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Tell us a little bit about your latest novel Hull Zero Three.
Greg Bear: It’s kind of my take on a classic science fiction theme: the generation starship. I always loved those kind of books and on this one I decided to up the ante a little bit and make it a little more scientifically convincing about how we might actually travel between the stars. And how things also might go very, very wrong.
Tell us a little bit about the science that you put into the book.
Greg Bear: Well, back in my college days in the late 1960s I had an astronomy professor who pointed out that to have a starship reach sufficient speed to get between the stars in any reasonable period of time, you’d have to have a mass ratio of reaction mass fuel to the mass of the starship that would just be impossible on the order of a billion or a trillion times. And then it occurred to me that there was one way to do that: go out to the Oort cloud and strap your starship to a giant ice moonlet out there, and slowly build it up with a somewhat sophisticated drive and use the entire moonlet for your fuel supply. So that’s what happens in Hull Zero Three. We actually have a three-part starship strapped to a giant ice moon.