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The Three Body Problem > TTBP: Late to the party! (expect spoilers)

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message 1: by John (Taloni) (last edited Jan 31, 2017 08:52AM) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 3828 comments So this month I got involved in a 900 page Peter Hamilton book, followed by Babylon's Ashes. Just got into TTBP a few days ago.

So far, pretty good. It has my interest. About a quarter of the way in.

A few thoughts:

* I'm surprised the author was allowed to write so candidly about the Cultural Revolution. Didn't think the Chinese government had become that open.

* Not sure if Cixin is going towards "the universe is a simulation" theory with the microwave radiation winking. I wondered, randomly, if the reason the aliens are messing with the scientists is because further discoveries might disrupt that simulation.

* The premise with the scientists reminds me of an Asimov story where aliens kept the level of technology for humanity low, forcing wars and causing scientists to go mad and kill themselves. The resolution there was that one scientist managed to get through and design force fields for cities, thus averting the damage caused by nuclear bombs and leading to humanity's survival as a technological species. Since I've seen elsewhere that older SF stories are just coming into China recently, perhaps Cixin was inspired by this story.

message 2: by Tobias (last edited Jan 31, 2017 11:39AM) (new)

Tobias Langhoff (tobiasvl) | 136 comments I also wondered about the first point. Here's what Ken Liu had to say about it:

I won't spoil anything regarding your theory, but I will say that when I read the parts with the radiation winking and the scientists, I thought man, what even is this? How will this be explained? It is explained, though, and those early parts (when revealed later) reminded me of the Arthur C. Clarke quote: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

message 3: by John (Taloni) (last edited Feb 02, 2017 08:28AM) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 3828 comments About 75% of the way in now. More impressions:

* I find the idea that Wang was the only one to solve the first part of the video game to be a bit silly. The game is called "Three Body" fer chrissakes!

* I continue to be amazed at how much criticism of the Cultural Revolution is allowed. Ye was so dehumanized by what happened to her that she gladly condemned the entirety of humanity to enslavement, killing her husband in the process. That's not just China, that includes other areas of the world of which she seemed to think well - for instance, the Western institutions of learning.

* Ye's mom is a piece of work. I'm unsure what I'm supposed to take away here. That the fear that the Cultural Revolution engendered caused her to act that way? That she's a political animal, always seeking advantage? Or that Ye related more to her dad, leaving the mom still jealous? Or perhaps all three are true.

* The Alpha Centauri reveal was pretty obvious, once you get to the idea that the planet does well or poorly depending on where it is in its orbit in a three-sun system. I continue to find it odd how frequently SF authors use the Centauri system. Asimov did in his later Foundation books, Mary Doria Russell did in The Sparrow / Children of God, now this book. At least TTBP acknowledges that the system is inimical to life.

* The use of science throughout the book is really quite excellent. I loved the idea of the Sun as a transmitter.

* How did the aliens decipher our language? I would think that would require extensive interaction. One message should not have been enough.

message 4: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 3828 comments Oh, and one other: Because of the video game aspect spilling over into the real world, I had a chuckle thinking "perhaps this is the first LitRPG story from China!"

message 5: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8049 comments John (Taloni) wrote: "About 75% of the way in now. More impressions:

* I find the idea that Wang was the only one to solve the first part of the video game to be a bit silly. The game is called "Three Body" fer chriss..."

He's not. I don't know when it's revealed but other people playing are further along than he is.

message 6: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 3828 comments I just can't shake the feeling that the whole Trisolaran thing is a put on. Or at least major parts of it. But who would do such a thing? Who could?

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