Hull Zero Three
Hull Zero Three mines familiar territory: the mysterious, derelict spacecraft plot. There are no surprises in the path the story takes, with characters waking up from hibernation unsure of where they are, what is happening, or why everything is trying to kill them. The surprises instead come in the slow revelation of the ship’s mysteries, which Bear handles with grace and creativity. I happen to be a fan of derelict spaceship tales, so this was right up my alley. Reviews on Amazon were mixed, with several lukewarm comments, but I tore through the book with great satisfaction. The end lost a little momentum, especially with a strangely placed epilogue that feels like an editor demanded it, but overall I give it high marks.
This being a fairly run of the mill abandoned spaceship story, most plot revelations here are either spoilerific or unnecessary. Some people wake up, have adventures in a hostile and mysterious star-faring craft, endure a twist near the end (that isn’t too twisty), and finally understand the mysteries. Bear fills his ship with bizarre creatures and an even more bizarre premise, overpowering the clichéd story arc with all kinds of unexpected detail. I enjoyed the scene where they steal a drink from a zero-gee river racing to power nuclear reactors, I like the way the characters, who are created to be archetypes inside the story, grow into both their roles and their humanity, and I like the claustrophobic feeling of an empty Star Destroyer spiced with a dash of Space Hulk.
Short review for a short book. The conclusion? Hull Zero Three is worth the couple of hours that it takes to read it.
Rating: Futsal. Shorter and faster than football, and almost as fun.