“Teacher finds himself in a waking nightmare: trapped in a damaged spaceship full of monsters, and unable to remember his purpose, or even his own name. Soon he joins up with other refugees, and the horror intensifies. None of them may be “real” human beings, and unless they solve the puzzle of Ship, they may be doomed to die in outer space.
The “stream of consciousness” narration adds to the immediacy of the story.
This feels like a game; in specific, “The Wreck of the B. S. M. Pandora,” a single-player board game published by SPI in the late ‘70s.
“After thoroughly enjoying The Forge of God, I picked up Hull Zero Three, written decades later. It was disappointing as a novel. It might have been better as a short story. Although the ideas were still big, I never came to care about any of the characters. The central idea was interesting and challenging.
The colonizing starship had limits, of course, so the trip had to be one way. The problem was, what to do if there was intelligent life on the planet to be colonized. If they didn't want to be colonized, genocide was the plan, using freakish killing animals grown on the ship with Earth's biological engineering skills, tailored to the new planet. There was no option but to succeed at any cost. Some crew rebelled and the ship was in chaos. Interesting, but no cigar, sorry to say.”
“This is not one of Greg Bear's best books. I liked the premise, but the writing was a bit dry and frequently boring. The premise is that a large ship left Earth hundreds or thousands of years ago with the intent of colonizing a new planet. Something went wrong and the ship's emergency procedures have kicked in. Unfortunately a war broke out between competing factions of humans and other beings created from a catalog of genes. The main character is woken up from his Dreamtime and follows a rag tag group of beings toward a cental part of the ship to try to understand what is going on. The group eventual makes it into the last healthy part of the ship and tries to complete the ship's original mission. The last half of the book was much better than the first. I did enjoy the process of the main character, who everyone called Teacher, discovering who he is and who the others are, but a lot of the writing was a bit lousy. ”Ron Arden wrote this review Monday, March 18, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A starship on its journey lasting several hundred years. One man wakes up and found out that there's something wrong with the ship and himself. Keeping himself alive is a challenge, finding out what's going on is even bigger one. Story was OK, but got too many pages to actually get interesting.”japi wrote this review Tuesday, January 22, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Great story. If you like hard science fiction this is a good one. If you've not read HSF, this is a good story to start with.”Jeff Roblyer wrote this review Monday, January 21, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“An interesting read, I wish it had actually answered more of the questions it raised. I quite liked the backstory, setting and universe and would have like to see it explored more. ”Ethan S wrote this review Monday, November 5, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This book was riveting. All the way through, I wondered if the book would end with no one surviving this "mad ship" that put monsters called "cleaners" in the way of the protagonist and the strange "people" he found or was found by along the way. I don't want to spoil it with further details, except to say it was one of the best I've read by Greg Bear - and I like all of his books!”Aunt Sue wrote this review Saturday, May 19, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I had not read any of Greg Bear's extensive oeuvre before picking up Hull Zero Three to read as part of the 2012 Sci-Fi challenge at Curiosity Killed the Bookworm ( http://curiositykilledthebookworm.blogspot.com/p/2012-sci-fi-challenge.htm ). What I discovered while reading this book was a thought-provoking and challenging novel by a multiple award-winning SF author. Although the novel employs many classic tropes – the deep space mission gone awry, consciousness spawned and run amok, humanity’s struggle with survival and destruction – conceptually, Hull Zero Three paints an ambitious picture of space exploration in the distant future. In overall form it is more a mystery than an actual hard, groundbreaking SF novel, and even if the themes and ideas are familiar the conundrums that emanate from Bear’s storytelling skill make the book a worthwhile, if en petite abstruse, read. Bear presents classic familiar questions in the science fiction realm, contrasting humanity and individuality--dream versus reality through the lens of genetic manipulation, and examines the future of a primitive and destructive humankind among the stars. In some, slight way the book reminded me of other Science Fiction that I have enjoyed like James Blish's Cities in Flight and A. E. Van Vogt's The Voyage of the Space Beagle. Bear’s novel is certainly more sophisticated than the latter and incredibly subtle with powerful concepts that provoke reflection. I enjoyed Hull Zero Three for the most part and found the conclusion especially satisfying.
There are a few aspects of the book that I found disappointing in light of the overall success. The presentation of the mystery, as narrated by Teacher, the main character in the book is slow to develop. While the reader can enjoy the discovery of clues as to the nature of the ship that is Teacher's home, the difficulty in putting the pieces together detracts from the overall presentation of the story. Hull Zero Three is written with a great expanse of detail, but in a strange way the descriptions and style are often confusing and intangible; the characters and even Ship (note the capitalization and lack of a definite article) itself are hard to visualize. For example, monkey-like creatures are described as donuts, one character can rearrange her bulk and shape by somehow shifting sinew and muscle. Teacher is prone to confused visualizations as he tries to reform his new lexicon from deep sleep. He discovers new words he didn’t know existed, unlocking memories for each item and creature he encounters the longer he is awake, and this initial use of language, the importance of books and the actual format of Hull Zero Three – itself as a written book by Teacher – is very clever and comes together nicely by the end of the book…but the overall effect is somewhat piecemeal. I grew impatient at times with the stylistic details of the novel and from the lack of actual, meaty character development – there are some scenes of self-reflection, but without any real depth or heft. Hull Zero Three is more about the mystery and solving the puzzle than it is about realization of character arcs – which isn’t to say that Teacher’s struggle isn’t a valid or engaging one! It certainly is. But Hull‘s strengths lie elsewhere – namely, in that of its overall concept and design.
That Bear is able to overcome some of these issues and bring the story together brilliantly by the end of the novel while resolving questions raised by the mysteries of Ship, the resolution felt somewhat subitaneous. To much telling in the wrapping up marred the excellent space adventure but did not keep me from considering more Greg Bear for my future and recommending this particular novel for your future.”
“A difficult read. Really refreshing writing style and definitely worth the effort. ”Elliot Livenspire wrote this review Friday, February 17, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No