Hull Zero Three

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Overview

A starship hurtles through the emptiness of space. Its destination-unknown. Its purpose-a mystery.

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 ...

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New York 2010 First edition, Hardcover, New in dust jacket, New Bear returns to SF. Good deal. "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-he finds himself, wet, naked, and freezing to death." Sounds like my typical Sunday morning. Read more Show Less

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United Kingdom 2010 H Hardcover New 1st ed/1st pr, SIGNED by author on title page. This book is square, solid, and unread; boards are unbumped with sharp tips. The sharp and ... lustrous DJ is in protective mylar Brodart cover. You'll eat a chili dog with delight when this book arrives at your door--with onions and all the fixins! ! ! Read more Show Less

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Hull Zero Three

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Overview

A starship hurtles through the emptiness of space. Its destination-unknown. Its purpose-a mystery.

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 Hull 03?

All will be answered, if he can survive the ship.

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

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

When he had been asleep on Starship Hull-03, he had been dreaming of his new home planet and snuggling with a beautiful young woman. Ripped from his reverie, he wakes up wet, naked, freezing, in a dark place. Instead of crewmembers, he found monsters, and indeed, the ship had become so strange, he doubted that he could trust other survivors. Greg Bear's Hull Zero Three sets you hurdling into space in a pod wrapped in uncertainties.

Publishers Weekly
Multiple Hugo and Nebula winner Bear (City at the End of Time) sets this difficult but rewarding short novel on an interstellar colony ship gone astray. Teacher was supposed to be awakened just before landfall. What he finds when he gains some semblance of consciousness, however, is a dangerous and chaotic environment, with monsters roaming the ship's corridors and no one in charge. As he and a small band of equally ignorant crew members attempt to reach the gigantic ship's control center, they travel through a series of labyrinthine spaces, uncovering a variety of clues to the disaster that has destroyed large parts of the starship and damaged the controlling AIs. Not for those who prefer their space opera simpleminded, this beautifully written tale where nothing is as it seems will please readers with a well-developed sense of wonder. (Dec.)
The Barnes & Noble Review

From Paul Di Filippo's "THE SPECULATOR" column on The Barnes & Noble Review


This year completes the initial decade of the twenty-first century -- unless, of course, you are a numerical fussbudget along the lines of the revered Arthur C. Clarke, and insist on dating the start of the century to 2001. But tell me truly: does the year 2011 really resonate with you as an evocative, memorable milestone?

In any case, the twenty-first century is undeniably the century science fiction built -- if not in utter hands-on reality (though even that proposition is debatable, given the inspiration the genre has provided for influential scientists and geeks), then in the public imagination. Since the birth of genre SF in 1926, and for almost the next 75 years, simply to set a story in the third millennium AD was to signify extravagant extrapolation and a futuristic, far-off milieu when flying cars and food pills would reign -- or dystopia would prevail. The year 2010 is automatically one of yesterday's tomorrows.

Of course, as we all now realize, the twenty-first century is proving both more and less science-fictional than the literature imagined, in strange and perhaps essentially unpredictable ways. This condition bedevils SF to some extent, as both its continuing credibility and utility come under question. Some authors and critics have recently even gone so far as to pronounce the mode deceased. Such statements regarding the death of SF are eternal. In 1960, for instance, a famous seminar was conducted under the heading "Who Killed Science Fiction?"

It seems fitting, then, at this early juncture in the new millennium, to examine some recent representative SF books of differing types and check their pulse for signs of health or illness. Does the genre continue to have new and useful things to say? Is it still intellectually and narratively interesting? Or is the genre suffering from a case, as H. G. Wells so direly phrased it, of "mind at the end of its tether…"?

The Original Anthology: If it's become cliché to maintain that short stories are the cutting-edge laboratory of science fiction, it's only because, as with most clichés, a nugget of truth gleams at the center of the truism. The short form allows quick, timely and innovative forays into new speculative territories: a big payoff for minimal author and reader investment.

With the remaining small band of old-school print magazines in dire financial straits these days, and online zines stumbling around for a viable business model, much of the best work at these lengths now occurs in the original anthology, which trades periodical timeliness for a greater shelf life, the occasional backing of deep-pockets publishers, and an expanded audience.

One of the best anthologies of recent vintage is Jetse de Vries's Shine. Its virtues are easy to enumerate. It offers a clear-eyed theme and unique remit: optimistic, near-future SF. It features a wide range of voices and styles. Its editor is young, knowledgeable, energetic, and hip (the anthology was assembled with heavy reliance on social media sites). On all counts, it's a rousing success, the very model of a modern project, and points the way toward a healthy future for SF short stories. All that remains is for the book to rack up some deservedly healthy sales.

Not every story in the volume achieves unqualified greatness: a number favor earnestness over entertainment. They work so seriously to illustrate that there is hope for humanity that they seem to forget that the reader has to want to imagine herself enjoying life in the future, even while facing challenges. That was always the secret of Heinlein-era SF. This joie de vivre deficit becomes apparent only when you come to a contrary story such as Gord Sellar's knockout "Sarging Rasmussen: A Report (by Organic)." Its high-octane characters and language and devil-may-care attitude cloak serious issues just as vital as those embedded elsewhere in the book. But it's also a slavering whirlwind of manic energy, in the mode of the Looney Tunes cartoon Tasmanian Devil. Others in this admirable vein include Eva Maria Chapman's "Russian Roulette 2020" and Kay Kenyon's "Castoff World."

The Hot Trend: So long as science fiction can pinwheel off new movements and manifestos, new fads and fashions, it seems to me that it remains alive and vibrant. Bandwagons can get overloaded, stylized, and mob-minded. But then along comes another freshly painted barouche full of troublemakers to join the long parade.

Steampunk is hardly a new phenomenon, dating back in its fully codified form some twenty-five years at least. But as culture watchers know, it's recently experienced a miraculous rejuvenation. Mark Hodder's debut novel, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, is a remarkably sophisticated and well-executed manifestation of the sub-genre, showing us that new talent can excavate gold out of the most well-plumbed mines.

Hodder has arrayed in his book the full panoply of steampunk riffs: weird machinery, Victorian cultural attitudes, class hierarchy, the supernatural, famous historical figures, surrealism and absurdity, amusing fictional sidekicks to famous personages, and a sense of adventure across a relatively unexplored globe. Layering this cake with a frosting of mystery, suspense, and time-travel shenanigans, he has created a compulsively readable romp that recalls the best of Tim Powers and James Blaylock.

Hodder's paired protagonists are the explorer Richard Burton and the poet Swinburne. In the year 1861, they inhabit a timestream in which Queen Victoria's assassination in 1840 unleashed a realm of oddball steam- and bio-tech. The legendary boogie-man of the title appears to be a time-traveler intent on repairing the damaged continuum. Or is he?

Hodder's prose is stately yet not archaic, and the plot unfolds with a satisfying cleverness. His descriptions of the era -- a crucial point for any novel that aims for historical atmosphere -- are palpable, rendering a miasma-shrouded London and environs. If his book does not precisely build a new wing on the steampunk mansion, it does polish the banisters brightly and garland the halls gaily, showing visitors the best of the old manor.

SF from the Literary World: Despite the long (and, let's admit it, fun) tradition of SF writers complaining about "outsiders" from the literary "mainstream" never getting our beloved genre right, the picture is rapidly changing. As science-fictional ideas permeate the culture more and more deeply and widely, writers from MFA programs and The New Yorker, from Granta and Yaddo, prove themselves adept at handling all the riffs of SF in acrobatic and ingenious fashion, often contributing new stylistic angles and perspectives to the field. Case in point: Charles Yu's How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe.

Yu's mordantly funny book follows the entertainingly dreary and screwed-up existence of a time-travel machine repairman named -- Charles Yu! Metafictional Yu's drab and anomie-filled existence, dominated by his desultory search for his missing father and his on-off relations with his mother (Mom's chosen to live in a "Polchinski 630 Hour-Long Reinforced Time Loop," Groundhog Day-style) is peppered with chronal paradoxes and bureaucratic annoyances. As a creation, Yu represents all failed ambitions and compromised dreams, his plight a symbolic statement of a generational quandary. (Yu turned thirty-four years old this year.)

Yu has obviously ingested the vast body of classic time-travel SF, and he has formulated a consistent theory and practice of time travel, full of hopped-up jargon, which he uses to illustrate existential themes rather than produce action-adventure sequences. There are traces of Robert Sheckley, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, Barry Malzberg, and Philip K. Dick throughout these pages. But the book resembles nothing so much as a fresh approach to the tone of the late, great George Alec Effinger, whose novels What Entropy Means to Me  and The Wolves of Memory practically defined this voice.

But perhaps the best description of Yu's book is the one he applies to his malfunctioning pocket universe: "the reality portions of [Minor Universe 31] are concentrated in an inner core, with science fiction wrapped around it."

Satirical SF: When we are introduced to an exuberantly manic post-scarcity milieu perched paradoxically atop the oppressed crumbling ruins of an indigent planet, with one industry or preoccupation reigning supreme, we know ourselves to be firmly in the quintessential Galaxy magazine mode of science fiction satire, exemplified most famously by Pohl & Kornbluth's classic The Space Merchants. Once identified by Kingsley Amis in his critical study New Maps of Hell as practically the whole raison d'être of SF, the mode has lately fallen out of popularity, although talented folks such as the writers of the animated series Futurama, Max Barry (Jennifer Government) and Christopher Moore (Fluke) continue to plow the pasture profitably.

Now comes a bright and witty new practitioner of this honorable mode of speculatively savaging humanity's foibles. Jon Armstrong has archly labeled his own work "fashionpunk," since it takes the whole daft scene connected with haute couture -- media overkill, celebrities, status and wealth -- and rakes it over the coals by way of absurdist amplification.

In Armstrong's debut novel Grey we were introduced to a crazed yet consistent future in which clothes literally make the man -- especially our hero, Michael Rivers, a nineteen-year-old airhead in thrall to his corporate image, who eventually learns to rebel. Company mergers here are facilitated by the ritual marriage and public deflowering of scions. A private automated highway literally encircles the midsection of the planet. Press conferences are vast media orgies. And draped elegantly over everything, beautiful smart fabrics conceal bodily and spiritual ugliness.

Grey smartly followed the time-tested template of many such dystopian tales, using an ignorant member of the elite as focal point and dragging him down for a visceral education into the muck and mire. In the new book, Yarn, Armstrong decides to tell the flipside of the story: the rise of a peon to these synthetically uplifted heights.

We have already met protagonist Tane Cedar in Grey, where he served as exclusive tailor and fashion designer to the privileged, including Michael Rivers. But now we get his whole life story, as backdrop to an adventure being experienced by the ascended Cedar, which involves the fabric-cum-drug known as Xi. Born as a "slub," one of the serfs who toil in the vast corn plantations that support the economy, Cedar mounts the social and artistic ladder rung by bloody rung, until he becomes the figure we met in Grey. Along the way, we get further revelations into this Lady Gaga-inspired future, where the saleswarriors of Seattlehama battle for market share and allegiances are as disposable as underwear.

Half the fun of Armstrong's books is the lush, ornate, rococco language, worthy of a Russell Hoban or Anthony Burgess. The neologisms are captivating, the dialogue is both sophisticated and rude, and the descriptive passages are boldly visual. In toto, these books do something brilliant which I had always half-believed was possible, but which I never dreamed of actually seeing. They replicate in prose the logically insane and hyperbolic graphic novels of Jodorowsky and Moebius and their collaborators: The Incal/The Metabarons/The Technopriests. It's proof that in the right hands, style is substance.

Hardcore SF: Language maven William Safire was one of the first to recognize the birth of retronyms. This term is applied in cases when a word that was once perfectly descriptive all by itself needs a retrofit to acknowledge changing circumstances. For centuries the word "clock" said everything. But then with the arrival of digital technology, we had to say "analog clock" when we meant the original kind with hands and static face.

So it is with "science fiction." Once upon a time, that unadorned term encompassed the whole smallish field. But with the proliferation of sub-genres, readers and critics have had to use retronyms. "Hardcore SF" refers to the formerly ubiquitous kind of tale that employs the core genre conceits: robots and rayguns, interstellar empires and starships, gadgets and extrapolations. (Somewhat confusingly, what has been dubbed "hard SF" is a different beast, admitting only rigorously scientific ideas, and not dodgy apparatus such as teleportation and psi powers that hardcore SF gleefully employs.) Once the dominant mode, hardcore SF is now just another specialty, its practitioners rather like twenty-first-century poets still writing sonnets and sestinas.

But such allegiances to noble old forms often inspire great craft and commensurate rewards. Greg Bear is one contemporary master of the old ways, and in Hull Zero Three he gives the generation starship theme -- crystallized beautifully by Robert Heinlein in 1941's "Universe" -- a vigorous makeover.

Bear's protagonist, an amnesiac who eventually assumes the name Teacher after his programmed function, wakes to find himself in a "sick Ship." This enormous and complex interstellar vessel, intended to crawl at a fraction of lightspeed across the galaxy to plant a new colony, has been mysteriously damaged. Embarking on a dangerous odyssey of knowledge gathering, Teacher and his shifting posse of oddball companions must battle the deadline of disintegration to salvage what they can of the mission.

Bear brilliantly evokes all of the heart-racing thrills typically associated with the classic hardcore SF trope of exploring a "Big Dumb Object." Savvy readers will flash on such past milestones as Algis Budrys's Rogue Moon, Robert Silverberg's The Man in the Maze, Larry Niven's Ringworld and Arthur Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama. A sly allusion to Heinlein's benchmark generation-ship tale occurs when a pair of clones realize that two heads are better than one: Heinlein's protagonist, Joe-Jim, literally wore two heads on one body. And the traditional riff of "conceptual breakthrough," in which larger and larger frames of knowledge keep opening up, is played deftly. In a neat stylistic maneuver, Teacher's language skills keep pace on the page with his growing understanding.

But even grander than all this is the subtle parable of Teacher's plight: born naked and unwitting into a dangerous environment, in which only cooperation and curiosity ensure survival and success. Isn't this a simple description of the human condition? Teacher's journey, like Buddha's, is universal. And even if he experiences moments of Beckett-like despair and anger, he overcomes them with logic, hope, and ingenuity. What better formulation for the guiding attitude of science fiction, hardcore or otherwise? Writers like Bear prove that SF still has some tomorrows left, even as 2010 joins the pile of yesterdays.




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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316072816
  • Publisher: Orbit
  • Publication date: 11/22/2010
  • Pages: 307
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Greg Bear
Greg Bear is the author of more than thirty books of science fiction and fantasy, including Forerunner: Cryptum, Mariposa, Darwin's Radio, City at the End of Time, Eon, and Quantico. He is married to Astrid Anderson Bear and is the father of Erik and Alexandra. His works have been published internationally in over twenty languages. Bear has been called the "Best working writer of hard science fiction" by "The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Science Fiction."

He is also collaborating with Neal Stephenson and a group of writers and swordfighters on The Mongoliad, a serialized novel delivered through electronic media. www.mongoliad.com.

He can be reached through his web site,www.gregbear.com, and on Facebook.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 72 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(23)

3 Star

(14)

2 Star

(11)

1 Star

(10)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 72 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Thumbs down

    I've been a Greg Bear fan since I read Eon 25 years ago and in the quarter century that's passed I've read almost everything he's written. Most of his writings are quite readable, some are truly page-turners, but every now and then he misses the mark widely. He missed it in Dead Lines and he's missed it in Hull Zero Three. I found reading Hull Zero Three to be drudgery but I kept at it thinking that it would pick up and the work would be worth it. It didn't and it wasn't. It might be that I've been reading SciFi for more than 50 years now and am overly critical but I think not. This is just not a good book. Bear can do better and has. Hopefully he will again.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 13, 2012

    I am an avid SF reader. Hull zero three was one of the worst boo

    I am an avid SF reader. Hull zero three was one of the worst books I have ever attempted to read. I stayed with it for many pages,hoping that it would eventually make sense. I finally gave up, about 2/3rds through it. The narrative was chaotic. Maybe there were some good ideas, but they were lost among the rambling and repetitive account - I won't even call it a "story". I love most of Greg Bear's work. I don't understand why he wrote this, or why it was published.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2012

    The ONLY book I've never finished reading! I loved other works b

    The ONLY book I've never finished reading!
    I loved other works by Bear like Eon, but he dropped the ball in this one.
    The begging is really awkward to read, I get that its supposed to follow a guy that doesn't know what is going on, but it felt like the Author didn't know how to write. Which we all know is not true, Eon and Blood music are fantastic.
    The pace is TOO fast, like you are trying to keep up and feel like you are missing key elements in the story, but in reality, they are not there.
    A good idea, poorly implemented.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 29, 2010

    Wonderfully Written... Dark, Complex, and Imaginative

    I picked up Hull Zero Three because, firstly, I saw that one of my favorite authors, Vernor Vinge (Fire Upon the Deep), had written a tag line praising the book. Secondly, after reading the first page, I knew that Bear's writing could hold my interest.

    Reading this book was a pure pleasure. Bear's writing really serves to transport your mind into a specific state of being. The writing, coupled with some excellent twists and an array of imaginative ideas, left me spellbound through the entirety of the novel.

    I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys dark SciFi.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2012

    Very bad, alas

    I am a fan of Greg Bear, but I really did not like this book. I was unable to get past coupleof chapters. The confusion of the protagonist in the beginning, the staccato way of writing, horrible.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    Pretty good read.

    Nothing like waking up on a spaceship with a bunch of monsters that want to kill you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 19, 2011

    Uggggg

    This was stupied painfull to read. Sorry

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Hull Zero Thress

    Man wakes up on a ship travelling through space with little or no memory. A young girl saves him from danger and they travel through this huge ship which is damaged. They meet others (including twins?) and constantly fight against death to reach the forward part of the ship. Is this science fiction or a horror tale? Although, I like the premise, I could not get into this novel or the characters, including lead who is narrating the story. A certain miss for me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Hull Zero Three is a fun science fiction thriller

    Millenniums into the distant future, Sanjay wakes up without any memories. He has no idea who he is or how he got where he is. He also is confused by his guide, a small girl who seems aware of what is going on.

    As he somewhat gets his bearing, Sanjay learns he is on a starship sailing through space. The vessel contains generations traveling to a new home, but he soon learns an internal dispute threatens the safety of the ship and its passengers at a time when they enter a dangerous supernovae sector. Sanjay is beginning to learn why he is awake during this crisis as he is not what he thought he was.

    Hull Zero Three is a fun science fiction thriller that adds very little new to the generational ark in space sub-genre as the reader will know what follows in this frequently used theme (see the movie Pandorum and Baxter's Ark). Still filled with non stop action and starring an intriguing confused hero and several support characters adding to his bewilderment by their divided commentary, fans will enjoy disasters strike the starship of Hull Zero Three.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 6, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A novel that keeps you guessing, a narrator whose scattered memo

    A novel that keeps you guessing, a narrator whose scattered memories bear little relation to his present situation, a space-ship that might be symbol or reality, and a wealth of characters who aren’t quite human but might not be anything else; it would be hard to imagine a more unsettling start or setting for a novel. But Greg Bear’s Hull Zero Three keeps readers glued to the page, providing just enough consistency and detail to promise a genuine resolution.

    The story has a computer-game feeling, with dark corridors, surprise scares waiting around corners, and sudden telling details that tie it all together. But everything is so beautifully and convincingly described, it makes a thoroughly enjoyable read. Cleverly three-dimensional and absorbingly real, it offers much more than any game, keeping the reader guessing, wondering, choosing and deciding as the tale progresses. Te freezing cold of space will have you shivering in your armchair, and the shape and design of the giant spaceship almost paints itself on the movie screen of the mind.

    A well-hidden mystery blends science and human error into a shape resembling myth as the tale comes together, making this a fascinating, fast-flowing novel exploring space and human nature and more. Highly recommended for fans of science fiction, and ponderers of the fate of humankind.

    Disclosure: One of my sons gave me this for Christmas

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    Great Book

    Very riviting book good as any book Bear has written.

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  • Posted July 4, 2013

    A unique and interesting concept...

    This is my first reading of a Greg Bear work. The story is unique, and takes many unexpected turns. Though I wouldn't consider it a "page turner," it definitely held my interest.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2013

    So so

    Thestory is intended to be a thriller. The narrstor starts out not knowing ehat is real or dream time. He slowly learns more about the real world as he comes up against various monsters. Finds friends. Not quite as formulaic as all that but the characters just did not engage me. Since I didn't care not much suspense. Othereise ok. Not a waste if time, but certainly not Bear's best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2012

    ok

    ok

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    another winner from Greg Bear

    there is a reason Greg Bear has won so many awards for his writing and this book is no exception.a complex story that you can still follow with ease...with characters you really want to learn about as the story goes on

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Great Read

    I really enjoyed the book. It was a great science fiction read, but you have to ignore some scientific improbabilities. I would definitely read a sequel to this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Decent book

    Book definitely started out fairly chilling, and you could really feel the fear and confusion of the protagonist as he struggled to survive. However, the story slowed down towards the middle, and the time shifting perspective near the end was somewhat disorienting.

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  • Posted July 16, 2011

    Well done

    Wonderful story. I found this to be a very creative piece of work

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2011

    Well concieved

    Well written and intricately imagined, I found it engaging. A good read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Tough start, Great Finish

    Greg Bear almost hits the bulls-eye with Hull Zero Three. The story starts out with the soap opera setting of amnesia, but after that your about to step into circumstances even the characters don't totally understand. The pacing of the story can be sluggish at times and Teacher can prove to be a bit trying to even the most forgiving reader, but in the end the character design for Teacher and many of the more likable prove to win at the end of the day with a one of kind finish.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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