The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin

Liu Cixin
The Three-Body Problem
Tor Books
400 pages
8.7 (Best Book)

The Three-Body Problem is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multiple award winning phenomenon from China's most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin.

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.

On The Three-Body Problem Liu entertains his reader with a convincing speculative fiction about the battle between alien and human being without any clank or boom. It's quiet, but exhilarating.

The firmament above is disgustingly vast. It's steadfast, yet dynamic at the same time. You can always rely on stars above to get some direction, but at the same time the universe expands. We all move at the speed of light toward the big rip, one of the theories that speculate the end of the universe. There's a lot of mystery that's yet to be unveiled in the universe. 

Compared to other science fiction works that tend to jump on galaxy far far away (I'm looking at you, Star Wars), Liu is humbler. He explores the closest star from the sun: Alpha Centauri. But even though it's just less than five years light away from our solar system, we still haven't figured out what's going on there. Liu believes there's a vicious alien race lurking in the Alpha Centaurian system, a stellar system that has three stars called Trisolaris. The movement of the stars is unpredictable, a representation of the three-body problem in physics world, and their civilization is about to end. Meanwhile on the earth's surface, the first contact to the alien has been established clandestinely. The Three-Body Problem ventures the pre-beginning of a galactic star wars from the perspective of a human being. 

Liu straight away begins the book with a brief history of Chinese Revolution that's bloody and heartbreaking, but this cemented the story. It explains the background of each character, and what they have gone through prior the first contact. Fast forward to decades later, new characters are introduced, yet they're still interconnected with the old ones. 

The Three-Body Problem is wrapped with mystery, and that's what makes you keep turning the pages. Starting from the mystery of scientists' suicide, until the mystery behind the Trisolaris system, you will be enticed by the beauty of the book. Don't shiver when you see the title of the book that's heavy with physics element. It's not light definitely, but the way Liu explains the theory and apothegms is easy to understand. And again, what differs this book from other sci-fi works is actually how close to the earth it is. It's a war against alien, but Liu writes it from the eye of human. That even though humanity is on the brink of destruction, there are some people who actually wish for the destruction itself. It makes you think, there's some contemplative quality from The Three-Body Problem.

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