Recently I have been reading more science fiction than any other genre. I have always enjoyed sci-fi but I had been for the past couple years more involved in reading fantasy with the odd science fiction story being read between fantasy sagas. However this has changed and now I am really enjoying reading science fiction. After finishing The Broken Earth series by N.K Jemisin, a beautiful saga, I was a bit lost on what to read but my good friend Carol Mateu (follow her twitter @carolmola for awesome nerdy fun and lots of laughter) recommended The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu and all I can say is that I have fallen in love with this book.
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 novel follows Wang Miao as he struggles to make sense of everything that is happening and how the world is changing.
Reading this book has been an eye opening experience. This was my first contact with a novel written by a Chinese author and I have to say that it was an amazing experience. It was refreshing to read a novel with a different style and it was quite interesting to see how the author presents its characters and the stories in what for me was an unfamiliar method. I found myself enthralled by the storytelling and fascinated by the science presented in the book. This is perhaps the aspect I enjoyed the most, as I was reading this great story, I found myself learning about new theories and new aspects of science that until now had been unknown to me. The author is able to masterfully explain the science being developed the book but does this not at the expense of the story. If anything this makes the story feel more stimulating and entertaining.
Despite the difference in style, Cixin Liu is still able to create a recognizable science fiction story that contains many of the classic tropes we have come to expect in science fiction, with a new spin to them that keeps the story entertaining. After reading this novel, I can understand quite well why it has had the impact it’s had and why the author has won so many awards. It is a fantastic novel and in my opinion a novel that brings new forms of storytelling to science fiction. It has been a fascinating read and has allowed to me to experience science fiction in a way that I am not used to. Furthermore it has allowed me an insight into some aspects of Chinese culture and history that were completely unknown to me, especially the several philosophers it mentions and the POV of China in regards to the Cultural Revolution.
Finally I would like to dedicate a paragraph to the wonderful ending of the book. The ending is beautifully written, including many references to a defining moment of the book that happened earlier and sets up the next book in a great manner. The ending of this book has instantly become one of my favourite endings as it is capable to leave you with questions, be astounded (at least in my case) by the wonders of the science explained in it, and full of wonder towards this world created.
I have really enjoyed this book and plan on continuing to read more from Cixin Liu (in fact I have already bought the second book on the series) and more eastern science fiction. I encourage you 100% to pick up The Three Body Problem, you will NOT regret it.