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The Three-Body Problem (2008)

by Liu Cixin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Remembrance of Earth's Past (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,0922781,571 (3.78)1 / 266
Three-Body Problem is the first chance for an English-speaking audience to experience this multiple award winning phenomenon from China's most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin. Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.… (more)
  1. 41
    Anathem by Neal Stephenson (storyjunkie)
    storyjunkie: There are stylistic and societal-implications similarities between the English translation of The Three-Body Problem and Anathem, despite being of very different worlds, and deep into different scientific areas.
  2. 11
    Blindsight by Peter Watts (electronicmemory)
  3. 00
    Tau Zero by Poul Anderson (br77rino)
    br77rino: I put this because both books are what I would consider hard science fiction.
  4. 00
    Contact by Carl Sagan (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Stories about man's search for intelligent life in the universe with elements of hard science
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» See also 266 mentions

English (267)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (2)  Spanish (2)  German (2)  French (2)  Finnish (1)  All languages (278)
Showing 1-5 of 267 (next | show all)
A decent book well written (at least from a sci-fi what-if POV), chock-full of really interesting sci-fi ideas, but I think I was definitely not in the target audience for it or that through translation something was lost.

The characters all felt incredibly flat to me, not real at all. Almost no one in the story behaved like actual people. Lots of "character" moments that felt shoved in and incomplete. Ex: the main protagonist has a perfunctory family that shows up for only plot reasons and it's never seen or referenced or thought about by the character again. Their only purpose is to be a second pair of eyes for protagonist to figure out something is wrong and are completely unnecessary to the story yet could have been so much more if they ever got talked about again.

And the theme felt all over the place. To me it seems as though it tries to be both pro and anti science and pro and anti humanist. It seems to be pro environmentalism but never quite manages to say anything of substance.

I found it enjoyable enough to finish but probably not enough to continue the series. ( )
  youngheart80 | Jun 15, 2021 |
I'd rate this one a 1 in character development, but a 5 in some of the later sci-fi themes discussed. Almost any discussion of this book could be a spoiler, but I would say that it unravels in interesting ways I hadn't ever seen before. This one was actually translated from the Chinese version and is the first in a trilogy. I'm looking forward to the others in the series coming out to figure out where they take the story next. ( )
  adamfortuna | May 28, 2021 |
I had to put myself in mind of Alfred Bester and other great golden-age SF authors to get into the plot, which started slowly and included a ton of Cultural Revolution history thoughtfully compressed into footnotes, and I had to accept the somewhat clunky translation that kept vaguely reminding me of the subtitles on Hong Kong movies... but it was a fun read, and got better as it went along. ( )
  qBaz | May 28, 2021 |
I picked this up to get a taste of Chinese Sci-Fi, and I was not disappointed. There is a great deal of scientific, political, and philisophical discussion in this story, as well as psychological and familial drama. Chinese culture doesn't just shape the content of what the characters say, but it also shapes the topics the author chose to address. This story was more depressing than I prefer, but the slowly unfolding mysteries and twists kept me interested anyway.

I was not aware when I started reading it, but this is the first book in a trilogy. It certainly feels it; ending not so much on a cliffhanger as half-way through a steady ascent up the mountain. ( )
  wishanem | May 27, 2021 |
What is this science fiction book about? Well ... it's complicated. And the author takes the science part seriously. (Quantum mechanics anyone?)

This is the first book in a series of three. An important backdrop is the Cultural Revolution in China and its impact on central characters.

The story builds to the point that Earth learns it is facing an invasion from another star system. The other system is dealing with three orbiting stars and how they align determines repeated fates for their universe. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad. (Think Groundhog Day.) It's a bit of a spoiler telling you that because the story builds toward those facts. Sorry. All descriptions of the book do the same.

They discover Earth thanks to Ye, an Earthling who has come to hate mankind. She figures out how to send an interstellar message and invites the other universe to Earth. Support from others builds around her but that gets nasty.

Then there's Wang, a nanotechnology professor, who discovers and starts playing a virtual-reality game called Three Body, which puts him on the other universe and allows him to witness their dilemma and fruitless efforts to save their universe.

Book one sets the stage for the coming invasion. I'd try to explain more but ... that's right, it's complicated. A fascinating, clever book. Don't be scared by the science. I will pick up book two soon.

QUOTES:

“No, emptiness is not nothingness. Emptiness is a type of existence. You must use this existential emptiness to fill yourself.”

“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.”

“To effectively contain a civilization’s development and disarm it across such a long span of time, there is only one way: kill its science.”

“Is it possible that the relationship between humanity and evil is similar to the relationship between the ocean and an iceberg floating on its surface? Both the ocean and the iceberg are made of the same material. That the iceberg seems separate is only because it is in a different form. In reality, it is but a part of the vast ocean.…”

“Every era puts invisible shackles on those who have lived through it, and I can only dance in my chains.”

“Sometimes I thought life was precious, and everything was so important; but other times I thought humans were insignificant, and nothing was worthwhile. Anyway, my life passed day after day accompanied by this strange feeling, and before I knew it, I was old.…”

“Should philosophy guide experiments, or should experiments guide philosophy?” ( )
  LJCain | May 21, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 267 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Liu Cixinprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hasse, MartinaPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Liu, KenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martinière, StephanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roubicek, BrunoNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sainio, RaunoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schmidt, JakobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simonetti, MarcCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tavani, BenedettaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Red Union had been attacking the headquarters of the April Twenty-eighth Brigade for two days.
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Three-Body Problem is the first chance for an English-speaking audience to experience this multiple award winning phenomenon from China's most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin. Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.

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