18 January 2015
Review: The Three-Body Problem
The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Closer to a 4.5, all things considered.
This is the English translation of a hit sci-fi series in China. The story is, at least on the surface, a first contact tale, but also one about technology and communication under the shadow of the basically-oppressive Chinese government. First contact, in this tale, comes through an MMO-style computer game, and the way this contact occurs is really, really fascinating and basically sells the book for me on its own. I don't want to give that part away, but if you've found like-stories interesting, this twist will certainly grab you.
I wasn't a huge fan of how the book started, but reading an interview with the author and the translator, this is more a cultural choice that makes sense in context. If you're looking for a race to start the story, it won't happen here, but the way the tale ultimately builds makes up for it. I'm also sure I missed plenty of cultural nods and touchstones along the way that might have made more sense for me as a reader, especially from the start. It certainly didn't impact my enjoyment noticeably, however.
Overall, I'll be seeking out the sequel as soon as it's available in English. A really solid overall read, and a great science fiction tale to start my year off on the right foot.
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