Sunday, April 26, 2015

Book: Cixin Liu's "The Three Body Problem"

My return to science fiction took me in a different direction.  Looking back at the books I've read, the vast majority have been written by American or European authors.  The only exceptions have been books I read in my Spanish classes in high school.  This book, Cixin Liu's "The Three-Body Problem" is my first book written by a Chinese author.

The book is about contact with alien races, conspiracies, and invasions seen from a Chinese perspective.  It is what is happening in the background - the cultural revolution, politics, and cultural differences - that made this book so interesting for me.  Having read books taking place within the western historical context, the Chinese context was different and refreshing.

If I were reviewing the first two thirds of this book I would have given it a good review.  Unfortunately the last third totally jumps the shark and spins out of scientific control.  I'm not sure if this is because of poor writing or if there is a real cultural difference with respect to scientific speculation.  The speculation just didn't make sense to me.  I try to keep tabs on what is happening in different scientific disciplines including physics.  What this book describes ... not sure where it came from but I see no grounding in reality.

I was surprised at the dour ending before I saw that this was number one of a series.  For a second there I thought that the author was just depressed but the downbeat cliffhanger ending does fit in a multi-book series.

In the end I gave this book three stars on Goodreads.  The last third just didn't work for me.  Not sure if I will read the sequels when they become available.

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