The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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.
Hugo Nominee 2015.
I'm not sure what I think of this book. There were parts that I found interesting, and there were parts that had me wanting to put the book down and go read something else. Plot and premise are heavy on the science, and I will fully admit I glossed over those parts. I like some science in my science fiction, but when it starts reading like a college physic's book, I'm done.
In a nutshell, the book follows the life of Ye Wenjie, an engineer, from the time of the Cultural Revolution through modern day and into her revelation at the end. Her story alternates with Wang Miao, a nanotechologist who's being driven mad by a countdown only he can see. He's brought into an elite group, with a terrible secret, and a questionable outcome. Wang is introduced to a Virtual Reality game called the Three Body Problem, where Wang realizes that there is more going on than being 'just a game'.
The overall premise of the book was interesting, the concepts were well thought out and deftly woven, reading about a society that is not mine was fascinating, and I really appreciated the ending. If you watch Chinese movies, you'll know what I mean.
But I thought the plot became bogged down in the science which, again, huge detraction, despite that the book is about science. I shouldn't want to put down a book, the book should keep me coming back for more. This one had me struggling.
Recommended with reservations.
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