The Three Body Problem, by Liu Cixin

Winner of the Hugo award for best novel this year, The Three Body Problem is densely packed with interesting ideas–so densely packed that some may find it hard to read. ‘Some’ does not include me.

I think this is the most I’ve enjoyed a book since Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun series. The prose is definitely not on that level, nor are the characters. But I found myself constantly thinking about what was going to happen next, and my curiosity never got a break through the whole thing. The ideas are definitely the star of this one.

The story explores the consequence of contact from extra terrestrials, and the effect such an event would have on society. Even if the aliens are many light years away, just knowing they exist would have powerful consequences in our world.

The idea that there would be traitors to the human race, in such a scenario, is one I had never considered, though I suppose its obvious when you think about it. Certain people believe humanity deserves to be destroyed, and decide to help the aliens in coming to Earth and taking over. Others come to view the aliens as deities, and build a cult-like following. And all this with virtually no communication from the E.T’s.

There is so much interesting stuff in this book that I could ramble for pages and pages about it, but I’m restraining myself. Anyone who is interested in science, and the sort of ideas-based sci fi that Asimov wrote, and isn’t too turned off by thin characters who are often just there for the purpose of showing off a neat idea, then I can highly recommend this book.

There are two more in the series, and I’m into the second one now, and it is just as–if not more–packed with interesting and new ideas as the first.

Very recommended, one of the favorite things I’v read (listened to) in a long time!


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