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Supernova Era

3.26  ·  Rating details ·  2,119 ratings  ·  394 reviews
From Cixin Liu, the New York Times bestselling and Hugo award-winning author of The Three Body Problem, comes a new science fiction masterpiece.

In those days, Earth was a planet in space.
In those days, Beijing was a city on Earth.
On this night, history as known to humanity came to an end.

Eight light years away, a star has died, creating a supernova event that showers Ear
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 22nd 2019 by Tor Books
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Average rating 3.26  · 
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Review first posted on Fantasy Literature:

Chinese science fiction author Cixin Liu has had a successful career in China for many years, winning China’s prestigious Galaxy Award nine times. But it wasn’t until 2014, when his 2007 novel The Three-Body Problem was first published in English, that he became well-known outside of Asia. Since then, some of his earlier novels, like Ball Lightning (originally published in China in 2004), have been translated and published in English. This one, Supernova
Michael Finocchiaro
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting piece of speculative science fiction meant to answer the question: what if the world was run by kids 12 and under? I found that Cixin Liu’s answer was imaginative and made for a brisk read. I felt that the translation by Joel Martinsen was a bit stuff at times (much like his translation of Dark Forest which I felt was weaker than those of Ken Liu for The Three-Body Problem and Death's End). As for the scenario, and avoiding spoilers, I felt that it was too focused on China ...more
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Let me be honest here: we need to accept one major handwavium dance move to enjoy this novel. That being said, if we just go ahead and accept the basic premise that CHILDREN under 13 are naturally resistant to catastrophic radiation exposure, or at least they'll heal up when all the adults around them die off, then we've got a pretty great early dystopian nightmare.

The nearby supernova going off, close enough to do more than annoy and far enough away to not just kill us all, is an awesome macro-
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, z-to-a-cixin
Few years back, I kept hearing about Lord of the Flies being a masterpiece, so eventually it made its way on my reading list. It turned out to be a disappointment and to this day, I still don’t know why it is so praised.

Supernova Era is pretty much Lord of the Flies in a different setting. Except for a couple of brilliant ideas, ones which I recognized being later developed masterfully in The Three-Body Problem, I’m sorry to say that the book was a tedious read for me.

I would have liked the focu
Athena (OneReadingNurse)
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
First, thanks so much to Bookish First and Tor Books for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!

Supernova Era was originally published in 2003 in Chinese, and is now being translated into English! Let me tell you that it is super obvious how much Cixin Liu loves space and technology, or at least writing about it. His descriptions are long, thoughtful, and sometimes intense!

Essentially a supernova blast occurs and the radiation is enough to eventually kill off the entire population o
Jared Martin
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
The adults are wiped out by a cosmic event that results in the Lord of the Flies on a planetary scale. Liu uses some hand-wavy logic to explain how only the adults were affected by the supernova, which is rather uncharacteristic of his writing. Normally he goes into dissertation-level detail behind the science of major events. Scientific realism is his brand, so it it was a surprise to see that lacking. The story does have some interesting plot points and a few unexpected turns, but overall it's ...more
Rachel (Kalanadi)
May 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
I am appalled.

And also bored.

But mostly appalled.
Oct 10, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2019
Whoa...I haven't read such an obvious piece of propaganda since probably the Cold War. Written by a Chinese author, it's obviously very clear whose side he is on (even in this SciFi world). Here are some examples: Chinese children leaders are wise, smart and are thinking about the future, while the children leaders of the other countries act just like children; It's the "evil" America that starts Global War Games, but it is the Chinese children that end it! Another example (and considering the h ...more
Melissa |Recreational Hobbyist
What a interesting & intriguing plot. A star in space burns out & causes catastrophic damage on Earth, the most devastating being that everyone over the age of 13 will die, leaving the entire world to be ran by children.

Now I cannot comment on the science part of this novel with relation to the Dead Star that travels to Earth that creates the supernova event, or the explanation of the event damaging the DNA of those over the age of 13. Suspension of disbelief is important to me when reading bec
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: samples
What can I say about Supernova Era?! I mean I could talk all day about a book like this one! The type of book that you kind of feel sorry that is a translation because of your lack of knowledge when it comes to foreign languages. For a book like this one is worth learning a new language. Specially when you know the author has so much potential to surprise you and surpass his present success! I’m not looking to spoil it for anyone! So I’m not going into any details!! I will just keep praising the ...more
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
This is the first time I’ve read a Chinese novel translated into English. The original Chinese book was published in 2003, though it was written even earlier. Thirteen years later, English readers are getting a chance to enjoy it. This is a very well written and translated book.
A very interesting thought experiment on how the world might be if a cataclysmic event wiped out almost all humanity. This event leaves just children alive. I find it hard to believe that children would think and talk the
Yi An
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Boring…Extremely boring…Why did I waste time reading this book…
The theme ia good though, I don't like it because I don't like to read children's book and this book is about the children's world - only children.
Tim Hicks
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I hope no one judges Liu by this. It's hard to believe that it's the same author whose major award-winners I've read. This one stinks on ice.

Liu's afterword says that the first draft was written "thirty years ago" -- which forces us to assume that he wrote the Afterword in 2019 for this edition, and the first draft was 1989. He's 26 then.

DNF at page 210, and from what I've seen I bailed at just the right time, before it got really silly and racist and anti-American -- to go along with the alre
Kamila Komisarek
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it

"In those days, Earth was a planet in space.
In those days, Beijing was a city on Earth.
On this night, history as known to humanity came to an end."

Supernova Era is a book from bestselling author Cixin Liu, author of award-winning The Three Bodies Problem novel. I’ve heard a lot about him and was very excited to read some of his work, although I must admit I was a bit scared of too much-complicated science in his book. But in the case of Supernova Era, it is no problem at all. There’s not much h
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's closer to a 3.75 for me. I think I expected it to be more of a hard scifi and not the political/dystopian story it was. It's a fascinating story nonetheless. The first third of the book was bleak as hell, and then it felt like a different kind of book entirely in the last two-thirds. I still enjoyed it, but keep the above in mind if you plan on reading it.
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
4.5 stars

Review soon.
Mark Conrad
Jan 10, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm 0/2 on Cixin Liu. Something about his style of writing people just really didn't with for me, they aren't human in any way I can relate to.
Oct 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Cixin Liu's Supernova Era begins with an intriguing premise--radiation from a supernova hits Earth, and everyone on the planet who is over 13 is dying. For some reason, the 13-year-olds might have a chance, and the children 12 and under will survive mostly unharmed. That is, if they and their older siblings can raise them into adults.

I admit I had difficulty understanding how this would work; however, the premise is the point, not how it happens. The adults have about a year, in which they are
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Supernova Era explores the fate of humanity after a nearby Supernova irradiates the Earth, causing radiation sickness that will kill everyone over 13 years old within a year. Stylistically, the vibe of this book is a blend of history text and novel, with occasional excerpts from first person accounts of the events. The first third of the book is about the scramble to pass on the full scope of human knowledge and infrastructure to its young successors, then Liu details the dramatic course of hist ...more
Kay Smillie
Like Ball Lightning, this was a disappointment. The idea behind the story was much better than the final printed version. Just wanted the book to be finished long before the end but I stuck with it. Big fan of the trilogy and the short story collection, however this is going in the charity shop.

Ray Smillie
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 STARS- Humanity's darkest hour...its future in the hands of children!

Cixin Liu’s newest novel Supernova Era was entertaining and unique! I was immediately pulled into this story and completely captivated by the unfolding events as the author described the Dead Star and its journey through space and time. The introductory statement- “In those days, the earth was a planet in space. In those days, Beijing was a city on Earth.” sent chills down my spine as the author sets the stage for this amaz
Cixin Liu is the most popular Science Fiction author in China and I have loved everything I’ve read by him, until now. I have been eagerly awaiting for Supernova Era, published in 2004, to be translated from Chinese into English, which took fifteen years.

I note that some reviews have likened Supernova Era to a modern Lord of the Flies and I agree. Adults often think of children as loving and cooperative when, in fact, they can be quite the opposite. Prior to learning more about morality and the
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After enjoying a collection of Liu Cixin’s short stories, I was curious to see what the author’s full-length novels would provide. In all honesty, I think I started with the wrong one. The Supernova Era seems to be the author’s least popular full-length novel, and I can understand why.

At first, this one had me curious. There was the potential for a lot of interesting things, and I was eager to see how the story would come together. Unfortunately, the more I read, the less interested I became. I
Zachary Flessert
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Strong beginning, some weak parts through the development, but hit hard at the end, especially with the author's Afterword where he looks back on the time that has passed since he first wrote this story many years past. Time goes on, whether we care or not.

It's a translated work. The writing really shines at some parts.

He threads in philosophy of history and psychology alongside deep speculative scifi.

Would recommend this book especially to teachers, who I think will find a special connection
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
Supernova Era is like Lord of the Flies but in a world full of technology, and it takes on a situation out of a nightmare: an Earth in which all adults over the age of 13 will die, leaving the future of society in the hands of children who must face a quick coming-of-age. It's fast paced but struggles with a stiffness of language, which I expected having read Joel Martinsen's translation of Liu's The Dark Forest. In that vein, it does offer the spirit of Liu's grand thought experiments. Unfortun ...more
Brandon St Mark
While the opening chapter was really good, each progressive one just lost more of my interest. I think this would be a better movie/miniseries than a book tbh. Maybe it is in China already, I don’t know. I was thinking about some more of the authors books, but I tried to read The Three Body problem before and couldn’t get into that one (I didn’t even bother adding it to goodreads). Sucks, because that first chapter was really up my alley.
Jun 20, 2020 rated it liked it
I thought the core plot of the story was quite unique. But I really didn't enjoy listening to the audio format; in fact, I found it rather irritating. I suggest reading the book instead.
Oct 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-science
I'm not an avid sci-fi fan, but Cixin Liu's work is outstanding: his The Three-Body Problem (2007), the first in his Remembrance of Things Past trilogy, was my entree to his universe-building imagination, and I've read most of his books since then.


I eagerly opened Supernova Era (2004) and found that Cixin Liu has delivered again; well, it’s actually an early book so it's really a pre-delivery again. This is a compelling tale of humanity's End Time—Mankind survives a cosmic catastrophe
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
I am a huge fan of the Three Body Problem and its sequels. In particular, the second book in the series, The Dark Forest (which was also translated by Joel Martinsen), is my favorite science fiction book of all time. With that said, I was disappointed in this book. Although its premise (a supernova near the Earth kills every human being over the age of 13) seemed promising, it was poorly developed and the plot wound up mostly feeling silly. Although I understand that a world with only children g ...more
Shabbeer Hassan
Jul 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
A disappointing book from Liu Cixin, especially after reading the commendable and wildly imaginative "Dark Forest Trilogy". Even the Ball Lightning though not brilliant but was definitely engaging to some degree.

This, however, feels like a piss-poor take on Lord of the Flies in a sci-fi setting in which the reader can only this if one can undertake a massive suspension of disbelief willingly.

My Rating - 1.5/5
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Liu Cixin also appears as Cixin Liu

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