Archive for April 1st, 2015

In Ship we trust? A motley crew of amnesiac astronauts battle forces they barely comprehend in Greg Bear’s ‘Hull Zero Three’

April 1, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
April 1, 2015

Greg Bear is a prolific, award-winning American science fiction author. His 2010 novel, Hull Zero Three, is the story of a traveler aboard an interstellar sleeper ship who struggles to end a conflict that threatens the vessel and its passengers.

The Ship of Hull Zero Three (it’s otherwise nameless) is akin to the Argonos of Richard Paul Russo’s Ship of Fools in that both vessels are wandering the stars, their missions unclear. But Argonos is a generation ship, capable of sustaining a fully conscious and active population for years upon end. It can also travel from one star to another in a matter of months.

Ship travels at a much lower velocity; a single journey could last hundreds of years, after which it might lack the fuel to continue to another destination. This, at least in part, explains why Bear’s vehicle is a sleeper ship. To conserve air, water, food and other supplies, few if any of the people on Ship are awake. This changes, of course, when people are needed to deal with an emergency or some other important event, such as an impending planetfall.

In fact, Ship doesn’t necessarily convey people as such — rather, it has a genetic Catalog and the equipment and resources needed to grow the bodies and brains that it needs to handle the situation. The vessel can also implant memories and knowledge in the minds it creates.

But Ship’s voyage has gone awry. The vessel has stalled in the void as unknown forces battle for control of its systems.

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