by Cixin Liu
by Cixin Liu (translated by Ken Liu)
Death’s End brings the “Remembrance of Earth’s Past” trilogy to a climactic and unexpected conclusion. The vision of this series is staggering. Cixin takes his readers on a journey to the ends of the universe via some rather dramatic shifts in scenery and time.
Taking up where The Dark Forest left off, Earth is in a standoff with the Trisolaran’s Keeping the upper hand is not going to be easy and complacency threatens. Enter Chang Xin, an imaginative aerospace engineer recently awoken from hibernation. She is one of many who bring knowledge and insight from the twenty-first century in the hope of securing mankind’s future.
What follows is an insightful view of human frailties and strengths. Through several periods of hibernation, young Cheng finds herself at the centre of the human race’s unfolding story. Reluctantly she becomes a catalyst for change and a powerful figure in the race for answers to the ultimate challenge of survival in a universe where we are surrounded by enemies.
Death’s End is not an easy read. The science is challenging and the twist and turns of the plot are a little unnerving at times, but the narrative and characters drive the story forward at a relentless pace.
As a conclusion to the series, it is all I had expected and more. It is clever, insightful, enjoyable and thought-provoking. Is it the ending I was expecting? No, not at all. And right up to the very end I had no idea where the story was going.
There is a lot of story packed into its 700+ pages, so be sure UI is ready for the long haul.
As for the series as a whole, it is quite spectacular in its scope and delivery. It is a long time since I have read anything with the same breadth and intensity. Remembrance of Earth’s Past is a visionary epic that deserves a place on the list of sci-fi classics. Cixin Liu is a visionary who I am sure we are going to see more from in the future.
by Cixin Liu
In the second of CixiinLiu’s Remembrance Of Earth’s Past trilogy, we find ourselves facing humanity’s end. The Trisolarian fleet is heading our way and it seems that the outcome of the ensuing conflict is in little doubt. With their extra-dimensional agents watching our every move and effectively putting a halt to scientific progress, humanity looks set to pay the ultimate price for being foolish enough to make its existence known. In a universe full of predators the best way to ensure survival to remain hidden. By contacting the Trisolarians humanity had made a seemingly fatal mistake.
Like the opening book of the series (The Three-Body Problem), although Dark Forest is global in scope, the book’s focus is, not surprisingly, from the Chinese point of view.
The story spans 200 years with the main characters popping in and out of hibernation. But rather than being used as a convenient vehicle to help cover issues with the plot, it is an important part of the narrative.
Dark Forest is a clever, intense and very well-told story. There is a lot of speculative science and interesting philosophical debate throughout the book as well as some very interiguing characters and one of the most imaginative plots I have read in years. The book never drifts too far from what might realistically be possible in the near future it portrays.
Cixin Liu has proven himself to be one of the best science fiction visionaries of his generation. His depiction of the first contact between Earth and Trisolarian technologies is quite gripping and totally unexpected. His characters are well defined and engaging.
The Dark Forest continues with the same intensity and imagination as The Three-Body Problem and I am looking forward to reading the final instalment in this gripping trilogy.
by Cixin Liu
Translation by Ken Liu
Before going any further I need to make one thing clear – the three bodies referred to in the title are celestial rather than biological. That said though, there is a reasonably large number of the later scattered through this very gripping and imaginative book.
I also have to say that when I purchased the book I was not aware that it was the opening volley in a trilogy. At the time I was looking for a stand-alone Sci-Fi novel by a modern author. That may sound a relatively simple thing to do but like so many things these days, it is not as easy as it seems. Science Fiction shelves of bookshops I visit seems o have more zombie and vampire stories that traditional Sci-Fi and those I do find are part of ever-growing series. I am starting to feel very nostalgic for the good old days.
But enough of that, what about this Three-Body Problem? The story begins in 1967 at the beginning of China’s Cultural Revolution. I have to admit to being ignorant of the events of the period – Chinese history has never been high on the school curriculum and it is something that I have only ever come across references to. This is the first time I have read anything that deals with the events and looks at their implications. It is not long before the bodies begin to pile up and the characters that drive the story to emerge.
The three bodies in question are three suns. Their orbits are erratic and unpredictable, hence the problem – how does a civilization survive the extremes created by its orbit around these bodies?
The answer is: with difficulty which is why there are looking beyond their own system for a new home. Then one day, due to events precipitated by the Cultural Revolution, their prayers are answered. What follows is one of the most imaginative and compelling science fiction stories I have read in years. The science behind this tale is second only to Cixin Liu’s natural storytelling.
I have to say that The Three-Body Problem is not only a great piece of fiction, it also taught me a little about an important historical period I knew nothing about. I do have to say that I was very grateful for the List of Characters helpfully added at the beginning of the book. Without it would have struggled to keep track of the characters. Not there are a lot of them, I just found myself struggling with the Chinese names.
Although I was looking for a stand-alone book, I am not in any disappointed to started on this particular trilogy. I am looking forward to reading the rest.