I’m copying over some reviews of titles I’d written up in 2018 and earlier, just in case these titles are new for other people.
Liu Cixin is an author I wish I could be more familiar with. The Three-Body Problem was a positively stunning piece of hard science fiction with a profound hint of the fantastic still built on extrapolation.
I don’t know what is lost in the translation from Chinese into English, but I find it difficult to believe that it could have been more well-written if it had been written originally in English. I suspect that this is equal parts the quality of the original material and the caliber of the translator. From what I have read it appears that the second volume in the trilogy has a different translator while the final volume is translated by the same man who expertly converted The Three-Body Problem into English. Sadly, though the second volume is available now, I have to wait until later this year before the third book is released in English.
This novel begins during the nightmare of The Cultural Revolution spearheaded by Chairman Mao and a good deal of the narrative focuses on the anti-intellectual and anti-progress philosophy that was imposed upon the whole culture during that time period beginning in the 1960s and continuing for a couple of decades after that. It is interesting, to say the least, to have a perspective on that period provided by someone who grew up through it as the author had.
From there it grows into a frankly captivating and disturbing first contact narrative that unfolds in a rather unexpected way. I can’t say much without giving altogether too much away, but I can’t recommend this book enough for anyone who enjoys science fiction or simply enjoys science and wants a fictional template through which certain concepts can be expressed and better visualized.
I look forward to the second novel and wish that I could look forward to reading the third book much sooner than it is going to be available to those of us who can’t read a Chinese dialect.