Friday, June 17, 2016

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

The Three-Body Problem
by Cixin Liu

This novel won the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction novel, as voted on by science fiction fans at the World Science Fiction Convention. It is an English-language translation of one of China’s most beloved science fiction authors. It is also the first volume of a trilogy.

Told in alternating contemporary and flash-back sequences, from the perspective of several characters, The Three-Body Problem explores the ramifications of a “First Contact” scenario, in which the human being who is making long-distance contact with a potentially hostile alien race four light-years away, is a Chinese scientist who has lost her family in China’s Cultural Revolution, and who feels that humanity would benefit from an alien society coming to — most likely — subjugate us. This was a fascinating read, with a large cast of characters to follow — I was glad to have a list of the main cast at the front of the book to look back at as all the Chinese language names became a bit overwhelming.

In the end, while I appreciated the chance to read science fiction coming from another culture, I only gave it a five rating because large portions of the plot involved scientists regurgitating information to the reader — it felt a bit too much like being in a lecture hall. But, if you’re a fan of hard SF, and want to read something written with a different political and social bias that the vast majority of science fiction published for English-language readers, I do recommend it!

[ The Three-Body Problem page on Wikipedia ] | [ Cixin Liu page on Wikipedia ]

Recommended by Scott C.
Bennett Martin Public Library

Have you read this? What did you think? Did you find this review helpful?  
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