The Three-Body Problem

Cixin Liu
The Three-Body Problem Cover

The Three-Body Problem


If you've got a strong background in Physics, you will likely enjoy this

Likewise, if you're an avid videogamer, you may enjoy this.

For anyone else, it is likely to be a mixed bag.

I'm an engineer with a background of several high school and university Physics courses, and a lot of computer and electronics courses. I'm a science geek. While I read a lot of both, I prefer science-fiction to fantasy. And while I found this book pretty interesting, I'd have to say it's a bit dry. The translator's foreword mentions that the Chinese science fiction style tends to be quite different from that of Anglo science fiction. This may be part of the reason why it was difficult for me to get really absorbed in the book.

For me, the characters are fairly one-dimensional and never became more than vehicles to service the plot. They don't get to have much of an emotional life -- which makes it difficult to sympathize and get involved with them.

Normally, I will tear through a normal length (250-400 pages) SFF novel in 3 to 6 hours, in one evening or at most two. This book took me a week, reading a couple of chapters here, a few chapters there. When I get up and do menial tasks rather than reading, it's a big sign that the book is not going to be on my "Favorites" list.

And make no mistake, the plot is the central character in this novel. It explores some intriguing concepts, both in the realm of physics and the in the domain of politics and philosophy. But I frequently felt as though I were reading a Physics textbook -- and for me, that is not a good thing. But your mileage may vary.

I'm glad I read this book -- it was indeed unusual and thought-provoking -- and I will likely read the other two books in the trilogy. But for me, a little bit of this sort of science fiction goes a very long way, and I'll be leavening the sequels with a lot of other books that I really enjoy.