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The Three-Body Problem Paperback – January 12, 2016
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Mass Market Paperback
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“Remarkable, revelatory and not to be missed.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
About the Author
CIXIN LIU is the most prolific and popular science fiction writer in the People's Republic of China. Liu is avwinner of the Hugo Award, an eight-time winner of the Galaxy Award (the Chinese Hugo), and a winner of the Chinese Nebula Award.
KEN LIU (translator) is a writer, lawyer, and computer programmer. His short story "The Paper Menagerie" was the first work of fiction ever to sweep the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Awards. He has written two novels (The Grace of Kings and The Wall of Storms) and edited and translated the Chinese science fiction anthology Invisible Planets.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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This series well and truly "blew my mind away". This isn't a page0-turning space opera adventure kind of story. The story is interesting and good, and there is most definitely some drama and entertainment - and the writing is excellent (translation to English is superb). But the main thing for me about this series is that it educated me about physics and really made me look at EVERYTHING through a new lens. The ideas in this book I had never encountered before - and I am a voracious reader. I found this series to be totally original and mind-blowing. There were time where I simply needed to put it down after reading only a short time, in order to simply ponder the ideas presented. I've never had quite an experience like this with a book.
Highly recommend this series. And, make sure you read all three, because each one is better than the last. The last book of the series was my favorite and just absolutely melted my brain. I mean, to the degree where I am questioning my own reality. Yes, it is that good. Really, a mind and perception altering experience.
The plot's political and scientific setting reminded me quite a bit of the writing of Gregory Benford, specifically, his novel Timescape. If I were to hazard a guess, if you like Benford's writing, you'll enjoy this novel. If you dislike Benford (he isn't everyone's cup of tea) you might want to pass on this. This is very much hard core, traditional science fiction. The backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution gives a memorable setting. Cixin Liu's personal experiences as a Chinese citizen (a young child - he was born in 1963) lends a degree of authenticity to that aspect of the novel.
Please, please, please read at least to the halfway point. Mr. Liu's plot slowly and steadily increases the pace. I loved the entire book, but one fellow reader was going "meh" until she read enough to tell me SHE wants to read the entire series now. If you find yourself thinking, "What's the big deal" just keep on going. This is a FUN read!
Note that this is the first of an original trilogy by the author, and I'm hooked. Try to avoid reviews that give too much of the plot away and just enjoy the work. Having never read this author before, I can see why he is one of the best selling science fiction writers in China. With this series I think he's about to widen his audience.
UPDATE: I read this book again and it has led me to preorder the next in the trilogy, The Dark Forest, which doesn't even come out in English until some time in 2015.
UPDATE 2 (22 FEB 2017): I ended up buying The Dark Forest (see note above - the second in the trilogy) and finally just recently finished what has turned out to be an awesome series with the third book in the trilogy, Death's End (Remembrance of Earth's Past). Overall, one of the great sci-fi series of all time, comparable to Asimov's The Foundation Trilogy.
It turns out the book they think unworthy is incredible. And ironically their ideological pogrom fits perfectly within the book!
You want big ideas? It's there and there again.
You want something different? I've never read anything like it before. This is so not a colonial dudes-rule-everything universe.
You want to learn something? You will. Not only about science and human nature, but of an era probably only someone from China can communicate fully. It's fascinating.
You want big scary aliens? You got 'em.
You want high table stakes? How about the future of humanity?
You want that unsettled feeling you get when you both deeply disagree and agree with an idea? Oh yes, that little knife twist is there.
You want great writing? I'd say the writing is good, with many moments of greatness. In particular the beginning prose really pops. Then the writing moves the story along nicely with brief forrays back into lusciousness.
A worthy winner in my estimation. It's a great story well told. And that's what it's all about.