50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Dark and intriguing,
This review is from: Hull Zero Three (Hardcover)
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. There are some definite ambiguities and seeming contradictions within the narrative, but rather than being a problem, these reflect the confused state of the central character
As one would expect from Bear this is highly imaginative and works on a very big scale.