My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Hull Zero three was another book that recently subverted my expectations. The description I read of this title suggested to me a dark survival horror-style novel of a man being woken on board a generation ship to find the halls full of monsters and broken-down machinary and himself hunted.
Whilst that is not an entirely inaccurate description of the setup for the novel, I was somewhat disappointed to find this atmosphere somewhat lacking; in fact, that is one of my key complaints about this novel in general. I picked it up looking forward to the atmosphere of the setting only to find it minimised by the writing style and not delivering to my expectations. This is because I misinterpreted what this story actually was.
One it began to strike home I found myself drawn deep into a mind-bending story of Carrollian absurdity and creepiness, a drop at terminal velocity through a rabbit-hole full of surprises as the characters try desperately to understand why the ship is so damaged, why genetically-engineered monsters lurk in the hallways and, most importantly of all, who, or what, exactly are they themselves?
This is a classic science fiction novel of Ideas, and in that vein it most certainly does not disappoint, keeping you guessing as to the true villain (if there can be said to really be one) and tugging at your sympathies constantly until the very end.
There was perhaps one subplot (the silvery) that I think the story could have been stronger without, particularly the slight suggestion of deus ex machina provided right at the end, but on the whole it should be quite satisfying to anyone with a love of twisted philosophical plots.