The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts

The Freeze-Frame RevolutionThe Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hard-core sci-fi fans will appreciate the imagination and credible-sounding future tech in this one. The Eriophora, a craft that seems more like a modified planetoid powered by a black hole, is hurtling around the Milky Way for hundreds of thousands of years. Its crew of 3000 souls is in frozen suspended animation most of the time, and are sometimes referred to as meatsicles. The Chimp, an automated AI bot, wakes one “tribe” of humans every so often to assist with its main mission, building gates in the galaxy that apparently connect in some way to other gates or even back to earth, in order to make it possible for the human diaspora to spread galaxy-wide. Any individual human is thus awake only a day or two and then returned to animation for another century or millennium until needed again. In this way they age very slowly. Everyone on board is thousands of years old, but biologically only, say, in their thirties. There are no star ship battles or aliens. It’s all humans.

A contingent of crew decides that life is not worth living under these conditions and seeks to rebel against the Chimp’s control. A rebellion of this sort poses many challenges since the conspirators are only awake a few days every century or three and the Chimp can see and hear everything. I liked the premise and Watts has a great touch with the jargon, although he admits in the Acknowledgments that it is all “handwavium.” This is a short novella, an easy read, and, I learned only from reviews, part of a series called the Sunflower cycle. You may want to explore that series and read them all in a different order. This is probably not the best one to start on if you plan to do that, but I enjoyed it as a stand-alone book.

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