The Three- body Problem
Not as sexy as it sounds
Release Date: OUT NOW!
399 pages | Hardback/ ebook Author: Cixin Liu ( translated by Ken Liu) Publisher: Head Of Zeus
china has a lively sf scene inaccessible to western audiences until recently, so it’s a great pleasure to read this book by Cixin Liu – the country’s most popular SF writer – in English.
The story is one familiar to science fiction fans the world over ( we’ll avoid giving away exactly which), with a dash of Philip K Dickian unreality. Handled expertly on the terms of the genre, it is seeing this tale played out through a different cultural lens that makes the book fascinating. A good part of the story takes place during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, a period of history so crazed it reads like science fiction itself. The selfimposed doublethink of the time is applied with delicate force by Liu.
In the past, a weapons facility is built in a mountain paradise destroyed by thoughtless government policies. In the present, the scientist Wang Miao stumbles across a conspiracy and is drawn into the mysterious Three Body game, in which a world is periodically ravaged by its trinary stars. An obscure connection makes this classic puzzle SF.
The translation is exemplary. Ken Liu states his aim as a translator is to preserve the impression of a foreign culture, a goal he assuredly achieves.
The book has a tendency to infodump but this is top- flight SF; smart, informative and engaging.