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Hull Zero Three Paperback – October 7, 2011
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Four girls on a trip to Paris suddenly find themselves in a high-stakes game of Truth or Dare that spirals out of control. Learn More
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Top Customer Reviews
The overall theme of "Hull Zero Three" may remind readers last year's (very underrated) film "Pandorum," but Bear, to his credit, writes with a bit more complexity and depth then what you might find in a movie. The themes of "Hull Zero Three" include some meditation on what it means to be human - genetically and morally, and whether we can overcome our genetic 'programming', as well as what humanity as a species may or may not be willing to do in order to survive.
Bear doesn't skimp on pure action, and while he avoids the standard "infodump" we do learn enough of the design and function of the inconceivably vast starship to really engage the reader's sense of wonder and awe. The book was not perfect - there were some scenes towards the middle where it dragged a bit, and the end seemed a bit too rushed and confusing. However, these are minor flaws. Overall, "Hull Zero Three" is one of 2010's better sci-fi offerings and showcases an author that is still near the top of his game.
It is pretty obvious from the outset that the character is on a generation ship and that things have gone HORRIBLY WRONG (as things always seem to do on generation ships...it's a wonder anyone builds them, really...don't those people read science fiction?). So the suspense really all revolves around what has gone wrong and will the characters be able to set it right. It's too bad that Bear chose such an annoying way to tell this story, because I thought the situation (when it is finally revealed very late in the novel) was actually pretty interesting and if he'd made the story about THAT instead of about an amnesiac character slowly making this discovery, it would have been a much better novel.
So the narrative arc is familiar, the characters equally so, the vaguely horrific quest works well, and the overall resolution is nicely judged. So why Do I give this book only three stars? Other reviewers have already identified the book's fatal weakness: the descriptions. Descriptions of characters and of monsters, both human and monstrous. Descriptions of the ship: its processes, systems, structures, spaces and spatial elements. Descriptions of the forces that act upon the characters, including sounds, accelerations, temperatures... The author insists on painting a detailed picture of every move, every event, every spin-up and chill-down, and then finds himself running out of adjectives. The result is often repetitive, and unfortunately flat.
As I said, I've read many science fiction stories in which the writers strove to describe huge alien forms and to hint at experiences beyond human ken. And generally they succeeded. I have a feeling that what's happening here is that the author has watched too many science fiction moves. When computer graphics can casually fill the screen with aliens, or a starship the size of a small planet, or an attack by thousands of robots, two things can happen to a writer. First, s/he may believe that anything less will not satisfy the reader, and s/he will strive to compete with the visual medium.Read more ›
Something goes wrong during flight. The main character is one of the colonists who finds himself awake too soon, with the ship failing around him. The majority of the book is one of "man versus the environment," where the environment is the damaged and malfunctioning ship. The main character's memory is damaged, so central to this struggle is his attempt to understand the ship. And this is where it all falls apart.
The problem is that the unnamed Ship makes no sense at all. It might as well be designed by aliens. Insane aliens. At root, "Hull Zero Three" is a horror story, and the Ship is the haunted house, with features that exist just to scare and confuse the main character. The author has made precious little effort to make concessions to what would actually be useful and functional for a colony ship, or how it would really be laid out if the designers were trying to make it useful and convenient for its eventual crew. Imagine if the designers of the "hammer room" from Galaxy Quest built an entire ship that way.
It doesn't help that the dialog is often elliptical, disjointed and deliberately difficult to understand, and that the story is told in an annoying stream-of-consciousness manner. At one point a character says "You are prayed into existence." I kid you not, that's the kind of mushy-headed dialog that's common in this book. The resolution of the book is frankly semi-mystical.
Eventually, we do find out what's going on, and it's a mixed bag.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The reviews said "beautifully written" and "well crafted." Ummm...no. Just...no. This is what happens when a scifi writer decides to go all literary on us. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Keith Riddle
This was the first book of Greg Bears I have read but I thoroughly enjoyed itPublished 6 months ago by Mort
Confusing and not very interesting. I'm a huge G Bear fan but this one didn't do much for me.Published 7 months ago by Jack W. Alexander
This book is commendably tight, consistently fun to read from start to finish. It morphs smoothly from action-packed thrill-ride / sci-fi suspense to deep and surprising tale about... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Cliff
The book, to me, is a very slow read. It is not what I'm use to from Greg Bear. I have mixed feelings about this book.Published 8 months ago by Stephen J. Lemmons
Interesting,kept reading to understand the evolution described in bookPublished 10 months ago by david d mellencamp
In a computer role playing game you, the player, start the game and commence exploration of a strange environment. Read morePublished 12 months ago by bhold
This novel was a very interesting take on the generation ship science fiction theme.The story is as well-written and detailed book as you'd normally expect from Greg Bear, but the... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Rich M.