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The Three-Body Problem Paperback – 3 Dec 2015

4.1 out of 5 stars 175 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Head of Zeus (3 Dec. 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 178497157X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1784971571
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 3.3 x 13 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (175 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


'Wildly imaginative, really interesting ... The scope of it was immense' Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States.

'A marvellous mélange of awe-inspiring scientific concepts, clever plotting and quirky yet plausible characters, all conveyed in in a plain style capable of signalling hidden depths' The Times.

'A milestone in Chinese science fiction' New York Times.

'The best kind of science fiction' Kim Stanley Robinson.

'Liu Cixin's impressive The Three Body Problem won the 2015 Hugo award for best novel, the first time a Chinese writer has taken that prize' Guardian (2015 Books of the Year).

'It's a stunning, high-concept, rollercoaster of a novel which offers an intriguing Eastern perspective ... this is a trilogy which, like Asimov's Foundation epic, looks set to quickly become an essential science fiction classic' Starburst Magazine (rating: 9/10).

'China has a lively SF scene inaccessible to western audiences until recently, so it's a great pleasure to read this book by Cixin Liu – the country's most popular SF writer – in English. Handled expertly on the terms of the genre, it is seeing this tale played out through a different cultural lens that makes the book fascinating. The translation is exemplary. The book is top-flight SF; smart, informative and engaging' SFX.

'Hard science fiction at its finest, and fans will appreciate the superb attention to detail that drives this constantly evolving and impressive series' SciFiNow Magazine.

'The writing is superb ... The ideas are astounding, real eye-openers that expand the mind and really get the old grey matter going ... A stand-out, award-worthy novel and one that deserves a place amongst the science fiction classics' SF Book Reviews.

'For a book that makes you think, and holds true to some of the traditional values of SF, this one can't be beat' SFF World Magazine.

About the Author

CIXIN LIU is China's number one SF writer. Prior to becoming a writer, he worked as an engineer in a power plant in Yangquan. Translator KEN LIU's short story "The Paper Menagerie" was the first work of fiction ever to sweep the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Awards.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Set both at the time of China’s Cultural Revolution and modern day China, ‘The Three Body Problem’ explores a situation where a secret military project has sent signals out into space to establish contact with alien civilisations. The eventual contact results in a projected invasion of Earth several centuries later and the book describes the current day attempts of Earth to make plans to repel it.
The first chapter of the book really sets the tone of the whole story and signals that the reader is holding something very special. A discredited scientist in the Cultural Revolution refuses to recant his scientific stance in the full knowledge of what might happen to him. His gentle and patient eloquence will resonate with Western readers familiar with the epic delivery of classical Greek or Latin writing. The whole chapter is chilling and at the same time exhilarating.
This book is not for someone wanting an easy read. For the uninitiated in science there are some highly technical expositions. However, they are integral to the depth of story that this book rewards a persistent reader. There is an elegance to the exposition and indeed to the way concepts recur throughout the book in different worlds and guises. The explanations are also delivered in a way that dovetails well into the main body of the story. The decision to use a scientist as an investigator provides the scientist’s perspective and the ability to understand the strange world of the alien culture. However, a nice balance to all the intellect on display in the book is the endearing character of the unconventional police detective Shi Qiang, whose constant interventions play a key role in the plot.
Fiction blends with fact so successfully that it is difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins.
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This book is not the best one out of the Three-Body Problem trilogy. Even for a native Chinese reader, the original version is lacking in logical story telling. It has some beautiful language and a very interesting portrait of both the Cultural revolution and the modern day era, however, it is by no means in the same league as the following two brilliant brilliant sequels.

The second book, roughly translated "The Dark Forest", takes a look at the universe in a sociological view. It discusses how the alien species in this universe. This book proposed some simple and basic but perfectly logical sociological theories that actually make you believe this is how the relations between different species from different planes or even galaxies really work. In addition to that, story wise, it is also a excellent spy/war drama (yeah, you heard me right). To me, this is not only the best book out of three, this is the one of the best science fictions out there. You may find my description of this book similar to the Foundation books by Asimov, but they are completely differently fantastic.

The third book 'The Eternity of Death' however, it an epic space opera, it picks up right after the second book, and the rules and theories from the second book still apply, it is thrice as long as a normal book, but I can't even tell you anything without spoiling it. The only thing I can say is, it is the best ending for an epic science fiction if there is one, right up there with The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

The first book is not the best sci-fi in any way, but I still strongly recommend all of the sci-fi fans out there to read this book. It is a bit hard to get started due to the cultural difference and a some what unconventional story which you might not be totally comfortable with. Even though it fail to comparison with the other two, it is still a wonderful read and you WILL NOT feel your time wasted after this book.
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I loved this book, so much so that I think it's probably some of the finest science fiction I've read in some time. As I've said before, my love of the genre comes primarily from its exploration of big ideas and there are some fascinating concepts explored in this book. The most obvious of which is first contact, and although this is far from an original topic, it does have some novel nuances here. Beyond that we have the puzzle of why two protons are fired into the Solar System, and the discovery of why and how is truly fascinating.

There is clearly a wealth of research and knowledge in this story. And some of it I found quite challenging, and I love that it in a book. Some of the science is so esoteric that I had to pause my reading to contemplate an idea. There is considerable depth here, that some might find off-putting, but don't let it be. This is a wonderful exploration of complex concepts and philosophy, and is all the more rewarding because of it.

Of course a story isn't carried by grand ideas alone. There is a balanced cast of characters that allows for the tale to be told in a more comprehensible manner. There's also a curious transformation of the characters at play here as well. You start off with sympathies for some, and loathing for others, and their roles switch as you learn more of the truth. That in itself makes this an interesting read.

The Chinese history and perspective of the story also casts a layer of fascination, and some novelty - for me at least. The circumstances of the characters lives added an attraction to the story, and here as well there were discoveries to be made. The historical and cultural differences allowed the slow (but steady) build up to have an interest that might have otherwise be lacking.
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