Author(s): Liu CixinDownload
The Three-Body Problem is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multiple award winning phenomenon from China’s most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin.”Fans of hard SF will revel in this intricate and imaginative novel by one of China’s most celebrated genre writers. In 1967, physics professor Ye Zhetai is killed after he refuses to denounce the theory of relativity. His daughter, Ye Wenjie, witnesses his gruesome death.”Shortly after, she’s falsely charged with sedition for promoting the works of environmentalist Rachel Carson, and told she can avoid punishment by working at a defense research facility involved with the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. More than 40 years later, Ye’s work becomes linked to a string of physicist suicides and a complex role-playing game involving the classic physics problem of the title.”Liu impressively succeeds in integrating complex topics—such as the field of frontier science, which attempts to define the limits of science’s ability to know nature—without slowing down the action or sacrificing characterization. His smooth handling of the disparate plot elements cleverly sets up the second volume of the trilogy.” —Publishers Weekly
Some Reviews: 11612 in Goodreads.com
Adult sci-fi. By Chinese author Cixin Liu, The Three-Body Problem takes a classic scenario — contact with alien life — and cranks up the sinister factor to maximum. The story begins during the Cultural Revolution when young Ye Wenjie watches her scientist father beaten to death by fervent revolutionaries. She is sent off for hard labor at a re-education camp, but by a strange twist of fate gets a chance to work at a top secret government project seeking out extraterrestrial life. Fast forward to the present, when nanotech scientist Wang Miao is snatched up by cops and brought to a secret meeting of military officials who are fighting an unnamed enemy — some force that is trying to destroy the roots of human science and technology by killing scientists or driving them to suicide. Wang goes undercover in this strange conspiracy when he started playing a virtual reality game called The Three-Body Problem, which only the most brilliant scientific minds can hope to beat.
The premise is fascinating and well-grounded (as far as I can tell) in hard science. The book raises haunting questions: Do we really *want* to contact other civilizations? If you had the chance to pull the plug on the human race, would you do so? Is science truly objective and provable, or is it simply the best we can do given our limited understanding of four dimensions?
I found the novel a bit of a struggle until about halfway in. There are a lot of characters, and many of them seem like ciphers to advance the plot or mouthpieces to espouse ideas rather than living breathing people. Sometimes the prose seems like the summary of a novel rather than a novel. However, the ideas are compelling. This is about as close to “mind-blowing” as any book I’ve read. If you like big ideas and fantasy based on hard science, this is worth a read.
Fascinating piece of scifi by Chinese writer Cixin Liu. A surprising mix of nanoscience, string theory, and astrophysics and religion with the Cultural Revolution as a background, the story takes its protagonist Xiao Wang (the nanoscientist) into an adventure that will impact all of humanity. I liked Ye, the astrophysicist, and found Du Shi, the policeman, funny and well-drawn. As for the action and plot, it is easy to read although I got a little lost in the pure science aspects once or twice (despite being an engineer and having dabbled in quantum mechanics years ago). I am excited about reading the next two books (which I suspect will be a little like the Foundation Trilogy by Asimov) and hope you’ll also enjoy this one. Note that it won the Hugo award in 2015, kind of a geek’s Pulitzer if you will.
Having finished the entire series, I have to say that it does actually get better and better as it evolves. The narrative structure of this first book is a quite different than the other two but all are extraordinary.
I am reading the Cixin Liu-approved fan extension, The Redemption of Time by Baoshu now, and it is really good but you have to have finished the trilogy to follow it
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