Hull Zero Three
By Greg Bear
First Published: 2010
Jacket Design by: Lauren Panepinto
Review © 2011 by Stephen Roof
Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller, Fantasy
Hull Zero Three is an entertaining science fiction thriller by Greg Bear that is a lighter read than the other novels I’ve read from Bear. Most of his science fiction works are lumped into the “hard” science fiction category thanks to his propensity for adding a lot of realistically projected science. In this novel, while there are definitely some hard science fiction elements, the story comes across with much more of a fantasy feel than hard science fiction. In fact, the novel reads more like a special effects driven movie filled with fantasy and action where the plot is only a secondary consideration.
Hull Zero Three begins with a man dreaming a about a pleasant journey through space to a new world with a host of fellow travelers and a woman with whom he is in love. This is interrupted by an abrupt awakening into a confused reality that is a stark contrast to the happy dream. The man finds himself naked and freezing to death with a young girl yelling at him to get up and move quickly if he wants to live. The man finds that he can’t even remember his own name. With the story being told from the first person viewpoint, the reader is in the same confused state as the main character.
The main character is called “Teacher” by the girl and he soon finds that he is on a giant spaceship where something has gone horribly wrong. There appears to be only a handful of survivors who have managed to avoid fearsome killing creatures and machines. In addition, the ship appears to have sustained serious damage from both the exterior and interior. What follows is an exploration of discovery where new dangers may be around every corner and explanations are hard to come by.
The pace and intensity in this novel are high throughout. As a few mysteries are solved, more mysteries appear and with the high tension, I found that I didn’t want to put this book down. I wanted to find out what was around the next corner and what could explain what was going on. However, the characters and monsters in this novel seemed like they were much more likely to be found in a dream than in real life which gave the whole novel a fantasy feel.
Don’t get me wrong; while Hull Zero Three doesn't have the depth and substance of some of my favorite novels from Greg Bear, it's still enjoyable for a quick read due to the high tension and intriguing mysteries. Hull Zero Three is recommended if you’re looking for a fast paced movie-like mystery/thriller novel.