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Fascinating piece of scifi by Chinese writer Cixin Liu A surprising mix of nanoscience, string theory, and astrophysics and religion with the Cultural Revolution as a background, the story takes its protagonist Xiao Wang the nanoscientist into an adventure that will impact all of humanity I liked Ye, the astrophysicist, and found Du Shi, the policeman, funny and well drawn As for the action and plot, it is easy to read although I got a little lost in the pure science aspects once or twice despite being an engineer and having dabbled in quantum mechanics years ago I am excited about reading the next two books which I suspect will be a little like the Foundation Trilogy by Asimov and hope you ll also enjoy this one Note that it won the Hugo award in 2015, kind of a geek s Pulitzer if you will.Having finished the entire series, I have to say that it does actually get better and better as it evolves The narrative structure of this first book is a quite different than the other two but all are extraordinary. Originally published in it s native Chinese in 2008, The Three Body Problem has now been translated for English speakers to read and enjoy It is the first volume in a hugely successful SF trilogy that has proved to be a popular seller in China.No matter what our opinions are on the government of China, we all know that they have a history of controlling the media It was not so long ago that I was reading articles on how even SF stories may not be published if they contain certain themes or SF tropes that the government does not approve of such as time travel Yet here we have a novel that Tor are willing to bring to an international English audience So is it a matter of government restrictions being exaggerated or is it proof that art defies restrictions While I can think about these questions I do hit a brick wall after a short while I m no geography or political buff I have no ideas on these matters But I do know quite a bit about SF and I know a little about science and I feel that these are the most import factors when reading The Three Body Problem Sure it would have been great to know what the hell was going on in those early chapters during the cultural revolution , but I guess I was lucky to follow the story when it delved a bit into quantum mechanics and orbital mechanics And while a reader without this knowledge would not have a problem following the story at all and could easily skim those sections, they definitely were rewarding and offered a greater depth to the story And I m sure that someone with a knowledge of modern Chinese history would have felt the same.Three Body is essentially the story of two scientists, Ye Wenjie, an engineer working in a top secret military base during the 1970 s, and Wang Miao, a nanotechnologist in current day China While events in current day China unfold for Wang, the story of Ye is told in alternate sections The nature of the top secret base is uncovered during the intricate story and don t worry, it s not a bad X Files ripoff at all.But I did find Wang s story much interesting and frightening It explores the idea of the failure of science What happens if over time scientific endeavours consistently defy any conjectures or postulates, refuse to comply with any previously known laws and just keep on giving random and seemingly supernatural outcomes It may sound a bit trivial here, but the you think about it, the frightening it is And the author explores this and truly did convey the horror to me as the reader The events of this book had me tense and on edge at several points.There really are some fascinating ideas pursued in this book and it is a thoroughly entertaining and thought provoking read in the style of SF greats such as Kim Stanley Robinson and Asomiv The style of interchanging stories with historical aspects, as well as some of the style did remind me of Murakami, but I have no idea if this is being literature racist as this is the only other Asian book I have read other than those by Murakami It also had echoes of Neal Stephenson in that it was an intricate and baroque plot full of subterfuges and technical writing But maybe I m just projecting two of my favourite authors onto another book that I enjoyed.So here is one reader that is converted to the forthcoming volumes and possibly converted to reading international SF Both Stanislaw Lem and the Strugatsky brothers failed to take my interest, but Liu Cixin has managed to produce something that I really did enjoy and also made me think big thoughts.September 2016 Reread Nothing has changed, but I put my star rating up It is a special read that I enjoyed just as much the second time around Yes, there were very little surprises, but I appreciated the pacing and understood about the characters and the history I saved my reading of Book 2 and 3 until they were all out I m too old and there are too many other books to read to have to reread a series each time a new volume comes out.See you all for for Book 2 review. FREE PDF ☸ 三体 ♓ The Three Body Problem Is The First Chance For English Speaking Readers To Experience This Multiple Award Winning Phenomenon From China S Most Beloved Science Fiction Author, Liu Cixin Fans Of Hard SF Will Revel In This Intricate And Imaginative Novel By One Of China S Most Celebrated Genre Writers In , Physics Professor Ye Zhetai Is Killed After He Refuses To Denounce The Theory Of Relativity His Daughter, Ye Wenjie, Witnesses His Gruesome Death Shortly After, She S Falsely Charged With Sedition For Promoting The Works Of Environmentalist Rachel Carson, And Told She Can Avoid Punishment By Working At A Defense Research Facility Involved With The Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence More Than Years Later, Ye S Work Becomes Linked To A String Of Physicist Suicides And A Complex Role Playing Game Involving The Classic Physics Problem Of The Title Liu Impressively Succeeds In Integrating Complex Topics Such As The Field Of Frontier Science, Which Attempts To Define The Limits Of Science S Ability To Know Nature Without Slowing Down The Action Or Sacrificing Characterization His Smooth Handling Of The Disparate Plot Elements Cleverly Sets Up The Second Volume Of The Trilogy Publishers Weekly The Three Body Problem was the best SF novel that I ve read so far Admittedly, I did not read a lot of them However, I can recognize when I encounter a special gem and this one definitely is unique in its world building Moreover, it is very well written and translated which, unfortunately, it is not always the case with SF novels, especially with the classics The first chapters take place in the Chinese Cultural revolution and I thought to be a harrowing experience which perfectly introduced the reader in the oppressive atmosphere of the time I do not want to say too much of the plot because I believe it is better for each of you to explore it I went in almost blindly and I appreciated the opportunity to discover by myself how the plot develops What I can tell is that you will read an amazing blend of Chinese history, mythology, hard SCi Fi and well crayoned characters If I were to reveal anything I guess this quote from the first part of the novel is pretty suggestive It was impossible to expect a moral awakening from humankind itself, just like it was impossible to expect humans to lift off the earth by pulling up on their own hair To achieve moral awakening required a force outside the human race The novel can be hard on science sometimes but the aspect did not lower my enjoyment, although I was overwhelmed by some explanations as my background is mostly economics Despite some long science passages, the narration flows beautifully and I was not bored for one second I am looking forward to reading the next volume in the series and I hope it will not suffer from the 2nd books syndrome Excellent One of the best SF books I ve read Review to come. A scientist is drawn into a conspiracy involving a computer game and an old research station and extra terrestrial life.Translated from the original Chinese I have to admit I read this book mostly because the way it s being talked about made me really uncomfortable There s the contingent who want to treat it as some sort of referendum on the Chinese science fiction landscape, or Chinese literature in general, as it was a wildly successful bestseller there Yeah, okay, tell you what go take a look at this week s NY Times bestseller list and pick out the book we should translate into other languages for readers to judge as a referendum on all of American writing of that genre I ll wait And then there s the way the translator responded to criticism by making a lot of sweeping statements about Chinese writing that I have very little doubt, even in the absence of any personal expertise, are dubious at best This book is occupying some weird space in reviewerland, is what I m saying.So I read it, and Um It s not very good Flat characters, some shall we say eyebrow raising decisions regarding women, a lot of but humans don t human that way, etc Which kind of figures, since if notions of best seller can be translated, then this book is Chinese Tom Clancy So there you go.It did intrigue me on behalf of other Chinese science fiction, though The cultural context of this story the asides about how communism impacted intellectual thought, for example interested me than anything else.I generally have a pretty good nose for these things, though, and I smell movie deal, for what that s worth. 3.5 5 StarsThe Three Body Problem may be one of the most critically acclaimed Sci Fi novels of our modern age, and in my opinion, it truly deserved the recognition for all the Sci Fi ideas and narrative, but not for the characterization.The Three Body Problem, the first book in Remembrance of Earth s Past trilogy by Cixin Liu, was actually something I never heard of despite its apparent popularity until I stumbled upon an interview with Barack Obama He stated that this is one of his favorite novels, Mark Zuckerberg agreed and said the same thing, and that made me decided to give it a try Plus, the cover for this trilogy is gorgeous Most of you probably already know that TTBP won Hugo Award for best novel in the year 2015, it also has been nominated for many other Sci Fi awards and there s an upcoming movie in production already.Pictures Movie posters of 3Body Once Upon a Time in Earth Artworks by Jay WongThe question is does it deserved all the praise it received Mostly yes, especially when it comes to how the book discussed a lot of relatable topics with our current societies mostly science d oh , religions and human natureEven 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 prayersAs far as we know, humans have been reaching for extraterrestrial contact forever now there s been plenty of sightings or conspiracy theories but none of them are concrete proof I m a believer that there are another life forms outside of Earth, and there s no doubt it will be a groundbreaking discovery when they truly make that first contact with our world As exciting as that sounds, humans tend to forget that when they do appear, how EXACTLY will humanity react The Three Body Problem revolved mostly around this question and the concept of The Three Body Problem equation that hasn t been solved were used to explore motivation and behavior of humans in the face of the unknownIt was impossible to expect a moral awakening from humankind itself, just like it was impossible to expect humans to lift off the earth by pulling up on their own hair To achieve moral awakening required a force outside the human raceThe book shone light upon many historical events of China s Cultural Revolution and several philosophies of the well known scientists such as Einstein The entire plot was told in two different timelines, Cultural Revolution and our modern age, both in China the scope of the story, however, is massive There s a lot of limitation to what I can talk about here because the main strength of this book lies within its mystery telling you of the plot will definitely change your expectation, in fact, I probably already said than enough.One thing you should definitely know though is that this is a hard Sci Fi, and I will not claim to understand all the scientific terms in this book I m not a genius or science freak here, some scientific terms did go over my head Don t get me wrong, I m quite good at envisioning and understanding Sci Fi in my head, but only when it comes to something that has to do with pewpewpew laser gun , ngungggggggg lightsaber , boom boom wooshhh space opera or alternate reality stuff the terms that go over my head mostly have to do with physics and scientific calculations For someone who on a good day got 7 100 don t you dare laugh at me on their physics final exam back in high school, stating that I understood all the scientific terms here is equivalent to saying an iguana invented iPhone impossible Now, enough talking about how dumb and dumber I am with physics, my point is, despite some terms I failed to understand, I was never bored throughout my time reading this book I don t think it s fair for me to judge the prose, especially knowing that this is a translated work but in my opinion, Ken Liu did an excellent job on the translation Cixin Ken Liu explained the required terms in understanding the plot as easy as possible, making sure that the readers fully understand the plot at least The reason I say this book is slightly overrated is not due to the plot or scientific terms how can I possibly judge something as overrated from something that I don t fully understand That s nonsense However, it s because of the weak characterizations.This book is written in third person limited omniscient narrative and this direction is apt for the story that Cixin Liu tried to tell with a lot of changes in locations and timelines combined with the withholding of information, they provided a sense of mystery that compelled the reader to continue However, the downside of this is that the characters felt flat and devoid of feelings because we never truly get inside the person s head Characterizations are the most important factors in the books I read, and this book suffers from great characters to love In fact, I m fully disconnected from the characters that I can t even bring myself to care whether they die or not.Overall, The Three Body Problem is a great book filled with imaginative ideas and intriguing plot but fell short due to its weak characterizations If you re a fan of heavy scientific terms, this is truly a book you must try to read I can t wait to see what the sequel has in store because the ending of this book made me realize that this is just a beginning to an epic Sci Fi tale You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic High Fantasy Sci Fi reviews at BookNest Knowing my obsession with first contact books, I should already have read this.In my defence I did read the first chapter in a try a chapter book tag but I still haven t finished itWith the rumors of it becoming a tv show though, I have no excuses I just spent a week with this hard science fiction, Hugo award winning novel from Chinese author Cixin Liu and I have to admit I m impressed The Three Body Problem had me putting off tasks to pick it up, stuck with me throughout my day, and was always a pleasure to read when I sat down with it With that said, this isn t a novel I d easily recommend to everyone This isn t a review that offers a pan recommendation along with its 5 star rating Indeed, this review seeks to help an intrigued reader decide if this book would be a good fit for them and their reading taste Hard Sci Fi The premise of The Three Body Problem is that an alien civilization receives a message from a Chinese scientist in the 1970s and plans to come to Earth, naturally, for a good old fashioned invasion I know, I know You ve read this story before, right I assure you that this is a wholly original take wherein the aliens don t even make a proper appearance for the entire novel Instead, The Three Body Problem is concerned with its titular problem, scientific history, cutting edge scientific theory, and a fair smattering of ludicrous science near the novel s end This novel revels in its appreciation of science and a bit of brushing up on introductory physics would not go amiss However, if you don t recall the mathematical expression that governs the motion of two celestial bodies in a vacuum, you need not worry Cixin Liu and his translator, Ken Liu does a fantastic job in explaining basic and high level science concepts in clear language Although there were times in which I had to set the book down to interpret, these moments were largely towards the end of the book where the science gets really out there I was also less than impressed with the video game within the book that serves as an introduction to the alien civilization Roughly, each time the game is booted up the player is greeted by an ever advancing Earth based representation of scientific progress So, at first you meet an ancient Chinese king, but eventually you hang out with Einstein This grew on me after the first few chapters set in the game Liu uses these sections to convey the difficulty of the scientific problem at hand, show reverence for science history, and introduce the civilization in an innocuous way Space TimeOne of the things that really sets this reading experience apart from traditional science fiction is that it is really, really Chinese The first 100 pages deal mostly with the Chinese Cultural Revolution In fact, after 100 pages I realized that I was enjoying that material so much that I wouldn t have minded if aliens never stopped in Of course, as the novel goes on it does an excellent job of weaving together the threads from the Cultural Revolution and the impending invasion This Chinese based sci fi is a breath of fresh air, and it s a shame that China s most popular sci fi author has never made the jump to English before Not only is it set in a different part of the world from most sci fi you ll encounter, but it also feels remarkably different in writing style and plot development Where other novels skim over the nitty gritty of the science behind spectacle, The Three Body Problem spends pages making sure the reader knows what to expect This never feels obnoxious on the contrary, it is refreshing to see an author convey a concept in such understandable language Though the novel alternates between the time of discovery during the Chinese Cultural Revolution and the present day story, it never feels random There are stretches where I spent 50 pages in the present, took a brief 10 page detour into the past, only to return for a lengthy bit set in the present The story unfolds rather than following a strictly predictable path Instead of predictability, it seems guided by logic You don t know about Y, but once you know X, Y follows much easily This all makes for a read that is compelling because it makes the reader feel as if they are hot on the pursuit of the central mystery The Three Dimensional Character ProblemYou ve probably noticed that I haven t mentioned the cast of characters, and there s good reason I m not the first reader to note this, but the lead characters in The Three Body Problem are pretty flat Indeed, Wang Miao may be a brilliant nanotechnology researcher, but I d be hard pressed to tell you much about his personality Instead of driving the plot, Wang reacts to it I never felt that the decisions he makes in the novel were guided by his belief system He s kind of like the cart on an on rail amusement park ride The ride sure is thrilling, but you re unlikely to remember much about the cart.Now, normally I d be roasting this book alive for having such weak characterization I mean, why read a book if you don t care about the characters The Three Body Problem genuinely makes the case for having a fairly empty lead I kept thinking during my read that I could imagine being in Wang s shoes, pulling back the curtain on yet another mystery It is genuinely impressive that Liu is able to pull off, at least for me, the sensation of feeling like you re in on the mystery that would be lost with a stronger character Conclusion This novel doesn t end with resolution, though you could conceivably just read this novel and come away with a complete story Of course, there are two novels in the series that will delve further into the impressive, exciting, and pessimistic world that Liu has created I m hoping for some better developed characters, but will happily continue on if the subsequent books are as mentally stimulating as this.I d suggest tackling this one if you are interested in a headier science fiction story that eschews typical western plot, makes your brain twist and turn into weird shapes, and makes the case for translated SFF The second book is better than the first You can find my review of The Dark Forest here Adult sci fi By Chinese author Cixin Liu, The Three Body Problem takes a classic scenario contact with alien life and cranks up the sinister factor to maximum The story begins during the Cultural Revolution when young Ye Wenjie watches her scientist father beaten to death by fervent revolutionaries She is sent off for hard labor at a re education camp, but by a strange twist of fate gets a chance to work at a top secret government project seeking out extraterrestrial life Fast forward to the present, when nanotech scientist Wang Miao is snatched up by cops and brought to a secret meeting of military officials who are fighting an unnamed enemy some force that is trying to destroy the roots of human science and technology by killing scientists or driving them to suicide Wang goes undercover in this strange conspiracy when he started playing a virtual reality game called The Three Body Problem, which only the most brilliant scientific minds can hope to beat.The premise is fascinating and well grounded as far as I can tell in hard science The book raises haunting questions Do we really want to contact other civilizations If you had the chance to pull the plug on the human race, would you do so Is science truly objective and provable, or is it simply the best we can do given our limited understanding of four dimensions I found the novel a bit of a struggle until about halfway in There are a lot of characters, and many of them seem like ciphers to advance the plot or mouthpieces to espouse ideas rather than living breathing people Sometimes the prose seems like the summary of a novel rather than a novel However, the ideas are compelling This is about as close to mind blowing as any book I ve read If you like big ideas and fantasy based on hard science, this is worth a read. From the opening, I was struck by how much history I didn t know about China s Cultural Revolution It might be obvious to anyone growing up in those parts, of course, but I was almost lost in that story long before I saw that there was anything sci fi about the novel This is a good thing It speaks of good writing.And then things changed I became a frog in a pot Small hints accumulate, surrounded by mathematical problems both fundamental and curious And then the MC s sanity is questioned It s an open question that both the reader and the character must answer.And then I got an idea I could easily make the argument that all scientists in this novel are actually Main Characters, and indeed, that theory only becomes crystal clear later in the novel It was a delight.The novel is full of scientist suicides, damn odd hallucinations, all the way to a fantastic virtual reality game that draws intellectuals from around the world before devolving into a suggestive epic space opera featuring some of the most interesting aliens I ve read about in a LONG time.The worldbuilding is top knotch squared.The clever uses of technology are the true highlights of the novel, and I m upset Why Because the translations and publications for the next two novels are still in the future Why am I still upset Because I can hardly find the other works for this great author.A grandmaster of Chinese sci fi I can t deny the fact And just because I can t compare to other science fiction masters of Chinese literature is a null point I am already a fanboy I ll be revelling in every work I can get my hands on.This is a fantastic example of how great science fiction can be Truly inspiring.Update.This novel now a Hugo Nominee for 2015 because of the translation and introduction into the English speaking market It is a last minute replacement for Marco Kloos s Lines of Departure that was bravely self removed due to the Sad Puppy 3 controversy It wasn t his fault, and he got caught up in some seriously not cool BS with this year s Hugo He should be treated like any other Hugo Nominee With respect and awe for the accomplishment it is, even though he withdrew.On the other hand, after finding out that Three Body Problem took his place, I have to admit that it couldn t have happened to a better novel I loved this one It was really fantastic and it had everything I like to see in seriously good fiction.This one might truly be my top pick for the year It might be the one I cast my ballot on But first, I need to read a few Nominees I take this very seriously We bring our levels of joy and dedication to the ideas we thrive on Awards are only as good as we make them I refuse to let the Hugo become a quagmire.Let the best novel win Brad K Horner s Blog