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Literature / Hull Zero Three

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"There was something wonderful before this. What was it?"

Hull Zero Three is a 2010 Science Fiction novel by Greg Bear.

It follows the story of a man who awakens on a star ship unsure of who he is or what he is doing. Monsters roam the spaceship.

If that sounds a lot like the 2009 film Pandorum, rest assured this story ends up far, far differently.

Tropes appearing in this novel:

  • Artificial Gravity: Averted. The lack of gravity and the variable spin of the hull impact the characters often.
  • Cryonics Failure: All but one of the Destination Guidance team were dead and decomposed in their cryonics pods. It is also heavily implied that the 'biogenerators' [Teacher/Sanjay invents this term to describe the birthing systems] are not supposed to be functioning — they are supposed to create Factors on arrival to prepare the target planet, or in the event that the sleeping crew were killed, birth a new one. Even if there was still part of the original crew in the Hulls, they are dead after Destination Guidance shut off fuel transfer to the Hulls' engines, and for Hull Zero Two, it was practically guaranteed when it was gutted by meteorites.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: The spaceship is headed down this road.
  • LEGO Genetics: The ship can clone.
  • Never Given a Name: Almost everyone except for Tsinoy. Up until the girls named them, that is.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Most of the ship lacks signage and easy-to-understand instructions, considering its job.
  • Ontological Mystery: The main character wakes up and has to figure everything out.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: In the end, the ship is able to achieve its objective.
  • Sapient Ship: Ship (a.k.a. the Golden Voyager) is heavily damaged and missing much of its memory. However, Ship Control — that is, Ship's operating systems — shows signs of incredible creativity, especially when it comes to the "Killers", biomechanical servants designed to do exactly what their name says. The narrator, Sanjay the Teacher, realizes that the reason why a specific Killer — a Tracker called Tsinoy — has the mind of an astronavigation specialist is because Ship decided that an astrogator was the most important crew member it could produce, and thus the least expendable. Thus, Ship made Tsinoy a Tracker, able to defend herself and others to the point of near-effortlessly dispatching two Large Killers at the same time.
  • Transhuman Aliens: All of the protagonists.