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Hull Zero Three [Paperback]

Greg Bear
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)

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Book Description

17 Mar 2011

A starship hurtles through the emptiness of space. Its destination - unknown. Its purpose? A mystery. Its history? Lost.

Now, one man wakes up. Ripped from a dream of a new home, a new planet and the woman he was meant to love in his arms, he finds himself wet, naked, and freezing to death. The dark halls are full of monsters but trusting other survivors he meets might be the greater danger.

All he has are questions: Who is he? Where are they going? What happened to the dream of a new life? What happened to the woman he loved? What happened to Hull 03?

All will be answered, if he can survive. Uncover the mystery. Fix the ship. Find a way home.

HULL ZERO THREE is an edge of your seat thrill ride through the darkest reaches of space.

Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (17 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575100958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575100954
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 584,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Hull Zero Three is a lean, mean, supercharged sense-of-wonder engine. (Alastair Reynolds)

Hull Zero Three is a grand adventure of scientific discovery ... by turns chilling and touching, it poses challenging questions about what it means to be human. (Charlie Stross)

Greg Bear's voice is a resonant, clear chord of quality binding some of the best SF of the 20th Century to the short list of science-savvy, sophisticated, top-notch speculative fiction of the 21st. More than a grace note, Hull Zero Three is a compelling allegro in the growing symphony of Greg Bear's finest work. (Dan Simmons)

Not for those who prefer their space opera simple-minded, this beautifully written tale where nothing is as it seems will please readers with a well-developed sense of wonder. (PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY)

I loved Hull Zero Three ... this book reminds me of why I fell in love with science fiction in the first place. Searing questions of humanity, a good old fashioned riddle of a plot, and excellent conceptualization make Hull Zero Three more than worth the effort. (THE BOOK SMUGGLERS)

Book Description

An edge of your seat thriller from one of the genre's biggest names

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hobbesian anarchy in a generation starship 9 Nov 2011
By T. D. Welsh TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I looked forward intensely to receiving and reading Hull Zero Three, and I was not disappointed. First and foremost, this is a cracking good story with all the elements of exciting, provocative hard SF. The nameless narrator is rudely awakened from pleasant dreams of arrival on a lovely hospitable new planet, surrounded by friends and with his also nameless partner by his side. Suddenly he finds himself bruised, terrified, and freezing, and literally has to run for his life. Instead of a calm, controlled return to consciousness as planned, he gradually discovers that the starship in which he has been travelling 500 light years to colonise a new planet has been ripped, blasted, burned, and thrown severely out of control. Gravity comes and goes as the hull starts and stops spinning; sometimes it is bright, others pitch black; some areas are freezing cold, others full of unimaginable volumes of water. Worst of all, the corridors are roamed by a nightmare menagerie of deadly monsters, differing in every imaginable way except for their single-minded devotion to destroying human life. Under these circumstances, our hero (or perhaps anti-hero) finds that survival from moment to moment is almost impossible; yet he must explore the ship, evaluate the damage, find out how it was caused and do something to restore order if possible. Before the unlikely denouement, Greg Bear peps up the elements of traditional SF with psychology, biology, and even religion of the most primitive - and perhaps fundamental - kind.

"Hull Zero Three" comprises 304 pages of text, split into three main sections: "The Flesh", "The Devil", and "The World" (a typically Biblical allusion for those with that sort of background).
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and intriguing 23 Dec 2010
The novel starts with the narrator seemingly arriving at a new world which he and his fellow travellers are about to colonise and turn into a utopia. However he is quickly ripped out of this dream of eden and instead dumped into the nightmare world of the colonising starship still on its journey but where things have gone badly wrong.

He is untimely ripped from an artificial womb and forced to confront a world where gravity comes and goes, where different variations on humanity form shifting alliances, where ghosts lurk in the machine, and where all are hunted by monstrous creatures fashioned from the ship's gene pool.

This is a thriller of discovery as our narrator, at first confused, and with large gaps in his knowledge, slowly learns about himself, about the nature of the ship on which he is travelling, about what has gone wrong and about the true nature of its mission. All the time, he and his companions must decide who to trust and with whom to ally themselves between three powerful forces, Ship Control, Destination Guidance and the apparently benevolent Mother.

To get a feel of the novel I would say it has elements of Greg Bear's own Anvil of Stars in its themes of the destruction of civilsiations and of children growing beyond their parents, the nature of the mission owes much to Allen Steele's Coyote novels and the environment within the starship is reminiscent of Larry Niven's Integral Trees.

This is definitely at the thought provoking end of SF, exploring themes of identity, of what is acceptable in the name of survival and of colonialism. The writing is often dreamlike, sometimes borders on the lyrical, but is also gripping and fast paced when necessary.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Willy Eckerslike TOP 1000 REVIEWER
What an absolutely cracking read! A fast paced action/mystery set on a deep space seed ship with a theme slightly reminiscent of Christopher Nolan's excellent film `Memento' insofar as the main protagonist has had various degrees of success in achieving a less than obvious goal through countless lifetimes, each time recording his actions for his next incarnation. This is probably the fastest paced sci-fi book I have ever read; I really did not want to put it down and the far from obvious mystery very slowly unfolds so that the reader, through the experiences of the main characters, has no clue as to the eventual outcome. Even the confusingly disjointed beginning makes perfect sense, cleverly portraying the utter disorientation of the main character following his `birth'. The atmosphere and tension are maintained consistently, visualisation of the setting is superb and Bear's original twist on the old seed ship concept is brilliant.

All-in-all, an absolutely brilliant book and it is great to see Greg Bear, one of my favourite authors, return to his earlier work's level of excellence.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What I like about this book is that Greg Bear involves the reader in the narrative by putting you there with the main character. The challenge is to distinguish between what is important and what is not. If you enjoy books that make you work and that you do not second guess then this book is for you. If you are looking for a simple story to ride along with then you still could enjoy the action sequences but you might want to borrow a copy rather than buy it.

'Hull Zero Three' is Greg Bear's masterful working of one of the big questions of science fiction. What happens when new technology quite literally overtakes old technology? Old hat - yes but Greg Bear has some interesting twists.

His old technology is not the usual generation ship launched from Earth towards a specific target. This behemoth is an automated ship with three semi-autonomous hulls, linked through Destination Control, and wrapped around the mountain of ice that is its fuel and propellant supply. The plan is that as the ship nears the halfway point of its journey it will give birth to a group of human crew members. They will live in Destination Control and select the ships target system. As the ship approaches its target world it will give birth to other human crew members. The key twist is that these crew members will be genetically adapted to both survive on their new world and to perform specific duties. One such special task is the extermination of any intelligent, native life from their new world.

The story of 'Hull Zero Three' happens long after the time of the selection of the ship's destination. The main character is born believing that the ship has arrived. He expects to be disembarking to teach the new settlers about humanity's ideals and achievements.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Dire
Confusing, stupid, plot jumps from one incomprehensible scenario to the next and the reader is left feeling totally bewildered. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Delzx7r
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional book: grim but compelling
This book blasts along at a breakneck pace... From the very first moment our protagonist is in mortal danger, and is rarely out of it until towards the end of the book. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Rob Phippen
3.0 out of 5 stars failed to truly engage
Have not read Greg Bear for ages and this book seemed to pay reference to other authors ideas by omission or implication. Kinda weird read, will sleep on it and think more.
Published 3 months ago by Colin
5.0 out of 5 stars Read on Kindle, excellent read
Innovative twist on the lost colony ship concept.
It was an excellent read and I could not put it down. Read more
Published 6 months ago by CjW
3.0 out of 5 stars Confusing
Although I read this to the end I found the point of view choice and tense distancing. It made for a more challenging read and I found I had to work at it. Read more
Published 8 months ago by RobR
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely unusual, great idea
Ever read a book where you didn't really know what was happening until almost the last page? If no, then read this and you will have. Read more
Published 9 months ago by K. Royle
4.0 out of 5 stars What an imagination this man has.
Likeness to a certain film aside, this is a very imaginative take on what would be required to populate planets outwith our solar system.
Addictive reading.
Published 9 months ago by Pee Jay
4.0 out of 5 stars I dont normally like many of his books
But I did like this one. The initial chapters gave you no clue as to where the story was placed/based, yet they were interesting. The multiple twists were well executed. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Rohit (NZ)
4.0 out of 5 stars great summer read
Great summer read. I finished that book in a day, it was so captivating. The one missing star is for the book's length - too short.
Published 11 months ago by Agnieszka
4.0 out of 5 stars Great story that petered out
This started so well; it was full of mystery and I loved trying to figure out what on earth (!) was going on. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Mr. Mark A. Laborda
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