Monday, December 17, 2012

Hull Zero Three

Hull Zero Three by Greg Bear
Science Fiction
320 pages
Published by Orbit

November 2010

Click to purchase Hull Zero Three from!
Spoilers ahead for Greg Bear's Hull Zero Three!

From the back cover:
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 homea new planet and the woman he was meant to love in his armshe 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 questionsWho 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.

My thoughts:

Here it is: The inaugural post of my new book review blog! My tastes are quite varied: the books that I read span multiple genres and themes. However, to start things off, I've decided to go with a genre readers of my other blog will know I enjoy greatly: science fiction.

Hull Zero Three
 takes a pair of classic sci-fi situations and puts them together in a fairly interesting and compelling book. For the first two thirds of the novel, the protagonist has no memory other than a few words and the knowledge that he is on "Ship." We follow him as he learns more and more about the situation in which he has found himself. The generational ship he is aboard has clearly run into problems, as death traps abound and hideous creatures threaten him at every turn. The mystery of who he is and what has happened is certainly compelling, and I had a lot of fun trying to figure out the particulars of the ship and its mission.

Some have complained that the author's descriptions are too long-winded and meticulous, making sure that every sight, sound, and smell is covered in excruciating detail. While I did find that some of the descriptions may have tended toward the "too long" side of things, I generally welcomed them as I enjoy having the universe I am reading about vividly described. Bit by bit, we learn more about the ship and the circumstances of the current crisis. The characters that the protagonist meets along the way are fascinating, and Mr. Bear's descriptions of them engaged my imagination. I especially liked one particular character, who is described as fierce and monstrous-looking, but whose personality is anything but.

To say that Hull Zero Three is groundbreaking would certainly be overstating things. I think the novel comes across more as an intriguing mystery than as a piece of compelling hard sci-fi. For me, the "hard sci-fi" elements come in at the end, when the purpose of Ship is finally explained, and the horror of what its mission is and what has gone wrong is revealed. I won't say much about the revelation here, as I think the mystery is fascinating and well-worth discovering on one's own, but I will say that the concept that Greg Bear came up with for the ship and her mission would certainly have been worth exploring in a book of its own.

Final thoughts:

Hull Zero Three was certainly a fascinating read. I'm a sucker for mysteries and grand reveals, and this novel does a great job with both. My one complaint would be that the explanation and solution are both introduced rather quickly at the end, after which the book wraps up extremely quickly. This is okay, as it is clear that the point of the book is the mystery and working towards the final understanding, rather than showcasing the mission of the ship and the circumstances surrounding the current crisis. I guess I am just disappointed, as I felt that the final reveal was fascinating enough to be a major focus rather than the focus being on just the journey to get there. I am looking forward to reading more of Greg Bear's books. As it stands, I'm not completely enamoured with Hull Zero Three, but I did find it a fairly satisfying read.

About the author:

Greg Bear is the author of over thirty novels in the science fiction and fantasy genres. His awards include two Hugos and five Nebulas, and has been named the "best working writer of hard science fiction" by The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. According to his Facebook page, Mr. Bear has also served on political and scientific action committees. In addition, he has advised Microsoft Corporation, the US Army, the CIA, Sandia National Laboratories, Callison Architecture Inc., the US Department of Homeland Security, and other groups and agencies.

Greg Bear's Website

Also by Greg Bear:

Star Trek #15: Corona (NOTE: Link is to my other blog, specializing in Star Trek fiction)

My next read:

Next up is Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Nerdfighter Book Recommendations!

I'm a huge fan of Hank and John Green, the "vlogbrothers." On their various YouTube channels, the brothers Green have taught me about biology and world history, science and literature, and reams of interesting things about human nature and general knowledge. On their main channel, author John Green recently featured a series of book recommendations. Check it out below, and then follow the links to see their various channels. I guarantee you'll find something that interests you! I've also included links to all of the books mentioned in the video. links to the books in the video:

Ballad of the Whiskey Robber: A True Story of Bank Heists, Ice Hockey, Transylvanian Pelt Smuggling, Moonlighting Detectives, and Broken Hearts by Julian Rubinstein

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

Sula by Toni Morrison

Mansfield Park and Persuasion by Jane Austen

The Blood of the Lamb: A Novel by Peter De Vries

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Matched by Ally Condie

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Telegraph Avenue: A Novel by Michael Chabon

Bossypants by Tina Fey

The Magicians: A Novel by Lev Grossman

Harry, A History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon by Melissa Aneli

The Art of Fielding: A Novel by Chad Harbach

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Wolf Hall: A Novel by Hilary Mantel

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves by M.T. Anderson

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

"Nerdfighters" on YouTube:

Vlogbrothers Main Channel

Crash Course (Videos on AP Biology, World History, Ecology, and English Literature)

SciShow (Hank Green reports on the world of Science)

Hank Games (Hank and John play various video games and tell stories while doing so)


In April of 2011, I began writing a book review blog. However, it wasn't just any book review blog; Trek Lt Reviews caters to a very niche market. In it, I review Star Trek novels, both new releases and older titles. I didn't have any high hopes for it to become popular or anything, I merely started it as a way to catalog my own thoughts and feelings, as reminders to myself about what the books were about and how I felt about them. To my surprise, other people were interested as well. Each month saw a steady increase in readership, and November 2012 was the first month that Trek Lit Reviews had over 3000 page-views. That may not sound like a lot, but I was astounded that people were actually interested in reading what I had to say about these books.

As much as I like Star Trek novels, I do enjoy reading other books as well. The world of literature is an endless field of exciting stories and infinite possibilities, in which an author can guide a reader anywhere from seventeenth-century Britain to alternate worlds and histories. From epic, sweeping trilogies that involve the rise and fall of galactic civilizations to the quiet, simple struggle of a single life. In short, I absolutely love books, and I enjoy sharing my thoughts and feelings about them. This blog will be about the books that I read and love (or hate!), as well as anything literature-related that catches my eye. There is a great deal to report on in the world of books, including prizes in literature, new releases from favourite authors, competitions such as Canada Reads from the CBC, and a myriad of other events in the world of books. Join me as I delve into this world head-first and communicate to you what I hope is an honest and abiding love of books!