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The Three-Body Problem trilogy was phenomenal

The Three-Body Problem trilogy was phenomenal

As far as must-read sci-fi series go, Remembrance of Earth’s Past is one you must read in your lifetime.

SerfaSam

A couple of weeks ago I read the final page of Death’s End, the last of three books in the Remembrance of Earth’s Past series, more commonly referred to as the Three-Body Problem trilogy after the series’ first novel. To say it left an indelible impression on me is an understatement. It is one of the best sci-fi series I’ve ever read and it stands tall next to the titans of the genre like Dune and Foundation. Liu Cixin has created a masterpiece.

I took to Cortex a couple of weeks ago to ask for your sci-fi book recommendations, and was overjoyed at the outpouring of suggestions. My wishlist on Book Depository has grown considerably, and my partner is certainly pleased that she’s got so many potential gift ideas. When I wrote it, I was only just starting the final book. I had no idea where it was going to go or what was going to happen, and I’m still reeling from the ending.

The whole trilogy was a master class in science fiction. It dives deep into hard sci-fi, focusing on ideas and philosophy instead of centering too much on characters. I can’t even remember the name of the main character for the first book, but I can remember the ideas. I know the events that took place and the profound effect it had on me as I closed in on the finish line.

The whole series spans, realistically, about 400 years in human history. It’s but a blip in the overall timeline of the universe and it’s significantly shorter than the timelines of Dune and Foundation. But what it does is straddle that middle ground between a period of time that allows humans to be concerned over the future of their race and events that are too removed from the present day that they’re not worth thinking about. That is to say, being concerned about the state of humanity in 400 years is easier to comprehend than, say, 1,000 years. It’s easier to plan for, too.

I actually wasn’t certain I was going to enjoy the series. It took me about three goes of starting it before I managed to push through the Chinese Cultural Revolution content and really understand what I was reading. I went into the series completely blind, knowing only that its ideas were so poignant that it even offers up a solution to the Fermi Paradox.

The second book, The Dark Forest, had me absolutely gripped. The term “page-turner” is thrown around a lot, but I literally did not want to stop reading. My eyes were hurting and I was tired, but my heart was pounding as events transpired.

Unlike the first novel, the character of Luo Ji was one that resonated with me. The challenges he faced, and his unwillingness to take up the mantle was an iconic “Hero’s Journey”, but one that felt natural to the events unfolding. The main premise of the book absolutely blew me away. I fear that event describing it would cheat someone out of the pleasure I experienced when reading it.

By the time I started on the last novel, Death’s End, I was prepared for anything Cixin would throw at me – at least I thought I was. One thing that really struck me was how Cixin displayed society’s perception of events. The swing in public opinion was captured with elegance. An event that society looks on with fondness would warp, with humanity instead looking at it as a morally bankrupt action. It was wild to have this macro look at how public discourse changes when circumstances change.

The main character of Death’s End, Cheng Xin, felt like a compromise between the purpose-driven Luo Ji and the passive Wang Miao of the first book. Events kind of happened to Cheng, and yet she also strove to assist humanity. But, as it is with the entire series, the story of Death’s End is significantly more focused on the ideas and events than it is the characters.

And now, a week or so after finishing the trilogy, I’ve been unable to stop thinking about it. I wanted to devour the novel but also savour the experience. It’s such a conflicting place to be. Having finished it, I wish I could read it again as if for the first time. If you need a new science fiction series to read, do yourself a favor and pick up the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy as soon as possible.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 29, 2021 8:07 PM

    I finished Liu Cixin’s Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy and cannot stop thinking about it.

    Read more: The Three-Body Problem trilogy was phenomenal

    • reply
      August 29, 2021 8:12 PM

      Tag: mr.sleepy and don't miss the link to the sci-fi thread in the article

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        August 29, 2021 8:41 PM

        Yeah do not sleep on that link. The suggestions are the only thing stopping me from starting the Three-Body Problem again.

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      August 29, 2021 9:53 PM

      such a crazy series. so imaginative and off the wall and just nutso. my mind was blown, is what I'm saying

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        August 29, 2021 10:32 PM

        The whole trilogy just absolutely floored me. There were times I was heartbroken while reading it. I cannot begin to fathom how someone came up with all of these ideas and wove them into a coherent story. It's equally inspirational and horrifying: I want to write something this good but fear I never will.

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          August 29, 2021 11:34 PM

          Yeah it's so dense with mind fuck it's almost collapsed in on itself. Except for the cultural revolution stuff at the start, which I found boring. I read Ball Lightning shortly after 3body and I thought it was boring too. Maybe they just fluked out on 3body, but it's a masterpiece all the same.

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            August 29, 2021 11:46 PM

            Yeah I found the Cultural Revolution stuff the most difficult aspect of the book, but I do understand its importance to building the character of Wenjie Ye.

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      August 29, 2021 10:02 PM

      I haven't read all that much sci-fi, but did read that trilogy a couple of years ago and it was definitely one of the most mind-blowing things I've ever read. The scale of those books is beyond anything I've ever even thought about. Amazing stuff.

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        August 29, 2021 10:33 PM

        The scope of the novels is maddening. The main ideas span only a few centuries, but it feels so wild to see how time might progress humanity. Like, it's the equivalent of people from 1600s looking at us now. I'm trying to avoid spoilers, should someone actually consider picking it up. Do you have an interest in other sci-fi stuff or do you stick to other genres?

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          August 29, 2021 11:49 PM

          I try to mix it up but probably mostly read straight up fiction most of the time. I've read a fair amount of sci-fi , but don't consider that my primary reading interest. Last sci-fi book I read: The Left Hand of Darkness.

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      August 29, 2021 10:47 PM

      I listened to the first audio book, and I have the other two in hard copy. I should read them.

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      August 29, 2021 10:55 PM

      D&D are gonna ruin it lollll :'(

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        August 29, 2021 11:36 PM

        they're going to do passably for the first two books and then just get bored and phone it in for book three

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          August 29, 2021 11:37 PM

          I can’t imagine their take on the Cultural revolution. And like, they’re so bad at understanding why certain plots / characters do things, so it’s just gonna be a messssss

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        August 29, 2021 11:48 PM

        Not necessarily. Don't write them off just because of the final season of GoT. Remember that the vast majority of the show was wildly popular and consumed by the general population and critics alike. I think the main problem D&D faces is that the novels focus more on ideas and philosophy than actual characters. Plus, how do you even tackle the second book in the medium of television without affecting the main element of the strategy employed by humanity?

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      August 29, 2021 11:38 PM

      thanks to those books i'm genuinely concerned a relativistic chunk of rock could be hurtling towards our planet this very moment

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        August 29, 2021 11:48 PM

        It makes me concerned that we're just blasting out radio waves into the vastness of the universe.

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          August 30, 2021 12:11 AM

          the actual area that our broadcasts have reached is incredibly small in the context of the greater galactic region. it gives me hope we haven't connected with anyone or anything that would swat us down for the sake of nullifying us as a future threat millenia from now per Dark Forest doctrine. that being said... it's not impossible and we'd never see it coming before it's too late.

          https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/news/a27934/galaxy-map-human-radio-broadcasts/

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            August 30, 2021 4:42 AM

            HOW DID THEY TAKE A PHOTO OF OUR GALAXY FROM THAT DISTANCE

            WHAT IS NASA HIDING

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      August 30, 2021 6:27 AM

      Yes it was so good.

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      August 30, 2021 7:18 AM

      Sooooo good.

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      August 30, 2021 7:22 AM

      Favorite book series of all time.

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        August 30, 2021 7:01 PM

        I think it's probably in my top three right now. I'd feel bad putting it over the Dune saga, but it's just so damn good that I'm contemplating how I would feel if I did do that.

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