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The Three-Body Problem

(Remembrance of Earth's Past #1)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  178,196 ratings  ·  17,525 reviews
The Three-Body Problem is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience the Hugo 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 cap
Hardcover, 399 pages
Published November 11th 2014 by Tor Books (first published May 2006)
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ivan The summary is used not only on the book, but on Tor Books' page for it, the Amazon listing, and the Barnes & Noble listing.

Since so many people have …more
The summary is used not only on the book, but on Tor Books' page for it, the Amazon listing, and the Barnes & Noble listing.

Since so many people have reported this, I truncated the original summary and replaced it with a summary/review from Publishers Weekly, which is both more detailed and (I believe) does not include the big spoiler.

Thoughts on this change welcome.(less)
Judy This is what I consider hard sci-fi at its very best. Definitely not space opera. Many of the characters are heavy duty theoretical physicists. Read t…moreThis is what I consider hard sci-fi at its very best. Definitely not space opera. Many of the characters are heavy duty theoretical physicists. Read the NPR review, it's a good one:.
"This is hard SF, full of lovingly lengthy passages of technical exposition about everything from quantum mechanics to artificial intelligence. But Cixin Liu supports all of that braintwisting theory with empathetic characters and a strong action-thriller backbone. "(less)

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Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was ok

Badly Written and Ill Conceived Science Fiction with a Few Interesting Ideas

I'm not sure I read the same book as everyone else. This got lots of four and five star reviews here on Goodreads.

Plus, it's been nominated for both Hugo and Nebula awards.

As often happens, I'm not with the majority opinion here. I give it two stars.

I'm not sure if the problem was the translation, or the original text, or both. (Unfortunately I only have the audio for this, so I can't quote the text here).

But I found th
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

I just rated a book 5 stars.

Just read it.

**Update now that I've read the whole trilogy!**

This is now one of my all time favorite sci-fi series. The concepts are brilliant and I fear that I'll never find anything this mind-blowing.

With that said... the books are quite sexist (the first half of the first two books are quite slow and painful) but I still recommend them if you can stomach it.

They're incredibly science heavy but anyone interested in space and first contact with a
Rick Riordan
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Adult sci-fi. By Chinese author Cixin Liu, The Three-Body Problem takes a classic scenario -- contact with alien life -- and cranks up the sinister factor to maximum. The story begins during the Cultural Revolution when young Ye Wenjie watches her scientist father beaten to death by fervent revolutionaries. She is sent off for hard labor at a re-education camp, but by a strange twist of fate gets a chance to work at a top secret government project seeking out extraterrestrial life. Fast forward ...more
From the opening, I was struck by how much history I didn't know about China's Cultural Revolution. It might be obvious to anyone growing up in those parts, of course, but I was almost lost in that story long before I saw that there was anything sci-fi about the novel. This is a good thing. It speaks of good writing.

And then things changed. I became a frog in a pot. Small hints accumulate, surrounded by mathematical problems both fundamental and curious.

And then the MC's sanity is questioned. I
Jan 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
A scientist is drawn into a conspiracy involving a computer game and an old research station and extra-terrestrial life.

Translated from the original Chinese. I have to admit I read this book mostly because the way it's being talked about made me really uncomfortable. There's the contingent who want to treat it as some sort of referendum on the Chinese science fiction landscape, or Chinese literature in general, as it was a wildly successful bestseller there. Yeah, okay, tell you what – go take a
Sep 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hard Sci-Fi fans
Recommended to Petrik by: Barack Obama
3.5/5 Stars

The Three-Body Problem may be one of the most critically acclaimed Sci-Fi novels of our modern age, and in my opinion, it truly deserved the recognition for all the Sci-Fi ideas and narrative, but not for the characterization.

The Three-Body Problem, the first book in Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy by Cixin Liu, was actually something I never heard of despite its apparent popularity until I stumbled upon an interview with Barack Obama. He stated that this is one of his favorite no
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Three-Body Problem was the best SF novel that I’ve read so far. Admittedly, I did not read a lot of them. However, I can recognize when I encounter a special gem and this one definitely is unique in its world building. Moreover, it is very well written (and translated) which, unfortunately, it is not always the case with SF novels, especially with the classics.

The first chapters take place in the Chinese Cultural revolution and I thought to be a harrowing experience which perfectly introduc
Michael Finocchiaro
Fascinating piece of scifi by Chinese writer Cixin Liu. A surprising mix of nanoscience, string theory, and astrophysics and religion with the Cultural Revolution as a background, the story takes its protagonist Xiao Wang (the nanoscientist) into an adventure that will impact all of humanity. I liked Ye, the astrophysicist, and found Du Shi, the policeman, funny and well-drawn. As for the action and plot, it is easy to read although I got a little lost in the pure science aspects once or twice ( ...more
B Schrodinger
Oct 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Originally published in it's native Chinese in 2008, The Three-Body Problem has now been translated for English speakers to read and enjoy. It is the first volume in a hugely successful SF trilogy that has proved to be a popular seller in China.

No matter what our opinions are on the government of China, we all know that they have a history of controlling the media. It was not so long ago that I was reading articles on how even SF stories may not be published if they contain certain themes or SF
I'm really waffling between whether to rate "did not like it" vs. "it was okay" -- I very, very rarely give out one stars, and it feels uncharitable because it was a book I wanted to like more than I did, and I want more diverse SF, but... no. I've consciously created a "not my cup of tea" shelf for this very book, however, because a lot of people seem to have liked it. Is this what hard SF is like? In which case, it reminds me of similar "I am completely unable to get interested in this" proble ...more
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
While this is obviously a masterpiece of hard sci-fi, that is also the reason I had a hard time connecting to it. While the science behind it all is complex and interesting, I found myself glazing over many a time and detaching from the story. The characters didn't feel real to me. Aside from that, this is a book I'd love to discuss with others because I wonder how much of this book was harder for me due to cultural and historical differences I wasn't even aware of while reading.

I think I have
Matthew Quann
Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Sci-fi fans, Science Nerds, International Reads
I just spent a week with this hard science fiction, Hugo-award winning novel from Chinese author Cixin Liu and I have to admit: I'm impressed.

The Three-Body Problem had me putting off tasks to pick it up, stuck with me throughout my day, and was always a pleasure to read when I sat down with it. With that said, this isn’t a novel I’d easily recommend to everyone. This isn’t a review that offers a pan-recommendation along with its 5-star rating. Indeed, this review seeks to help an intrigued rea
David Brin
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Three-Body Problem is part one of an award-winning trilogy by Liu Cixin — and is arguably the best Chinese science fiction novel ever translated into English. Liu uses the “three-body problem” of classical mechanics to ask some terrifying questions about human nature and what lies at the core of civilization.

The series explores the world of the Trisolarans, a race that is forced to adapt to life in a triple star system, on a planet whose gravity, heat, and orbit are in constant flux. Facing
Aug 18, 2015 rated it liked it
I liked this and there is no doubt that this is a science heavy, brilliantly produced and contemplated, highly original SF novel from a physics understanding Chinese author that was good enough to win a slew of awards including the Hugo.

But I like to watch Ridiculousness. I like Travis McGee. I like Mickey F****** Spillane. Beer and pizza and a bug zapper is quality entertainment.

“Conan – what is best in life?”

Three Body Problem did not have near enough axe welding barbarians or laser beams for
Manuel Antão
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

Simple-Minded SF: "The Three-Body Problem" by Liu Cixin, Ken Liu (translator)

"The thin curve [when Ye was watching a waveform on a screen supposedly from an alien civilization], rising and falling, seemed to possess a soul."

In "The Three-Body Problem" by Liu Cixin, Ken Liu (translator)

Metaphor only takes me so far...When I’m reading a supposedly hard SF book I must put into action my non-suspension-of-disbelief-hat. That’s the only wa
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This Hugo Award winning SF novel by Chinese author Liu Cixin is delightfully intelligent and complex, and I really appreciated the authentic Chinese characters in the story and the insights into China's history and culture. The novel is also a little slow and dry in parts, with a certain formality that (I would guess) echoes the original Chinese writing style. I also had some trouble keeping all of the characters straight in my head; most of the characters have Chinese names, and the names tende ...more
Rachel the Book Harlot
2.5 stars

There has been an enormous amount of buzz and accolades surrounding Cixin Liu's The Three-Body Problem. It has been nominated for numerous awards, including a 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel. Does it deserve all the hype? In some respects I can see why it has garnered so much praise. The science is fun, there are some interesting philosophical concepts, and the world-building is also interesting. However, that for me is where the praise ends. Where the book fails is in the basic fundamen
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
One of my favorite ways of choosing a book by an unfamiliar author to read is by the buzz from sf blogs and discussion forums. Not any old buzz mind you, I don’t want to end up reading “50 Shades” or some equally unreadable blockbusters, I only take notice of the excitement among SF/F reading communities.

The Three-Body Problem was my SF Book Club’s book of the month (three months ago), it was recommended to me a friend here on GR and I have noticed numerous blogs, articles and online discussions
¸¸.•*¨*•♫ Mrs. Buttercup •*¨*•♫♪
“Is it possible that the relationship between humanity and evil is similar to the relationship between the ocean and an iceberg floating on its surface? Both the ocean and the iceberg are made of the same material. That the iceberg seems separate is only because it is in a different form. In reality, it is but a part of the vast ocean.”

Reading this book was an incredibly enriching experience. Sci-fi is one of my favourite genres, but I have to admit that sometimes books in this category can be
TS Chan
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: physical-owned
4.5 stars.

This critically well-acclaimed science fiction novel certainly deserves its laurels.

"Wildly imaginative, really interesting.." so proclaimed Barack Obama about this trilogy. From what I can gather after reading this book, I already wholeheartedly agree. The Three-Body Problem is a truly unique and original science fiction within the realm of plausibility. Melding real-world science, history, philosophy, religion and fantastical ideas, this novel delivers a beautifully-written (and tr
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: from-library, 2017
To effectively contain a civilization’s development and disarm it across such a long span of time, there is only one way: kill its science.
The Three-Body Problem is a very original story, and one that’s rather difficult to describe. Set in the present, in flashbacks against the backdrop of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and at some points in cyberspace, this novel tells a tale of humanity’s first contact with an alien race.

I have read reviews stating that The Three-Body Problem feels Chinese.
Dec 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: china, fiction, sci-fi
In an afterword, Liu expresses his opinion that science fiction should not be used to make social commentary but should instead restrict itself to playing with ideas of science and technology. I was surprised to see that because Three Body had struck me (tentatively, since I know little about China) as an especially Chinese novel, with much to say about how societies should be organised. The portrait of an ‘authoritarian’ alien civilisation, where individuality is repressed in favour of homogeno ...more
ARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

The Three-Body Problem is a very successful trilogy in China and is now translated and published in English for the first time.

We're following two main characters over two different time periods. The first is Ye Wenjie who witnesses the death of her father, a scientist, during the cultural revolution in China during the 1960s.
A scientis herself she then gets the chance to participate in a high security project for the government, despite
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it

4.5 stars

This is the first book of a trilogy.

The story begins during the early years of China's 'Cultural Revolution.' Ye Wenjie, a young astrophysicist, sees her father - a physics professor - tortured and murdered by a group of young Red Guards. Like many educated citizens Ye Wenjie is labeled a 'counter-revolutionary' and sent to cut trees for the Construction Corps before being recruited to work at a secret facility called Red Coast Base.

At first Ye Wenjie has limited access to the base's
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Three-Body Problem: Particle physics, the rise and fall of civilizations, and alien contact
Originally published atFantasy Literature
The Three-Body Problem was first published in China back in 2008 and translated into English in 2014. It got a lot of attention and was put on the Hugo Award ballot this year when another author pulled out. Cixin Liu’s book has a lot going on and requires your full attention. So after listening to the audiobook during a trip to the East Coast I realized I couldn
Alright. I read this wrong. It's all on me.
I've got my Cone of Shame and am headed to the Shame Corner right now.
It was nice being out for awhile but we all knew I couldn't stay out for long.

I'm not sure if something was lost in translation, if I'm just really not good at science, or if I am waaaaay too American, but whatever the case, I did not enjoy this.

Well, I did, but only through maybe the first half. Then it got tedious, then it got boring, then it got downright ridiculous, and then I sta
J.L.   Sutton
Mar 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
“It was impossible to expect a moral awakening from humankind itself, just like it was impossible to expect humans to lift off the earth by pulling up on their own hair. To achieve moral awakening required a force outside the human race.”

The Three-Body Problem: What You Need to Know About the Game of Thrones Showrunners' Next Project

The setup and the way Liu Cixin's The Three-Body Problem slowly unfolded through multiple decades takes some time to grab you, but it is really intriguing. This historical context (China's Cultural Revolution) spoke directly to the motivations of Ye Wenjie as s
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
How would humanity react if we found out we are not alone in the universe? Not only that, if we knew that alien civilization was on its way to earth to invade our planet? How would we react? How would YOU react?

The Three-Body Problem is a unique sci-fi novel set in China. It takes place over several time periods from the 1960's to present time. The story begins during the Chinese Cultural Revolution in the late 1960's, and focuses on how the intellectual society was hard-pressed and assaulted.
Em Lost In Books
"To effectively contain a civilization's development and disarm it across such a long span of time, there is only one way; kill its science."

The only thing that I knew about this book prior to reading it was that it revolves around alien invasion. So I prepared myself for spaceship, some cool weapons and amazing battle scenes. All in all I was looking for Guardians of the Galaxy in book form. But how wrong I was! I am so glad that all my hopes were dashed within first few chapters.

What start
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: hard science fiction readers
Recommended to Jenna by: Claudia
Nerd Alert GIF - NerdAlert GIFs

​This book is so FREAKING AWESOME!​ DAMN! If all science fiction books were like this, I might not ever read another genre! Therefore, I'm glad most are not written like this, because there are so many other good books out there too. Still though, wow!

Chris Pratt Head GIF - ChrisPratt Chris Pratt GIFs

So, this is some serious science fiction. If you're familiar with physics, you've probably heard of the Three-Body Problem in which one is unable to predict subsequent motions of three bodies acting on each other, from their initial velocities and
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Science Fiction fan and writer.

Liu Cixin also appears as Cixin Liu

Other books in the series

Remembrance of Earth's Past (3 books)
  • The Dark Forest (Remembrance of Earth’s Past, #2)
  • Death's End (Remembrance of Earth’s Past #3)

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