cover of the three body problem

The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin

If you like the idea that we’re not alone in the universe, learning about different cultures, and long reads, I highly recommend you read The Three Body Problem.


I won’t say much about plot of The Three Body Problem because it’s too easy to give away. But I will say that I greatly enjoyed both the story itself and the experience of reading an excellent translation of a captivating sci-fi epic.

I found The Three Body Problem to be an incredibly imaginative novel, into which Liu Cixin expertly wove his deep curiosity—almost reverence—for science. I often find stories that go into minute descriptions about imagined technologies or scientific concepts tiresome, so it was a pleasant surprise to enjoy those elements of this novel. Liu writes about fantastical technical details in a way that I found compelling and relatable.

The pace of The Three Body Problem was measured, taking its time leading you to the clues that eventually come together in a striking reveal. It was more unfamiliar than slow. It reminded me of hiking Mt. Kenya, which involved three days of long walks through quiet meadows, before a short, grueling ascent to the summit.

This thought tickled the back of my mind the whole time I was reading this story, so the postscript from translator Ken Liu—who is an award-winning science fiction writer himself—really resonated with me. He wrote:

“The best translations into English do not, in fact, read as if they were originally written in English. The English words are arranged in such a way that the reader sees a glimpse of another culture’s patterns of thinking, hears an echo of another language’s rhythms and cadences, and feels a tremor of another people’s gestures and movements.”

This story, and its English translation, was full of beautiful echoes and captivating tremors. It was a deeply creative and thought-provoking read, and I highly recommend it.

Buy The Three Body Problem on Amazon, Indiebound — or borrow it from you local library!
More about the author on Wikipedia

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