Hull Zero Three is something of a strange story from science-fiction author, Greg Bear. I have enjoyed a couple of his novels before and was intrigued by the back cover, which was my main motivation for buying it, but, in hindsight, I cannot make up my mind whether or not it was a worthy purchase. I think, in the end, that I am glad I only spent a couple of quid on it from a charity shop because I am not sure I entirely quite "got" it!
The main character, whom I will call simply "x", wakes up from a beautiful dream of planetfall after a cryogenic sleep of several hundred years, only to discover that he is one of only a handful who have survived the journey through deep space. He suffers amnesia and has little knowledge of who he is or where he has awoken but is told immediatly, by what he recognises as a young girl, to start running. There is something seriously wrong with the ship and now she and her companions spend their days chasing heat and hunting down food throughout the ships corridors. But they are not alone.....for monsters stalk the halls and corridors, determined to "cleanse" the ship of anything they find.
It sounds like a brilliant concept and it is but, without giving anything away, there are much deeper ideas at work here that chip away beneath the surface of the plot. It seems as though there are warring factions at work amongst the ship and things are really not what they first appear......
I quite liked this whilst I was reading it and found it okay for what eventually becomes quite a heavily-laden science fiction novel. With nods towards such novels as Arthur.C.Clarke's Rendezvous With Rama and movies such as the Alien series, Bear has attempted to come up with something different and totally original and, in many ways, he has succeeded but, towards the books climax, things all get a little bit strange!
It is difficult to say more because I do not want to spoil anything or give anything away but be prepared for a lot of plot twists that you might not readily be expecting! Bear has oft been quite an ambitious writer and here he provides the reader with something that is pretty much unlike anything else I have read in quite awhile.
Did I enjoy it? I think I did but it is difficult to say because I left this feeling a bit unsure......nevertheless, if you like high-concept sci-fi that bravely attempts something different then I am sure you will find something in this to like! It's just that this is all a bit strange and that makes it difficult to know exactly what to think!
Reccomend this? I think I do but only if you are prepared to think about what this all ultimately means....one thing is certain, it is refreshing to see something this original in a genre that too often is laden with cliche!