Hull Zero Three
by Greg Bear
Woken from an impossibly wonderful dream and thrust into a nightmare. Teacher does not know his own name, where he is, or what he must do. However, he is forced to learn fast or die even quicker.
Hull Zero Three is a short science fiction novel unrelated to any series. It is set on a rogue colony ship hurtling somewhere in space. Parts of the ship have been damaged, and subsystems are warring with each other to take control in order to fulfill their vision of completing the mission. Teacher has been awakened for some purpose that he struggles to discern throughout most of the book. Rival factions and mutated ship creatures make his exploration very perilous.
Hull Zero Three was an enjoyable, if challenging, book to read. I liked figuring out what was going on by using the clues and unique turns of phrase. Bear is a talented author who peppered the story with hints and red herrings.
This story is definitely in the hard science fiction genre. Bear included technical descriptions of everything from gene splicing to the deceleration of a multi-part space ship. From my liberal arts perspective, it seemed clear and within the realm of possibility. However, the action was often complicated and in null gravity which required an extra leap of imagination to understand the word pictures Bear painted. I was unable to zip through the narrative because of the complicated content.
Bear left the resolution ambiguous. What will be the fate of this colony ship? Will Teacher ever live the dream from which he woke?
I would recommend this book to people who enjoy science fiction and adventure stories. It would also be good book for a book club because it asks big questions about cloning, ancestral memory, and the lengths to which humanity is willing to go to survive.