Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

I finished reading The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu and translated by Ken Liu. Orginally published in Chinese in 2008, the book was translated into English and then published in late 2014. It is nominated for both the 2015 Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel.

Apparently, Cixin Lui is the most prolific and popular science fiction writer in the People's Republic of China. Liu is an eight-time winner of the Galaxy Award (the Chinese Hugo) and a winner of the Nebula Award. Prior to becoming a writer, he worked as an engineer in a power plant in Yangquan, Shanxi.

The beginning of the story is set in the Chinese Cultural Revolution that started in 1966. It follows the impact of the Cultural Revolution on scientists and other intellectuals. The book gradually shifts to become the story of an engineer trying to decipher a mystery and then morphs again in a story of first contact with an advanced alien race.

I enjoyed the book. The backdrop of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and Chinese Society gave the book a very different feel than most of the science fiction that I have read. This is the first book of a trilogy. I have pre-order the second volume of the trilogy; the translated version will be published in August.

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