The Three Body Problem


01 May 2019

2 minute read

Similar to the book Diaspora by Greg Egan, this Hugo Award sci-fi story written by Cixin Liu associates elaborate scientific ideas like the Three-Body Problem with a creative and entrancing plot.

Set in China after the Cultural Revolution, the novel shows the first encounter with an advanced alien species living on a faraway planet under the gravitational pull of three suns, thus living in an unstable and chaotic environment. A bitter yet brilliant scientist decides to reveal Earth's location, knowing it will be conquered. When the message from Earth is sent out, the alien leaders living on the planet named Trisolaris decide to begin the invasion of our planet and leave their dangerous, crumbling ecosystem. Their armed forces will reach Earth in 400 years and the human race decides to unite against this threat.

This encounter with an alien species creates a new militant movement named the ETO, the Earth-Trisolaris Organization, whose goal is to greet the aliens and thus betray the human race. They wish to halt human progress and aid the aliens in their invasion. This society attracts those who find them dissatisfied with their species and their world. The organization is split into three different movements:

This story illustrates the suffering of the human species and the scientific struggles it has when the Trisolarians interfere with their particle accelerators through the use of their advanced knowledge. The human people decide to prepare themselves for the difficult battle against the Trisolarian space fleet that will decide the fate of Earth's inhabitants.

I commend this novel for its original depiction of a powerful alien race and its society, but also because it illustrates the good and bad of humanity as a whole. I find it appealing because it describes the real Three Body Problem in a simplified and imaginative manner. This thought provoking also novel submerges us into the historical background of the Chinese Revolution. These combined elements make this book a truly worthwhile read.

This novel is part of a trilogy with the sequels Dark Forest and Death's End. It has been awarded the Hugo Award, the Chinese Galaxy Award, and the Kurd-LaƟwitz-Preis for Best Foreign SF work.