Tuesday, September 17, 2019

63. The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin

Every now and then I just need to go out and buy or borrow a brand new fancy looking book to keep on reading.  This urge came upon me while waiting for some food to be prepared and I went into the Renaud-Bray in my neighbourhood, to the tiny english sci-fi/fantasy section.  It is a limited selection from my perspective (mainly big bestsellers, classics and popular series), but I did find this one which has been on my list for quite a while.

I won't go too much into it since many others, smart and harder-working than me have said a lot already (including Barak Obama who has a pullquote on the cover of another of Liu's books).  Suffice it to say that it lived up to the hype.  This is a really cool, trippy, absorbing science fiction story with narrative that works on the personal, human level and on the vast, space, physics-nerd level.  Moreover, it really does have a foreign mindset (which I think the translation captured) so while you can tell that Liu does have some western sci-fi influences, he is also very much a modern, Chinese thinker.  This just makes the book that much more pleasing.  There are some passages where things are just straight out explained, that kind of pull you from the narrative, but for some reason they didn't really bother me.  I think I was happy just getting the explanation rather than having to work with it. As a reader who really lacks patience with real science, I also felt he has a real way of explaining some pretty high-level physics concepts that made me get them and did not get in the way of the fiction.

It is, of course, the first of a trilogy.  I have just give in trying to avoid them at this point.  The others will be on my list, but I will look for them used.  Good stuff.

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