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The Three-Body Problem (Remembrance of Earth’s Past #1)
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This is the discussion for our chosen Contemporary SF/F Novel read for January:


The Three-Body Problem (Three Body, #1) by Liu Cixin The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin (translated by Ken Liu)


Michael | 28 comments Up and running on this now. I'm about a quarter of the way through and enjoying it so far.


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I just finished Three-Body Problem last night. I'm just going to ramble some initial, non-spoiler first impressions:

The novel was written in 2008, won major Chinese SF awards, and has been translated in English by prolific Chinese-American short story author Ken Liu, and published in the US a few months ago (Nov 2014). The publisher describes it as incredibly popular in its homeland.

It's a contemporary science fiction story set in China, with some of the background dating back to Mao's Cultural Revolution of the late 60's (a government-sanctioned effort, led mostly by the young, to purge remnants of capitalistic culture.) The bulk of the story takes place in the present day or near future.

That makes the setting interesting in its own right. A lot of the background information, while not at all sci-fi, is still fascinating, at least for me. Most of our English contemporary sci-fi gets set in the US or Britain (of course), and this is naturally said in China. Liu has added a bunch of footnote explanations when appropriate (they are tappable and the Kindle.)

Some of the storytelling techniques are a little different than our usual Western expectations as well. I'll be a little more specific with my impressions of that as the discussion moves along, so I don't accidentally drop some spoilers early on.


message 4: by Xdyj (last edited Jan 31, 2015 09:34PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Xdyj | 418 comments I read this several years ago in Chinese. I love the part set during the cultural revolution, but I'm not sure if I am a fan its two sequals which gave me an impression that the author wanted to do hard science fiction but did not do sufficient research on the "science".


message 5: by Ben (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 430 comments I am about 1/3rd through the book and glad there are already some posts so I dont need to do any introducing. It is quite a hard book to discribe in that the book feels a little like a slow burn where you are slowly fitting in what is going on any why and unfortunately I have read some spoilery reviews and dont want to spoil anyones discovery of the story.

I think Xdyj's perspectives will be very interesting as not only has he read it in its original language but possibly he has read other contemporary Chinese SF which will help put it in its context and shed further light on the book.

I am enjoying it thus far although I am struggling to care about the characters and the writing (as translated) is mainly functional rather than anything interesting in itself. As yet I am neither interested in or care about the characters but what is keeping me going is that this book has a very different feel to others I have read which I think is that it is written by a Chinese novelist rather than a western writer using a chinese setting without it feeling authentic. I also am enjoying the slow unferling of the mystery elements but will need to read more to say more.

I have read some of Ken Liu's translations of short stories and enjoyed all the ones that I have read although I am not sure I love him as a translator except in the sense that few others are doing translations of chinese SF at the moment.


Xdyj | 418 comments I haven't really read much contemporary Chinese sf or contemporary Chinese literature in general since high school.


Mlhs | 2 comments Xdyj wrote: "I read this several years ago in Chinese. I love the part set during the cultural revolution, but I'm not exactly a fan of its two sequals which gave me an impression that the author wanted to do h..."

I guess you are not a sci-fi fan. You are just curious about politics such as the cultural revolution. I would say you lost the most beautiful part of this trilogy. The cultural revolution is not the setting of this trilogy. It is the setting of the setting! You bought a pearl, but only keep its casket.


Bryan | 251 comments I really liked this book. I realize most of the SF/fantasy I read is set in the US or something like medieval western Europe, and it's refreshing to read a book set in Asia and during an time which I want to know more about.
I'm really bad with names; I swear the author had characters called "King Wen of Zhou" and "King Zhou of Shang" just to confuse me :)

Like Ben I liked how the story unfolds slowly; I think it's a shame that the book's description (even here on GR) tells too much (I'm admittedly a spoilerphobe).

I find it a little sad that a book that seems to be so successful in China had to wait for 6 years to be translated to English. Now I'm glad it was translated, but I wonder how many books we may never enjoy simply because they were not translated.


message 9: by Ben (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 430 comments Translated SF is not new and existed before we really had any sort of concept of genre with Jules Verne being an obvious example of early SF translated from French as is We although that is probably read more without the SF community than within.

I do find it interesting to get at reasons why this book Three Body Problem has got such a lot of buzz about it whereas some other recently translated titles have fallen off the radar. For instance:-

The Man with the Compound Eyes Tiwanese SF
The Stories of Ibis Japanese SF
يوتوبيا Utopia - Egyptian SF
Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City Chinese SF
Self-Reference ENGINE Japanese SF
Tainaron: Mail from Another City Weird Finnish Fantasy


Also although they could be seen as short stories collections (which rarely get buzz anyway) but Squaring the Circle: A Pseudotreatise of Urbogony Fantastic Tales orKalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was or There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby got only a few reviews and little buzz.

I suppose The Fat Years 2009 Chinese SF got a little buzz about it but not as much as Three-body problem. In part this will be because other translations did not have such a major publisher of SF behind them with such a high profile translator but still it is significant. It might also be significant that this seems to be an example of Clarke-influenced SF which might appeal more to a mainstream genre community than the weirder works of writers such as Tidbeck, Gorodischer, and Petrushevskaya



http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/11/boo...
Is an interesting article contextualising the novel which does not really spoil anything but highlights the writers love and influence of Arthur C Clarke “Everything that I write is a clumsy imitation of Arthur C. Clarke,”


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Ben wrote: "It is quite a hard book to describe in that the book feels a little like a slow burn where you are slowly fitting in what is going on any why and unfortunately I have read some spoilery reviews and dont want to spoil anyones discovery of the story...."

Bryan wrote: "Like Ben I liked how the story unfolds slowly; I think it's a shame that the book's description (even here on GR) tells too much (I'm admittedly a spoilerphobe)...."

Agree, even the book description, as seen everywhere (Goodreads, Amazon, B&N; provided by the publisher I presume), gives away far too much. The early going is clearly trying to create a central mystery whose origin isn't revealed till halfway through the novel (and the mechanism even later.) Not sure what Tor was thinking when they wrote that blurb.

I had somehow managed to avoid reading that until after I started reading the book, until I used Goodreads to shelve it, at which point it was really still too early for me, even though i was already 1/3 through the book.


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Xdyj wrote: "I'm not exactly a fan of its two sequels..."

The English translated version of the sequel, The Dark Forest, is scheduled for publishing July, 2015, so for most of us the judgment is out on that. :)


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Ben wrote: "Translated SF is not new and existed before we really had any sort of concept of genre..."

There's actually a noticeable body of translated Japanese sci-fi/fantasy novels (not to mention manga, as you know) that are more an offshoot of the popularity anime/manga/gaming circles of greater fandom than among staid old SF lit fen.

Russian SF novelist Stanisław Lem had a flurry of SF popularity that extended to the mainstream literati back in the 70's.


Ben wrote: "I do find it interesting to get at reasons why this book Three Body Problem has got such a lot of buzz about it whereas some other recently translated titles have fallen off the radar. ..."

I think you've identified the two top reasons for the buzz:

Ken Liu has a substantial following among SF lit fen. (Certainly Ken Liu's name on the book cover is a big differentiator for me. It's almost like a friend recommended the book.) And because he's reasonably well-known, he can do the promotional blog/podcast circuit on behalf of the book.

And the publisher, Tor, has a very big megaphone. (In terms of online SF fan exposure, only Baen even comes close.)

It may also help that the book is interesting, but it's the first two points, I think, that caused it to reach the Tipping Point.


Bryan | 251 comments "Translated SF is not new and existed before we really had any sort of concept of genre with Jules Verne being an obvious example of early SF translated from French as is We although that is probably read more without the SF community than within."

Of course. I was jsut surprised to see that this book, which seems to be one of the most popular Chinese sf book in recent years, was written so long ago and only just translated. I thought we had made progress since, for instance, Stanislaw Lem's time; then again I should have remembered it still take years for some british books to be published in the US.

From the works you cite I heard quite a bit about The self-reference engine though I've not read it yet, and not at all about the others.
Your reasons why this particular book is talked-about (big publisher, famous translator, Clarke-inspired) make a lot of sense. Also I remember it being featured on Scalzi's blog, which might have helped.


Bryan | 251 comments G33z3r wrote: "Russian SF novelist Stanisław Lem had a flurry of SF popularity that extended to the mainstream literati back in the 70's."

Funny how we both thought of him when discussing successful foreign authors :) He was Polish, though.


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Bryan wrote: "G33z3r wrote: "Russian SF novelist Stanisław Lem had a flurry of SF popularity that extended to the mainstream literati back in the 70's."

He was Polish, though. ..."


Ooops.

Great minds think alike; and so do ours? :)


message 16: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 22, 2015 07:58AM) (new)

Back to the actual book...

Ben wrote: "I am enjoying it thus far although I am struggling to care about the characters ..."

I had this impression, too. Most of the characters lack distinctive traits. They seem to exist primarily as plot delivery devices rather than real people. (Which is not to say they don't have different views, they just seem very one-dimensional representations of those views.) Wang Miao seems to be confronted with a very creepy mystery, but he never seems to react with goosebumps; we don't really know anything about him other than he is a researcher in nanomaterial (a task which we never actually see him performing) and doesn't have a family or girlfriend or really any social ties that might interfere with his role in the plot.

Shi Qiang (Da Shi) is the exception; he's the rude, insensitive, cigar-chomping bull in a china shop :) (He reminds me a bit of the Tansy character in our discussion of Parasite last year, the "thank the gods someone will little personality came along!" relief valve.


message 17: by Ben (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 430 comments I have not read much Clarke (possibly not any although I think I might have read a short story or two) but I understand he was not known for his characters and equally it might not be what is important to Cixin - also his story is bigger than any character or characters but rather about a big event (and I am not far enough in it to know spoilery reviews aside) what that big event is so in a way if there was lots of character development or characterisations it might get in the way of the story he was trying to tell.

This is partly why I am so drawn to character-driven narratives because if I care about the characters I can forgive any deficiencies in the writing or plotting but if I dont care (or am interested at least) about the characters then it is harder to focus my energies on the plot or "ideas" that are going on.

Unlike Bryan I often have no issues with spoilers - with my ME I have a terrible short term memory and poor concentration so reading what is going on in plot summaries etc often enables me to enjoy something more - however in this novel there is such a slow build of tension that if you dont know what is going on is tense and if you know... well it detracts from it.

I think everyone has done a commendable job of keeping this spoiler light thus far.

It is also really interesting to see a couple of chinese perspectives on the book - hopefully we will get more (whether from the same readers or others) during the course of these discussions.

As Poland was so heavily under the influence and control of the USSR around the time Lem was doing much of his writing I think getting Russia and Poland mixed up is pretty understandable.

I kind of think 6 years for a translation is not too bad - It takes time to see how popular a book is, it takes time to get advance copies out to reviewers (often 6 months ahead of publication) etc. We are only just now getting translations of work by some of the other writers I mentioned although they were written decades ago in some cases. I do think though that both the short fiction magazines actively experimenting with publishing translated chinese SF and the positive reception by readers of this helped to get this novel published quicker and with a greater profile than might have otherwise been the case.


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Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 430 comments I am over half way through the book and was interested in the use of the Monte Carlo method. One of my best friends is a mathematical physisist and pretty much all the research he does is utilising the Monte Carlo method although more for looking at semi solids and Graphine and stuff like that. I have also used it myself when exploring and quantifying business risk. There is a very enjoyable (for me) book about using Monte Carlo for business risk How to Measure Everything which probably no-one else reading this will find interesting but I did.

Not totally 100% sure i by someone trying to do monte carlo by hand to address the three body problem but it is not that big a jump I suppose.


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Ben wrote: "I am over half way through the book and was interested in the use of the Monte Carlo method. One of my best friends is a mathematical physisist and pretty much all the research he does is utilisin..."

I did like the concept of the "human computer", with groups of soldiers formed into logic gates.


message 20: by Ben (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 430 comments Me too G33z3r.

I am finding the whole book strangely compelling and am often eager to read just one more chapter in a sitting.

Other than the stuff about the three body problem there is not as much science in this than I was somehow expecting but the science is pretty well expressed and explained.


message 21: by Mlhs (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mlhs | 2 comments Ben wrote: "I think Xdyj's perspectives will be very interesting as not only has he read it in its original language but possibly he has read other contemporary Chinese SF which will help put it in its context and shed further light on the book...."

Some of Cixin Liu short novels have been translated to English and are available at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline....

IMO, these short novels are very good and I recommend all of them. It is hard to say what the style of Cixin Liu is, except that his exceptional imagination.

If have to select two of them, I recommend Mountain and The Wandering Earth, because the themes of them are similar to Three Body Problem's: how a civilization evolves (Mountain), and how to survive before solar level disaster (The Wandering Eart). But the background and solution is totally different from Three Body Problem.


Bryan | 251 comments The fact that the characters mostly existed for the plot did not bother me, as I enjoy plot-driven stories when I like the ideas (I did like the rude, smart cop, though).


G33z3r wrote: "I did like the concept of the "human computer", with groups of soldiers formed into logic gates. "

I had to chuckle when he described human CPUs and buses, and a hard drive made of guys whith notebooks :)

I got a little lost when (view spoiler) that make such a powerful weapon, but I can go with it and I'm interested in reading the next books.


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Bryan wrote: "I got a little lost when (spoiler removed) that make such a powerful weapon, but I can go with it ..."

Yeah, me too. This was right near the end of the book, so I was putting off mentioning it while others are still reading, but it started feeling a bit like magic. But I, too, can get past that.


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Mlhs wrote: "Some of Cixin Liu short novels have been translated to English and are available at Amazon
If have to select two of them, I recommend Mountain and The Wandering Earth, "


I picked up Cixin's The Wandering Earth collection from Amazon last July when it was a freebie, but it's been sitting on my Kindle with a bunch of other anthologies I have only just barely started. (The number of partially read anthologies on my Kindle is daunting.)


message 25: by Ben (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 430 comments I got The Wandering Earth ages ago as well but not got round to it. I am also swimming in short fiction to read between ebook anthologies, online stories I have put on my Kindle etc. But it does mean I will always have plenty of great reading at my finger tips whatever mood I am in.


message 26: by Ben (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 430 comments OK - Having read book 1 or being a good chunk into it is this a series you will stick with? Are you going to rush out and read the second and third books as soon as they come out?

I will dip into a free kindle sample of the second one if only to check how another translator handles it (third one is by Ken Liu again) but on the fence about whether I will go any further. There are just so many other books I am excited about reading.


message 27: by Ben (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 430 comments Some more questions to throw at people - Has this inspired you to check out more (or less) books in translation? If so which ones?

After some palate clensers I fancy checking out The Man with the Compound Eyes, The Corpse Exhibition: And Other Stories of Iraq, Aurorarama, It Came from the North: An Anthology of Finnish Speculative Fiction, Trafalgar and some Leena Krohn.


Michael | 28 comments I enjoyed this. It certainly felt quite different to anything else I've ever read. I found some of the tonal shifts quite odd - (view spoiler), but overall it was a good read.

I probably will pick up the second book, I'm going to be interested to see where Liu takes the story. (view spoiler),


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Michael wrote: "I found some of the tonal shifts quite odd ..."

One of the shifts in the narration that I found unusual (not sure if it's a Liu Cixin trait or a more general Chinese literary style) is how the backstory is filled in. There are a couple of spots where a character will relate something from the past E.g., (view spoiler) that resulted in full third-person omnipotent point of view flashbacks instead of the first person limited PoV I would have expected at those points. (view spoiler)


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Ben wrote: "I will dip into a free kindle sample of the second one if only to check how another translator handles it (third one is by Ken Liu again) but on the fence about whether I will go any further. ..."

I think I'm about where you are.

I had a sort of yo-yo relationship with the story. I liked the early going, if only for the unusual setting and developing mystery. When we first got to the 3body VR game world, I thought the whole "chaotic period" thing was crazy; but then the author explained it quite satisfactorily. Then late in the novel, (view spoiler) But maybe the author has a good explanation for that, too, if I just have the trust to keep reading. Wouldn't be the first time I've wrinkled my nose at something in a story that the author then came back and made me feel foolish for not figuring it out myself.

I hadn't noticed the change in translator. My initial reaction is that it's not such a great idea to change translators in the middle of a series. I assume Ken Liu was too busy to meet the publishers schedule, but there are enough choices a translator can make that consistency might've been the better choice.


message 31: by Ben (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 430 comments Lui is back doing the third one G33z3r and I think both are out this year so he was probably working on the third one...well that and lots of short story writing, novel writing, I think he has another job as well.

There is quite a long history of narration with narrations and the most obvious example to me is Arabian Nights/ Book of a Thousand Nigths and One Night in which you can get a tale within a tale within a tale within a tale sometimes up to 5 or 6 tales deep.

In the Chinese tradition I am less sure although I know The Dream of the Red Chamber one of the four classic early works of Chinese Literature (18th Century) does feature a frame story which this type of narration could be seen as a development from. Incidently I have read chunks of this, really liked it and even considered nominating this or one of the other classical Chinese works for this group (which the series of Monkey and The Water Margin were based) but think they are all too long, too challenging to read and too unlikely to have mainstream SF reading group appeal.

Aside from the Chinese tradition it is something I have seen quite a bit but more in "literary fiction" than SF.

As for the book as a whole some of the comments said with spoilers I agreed with. They were turn offs for me, particularly in the context for a narrative that is focussed on the "big picture" and ideas when there are flaws in the ideas or parts of the dots or steps that I cannot put together it makes it harder to love the book.

I had mixed feelings about the tonal shifts - it was jerky and not always smooth but it kept me turning the pages and reading whereas without this I might well have got bored and stopped.

Overall for me the pluses outweighted the negatives and I am very glad I read it. It all felt quite different from my normal fare with its different setting, interesting ideas and perspectives and narrative drive although didnt inspire me to go and search out more Clarke influenced big idea SF.


Andreas Finished it and I'm glad I read it.

It dives a bit too deep into the material with large, pedantic, boring info-dumps, reading like a more prosaic version of Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid.
Some ideas don't work too well - I found the game and how people are motivated and participated not very convincing showing a somewhat inexperienced understanding of gaming society by the author.

In fact, it is an over-long exposition to the trilogy with Ye Wenjie as the only strong character.
It is different, because of the Chinese background instead of the usual Anglo-American. It contains several intellectual interesting ideas.
But it is not an awesome fun read.


message 33: by Ben (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 430 comments Surprised slightly by how much in agreement we generally seem to be at least of those of us who read it and have commented on it. We all seem glad to have read it but have had very similar issues with it.


message 34: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 31, 2015 06:25AM) (new)

Andreas wrote: "It dives a bit too deep into the material with large, pedantic, boring info-dumps, reading like a more prosaic version of Gödel, Escher, Bach..."

I'm not sure I felt I was being given an info-dump, I rather enjoyed the description of the three body problem and also the use of manpower to mimic a modern digital computer, and I thought the various flashbacks (by Ye Wenjie twice and once from the data on the Judgment Day) were decent enough sub-stories on their own. With the exception of my previously noted concerns about the "magic" superscience injected by the latter.)


Andreas wrote: "I found the game and how people are motivated and participated not very convincing showing a somewhat inexperienced understanding of gaming society by the author...."

I think the narrator explained that some point that since the 3body game was rather abstracted esoteric, it didn't attract a lot of traditional gamers. I thought it rather like the Kryptos puzzle, of interest only to a very specialized few. (BTW, I only just got around to checking that 3body.com was a real website, though since it's in Chinese I have no idea what it says :)

The thing about 3body's "game culture" that I found puzzling was at the in-real-life meet up. There the organizers state (view spoiler) and everyone at the meeting just seems to accept this as expected fact. These guys are supposed to be scientists. Whatever happened to "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof"? Shouldn't one of the questions be, "what's the evidence?"

Later that same face-to-face meeting, a couple of attendees are expelled from the game for not having the proper mindset, (view spoiler). One might think that after revealing their big secret and then aggravating those ejected players, at least one what have gone blabbing to the media or on blogs or something.

There seems to be an assumption that the 3body game acts as an Excalibur test, selecting just the kinds of people they need for their secret society. Not sure I buy that. (For the record, even though I killed the archdemon, I'm not really ready to drink Darkspawn blood. :)


message 35: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 31, 2015 06:32AM) (new)

The Three-Body Problem (p. 335): "I once handled a robbery where the criminals managed to steal one car out of a moving train. They reconnected the cars before and after the one they were interested in so that the train got all the way to its destination without anyone noticing." - Da Shin

I just want to mention that this was an episode of Banacek (1972).


message 36: by Ben (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 430 comments Thats before I was even born G33z3r!


message 37: by Eric (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eric (ErictheKing) | 9 comments Bryan wrote: "I'm really bad with names; I swear the author had characters called "King Wen of Zhou" and "King Zhou of Shang" just to confuse me :)"

funny. But actually the two "Zhou"s are different Chinese characters and even the pronounciation is different in Chinese. I think it will always be a challenge for translators when they translate Chinese nouns.


message 38: by Eric (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eric (ErictheKing) | 9 comments G33z3r wrote: "Xdyj wrote: "I'm not exactly a fan of its two sequels..."

The English translated version of the sequel, The Dark Forest, is scheduled for publishing July, 2015, so for most of us t..."


Do not read!
Do not read!!
Do not read!!!


message 39: by Eric (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eric (ErictheKing) | 9 comments G33z3r wrote: "I did like the concept of the "human computer", with groups of soldiers formed into logic gates. "

As you can see in the sequels. The human computer way of communication actually exists in Trisolarians and is really an important feature in their culture. I cannot say more...


Sadie Forsythe | 8 comments G33z3r wrote: "I had this impression, too. Most of the characters lack distinctive traits. They seem to exist primarily as plot delivery devices rather than real people. (Which is not to say they don't have different views, they just seem very one-dimensional representations of those views.)"

This was my main complaint with the book. I liked some of them, Da Shi especially. But no one, not even the main character or Ye Weing (who I would argue is the most important character) seemed to have much depth to them at all.


message 41: by Eric (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eric (ErictheKing) | 9 comments Actually, the first book was first published in 2006 in a SF journal and it became a book in 2008, the 2nd and 3rd book were published in 2008 and 2010, respectively.


message 42: by Eric (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eric (ErictheKing) | 9 comments Ben wrote: "OK - Having read book 1 or being a good chunk into it is this a series you will stick with? Are you going to rush out and read the second and third books as soon as they come out?

I will dip into..."


After finishing the first book, I think it may be interesting to read the 2nd one. But after read the 2nd book, I immediately want the 3rd one.


message 43: by Eric (last edited Jan 31, 2015 03:29PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eric (ErictheKing) | 9 comments G33z3r wrote: "Andreas wrote: "It dives a bit too deep into the material with large, pedantic, boring info-dumps, reading like a more prosaic version of Gödel, Escher, Bach..."

I'm not sure I felt I was being gi..."


The 3body.com used to be another website. But since a company is going to shoot a movie based on the triology, they bought the site and made an official forum for the movies and books. As a Chinese, I don't trust Chinese movie makers. But what you are gonna do? As good as the "ender's game" movie would be more than satisfying for me (although I know fans of "ender's game" are not satisfied with the movie).


message 44: by Eric (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eric (ErictheKing) | 9 comments Sadie wrote: "G33z3r wrote: "I had this impression, too. Most of the characters lack distinctive traits. They seem to exist primarily as plot delivery devices rather than real people. (Which is not to say they d..."

you are absolutely right. Ye haunts the whole triology and is a nightmare not only for humans, but for Trisolarians, although she has died long ago. Most of the characters in book 1 is abandoned in book 2 and 3.


message 45: by Eric (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eric (ErictheKing) | 9 comments can anyone tell me how to label part of my discussion as "spoilers"? thanks.


message 46: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 31, 2015 05:45PM) (new)

Eric wrote: "can anyone tell me how to label part of my discussion as "spoilers"? thanks."

Sure thing, Eric. You need to add an html-like "spoiler" tag pair around the spoiler text, <spoiler> to start and </spoiler> at the end.

It will look like this when you type it:

<spoiler>Soylent Green is people!</spoiler>

When it's displayed, it'll look like this:

(view spoiler)

By the way, if you look above the comment entry box, you'll see a small-text "(some html is ok)" link, and if you click that, it'll pop-up a small reminder of what HTML tags Goodreads allows.


message 47: by Eric (last edited Jan 31, 2015 06:22PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eric (ErictheKing) | 9 comments Thanks a lot, (view spoiler)!(*^__^*)


Michael | 28 comments Soylent Green....
Nooo.....


Michael | 28 comments Ben wrote: "Translated SF is not new and existed before we really had any sort of concept of genre with Jules Verne being an obvious example of early SF translated from French as is We although th..."

And Ben, thanks for the leads on other translated SF. Some of these look amazing.


message 50: by Ben (new) - rated it 3 stars

Ben Rowe (benwickens) | 430 comments The experience of reading this mirrored a little with my experiences reading all of Lauriat: A Filipino-Chinese Speculative Fiction Anthology and dipping into AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers in that the dominance of US(and to a lesser extent UK) SF writers and works is apparent in terms of influences so whilst I was looking for something very different I got something, different yes but at the same time strangely familiar.

This is in no way a problem with the books but rather with my expectations. I have found some other works such as There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby and Jagannath to have more distinctive local influences as have some other stories translated by Ken Liu. I think though the very elements that make it familiar and accessible in part are why The Three-Body Problem got the promotion and buzz in its translated form.

I do appreciate with Three body that Ken Liu has done a lot to rewrite the book to a more western audience and that there are quite a lot of linguistic aspects of the original text that show and are formed by Chinese Literal influences (as Liu explained on the Coode Street podcast and other places when talking about translating) but those do not make it (as far as I could read) to the English language version of the novel.

Still though I like the idea of reading something that whilst SF was SF grown more substantially from cultural and genre traditions from with which I am not familiar. One of the reasons I have enjoyed so much weird and horror fiction recently is that it is working from and grown out of different literary works and traditions than I was all that familiar with so it has felt fresher to me as a result.


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