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Author Topic: Has anyone read the recent scifi Three-Body Problem?  (Read 1045 times)

KyriakosCH

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I am nearing the end of book 1 (it's a trilogy).
I think it has some positive and some (imo) not that great elements.
Overall, however, it is certainly a nice work.

Some of the things I didn't like:

Spoiler: ShowHide
 The focus, at least in the first book, is on Ye, who in my view isn't a very interesting person, and moreover I found it not very elegantly handled how she betrayed the entire human race by deliberately inviting the Trisolarians to invade. While the premise itself is interesting (a single person avenges what was done to her by aliens invading...), I think it could have been handled way better.
Also, there are - here and there - some cheap cyberpunk elements, including some assassin and I felt like I was reading Neuromancer at that point. You guessed it: I hated Neuromancer  :=
The 3body.com computer game also, imo, came across as mostly silly.


Some positives:

Spoiler: ShowHide
 Some serious science being discussed. The language isn't bad either (some descriptive abilities of the author). The plot is interesting, despite a few rather unrealistic elements.


Anyway, I can't believe that Prokhor Sakharov would declare war on Earth. But I wouldn't put it past Lady Deidre or Miriam  :=


« Last Edit: 08 Jan 2021, 09:35 by KyriakosCH »

Snarky

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Re: Has anyone read the recent scifi Three-Body Problem?
« Reply #1 on: 08 Jan 2021, 10:20 »
I gave up on it after a few chapters: didn't care for the writing, although I have enjoyed things I've read by the translator, Ken Liu.

But there's another story by Cixin Liu that I think you might find particularly interesting as a riff on Borges: "The Poetry Cloud"

KyriakosCH

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Re: Has anyone read the recent scifi Three-Body Problem?
« Reply #2 on: 08 Jan 2021, 10:27 »
I gave up on it after a few chapters: didn't care for the writing, although I have enjoyed things I've read by the translator, Ken Liu.

But there's another story by Cixin Liu that I think you might find particularly interesting as a riff on Borges: "The Poetry Cloud"

I will have a look :)

Btw, the opening chapter of Three-Body Problem was (imo) so uninviting that I almost gave up then and there. Anyway, I'd say this isn't classic scifi, but at least it's not absolute trash either (still not of the level of, say, Philip K Dick or some of Clarke's novels).

KyriakosCH

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Re: Has anyone read the recent scifi Three-Body Problem?
« Reply #3 on: 08 Jan 2021, 16:29 »
Anyway, I am now in the end of book1, and sadly it has turned into a farce :/

Galen

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Re: Has anyone read the recent scifi Three-Body Problem?
« Reply #4 on: 24 Jan 2021, 00:22 »
I've had it on the backburned for a while, but hearing about Cixin Liu's pro-re-edjucation-camp, anti-democracy/pro-authoritarian views don't exactly fill me with excitement. A bit like how learning about Orson Scott Card's favourite use of money really killed my desire to ever pick up Ender's Game. I'll join Snarky on recommending Ken Liu's Paper Menagerie though.

Re: Has anyone read the recent scifi Three-Body Problem?
« Reply #5 on: 24 Jan 2021, 02:49 »
I read them, and also his "Supernova Era" and one of his short stories collection.

First of all, the books doesn't really express any pro-CCP view which is obviously a relief. Remember any and all of you who use Steam are using a software who once censored a Taiwanese game in order to comply with the demands of CCP trolls because the game dared to include a subtle joke about their dear leader... So you should not be afraid of reading Liu.

In fact most of Liu's work express a fascination for the idea of blending east and west. Lots of his most successful characters are Eurasian, and several times he wrote stories in which the Earth's future leader is half Western half Asian. Whether this is a genuine belief or not is another matter entirely. but this is what you will read when you read his books. It's not like he writes every Chinese as a hero and ever white person as a villain or anything. The first tome of the Three Body problems include a scathing critique of the Cultural Revolution but then again this is now accepted by Beijing.

The Three Body Problem, like most of his work, finds its appeal in the fact that it is inspired by very realistic science. I think they call it Hard Science Fiction in English. There are very eery, even poetic concepts that Liu gets out of extremely complicated scientific facts.

Liu works better when he does short stories. He was primarily a short story writer. Thus, his enormous "Three body" trilogy is better read as a collection of short stories. Especially the last tome, which reads like several ideas he had sewn together. Each chapter reads like a short story with the same character as she somehow goes forward in the future and explores entirely different worlds.

The most thrilling thing about his books and what makes me read them to the end is this gigantic scope, enormous scientifical concepts that take you through eons of time and seemingly endless distances. His characters are cold and emotionless for the most but then again a lot of SF is like this (I am not primarily a SF reader, my favourite authors are definitely not in that genre). I think this is what Obama meant in the often-repeated quote where he said "the scope of (Liu's books) was immense". They indeed make you think out of the box. And I will always have respect for someone who dares to use something unusual (in this case, very arduous scientific concepts) to create fiction and even, I insist, something very poetic more than often.

He is not a groundbreaking author, he is not the future of literature or even SF alone, he is not a good person but he is not a CCP agent either, but I can't deny I had a good time reading all his books in a row as it was sufficiently weird to make me think out of my usual safe zone and on occasion make me dream a bit. THere are a few quotes I related to and kept in a notebook where I collect quotes.

His "Supernova Era" was the weakest and his short stories are the best in my opinion.


KyriakosCH

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Re: Has anyone read the recent scifi Three-Body Problem?
« Reply #6 on: 24 Jan 2021, 05:36 »
I can try some of his stories, like the one mentioned.
I probably won't read more of the Three Body Problem, though (gave up in the first chapter of book II). The last 50 pages of book 1 are really strange (not in a good way) in my view, and here are some of the reasons I didn't like them and lost interest:

Spoiler: ShowHide
 I don't see how it works to present long discussions among the aliens, as supposed revealed messages sent. Why would the aliens send the humans a short story presentation of what they thought?
Also, they aren't really aliens, just humans in alien skin (and given we don't read about what they look like in book 1, they are just humans).
The protagonist isn't that interesting, although this is more subjective, certainly. The idea of destroying the entire world because humans harmed you is rather nice, but imo not very believable as it was handled.
The Sophons are less practical as well when revealed - why on earth would they reveal their existence at all? Maybe there is a convoluted reason, but it makes no sense to do it. Maybe it was just hubris or whatever
« Last Edit: 24 Jan 2021, 05:39 by KyriakosCH »

Re: Has anyone read the recent scifi Three-Body Problem?
« Reply #7 on: 24 Jan 2021, 09:58 »
I'm reading it now... finding it interesting but a little... "clunky" is the only way I can describe it.
 

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Re: Has anyone read the recent scifi Three-Body Problem?
« Reply #8 on: 24 Jan 2021, 13:22 »
I'm reading it now... finding it interesting but a little... "clunky" is the only way I can describe it.

Have you read "Steel Beach" by John Varley?

I recently recommended it to Yahtzee when he said he had run out of books to read and lamented at how few and far between good sci-fi comedy books were to find.

Dunno if he is reading it but I'm re-reading it and having a great time!

KyriakosCH

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Re: Has anyone read the recent scifi Three-Body Problem?
« Reply #9 on: 24 Jan 2021, 14:43 »
Hm, I read the Paper Menagerie. It is a nice story, though not really the type I'd usually read :)
I will have a look at the Poetry Cloud too.

brewton

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Re: Has anyone read the recent scifi Three-Body Problem?
« Reply #10 on: 22 Feb 2021, 17:56 »
I'm reading it now... finding it interesting but a little... "clunky" is the only way I can describe it.

Have you read "Steel Beach" by John Varley?

I recently recommended it to Yahtzee when he said he had run out of books to read and lamented at how few and far between good sci-fi comedy books were to find.

Dunno if he is reading it but I'm re-reading it and having a great time!

That's interesting, as Yahtzee wrote one of my favourite comedy sci-fi short stories: The Hopeless Endeavour

Re: Has anyone read the recent scifi Three-Body Problem?
« Reply #11 on: 23 Feb 2021, 08:14 »
I haven't read Steel Beach but the title reminds me of On The Beach; probably one of the saddest book I ever read, and also the only book that can make you cry of sadness while reading about a car race!