Book Review: Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu

I finally ready Cixin Lui's science fiction novel The Three Body Problem  and so many things are  rolling through my mind. 

"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."

Thanks to homeschooling and my science loving hubby, I do have somewhat of a grasp on the sciences, including atomic physics, nanotechnology, radio waves, etc. to understand what was happening, although some of it may have gone over my head. 

The story begins with the Chinese Cultural revolution and basically brainwashing a whole slew of students to denounce all the educators and scientists and eliminate free thought.  Which leads to one  character's exile at a secret military base and her ultimately thinking humanity needs to be eliminated or ruled by aliens. Seriously.   She manages to send a blind radio transmission hoping to get through to them. 

The aliens receive the transmission but ultimately never reach the earth and we never get a description of what they look like. Only that they are intelligent beings and much is left to the imagination. However, they do manage to get a hand hold on folks by means of radio transmissions and using a virtual reality video game in which this planet and its rulers need help solving the three body problem, to recruit intelligent humans. And the humans along the way form a cult following, breaking off into two groups, both idealizing the aliens and wanting to destroy humanity, with one group going to the extent of forming a religion.  

The aliens fear that the people of earth will beat them technology wise before they ever manage to get to earth. So they create a way to sabotage earth's scientists from ever making breakthroughs or developing further.  There was an aha moment halfway through the book that I caught on to that which was later explained in the book. 
I have a few nitpicks with the story because with main characters introduced, the narration bounced back and forth in the timeline to tell whole backstories until it converged with the present.  And maybe I missed it, but it seemed the transmissions sent from earth in the beginning were limited but by the time the aliens received them, they encompassed the history of the world and how the sender wanted the aliens to take over the world. To me, there was conflicting information when it came to the transmissions. 

I appreciate the cultural influences which flavored the whole story and how the translator managed to stay true to the author's vision. Although it was an alternative world science fiction story  the real life elements with the communistic ideals and how it plays in our world today came to the forefront of my mind ruining the story.  I have read Qui Xiaolong's Inspector Chen novels set in communist China in the 1990's,which also reflected the real world, but  I enjoyed Qui's stories so much more and didn't feel like there was a hidden agenda underneath the story.  I doubt I'll read the rest of the series.

Alphabet, Dusty Book, Science Fiction, Culture, China 

1 comment:

  1. My husband started reading this and never got very far. Glad you finally got it read!


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