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Death's End (Remembrance of Earth's Past) Hardcover – September 20, 2016
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"Wildly imaginative, really interesting." ―President Barack Obama on The Three-Body Problem trilogy
"The Three-Body epic concludes with sweep and scope and majesty, worthy of Frederik Pohl or Poul Anderson, Scholar Wu or H. G. Wells. The universe is likely to be a rough neighborhood. See just how rough...and how life might still prevail." ―David Brin on Death's End
“If you thought The Three-Body Problem and The Dark Forest were expansive, they're nothing compared to Death's End.... A testament to just how far [Liu's] own towering imagination has taken him: Far beyond the borders of his country, and forever into the canon of science fiction.” ―NPR on Death’s End
“Compelling reading...the most mind-bending of them all.... Liu’s picture of humanity’s place in the cosmos is among the biggest, boldest and most disturbing we’ve seen.” ―The Los Angeles Times
Liu Cixin's writing evokes the thrill of exploration and the beauty of scale.... Extraordinary. ―The New Yorker
[Cixin h]as gained a following beyond the small but flourishing science-fiction world here [and] breathed new life into a genre . . . The "Three-Body" tomes chronicle a march of the human race into the universe set against the recent past, the tumultuous years of the Cultural Revolution. It is a classic science-fiction story in the style of the British master Arthur C. Clarke. ―The New York Times
Utterly, utterly brilliant. The Three-Body trilogy is nothing short of a masterpiece. ―Lavie Tidhar, World Fantasy Award winning author of Osama
“A breakthrough book . . ., a unique blend of scientific and philosophical speculation, politics and history, conspiracy theory and cosmology.” ―George R. R. Martin on The Three-Body Problem
The Three-Body Problem deserves all of its plaudits. It's an exceptional novel, and Ken Liu's translation is both smooth and unintrusive. ―Mike Resnick, multiple Hugo Award winner
"Ken Liu's excellent translation combines fluid clarity with a continuous view into Chinese worldviews, adding to the fun and making this the best kind of science fiction, familiar but strange all at the same time.I hope we'll get to read more by Cixin Liu, and for now applaud this great entry." ―Kim Stanley Robinson on The Three Body Problem
A tour-de-force walk through Chinese and world history. The Three-Body Problem merges virtual realities, alien invasions and exciting science, and manages to make them all fresh. ―Aliette de Bodard, Nebula Award winner
Cixin Liu brings to the reader a deep and insightful vision of China past and future. First-rate work by a powerful new voice. ―Ben Bova, multiple Hugo Award winner, on The Three Body Problem
About the Author
CIXIN LIU is a prolific and popular science fiction writer in the People's Republic of China. Liu is a winner of the Hugo Award and a multiple winner of the Galaxy Award (the Chinese Hugo) and the Xing Yun Award (the Chinese Nebula). He lives with his family in Yangquan, Shanxi.
KEN LIU (translator) translated the Hugo-winning The Three-Body Problem and edited Invisible Planets, the first English-language anthology of Chinese SF from the 21st century. A winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy awards for his own original fiction, he is the author of the Dandelion Dynasty series of silkpunk epic fantasy novels (The Grace of Kings and The Wall of Storms) as well as The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories, a collection.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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Remember how far we have come from? The whole story started in around 1960s as China went through a horrible period of political turmoil. When senseless mobs beat a little girl’s father to death in public, her faith in humanity was shaken and lost. Her solution was to seek help from species of other planets, thus changing the course of humanity. As a result numerous lives were lost in the ensuing battles and conflicts. But two unlikely heroes came to rescue – Mr. Luo Ji devised a way to blackmail and diffuse the Trisolarian invasion, and Mr. Zhang Beihai managed to save and plant a human seed far away from the Earth.
Did both strategies work? The Death’s End provides the final answer. The main character of the third book is another woman (Ms. Cheng Xin). She is smart but weak, and the choice she made in this book will be long debated among the Three-Body fans. But does it really matter at the end? It appears that, regardless of her choice, the fate of humanity was inevitably sealed. I will say this, that two women, Ye Wenjie in book one and Cheng Xin in book three, pretty much decided the course and the ending (a feminism analysis of Big Liu is due).
There are so many refreshing gems in the Death’s End that makes the book irresistible. For example, how to send a communication device to Trisolaris but the device must have minimum amount of weight and can survive long distance of space travel? Big Liu’s answer was plainly crazy yet sensible. For example, Big Liu rebranded himself temporarily and inserted a long and intriguing fairytale, yes, you are reading this correctly, a fairytale about how an evil prince stealing the throne of a kingdom and a princess fighting back. Finally, a stupendous weapon called the “dual vector foil”. I don’t want to elaborate. Let’s just say that if you are still reading my comment here, you are not affected by this weapon (yet).
Besides sci-fi and fairytales, Big Liu clearly likes to write detective stories, which are dotted throughout this book series. Book one began with a scientist trying to figure out what was wrong with his vision and who was behind all the suicides of other scientists. Book two had a heavy dose of mouse-and-cat game between wallfacers and wallbreakers. Book three involved many experts (scientists, intelligence officers, and professors in literature) trying to decipher the true meaning of the fairytale. These plots will keep you guessing and add extra thrill.
Finally, the ending. So much happened while ions went by in the final pages. I remember many people complaining about the slow pace of book one. When u reach the end of book three, u will instead suffer whiplashes. I had to turn back and go over many pages again asking what the F is going and trying to make sense of what is happening. Suffice to say that it is a finish that I have never seen it before in any sci-fi literature. Probably the GRANDEST and the MOST INSANE ending of all.
Go read it, and start to marvel and tremble.
The first book in the trilogy, The Three Body Problem, was a very nice work, but ultimately the least engaging of the three. The Dark Forest was the best book I’ve ever read, of any genre. It contained elements of anthropology, sociology, philosophy and outstanding hard science fiction concepts and scenarios. It was simply magnificent, and ended in such a manner that a third book was not necessarily required.
Well, Death’s End picks up where Dark Forest leaves off, in fact with a little overlap in order to introduce the main protagonist in the final work. For three hundred pages, Death’s End was every bit the equal of Dark Forest, but then there occurs a roughly 100 page segment that is so dumb, so contrived and so out of character with the other 1500 pages of the trilogy that it made me question who had written it and why it was there.
It is not really a spoiler to reveal that the referenced 100 pages involve a rather silly fairy tale (for some reason they refer to three tales, though there is really only one, split into three chapters). The fairy tale is part of an inter-stellar conversation between two of the book’s main characters in which one is trying to convey a message through the use of metaphor. The Trisolarans have allowed and even initiated the conversation, but under very strict guidelines that limit information that can be conveyed, under penalty of death. Then, they allow a 50 page fairy tale to be conveyed, and memorized word for word by one of the characters. Sure, that makes sense. I guess the incredibly advanced Trisolarans don’t understand the concept of metaphor and think telling a 50 page fairy tale would be normal conversation under the circumstances.
There follows another 50 pages in which the Earth Federation goes about deciphering the fairy tale in such a way that is even dumber and even more senseless than the fact that the fairy tale was conveyed in the first place.
SPOILER: In one of the most incredibly stupid moments of any book I’ve ever read, the experts are stumped by a particular place name in the fairy tale. Luckily for them, one of the analysts talks in his sleep. After muttering the mysterious place name in his sleep, he is informed by his live-in girlfriend that the name is actually a combination of two place names in Norway, and not just any place names; names that have not been used for centuries. Luckily for him, his Norwegian girlfriend is a scholar in ancient Norwegian place names. Lucky humans, what are the chances.
Then, like nothing ever happened, the novel returns to absolute excellence for the final 300 pages. It is the damndest thing; like listening to a two hour concert featuring the works of Mozart that is interrupted for ten minutes by a cacophonous din of meaningless music, and completely unnecessary as the author could have easily gotten where he needed to go without such a bizarre detour. For such a magnificent work to be marred in such a way is a shame, because one of the strengths of the trilogy is its believability and rock solid hard science fiction. Character actions and plot lines flow so smoothly because they are imminently believable and flawlessly crafted.
In any event, it is the best science fiction series I’ve experienced; far more complex and engaging than the Foundation works and so much more approachable and enjoyable than the Dune novels. If a 20 year old asked me where to start in reading science fiction, I would direct him to Foundation and other Asimov works. If a 40 year old, who had sampled much of the genre asked the same question, I would insist that he read this trilogy. Afterwards, he would thank me for the suggestion but ask, “What was up with that stupid fairy tale.”