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Death's End (Remembrance of Earth’s Past #3)
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2015 Book Discussions > The Three Body Problem - Death's End (April 2015)

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Whitney | 2088 comments Mod
I noted on the feed that at least one person has finished the third book, so here is a place for all to discuss! I will be joining you as soon as I've finished myself.

Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (avalinahsbooks) | 116 comments Oh my god, I can't believe you guys are reading this book right now! Wow. This was my only book this month that wasn't a group read (out of the 10 group reads......) - turns out it's also a group read! Magical.

Looking forward to discussion!

Whitney | 2088 comments Mod
Not actually officially reading it right now, it's an add-on to the first two, since people were continuing to read the series. So no official start date, just people posting as they read the book.

I should add that since this is the only topic there will be for Death's End, spoilers may lurk around any corner, so wait until you are done to read this thread if you are sensitive to that sort of thing.

Caroline (cedickie) | 384 comments Mod
I finished it last night and am still processing it. I went through it slowly - not because it was tough to get through but because so much happens in it and I also wasn't ready to say goodbye to the series too quickly. I'll be curious to see what other people think of how the series ended.

I really enjoyed it and am still blown away by how creative the author is and how well he's able to weave stories of space, alternate dimensions, technology, time, philosophy, ethics, art, and literature together. This is a series I will most likely return to one day.

Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (avalinahsbooks) | 116 comments There are a lot of places in this one where it's just so big I have to do it justice and put it down for a while. So I know the feeling.

A little more than half remains and then I can come discuss it with you!

Cong Peng | 2 comments I read both the English and Chinese version. Da Liu's ability to design an engrossing story and depict big scope & scenes is second to none.

I love the ending. You feel sad, empty, beautiful, insignificant and majesty all at the same time.

The prequel to the 3-body series, Ball Lightning, will be published by Tor next year. And a fan-made sequel, Three Body X, is being translated by Ken Liu. English readers can look forward to these books. According to what I know, Da Liu's works will be keep coming to the English world. After Ball Lightning, another Liu's novel, Supernova Era, will also be imported to US.

Another good news is that both Ball Lightning and Supernova Era will be published in US as the complete version. Chinese readers have to search online to find the censored parts of those 2 novels.

Marsyao | 4 comments And a fan-made sequel, Three Body X, is being translated by Ken Liu. ."

I can not speak for others, but I will never read a "fan-made sequel" of a book I love so much

Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (avalinahsbooks) | 116 comments Yeah, that sounds fishy to me as well..

Caroline (cedickie) | 384 comments Mod
I think I'd have a hard time with a fan-made sequel as well, especially since I'm not sure how the book could have ended any other way! I would be interested in a prequel though. I definitely consider myself a fan of Liu Cixin now so would be interested in reading more of his work.

If there ever were a follow up to Death's End, I hope it'd be something short that follows Yun Tianming along the same timeline.

Marsyao | 4 comments Caroline wrote: "If there ever were a follow up to Death's End, I hope it'd be something short that follows Yun Tianming along the same timeline.."

I kind of doubt it, I bet the reason why Cixin did not let Yun Tiaming met Chen Xing is that he does not really have a clear idea about the appearance and life of trisolarians

Caroline (cedickie) | 384 comments Mod
I agree - I don't have any hope for such a follow up but if we got so lucky, that's what I'd want to see! I'd love to observe Yun Tianming's thought process as he comes up with the fairy tales.

message 12: by Cong (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cong Peng | 2 comments Caroline wrote: "I think I'd have a hard time with a fan-made sequel as well, especially since I'm not sure how the book could have ended any other way! I would be interested in a prequel though. I definitely consi..."
There're a lot of controversy about Three Body X in China too. It has Liu's approval to publish but Liu also said that he originally wanted to write some more about Yun Tianming's story and how the people on Blue Space explore the universe and build their civilization on other planets, but because of Three Body X, he lose the drive to do so.

Many readers in China also hate Three Body X and think it's cheesy and comic like. It is mainly about the story of Yun Tianming and Singer.

I personally think Three Body X actually has some pretty good ideas evolving at the Liu's speculations of the universe. Especially the idea of the relationship between time and dimension is very good. If you don't take it too seriously, it's a fun read.

Marsyao | 4 comments Cong wrote: "Many readers in China also hate Three Body X and think it's cheesy and comic like. It is mainly about the story of Yun Tianming and Singer. ."

Oh, NO, NOT singer

message 14: by Michael (new)

Michael Liu | 1 comments Read it in Chinese in 2012, can't believe people still talk about it these days! I mean, it's great and personally I believe it's better than the first two volumes in this trilogy.
PS: never read fan-made Three Body X but read a lot Cixin Liu's other books.
The only book in sci-fi that I've read that's comparable to this is Blindsight. (Still working on the Foundation series)

message 15: by Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (last edited Nov 02, 2016 12:55PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (avalinahsbooks) | 116 comments Now that I'm finished with the book, I wanted to add some more thoughts to this discussion.

The thing I love about these books is how humans always seem to find solutions to things (neural computers instead of electronic ones; even a way to destroy droplets!) It seems as though the amount of things humans could invent to save themselves is almost endless. Except they can't quite save themselves. Or at least not everyone.

I have to admit, it ultimately hurt me that Cheng Xin and Tianming did not meet in the end. But maybe that's part of the beauty of the novel... The drama of it. They really could have met. Something so small, so small prevented them doing it. Just one choice.

I also loved the whole theme of responsibility running through the novel. And how in the end love is higher on the list of virtues than survival, then saving oneself, even saving one's species, perhaps. Other than that, I think Liu Cixin could really portray the essence of femininity through Cheng Xin. Brilliantly done.

However, although everything in these books mostly appears scientifically sound, this one part got me. How can everything be two-dimensionalized and retain molecular structure? Molecules are three-dimensional objects too. If they lost their integrity, could they keep their structure at all? Could materials and elements? Although I guess the fact that later they explained it to just be 'an image', a projection, but not the real thing (as it disappeared with time) did make some more sense, but still. I'm not quite satisfied with this explanation. What do you think?

Some quotes I loved:

(Quote on the probability of life developing on earth):
"The strands attracted other molecules around them until two identical copies of the original were made, and there split apart again and replicated themselves... In this game of building blocks, the probability of producing such a self-replicating chain of organic molecules was so minuscule that it was as if a tornado had picked up a pile of metallic trash and deposited it as a fully-assembled Mercedes-Benz."

"A bottomless abyss exists in every inch."

"Death is the only lighthouse that is always lit. No matter where you sail, ultimately, you must turn toward it. Everything fades in the world, but Death endures."

"When humans are lost in space, it takes only five minutes to reach totalitarianism."

"Weakness and ignorance are not barriers to survival, but arrogance is."

"The ultimate fate of all intelligent beings has always been to become as grand as their thoughts."

I've written a blog post about this book on my blog, although it is more geared towards humor than this post. If you'd care to read it, you can find it here:

message 16: by Whitney (last edited Nov 27, 2016 12:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Whitney | 2088 comments Mod
Finally finished this; loved it, and all the commentary here. It is hands down the best science fiction series I have read. Foundation was great for its time, but did not have nearly as many levels to it (as Caroline listed above) or the same quality of writing.

I especially liked the cleverly disguised fairy tales of Tianming. He was such a great character, even though he only appeared in brief snippets in the book.

Cheng Xin's dilemma as the sword holder reminded me of the questions that came up in cold war fiction about the 'proper' response when one side has launched their nuclear arsenal. Responding in kind does nothing to save oneself, but only assures that everyone else is doomed as well. The ethical choice is not to push the button, but the smart choice is to convince the enemy that you will push the button.

Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (avalinahsbooks) | 116 comments I also thought the Foundation wasn't as deep. For me it was quite dry, and surely a simpler story than this.

message 18: by Ng (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ng Xin Zhao If you don't know the series yet, do yourself a favour and read from the Three Body Problem, to The Dark Forest, followed by Death's End by Liu Ci Xin. Originally written in Chinese, it had been translated to English. I am glad to have brought the first two books. After reading so many science fiction novels and series, this one just became my best series so far. Better than Dune series, Foundation series, Robots series (by Issac Asimov), the Ender and Shadow series by Orson Scott Card.

It contains so many of the main characteristics of why we read science fiction: to have problems which we solve by science and technology. The problems presented in the books were so logically primed, it was amazing to see how the author did not back down from the challenge and is willing to let the characters in his book to pay the price for choosing something which is less than ideal or without foresight.

Although much of this book looks down upon love and compassion, the main character embodies it very well. It didn't gave the moral of the story as you should be as dark as the universe, but rather to always choose human nature over the beast nature, and be willing to bear the consequences if it didn't turned out well.

Spoilers ahead.

I am just sad at one thing, Cheng Xin never got to meet Yu Tianming again. Just a few minutes apart, they were suddenly separated by a few million years. It was the cruel application of basic physics and what happens when you manipulate the laws of nature. I thought somehow a clever Yu Tianming and AA would meet up with Cheng Xin and Guan Yilun again. Too bad no such thing happened. Haiz....

To be sure, it was hard to read the process whereby the Solar System gets turned into 2D.

The most amazing part was actually the fairy tale. I would have loved to stop and kept on thinking about what it meant if I wasn't so eager to let the book do the job for me. It's so brilliant that the message was well hidden. So sad the humanity didn't pay more effort into thinking more about it and linking it to manipulation of the laws of physics before going full speed on the bunker project.

It seems that the Trisolarians were afraid that humanity would be able to use these advance tech to destroy both Trisolarian fleet before they were safely out of range of the solar system, so they didn't share these tech. At least they allowed humans to keep on having a little bit more time and some chance to escape.

Whitney | 2088 comments Mod
Xin wrote: "If you don't know the series yet, do yourself a favour and read from the Three Body Problem, to The Dark Forest, followed by Death's End by Liu Ci Xin. Originally written in Chinese, it had been tr..."

I agree wholeheartedly with your reading. I can't think of any science fiction on the grand scale like this that comes close to comparing. It so perfectly intertwined the characters and the science, unlike most SF where one is usually subservient to the other.

I love your comment about the characters choosing human nature and bearing the consequences. It's easy to have characters be rewarded for being humane, Liu takes the much more sublime path of saying that the compassionate choice can still be the right choice, even if it ends in horrific consequences.

The fairy tales were my favorite part as well, they were done so cleverly and set up so patiently (although it does seem like someone would have figured out the two dimensional thing). Something else that really stuck me with me was when the aliens sent out the device that would start folding our galaxy. It was done with such total nonchalance, being left to a low ranking functionary and with no concern for the universal repercussions.

And the end was nearly perfect. It seemed a very hopeful suggestion that the remaining beings in the universe lived in some harmony to have put together a message with the remaining 1.57 million languages. And the joy of the three when they saw that Trisolaran and Earth were among the languages was infectious.

"In the eternal night of the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, two civilizations had swept through like two shooting stars, and the universe had remembered their light." Beautiful.

Adddi | 2 comments First question, Luo is the first to understand the dark forest of the earth people? The answer is obviously no. Luo wrote the dark forest theory, inspired by Ye Wenjie
One more person, Evans. Evans is knowledge of the dark forest system directly from the three-body world.
So before dark forest theory known by human in the world, there were three people who understood the contents of the dark forest.
Three body worlds fear things, is the knowledge of the dark forest
At this time, Evans told the three-body world, Lord, I told you not necessarily the truth, we earth people have a talent called a lie.
This sentence to the three body scared almost dehydrated. Now there are two people on the planet know how to kill us, there is a set of equipment to kill us
So the three-body world chose to abandon ETO, Three-body world after 20 minutes of silence, expressed his fear, and then to Evans death, no longer and he said a word.

Jessica Izaguirre (sweetji) | 120 comments Finally finished this book over the weekend. What a ride this trilogy has been! and Death's End gave it a nice ending. Many times I had to put down the book to digest what was happening, the deterrence era ending with an attack, Trisolaris being destroyed, the solar system falling in 2D. Liu wrote so many versions of the human race in this book so beautifully, I am fascinated with the world he created and then showed us how it would be destroyed.

As many here, I'm also sad about Yun Tiaming and Cheng Xin not meeting, I would've loved to know more about Yun Tiaming's life and how he came up with the fairy tales, which are also a favorite part for me.

message 22: by Marc (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marc (monkeelino) | 2590 comments Mod
Kindle version of this is currently on sale via Amazon U.S. for $2.99.

Adddi | 2 comments No Hugo awards? Are you serious???

Whitney | 2088 comments Mod
If you mean for Death's End, it's hard to quibble with The Obelisk Gate winning. Tough competition, for sure.

message 25: by Peter (last edited Sep 24, 2017 02:04PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Peter Aronson (peteraronson) | 516 comments What a wild ride! (I particularly like the explanation for all those rolled up dimensions in string theory.)

The granddaddy of the sort of time- and universe-spanning SF represented by the Three-Body-Problem trilogy -- particularly Death's End -- is most likely Olaf Stapledon, although his antique prose style can be tiresome for modern readers. Asimov's Foundation trilogy isn't really a good comparison -- Stephen Baxter's Xeelee Sequence or Charles Sheffield's Between The Strokes Of Night have similar elements, although earlier works, such as the final volume of James Blish's Cities in Flight sequence or Poul Anderson's Tau Zero also showed Stapledon's and modern physics' influence.

message 26: by Andy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Andy Dremeaux Everyone is talking about disappointment of Yun not meeting Cheng, but I was more disappointed that the Trisolarans completely disappeared from the story halfway through, never to return. I found the creation of this race and the imagination of their cataclysmic world and their incredible technology to be most enveloping—and horrifying—part of the trilogy. The imagination of the three sun solar system, the sophons, the droplet, and then their strangehold on earth's people for a brief period of time was brilliant.

This all preceded in earnest until the broadcast, and then the book got stuck it a pretty bad lull in the bunker area, where technology was returned largely to a point before the story even began, and the hyper-future sci fi roots the series was based on disappeared in a dull schlep to place humans in rotating cylinders and puzzle out how everything would work.

Thankfully this was recovered in the last 100 pages, with the brilliant "what if?" imaginings of the distant future and infinite technologic prowess of intelligence once again brought to the fore. Still, it makes me sad we never got to know anything more about the trisolarans besides what was revealed in the first book.

Marsyao | 4 comments Andy wrote: "Everyone is talking about disappointment of Yun not meeting Cheng, but I was more disappointed that the Trisolarans completely disappeared from the story halfway through, never to return. I found t..."

The reason for this is, if we got to actually see Trisolarans, then Liu Cixin would have to describe alien race and their society in detail, this is something he does not want to do.

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