From the New York Times bestselling author of the Three-Body Trilogy, Cixin Liu's Ball Lightning is the story of what happens when the beauty of scientific inquiry runs up against the drive to harness new discoveries with no consideration of their possible consequences.
When Chen’s parents are incinerated before his eyes by a blast of ball lightning, he devotes his life to cracking the secret of this mysterious natural phenomenon. His search takes him to stormy mountaintops, an experimental military weapons lab, and an old Soviet science station.
The more he learns, the more he comes to realize that ball lightning is just the tip of an entirely new frontier. While Chen’s quest for answers gives purpose to his lonely life, it also pits him against soldiers and scientists with motives of their own: a beautiful army major with an obsession with dangerous weaponry, and a physicist who has no place for ethical considerations in his single-minded pursuit of knowledge.
"Wildly imaginative."—Barack Obama on The Three-Body Problem trilogy
Tor books by Cixin Liu
The Remembrance of Earth's Past
#1 The Three-Body Problem
#2 The Dark Forest
#3 Death's End
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Cixin Liu—who’s often called China's Arthur C. Clarke—digs deep into the science and technology behind his stories, making outlandish adventures seem utterly plausible. He also has a skill for casting a suspicious eye on the ethical and philosophical boundaries around scientific research. In Ball Lightning, a freak weather event kills the parents of teenager Chen, who then becomes obsessed with researching the phenomenon; things get complicated when it turns out the military is trying to harness this kind of lightning as a weapon. Combining hard science fiction and a very human backstory, Cixin creates a deeply compelling and suspenseful tale.
In Chinese folklore, ball lightning is known as "ghost lanterns," and ghosts of a quantum kind haunt this thoughtful technothriller about the science of the next war. Chen, traumatized when ball lightning invades his birthday party and kills his parents, resolves to understand the elusive phenomenon, despite discouragement from his similarly hurt advisor. Encountering evidence that others have been struck by ball lightning but survived, he teams up with Lin Yun, a young major in the Chinese army with her own obsession: "new concept" weapons. Together, they track down a lost Russian research base and an eccentric Chinese genius, bringing together the clues that reveal ball lightning's secrets in time for it to be weaponized for a conflict with America. Liu (the Three-Body Problem trilogy) pits the quest for theoretical knowledge against the push for practical, if deadly, applications. Without tilting the debate, he moves his characters through both their fears and their desires, showing how neither purity nor repudiation will bring more than a measure of personal relief. Readers intrigued by cutting-edge and slightly speculative science, and the philosophy of scientific ethics, will want to pick up this fine novel.