Book Review: Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem

The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #1)The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting controversy, I can see, from the reviews on Goodreads. A dear friend recommended this to me, although he said I might not like it, if I’m not into science fiction, and he warned me about the hard-going physics of it. I was excited, immediately, to discover a science fiction book set in a completely different cultural milieu than the ones I know, and particularly to read about the Cultural Revolution. I generally found the virtual reality video game stuff pretty engaging, for a while, and that part of the book had a good feeling to me, the momentum of a detective thriller. But I have to admit getting lost by the discussions of the physics problems and the characters are, as described in other reviews, not only thin, but I found very much lacking in emotion. I wasn’t engaged that a character can kill her husband and a colleague and no emotion or very little is shown. Later in the book, with plans to use technology to slice apart a ship, it felt to me like nerdy boys, divorced from reality, all talking over one another to create the plot of a complicated action movie or make something really monumental out of Lego. Near the end (luckily, having been warned that the book does not end but is only the start of a trilogy) the discussions of political and morality just didn’t come alive for me, and then the physics talk became really, really complex. I’d be willing to stick with it if there some sort of pay-off, but for me there wasn’t. There were too many removes for me to be connected or engaged: whether cultural or genre or physics. Still, it’s obvious that the trilogy has a huge readership of fans, and so there’s obviously lots of appeal. Just not for me. And with it being a literary and cultural phenomenon, I’m glad that I’ve read it so at least I know what the fans are talking about.

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One Response to Book Review: Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem

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