The Three-Body Problem

Cixin Liu
The Three-Body Problem Cover

The Three-Body Problem


I'm not sure if the problem was the translation, but I found the writing wooden, the characters two-dimensional cartoonish stick figures, and the audio narration poor. Although most of the characters are academics or intellectuals, the most believable and interesting character turns out to be a coarse and apparently ignorant policeman, She Qiang (nicknamed "Da Shi").

Most of the characters are cold and unsympathetic. A few of them commit murders for which they seem entirely unremorseful. It's impossible to care about these people.

And there are many unbelievable plot developments. For example, Mike Evans, an environmentalist, conveniently inherits his billionaire father's money at just the right time in the plot. I won't say much more about this as it's a spoiler.

This might have been acceptable in the early years of science fiction, but now it just seems like a bad novel.

As for the science...I'm not a physicist, so I can't really discuss the physics. Evidently, the three body problem has been unsolved by physicists dating back to Newton. So this part has some scientific basis.

Also, the stuff about micro circuitry was interesting.

But I have worked with computers for many years. The "human formation computer" (a computer powered by trained soldiers with colored flags) seems a bit silly to me, although nothing is impossible. I doubt if millions of humans could achieve the required precision. Interestingly, a minor character in the book who is an executive in a software company says the same thing.

Also, the author seems preoccupied with social status. And science is held up as an object of worship.

Science and technology are important, but I don't think they should be a religion (which in some quarters they seem to have become).