Tenshot: The Three Body Problem Trilogy
I recently read this trilogy by Chinese science fiction author Cixin Liu:
- It is actually called the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy, but I’ve never heard anyone call it that. Instead it is referred to by the name of the first book.
- While the term “out of context problem” was coined by Iain M Banks, this series does a better job of describing one from the sharp end than any other I have read.
- This is one of the hardest sci-fi series I have read in a long time. There is a lot of physics in these books, and it explores science concepts I haven’t seen in other works of sci-fi before.
- It also covers a lot of social science concepts – game theory and collective action problems play an important part in the series.
- The characters are a lot thinner than you tend to get in modern sci-fi, they’re mostly archetypes that help drive the plot along.
- Points 3 to 5 make this series feel more like the work of Clarke or Asimov than a modern author.
- This series is dark. The Chinese Cultural Revolution is a big part of book one (that’s not a spoiler, this will become obvious immediately), and it gets darker from there.
- The series has a cynical view of most people – portraying them as either fickle, stupid or compassionate in a profoundly unhelpful way.
- The most heroic (or at least effective) characters in the series are those who see the world very differently to everyone else – people who are seen as immoral or even crazy by those around them.
- All said, I heartily recommend this series to fans of science fiction, or idea-oriented fiction in general.
Image Credit: Traditional Pawnbroker symbol by Stannerd (Public Domain Image)