The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: Remembrance of Earth’s Past (Book 1 of 3)
Genre: Hard science fiction
First English translation: 2014 by Tor Books (US), 2015 by Head of Zeus (UK)
This critically well-acclaimed science fiction novel certainly deserves its laurels.
“Wildly imaginative, really interesting..” so proclaimed Barack Obama about this trilogy. From what I can gather after reading this book, I already wholeheartedly agree. The Three-Body Problem is a truly unique and original science fiction within the realm of plausibility. Melding real-world science, history, philosophy, religion and fantastical ideas, this novel delivers a beautifully-written (and translated) narrative which engages the mind, heart and soul.
The story starts against the backdrop of the brutal Chinese Cultural Revolution, which afforded a highly relatable and realistic basis for its central plot. The narrative combines both present time events and flashbacks to provide the backstory of a major character who suffered through that bloodshed period. Characterisation might take a slight backseat to the plot development, but I enjoyed the unfolding of the story together with the scientific exposition so much that it did not become an issue for me. But then again, I’ve always been a bit of a geek when it comes to popular science topics, and especially astrophysics.
It is also actually quite frightening how much I identify with the ideology presented in this thought-provoking novel. Is humanity worth salvation with the destructiveness it presents to this wondrous planet?
Even if God were here, it wouldn’t do any good. The entire human race has reached the point where no one is listening to their prayers.
I opted to write a shorter review for this simply because part of my enjoyment was derived from knowing as little as possible. It was timely that I recently had the impetus to read up on theoretical and astrophysics as this helped my (little) understanding of the science in the novel. Having said that, one does not need to really know or fully comprehend the technical details to appreciate the story. However, if you are a fan of science, fiction or otherwise, who will love to see the application of these fundamental theories in a captivating story, do yourself a favour and pick up this book sooner than later.
Review originally written in 2018
You can order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)