Review: The Freeze-Frame Revolution

Author: Peter Watts

This novella introduced me to a brand new form of existential dread.

It’s set in the far future, where a crew of humans is woken up from cryogenic sleep once every hundred thousand years to build a wormhole. They’ve had no contact with humanity for a couple of million years.

The very concept makes the book worth reading, if you’re into that kind of thing. Instead of focusing on the enormity of space, or the possible end of the human race, the book makes you think about the inexorable march towards heat death and what floating endlessly through space would be like.

The book is engaging, and manages to avoid the “nothing actually happens” trap that novellas sometimes land in. Peter Watts has a respectable number of books under his belt by now (most notably Blindsight), so the writing is good. The characters are a little weak, but it’s hard to work in time for character work AND a decent idea for a ship that would run till the end of the universe AND a plot AND all those feelings of hollow emptiness, so I forgive him for it.

Freeze Frame Revolution made me feel lonely and hopeless and upset about the vastness of space and time, so if that’s the kind of thing you’re looking for, I recommend it.

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