The Three-Body Problem

Cixin Liu
The Three-Body Problem Cover

The Three-Body Problem


I have mixed feelings about The Three-Body Problem. Following it's convoluted plot is a good read; never a dull moment, but I feel it fell short of all the hype it has received. It is certainly science heavy, which to me is generally a good thing, but I don't know how plausible some of the science is. After hearing the audiobook version, in which I had difficulty with the Chinese names, I got a Kindle version that has a list of characters. That was helpful. I thought it was very interesting to see the dystopic cultural revolution through the eye's of a present day Chinese author.

Here are some random thoughts:
--It was never really explained why scientists were committing suicide.
--Why didn't Shi arrest Pan at the first Three-Body game meet-up, for the murder of Shen?
--Why wasn't math prodigy Wei's outside-the-box solution of the three body problem ever tested? It seemed to become immaterial and just fell by the wayside of the story.
--The Three-Body game was full of self inconsistencies, but then, of course, it was just a game.
--Ye had a fever dream about three suns before she knew anything about Trisolaris and before the three-body game.
--The end of the book, the dimensional unfolding of protons by the Trisolarians, was just too bizarre.

Although I'm admittedly not a mathematician or physicist, it's my belief that the three body problem, first raised by Newton, is purely hypothetical; a solar system with three suns would not act that way. If gas giants Jupiter and Saturn had been a little more massive, our solar system would have three suns. And the Trisolarian system was not strictly a three body system - it had three suns and a planet. At one point it had had twelve planets, in the game anyway. Why wouldn't that system have behaved like a natural solar system.