Review: The Three-Body Problem

The Three-Body Problem
The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Type: Audiobook narrated by Luke Daniels

The Three-Body Problem is a piece of excellent science fiction. It takes place in China over the past 60 to 80 years. I don’t know enough of Chinese history to discern the difference between fact and fiction, but it seemed more factually based than not.

The book follows several characters, and all are wonderfully narrated by Luke Daniels. I couldn’t spell the names if I tried and they were a bit difficult to make sure whose name matched to which character, but the aide of Luke’s voice helped tremendously. The criminal detective was great and the daughter who leads the researchers was also great. I felt most of the characters were real and had real motives and drew real conclusions.

There are several premises the novels enjoys and intertwines. The main one, and titular, is the Three-Body problem. There exists a video game that is experienced through a VR-haptic feedback system that introduces the three body problem by showcasing it from the perspective of a civilization that observes the effects from the planet’s surface. The 3 bodies refer to 3 stars that are orbiting each other. The problem lies in that there should be a mathematical model that describes their motion, but has not been found yet. From the civilization’s perspective they experience chaotic and stable periods. Or periods where the sun or suns rise and fall regularly and at a safe distance, or a chaotic period where the planet melts or freezes or gets torn asunder.

The other premise was the impact of science on society. Is it worthwhile? Is it for the betterment of mankind? The book was heavy handed in these questions, but it did make you wonder.

The last was a first contact with an alien race. Things came into play such as the light difference, how long an attack fleet could reach each other, what technology could be advanced. The simplified example Liu Cixin uses in the novel is Alien Race A is at our technology level+300 years. Well, by the time the Alien Race sends a fleet and it takes 400 years, our technology may than surpass theirs. Well how do you fight technology? Which led to the next premise near the end and while a slightly spoiler, depicts visualizing a proton from its 11 dimensions and shown in smaller dimensions. That entire sequence was a really good read and worth the price of admission.

I also enjoyed how the ending while ominous, held out hope. This entire novel was great. The audio reading was great. The science seemed semi-plausible and included easy laymen examples. For this I give it a high 4 Stars, resulting in the 5 star I gave it.

If interested in this book, you can purchase the audiobook from Amazon here.
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