The Three-Body Problem is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience the Hugo Award-winning phenomenon from China's most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin.
Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.
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A slow burn that turns into a wildfire of great Sci-fi
As an American who has grown up reading Orson Scott Card, this book’s premise intrigued me. It has a lot to set up, and the delivery is definitely different than what most Americans are used to, but it pays off in the end. The use of real science and physics along with current theories about those subjects and then weaving some fiction into it makes it just believable enough to create a great Sci-Fi story. As a lover of the Ender’s Game series, I got strong vibes of Xenocide and Children of the Mind, mixed of course with ideas from Ender’s Game itself. But the execution creates something wholly new - a different perspective on the idea of how contacting extraterrestrial life could occur, and the terrifying idea that we would be subject to their nearly invisible weapons of propaganda.
Implausible plot explained to death
A superior alien race has prodigious control of science and the physical universe. But it can’t figure out the rotation of its 3 suns? They’ve mastered interstellar travel but they need to leave their dying planet? Juvenile characterizations and hack science give it little traction.
Excellent hard sci fi with a cultural bend
I thoroughly enjoyed The Three-Body Problem. It’s probably one of my favorite hard sci fi books in a long time. The only book that I’ve enjoyed more in recent memory would be The Martian. The thing that really caught me with The Three-Body Problem besides the scientific and philosophical elements, was the prospective being from a Chinese historical context. The only book that comes close for me in creating a non-western setting is When Gravity Fails, and that’s much more of a cyberpunk vibe than a hard sci fi.