Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

What if all we knew about the nature of the universe was wrong.  That it was based on the false interpretation of data.  This idea makes the physics minded of us cringe, and this is exactly the feeling this book is trying to induce early on.  We are in a world that is as we expect it, and different at the same time.

This story evolves from this start, and we are treated to a tale that draws on elements of history and the near future and melds them into a fine work of SciFi.  This story starts as a form of sf thriller, becomes a historical fiction story, then hard science fiction, then back to a thriller.  This really works for The Three-Body Problem, and it never feels disjointed.

I will not give away the twists in this story, but they are well done.  Each peace of information that is revealed makes sense, and drives our desire for further discoveries.  The characters were ok, but not overly complex.  The situations are the driving force here, and they were well crafted and presented well.  The science was presented in a believable way.

One of the things I liked about this translation was the use of footnotes to explain things that may not be common knowledge to westerners.  Notes about China's Cultural Revolution I found particularly helpful.  On the other side, and I feel this about a lot of translated books, it seems to have lost flow of language during the translation.  Not to take await from the sheer effort that is required to translate novels, and kudos to Ken Liu for the work here, that fact that is is translated is apparent to the reader.

In summary, this a a good work of science fiction that will appeal to fans of the genre.  It is worth reading, and I think I will continue on with others in the series.  This is is mostly because of the cliffhanger ending, a real distant cliff.  Those of you who have read the book, will understand what I am saying. I was not blown out of the water by this book, which a lot of the hype lead me to belief I would be, but not disappointed either. I would also read other books by Liu, and from what I here other works will be translated into English.

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