Saturday, July 1, 2023

read: The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin ★★★

The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #1)The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin

This is an ambitious book. The ideas are wildly imaginative and perhaps ground-breaking. It tries to portray itself as hard science-fiction, which perhaps it is. Maybe worth of 4 or 5 stars. But the story, translated from Chinese, has two problems for me that kept me from enjoying much of it and knocking it down a couple of stars. 
First, the human side, the story, comes across as clunky and old-fashioned and full of too much 'telling'. I never connected with any of the characters. They were all two-dimensional. And too many things happened because they were convenient to the story. I kept thinking that this was where something was lost in translation.
Second, some of the science stuff, especially the portrayal of an alien world and its culture, was so way out there that it came across more like fantasy than hard science fiction. The book tried to explain it all in such excruciating detail that even a nerd like me could feel my eyes glazing over.
The contrast between this and a series like The Expanse is palpable. The authors of the Expanse made their world full of real people with real motivations and emotions and then gave them inexplicable science problems to deal with. I have a feeling that whoever is adapting this to television is doing some heavy lifting in the area of story development.

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