Monday 7 May 2012

Hull Zero Three

(April 2012)

It’s been a while since I’ve read any straight-up hard sci-fi. Generation starships, bio-engineering, off-world colonists, it’s all here.

I started reading this the day before the Arthur C Clarke award shortlist was announced. Quite by accident, I’ve now read half the books on it, apparently the stronger half as well.

The delay on putting up these book posts (it’s April 4th as I write this) means that the winner will probably already have been announced by the time this goes up, and in all honestly I can’t say I’ll be waiting with bated breath. Lots of people have apparently been criticizing 2011 as a weak year for SF, some perhaps with more self-interest than others. If these three books represent the best the genre has to offer this time around, then I'd have to agree.

Embassytown was interesting, especially given my line of work, but lacked the atmosphere of The City and The City, the chutzpah of Perdido Street Station, and the lunatic fun of Kraken. Jessie Lamb had real issues with suspension of disbelief, and this book – Hull Zero Three, in case you’ve forgotten – was nothing special. Not bad, a satisfying enough way to kill a few hours, but really not all that either. Plus it has a title which sounds like a Yorkshire dialing code.

Still, could have been worse.

Update/Vague Attempt at Topicality: Jessie Lamb won. Meh.


  1. The cover isn't too...creative.

    I'm a stickler maybe.... but a faux hull with the title in the largest font that will fit seems like an absolute afterthought. I don't read as much as I should but that cover has "don't buy me...I'm not worth your money" written all over big font of course ;)

    1. But look! The letters are all distressed, like they're really written on metal! It's hyper-realis...

      No. You're right. It's a bit crap. It's got nothing on some of these though -

  2. Thought Hull Zero Three was Asahi's newest attempt to introduce a seasonal beverage - bear was too easily misread as 'beer'.

    1. It's the metallic finish, isn't it? Always thought Asahi tasted a little tinny as it is.