This near-future trilogy is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multiple-award-winning phenomenon from Cixin Liu, China's most beloved science fiction author.
In The Dark Forest, Earth is reeling from the revelation of a coming alien invasion-in just four centuries' time. The aliens' human collaborators may have been defeated, but the presence of the sophons, the subatomic particles that allow Trisolaris instant access to all human information, means that Earth's defense plans are totally exposed to the enemy. Only the human mind remains a secret. This is the motivation for the Wallfacer Project, a daring plan that grants four men enormous resources to design secret strategies, hidden through deceit and misdirection from Earth and Trisolaris alike. Three of the Wallfacers are influential statesmen and scientists, but the fourth is a total unknown. Luo Ji, an unambitious Chinese astronomer and sociologist, is baffled by his new status. All he knows is that he's the one Wallfacer that Trisolaris wants dead.
The Remembrance of Earth's Past Trilogy
The Three-Body Problem
The Dark Forest
Ball Lightning (forthcoming)
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Readers who haven't read (or haven't recently reread) 2014's The Three-Body Problem will feel disoriented at the outset of this sprawling hard SF novel. In the prologue, an ant and a spider overhear Dr. Ye Wenjie, an astrophysicist, suggest to astronomer-turned-sociologist Luo Ji that there are "axioms of cosmic civilization," a neat variation on Asimov's psychohistory. This scene epitomizes the book's biggest flaw: clever ideas lost in often didactic prose. Before the notion of a cosmic sociology can be further developed, Liu shifts gears to present a dialogue between an alien intelligence, the Trisolaris, and the leader of the Earth-Trisolaris Organization, about the distinction between thought and speech. The Trisolarians pose a significant threat to humankind, which triggers very different responses on Earth, ranging from the Escapists, who believe that flight is the only option, to the formation of a Planetary Defense Council. The upbeat ending sets up the concluding volume, but not everyone will have the patience needed to get that far.