ...more
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi

У Питера Уоттса, судя по двум книгам, лучше всего получается строить свои миры из правдоподобных научных идей, но раскрутив некоторые из до совершенно диких пропорций. Такой подход мне очень импонирует.

И еще гнетущесть. Гнетущесть у него первоклассная.

Итак, у нас есть огромный космический корабль с искусственным интеллектом и кучей замороженных людей, которых отправили строить порталы в гиперпространство для будущей колонизации галактики. В основном
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the third of Watt's books that I've read, the first two being the Firefall duology. I was amazed then at the depth and creativity that Watt's had into his books, and utterly unnerved at the pure alienness of them. This book is nearly completely different. For one, it's much more accessible; both the language and the science behind the technology are much softer than his previous novels. I won't say it's completely handwavey, but it is a hell of a lot closer than Echopraxia. I think.

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Other books in the series

Sunflower Cycle (4 books)
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  • Reach for Infinity
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“Black holes are the ultimate garbage can.” 0 likes
“Nothing's immortal on a road trip of a billion years. The universe runs down in stop-motion around you, your backups' backups' backups need backups. Not even the error-correcting replication strategies cadged from biology can keep the mutations at bay forever. It was true for us meatsicles cycling through mayfly moments every thousand years; it was just as true for the hardware.” 0 likes
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