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4.31  ·  Rating details ·  398 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Some people enjoy mountain-climbing as a hobby, while others hate it. What if mountain-climbing had become something necessary for survival? A group of pitiful aliens are forced to exist within a small spherical space, surrounded by layer upon layer of rock. They have named this space the "Bubble World," and their lifelong ambition is to find out what might exist beyond th ...more
Kindle Edition, First, 47 pages
Published April 16th 2012 by Beijing Guomi Digital Technology Co., Ltd
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Average rating 4.31  · 
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 ·  398 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is an innovative, yet throwback sci-fi gem.

Chinese author Liu Cixin wrote his short-story "Mountain" and this was translated into English and published in 2012.

The setting is aboard a Chinese vessel at sea where tragic hero Fan, a former Himalayan mountain climber, and the captain are discussing his earlier ignominy when the captain, keeping his celestial navigation skills, notices a strange star growing in size.

From here Liu takes us on a very unique hard science, physics heavy, but also s
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This short story is a real treat for those of us who have a long love-story relationship with strange cosmoses, different laws of the universe, unified with unique aliens beginning to understand the nature of their universe.

Of course, all of these scientific discoveries share a superficial similarity to our own, but when we get right down to the nuts and bolts... it's mind-blowing. :)

A bubble world. A Tower of Babel-like mountain of water.

The need to explore... explore... explore. :)

Just... Hel
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
A very unexpected (and very different from Taking Care of Gods) take on a first-contact in this short story is both equally wonderful and though-provoking. Theoretically, one could claim that Liu Cixin here goes on a path Jules Verne went in his Journey to the Center of the Earth , but despite that, Verne never had any similar thoughts about an inverse civilization and it's progress and how simple, even trivial things and happenings for us might seem extremely different for other life forms and ...more
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Over the weekend I had the chance of finishing reading Mountain and I can only say that my mind was blown away. This is one of the best novellas I've read in a long time.

As in "Taking Care of God" the plot revolves around the first contact of humankind with an alien race. However, in Mountain the focus is on the mystery surrounding the aliens and the history of their civilization. In less than 50 pages, the author manages to develop a complete (and amazing) cosmology and introduces more ideas th
Edward Rathke
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf
More like a thought experiment than an actual story, and the entire story is just a setup for a long discussion about the history of an alien species.

But it's still fascinating.

A man climbs a mountain made of water to meet extraterrestrials. These aliens come from a solid universe and describe how they discovered liquid and then gas and how they dealt with these new properties.

It's a great novella, but not as good as The Wandering Earth or his novel, but this is a nice, optimistic story.
Aug 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Mountain was a story that started slowly, and it took a while before I was won over by it. In fact, I spent a while fearing I would give a two-star rating. When it came together, however, it won me over. It’s a unique story, one that certainly comes together in an interesting way, and it’s well worth sticking with.

Although not my favourite short story from the author, this was an enjoyable quick read.
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an airtight short story:

The central character has a compelling backstory.

The setting is beautifully described.

And the sci-fi concepts are well conceived.

I will probably read it again.
May 22, 2012 rated it really liked it

As a reader in a language that it's not mine, I select the books I read carefully. This one was recommended to me, and the argument attracted me a lot, as to buy it without hesitation.
It's fresh, it's original, and it made me felt the anticipation of the first science fiction novels I've read in my youth. I loved the central idea of the novel, the challenge of climbing and what it means to people. I loved the explanations that the aliens tell Fen, and felt very comfortable with them, not lost at
feux d'artifice
Someone make this into a movie thank you.
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Would you like a little confucianism mixed in with your scifi?
J.L. Dobias
May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shelf-003
Mountain by Liu Cixin

Mountain is an interesting novella. I'm not all that fond of novella's, partially because it's difficult to know what to expect. Short stories have to move quickly to fill the reader in or not depending on the way the plot wants to go. Novella's have some time to build things but not really enough for the author to dawdle with.

I think that Liu shows quite a balance in this story. Mountain seems to be a story of a mans ambitions, exemplified by an analogue about a strange spe
Jun 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
So a conveniently placed mountain-climber sees a massive pillar of water and misconstrues it to be a 'mountain'. Stupid, but let's see how this plays out. Using his vast experience in traversing all the worlds mountains, he decides to swim up the pillar. Riiiight, because his strong swimming ability was so well set up. Next, he reaches the top of said water 'mountain' with astonishing ease (must have been all that mountain climbing experience, am I right?) and is greeted by aliens who convenient ...more
Jan 04, 2021 rated it liked it

Very interesting thematically, and as always Liu's exploration of the science is breathtaking. Leaves much to be desired narratively and linguistically (including a point about language formation itself- why would a species who hand never seen liquids or gases and hence have no conception of the idea of a bubble- name their world 'bubble world', for example?). Quite fun though, and at ~47 pages, worth your time.
Nazmus Sadat
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another amazing book from Liu Cixin! I also appreciate the translator Holger Nahm- I never felt that I’m reading a translated book.

Similar to other books of Cixin, this one also has a very unique plot. Truly novel ideas are hard to find in the science fiction genre and that’s why Cixin’s books are so refreshing.
Brett Minor
This story from Liu Cixin is the one that blew me away. He is called one of the present greatest science fiction writers for a reason. I've read a few of his stories now and believe he has earned a life-long fan. Amazing. ...more
Jan 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It's easy to empathize with the aliens in their discovery of things and concepts we're familiar with as humans. This story makes you wonder what it would be like to go beyond our bubble, to discover things that seem deadly and supernatural at first, and reminds you that the unknown isn't malevolent, it's just how things act naturally which can be studied and understood. ...more
Holden Richards
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it
One man's redemption is another's alien. Imaginative writing as always. ...more
Jun 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: library
I think I preferred the framing story to the information dump given by the alien sphere.
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Haven't been disappointed with a story of his, yet. ...more
Nusrat Farzana
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Cixin, as always, is an absolute treat to read.
Pablo Alonso mateos
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
How can be possible in 50 pages create a story like that...
Elissa Wilkins
Jul 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, short
Really enjoyed this. Really interesting little story with interesting concepts and great execution. Suspension of belief is necessary a bit for the science but overall it's pretty good ...more
J Angelou
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A peculiar and enjoyable short story about fantastical worlds and exploration.
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Liu Cixin excels in hard science-fiction stories, and this is a good example of this fact. In this story, a marine geologist with a troubled past is destined to have the first encounter with an alien civilization. The plot is interesting, but it is not the plot that makes Mountain remarkable: its simple, non fictional, hard science, adroitly leverages to create awe and wonders. Physics is really differently when you are no longer on your normal every day Earth surface setting.
In this respect, th
Madhavi Ghare
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Imagine if you will, that there are life forms that live at the core of a planet - and then visualize their amazing journey towards the surface of the planet!
Juxtaposed against the struggles of these life forms for millennia, we are faced with Feng Fan, a mountaineer who punishes himself for his passion for climbing mountains.
And when these life forms meet Feng, it is only because he decided that he had to climb a particular mountain, simply because it was his last one, even if it was made up of
Mar 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Gran relato, 47 páginas de buenas ideas, solo un par de citas:

Gagarin lifted his head and then and there he finally embraced the reward of 100.000 years of our civilization's exploration: He saw the magnificent, sparkling wonder of the starlit sky.

Y Gagarin no es el ruso, es un alien que acaba de salir a la superficie del planeta en cuyo núcleo se ha desarrollado toda su civilización.

You are standing at the foot of the mountain. We are akk akways at the foot. The speed if light is the foot of a
Mar 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I came across an item on slashdot about the "most famous Chinese scifi writer" when I realised I never read any book written by Asian writers... In a never ending quest for trying new things I picked up a copy of this short story as to sample what Cixin had to offer. He did not disappoint!

It's a story about how our viewpoints on the workings of this world are hard-fought and not at all obvious. Something we forget all to often. I haven't really read to much material that can be related to this.
Sadie Forsythe
Not my favorite Liu Cixin so far. Creative & science heavy, as always, but felt very much like it focused on the unimportant in the face of other, wider-scale, more important things. It did eventually culminate in an interesting epiphany for the MC though.
Ryan Yan
Oct 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As a reboot of an early short teenager-SF by himself (in which there's just a person climbing a "mountain"), Cixin has added a hell novel idea as well as some comprehensive background of the protagonist. ...more
Freddy Fly
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great short stories, one and all
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Science Fiction fan and writer.

Liu Cixin also appears as Cixin Liu

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“Indeed, it is the nature of intelligent life to climb mountains. They all want to stand on ever higher ground to gaze ever farther into the distance. It is a drive completely divorced from the demands of survival.” 0 likes
“The reason evolution bestows all intelligent life with a desire to climb higher is far more profound than more base needs, even though we still do not understand its real purpose. Mountains are universal and we are all standing at the feet of mountains.” 0 likes
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