The Three-Body Problem

Cixin Liu
The Three-Body Problem Cover

The Three-Body Problem


Extremely POOR!!! My new nominee for contender as the worst-ever novel that has won a Hugo or Nebula award. The previous worst was "They'd Rather Be Right" (aka "The Forever Machine") by Mark Clifton and Frank Riley from way way back in the earliest days of the Hugo Awards.

I do not fault the translator Ken Liu - you cannot shoot the messenger. This is especially true in Ken Liu's case, since his own fiction is so wonderful.

I did appreciate the inside look at the Cultural Revolution, which was very revealing. However, the characters in the novel were very sterotyped, inconsistent, and many decades removed from what we might expect in modern western SF. The cop, Da Shi, was especially poor - a cardboard stereotype that no modern author would remotely consider featuring in a novel (except perhaps as a parody). Even the main protagonist was highly inconsistent.

Aside from the historical aspects as noted above, the only other redeeming aspect was that some of the ideas and concepts were of interest. I did NOT enjoy any of the sections re the aliens or their planet.