The Dark Forest

Cixin Liu
The Dark Forest Cover

The Dark Forest


A very long book that suffered a bit from poor character development (particularly as regards female characters), a lackluster translation and a robotic performance by the audiobook reader, P.J. Ochlan.

Still, if you can overlook those (considerable) obstacles, there are lots of interesting ideas in this novel. While there is plenty of hard science, what takes center stage here is social science and even philosophy. One of the drivers of the plot is that the aliens do not understand the concept of deceit because of the way language and thought work for them. Even though Mieville covered this concept brilliantly in "Embassytown" it is so intriguing I can see why Liu used it here. Other ideas explored include what does it mean to live a good life and to what lengths will a civilization go to survive.

There are also beautiful images that I suspect would read like poems if rendered in the original Chinese. The description of a brain image as tiny star-like particles in the Milky Way and even the description of the battle with the Trisolaran scout ship are two examples that I bookmarked.

[I listened to this as an audio book]