From science fiction legend Cixin Liu, the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of The Three-Body Problem, comes a vision of the future that reads “like Ursula K Le Guin rewriting The Lord of the Flies for the quantum age.” (NPR).
In those days, Earth was a planet in space.
In those days, Beijing was a city on Earth.
On this night, history as known to humanity came to an end.
Eight light years away, a star has died, creating a supernova event that showers Earth in deadly levels of radiation. Within a year, everyone over the age of thirteen will die.
And so the countdown begins. Parents apprentice their children and try to pass on the knowledge needed to keep the world running.
But when the world is theirs, the last generation may not want to continue the legacy left to them. And in shaping the future however they want, will the children usher in an era of bright beginnings or final mistakes?
"This audacious and ultimately optimistic early work will give Liu's English-reading fans a glimpse at his evolution as a writer and give any speculative fiction reader food for deep thought." -- Shelf Awareness
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Liu, author of the intellectually challenging Three-Body Problem trilogy, provides a more accessible look at humanity's future in this political thriller founded on a thought experiment reminiscent of classic SF. A supernova near Earth bathes the planet in radiation that has minimal effect on people 13 or younger, but will kill anyone older within a year. That provides time for the governments of the world to prepare the oldest children to assume the leadership of their respective countries. Liu focuses on a group of students in China who are assigned some territory to govern; they must plan to have adequate resources while dealing with their neighbors' territorial ambitions. The complicated role-playing game is used to identify potential leaders. After the inevitable deaths of all the adults, which is chillingly described, the adolescent leaders are left to grapple with an overwhelming set of responsibilities and a population of even younger children who have their own ideas of how a post-adult world should look. There's more talk than action, and the global scale of the disaster leaves little room for individual character development. Plausible but surprising twists make this a memorable what-if tale.
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Predictable story with tedious detail
The story jolts from an interesting post-adult world in China to a distinctly dystopian world outside of China that inexplicably overwhelms the child leaders of China. Sad to see this type of commentary on both human nature and Chinese leadership. Doesn’t explore the obvious question of adults anticipating childish impulses in prepping for the SE.
I don’t even know where to begin with this. It started out harshly for the first like 75 pages as a 1 Star read, then the next 150 pages were easily a 4-5 star, and then the last 100 pages was a 1 Star. So I’m giving it a 2 star rating. The beginning was slow. A lot of buildup for very little happening. The parts at the beginning of the supernova era were super interesting, to know how the kids took on becoming the government, and saved them. The candytown and slumbertown sections were super interesting, and real sounding, and then I was super hyped for the Olympic Games, and then I wanted them to be over. And then the was the section on switching countries, I’m still confused by that. 1.) why was that necessary? 2.) a country that already killed 500,000 kids comes to you with an idea that doesn’t make sense, and they admit it’s because they think they can get their territory back in 5 years, also they nuclear bombed you during the games despite that heavily being against the rules, why would you agree???
- I loved the characters. They were all very complex and very different, despite being 13 or younger. They had good storylines, and even their teacher was a really good character, until she wasn’t in the story anymore.
-unique. Honestly part of me sat here thinking “another book where adults die and kids take over, here we go again!” But it was really different from every book with the same synopsis. I really enjoyed the idea of it, and that were just getting a brief history look.
-written like a futuristic history book. That was honestly a really cool way to do it, it reminded me of World War Z, which is an all time favorite of mine.
-I know they’re children, but the juvenile ness about their attitudes, and how not a single one of them cared about their existence, didn’t want to work, didn’t store up food. There was 100 pages of the adults handing over the reigns slowly, and apparently they didn’t mention how crucial them working was to them living, I doubt that.
-the Olympic Games. I don’t think in any situation, a kid is going to run forward after all of his friends have died in the same activity and want to do the same thing. It was 82 pages (ONE CHAPTER WAS 82 PAGES!) of death that didn’t make sense, there was an attempt to justify it saying kids didn’t care about living, that I strongly disagree with. If I got blown up in a tank and survived, no ones reaction would be “let’s do it again”. I thought I was going to love the Olympic Games, and they were obnoxious and dragged for almost 90 pages.
-everything, and I mean EVERYTHING was over explained. Paragraphs and paragraphs of senseless writing that you could skip and wouldn’t miss any plot lines. It got super tedious towards the end, against during the Olympic Games, that i was seconds away from DNFing this book, until skimming it for vital info saved it.
So recap, this wasn’t my favorite, nor was it my least favorite book ever read. The writing grew super tedious, the main plot just kinda wasted into a pointless section of the book, that followed through to another pointless exchange that just made me roll my eyes and cringe. And that’s how the book ends, with an event happening that was very unnecessary. There were good elements. I really liked the Chinese government, pages 100-200 were pretty good, lots of good plot going there until it genuinely went nowhere that mattered. 2/5 stars is my final verdict.