Narrator: Luke Daniels
Series: Three Body Trilogy #1
Published by Macmillan Audio on 11 November 2014
Length: 13 hrs and 26 mins
Genres: Hard Science Fiction
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ThreeBody Problem is the first chance for English-speaking listeners to experience this multiple award-winning phenomenon from China’s most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin.
Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.
©2006 Liu Cixin (P)2014 Macmillan Audio
The Three Body Problem is the first novel in the trilogy Three Body or Remembrance of Earth’s Past written by Liu Cixin, a Chinese author. The book was translated by Ken Liu. The novel follows two main characters, Ye Wenjie and Wang Miao. Ye Wenjie was from a family of scholars during China’s cultural revolution that left her to be regarded as suspicious by all for a considerable part of her life. Regardless of this fact, as time goes on she ends up working at a military base due to her specific focus in education. Wang Miao is a character who is a young man when Ye Wenjie is an old woman. He is drawn into a conspiracy surrounding the suicides of many physicists, including that of Ye Wenjie’s daughter. The lives of these characters are ultimately woven together to an unexpected conclusion.
This novel is breath-taking in its elegance. First, however, I need to point out that the foundation for much of this novel is based in Chinese history and the Cultural Revolution, which I know nothing about. The history is really the only thing that made this book difficult to approach from an uninformed perspective. However, it’s not really a stumbling block, but knowledge of it would make the story richer. Second, this book is also physics heavy. Either the reader has to understand the scientific background or just pay close attention to the explanations. The critical aspects are explained well, but this can be a little tedious.
Now, the elegance – I’m impressed with the way that the story was written. It’s one of those books, where it’s completely unclear why the author is telling the reader about a particular event or interaction, but later it snaps into place. By the end, I was shocked. Everything fits and it is as if the author slowly picked strands of thread and wove them into a story. It’s got a classic science fiction feel with a larger sweeping drama that makes the reader really think about life and the nature of societies.
The narration by Luke Daniels was good. It was sometimes difficult to stay focused which may have been due to the story and the description of physics. But the narration was good with characters voices and personalities, especially some of the military and cop characters. The production quality was good. I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes classic science fiction novels and those who like a lot of science/physics built into the science fiction.