When Chen's parents are incinerated before his eyes by a blast of ball lightning, he devotes his life to cracking the secret of this mysterious natural phenomenon. His search takes him to stormy mountaintops, an experimental military weapons lab, and an old Soviet science station.
The more he learns, the more he comes to realize that ball lightning is just the tip of an en...more
Cixin Liu greatly examined the effects of obsession, science, and weaponry in Ball Lightning.
I’m a fan of Cixin Liu’s Remembrance of Earth Past trilogy. The second book in that series, The Dark Forest remains in my personal top three sci-fi novels of all time and will most likely stay there for a very long time. Plus, the fact that Ball Lightning is translated by Joel Martinsen, the same translator of The Dark Forest, made me eager to read this one.
Picture: Ball Lightning Chinese cove ...more
Fast-forward half a second.
I'm reading this. I dropped all my other projects like hot potatoes and felt very little guilt about it.
The establishing ...more
Chen, as a fourteen-year-old boy, watched his parents turn to ashes from a ball lightning. From that moment on, he dedicated his life in understanding it. Later on, in order to pursue his life ...more
Interesting premise and as always the author opens up new worlds to those of us without a working understanding of advance theoretical physics. I didn't love this like I did the Remembrance of Earth's Past Trilogy but it was still very thought provoking. This also serves as a prequel of sorts with some character overlap and the first signs that somebody is watching us.
Have you ever been so deeply fascinated by something that it hence led you to dedicate all your life into understanding the very core of that object of interest? While finding your purpose in life can lead a person to fully actualize themselves in the long run, this inevitable tunnel vision can also turn toxic one’s self and their immediate social circle. It’s being able to distance yourself from it whenever possible that you put yourself in a p ...more
According to Liu, The Ball Lightning belongs to the earlier strand of chinese science fiction than the expansive category he puts his Trilogy into. Yet, he keep ...more
Word of warning: do not read this Liu Cixin book first if you're just getting into the author. Read The Three Body Problem.
Review: Liu Cixin does it again. I can't believe i'm giving a book five stars that really had me wondering if I was going to finish it at all during its first third, and then becoming overwhelmed with WTF (in a good way) in the final third. There's a whole bunch of science mumbo jumbo that yo ...more
Unfortunately that wasn't enough to salvage the book from the previous 300 plus pages of boredom. Most of this novel is really just an exploration of hypothetical science. Interesting, thought provoking speculative science, but with a minimum of plot (the book jackets forecast interpersonal conflict doesn't show up), and a minimum of characters (which is particularly sad because what makes the ending so amazing is t ...more
Cixin Liu is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read almost all of his English translated short stories, and I’ve read the Remembrance of Earth's Past (Three Body Problem) trilogy twice.
This book, however, was probably his weakest one from the bunch. The second half makes it worth reading, but I wouldn’t rush to go read it.
As usual, Liu falls short in two key areas:
1. Dialog. The characters love their exposition. Paragraphs of it. It makes the book feel like a series of college lectures sometimes. Thankfully, most of these lecture ...more
I'm not really comfortable with how Liu handles science. He's got a recipe: an almost superhuman "mad scientist" theorist, who wants to see how the theory works out, and doesn't care about the consequences. He abuses science in ways that I find bizarre. I suppose you can't write science fiction without stretching science, but there's a point at which that stops working. Specifically: his notion of an "observer" in quantum mechanics is just weird. ...more
I think both these are true of this ...more
Ok, you dont necessarily bond with the MC but his life between Obsession and the search for purpose in his life easily make you care enough. I read the book in 2 days because i wanted to know what happens next. Its a real page turner.
Also as expected from Cixin Liu, the book has a few very technical parts which might be hard to understand/follow for some. Especially the Quantum Physics parts.
But i loved how he explores the possibilities of ph ...more
liu cixin does hard science fiction, in this case investigating the phenomenon of ball lightning, but he also uses it as a way to show morality in science. should it be pursued at all costs, are there mysteries we shouldn't probe, and how do we balance the risk to human lives with the opportunity to advance our knowledge of the universe?
the theoretical physicist, ding yi, is incredibly fascinating. he ...more
Ball Lightning is tremendously imaginative. Unlike in the Trilogy though, the creativity is largely based on a single strand of sci-fi thought. The story, however, is full of good twists and turns until at the climax w ...more
I really enjoyed this book because like the ‘three body problem’ this is (obviously…. ) written from a Chinese point of view and it gives the book a different flavor from our normal fare. There is a more fatalist outlook and it is also interesting to see the US (or the west in general) as the ‘enemy’.
It is an excellent hard science story. There is the classic issue of theoretical .vs. applied science. At some point in the boo ...more