The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Going into this book, I had no idea what to expect. It was recommended by a friend, but she gave me basically no information about what exactly it was about, only that she found the parts about the Chinese Cultural Revolution fascinating. Her recommendations have always been solid, so I got the book and and started reading with zero information about the book.
The book started off extremely slowly. The plot burns so slowly I was more than half way through when the actual over arcing plot was actually revealed. If you prefer fast paced action packed adventures, you are not going to like this book. On the other hand, if you like strong character backstories, cultural introspection, thick plots, interesting mysteries and intrigue, you will love this book.
One of the things I absolutely loved about this book was the way science was handled. The book is essentially near future science fiction, but there is no weird techno babble or magic as science hand waving. Even the super advanced alien race can only obtain 10% of the speed of light when traveling between stars. All of the principles used in the book are reasonable extrapolations of current physics theory on how we think the universe works. The author is very clever and amusing in how he uses this understanding to do big things. Having said this, there are some things in the book that are on the surface silly, like the self dehydrating aliens, but I think it adds to the charm of the story.
The story is also very topical, it touches on the current concern for the environment on one side of the political spectrum and the science denial on the other. Interestingly enough, in the story, both are connected to the same conspiracy to hold humanity back from developing. Overall, a really good book with lots of interesting things going on, it is perfect winter read.
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