Posted on | January 5, 2013 | 2 Comments
If you eat your favourite cake all the time, after a while you’ll grow sick of it. So every now and then, I make a break from my usual reading material (as described here, starting at “The book must have…”) and read some non-fiction, a classic, or a recommended book. But as soon as the pattern is successfully broken, I roll right back into the warm, fuzzy confines of the cold, hard vacuum of space.
Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear is just such a novel. Our protagonist, known only as Teacher, apparently wakes from hibernation with no memories, splatting into a cold, harsh environment that almost instantly tries to kill him. As his memories slowly bubble back, he remembers he is on a generation ship that has obviously gone haywire, with artificial gravity fluctuating wildly and robotic maintenance devices called factors trying to clean up loose organic material, i.e. our protagonists. Fortunately, Bear does not spend too much time uncovering the basically non-existent mystery of them being on a generation/seed ship, opting instead to guide us through the mystery of how it operates and what exactly went wrong. That is, also, why I will not elaborate on the story further, though I will make note that the sometimes confusing descriptions occasionally make it very difficult to follow what’s happening.
One further point: the plot description you can read in most places (and I do suggest you avoid reading them for this book, because all too often they are full of spoilers) makes it sound as if this is a lame knock-off of Pandorum. While the very opening is almost verbatim, the similarity dissolves after a few pages and Hull Zero Three takes off like an Escheresque nightmare with, in my head at least, strong Moebius-infused imagery and characters.