Saturday, February 4, 2017

Cixin Liu, The Three-Body Problem

On the recommendation of our ex-President, I checked The Three-Body Problem (2006, English translation 2014) out of my library. It's excellent science fiction, with a good story, clever use of contemporary technology, and some fun speculation beyond the edge of science as we know it. There's even one memorable character. The plot unfolds from ignorance to understanding, so I won't say much about it, but it held my attention from first to last.

One thing that struck me was how important memories of the Cultural Revolution still are in China. Cixin Liu was born in 1963, so he can't remember the horrors of that time, but in his story those events turn out to be crucial to the future of the human race. I think that was no random act; I have the impression that for many Chinese people, the Cultural Revolution was a taste of what the end of civilization would be like.

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