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#4621082 - 02/19/23 12:22 PM The Three Body Problem  
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 3,511
DM Offline
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DM  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 3,511
Prague
Last year I randomly discovered this book (books actually, it's a trilogy) and was pretty surprised by it and blown away.

Written by Chinese sci-fi author Liu Cixin and as such is written with a cultural perspective that I found very interesting. Starting in the 1960s Chinese cultural revolution and going out to many hundreds of years into the future. The first book is mainly 1960/70s + modern era, the second two books goes out into the future.

At first I was annoyed by a couple of things with it, but the most surprising thing was how the book revealed to me that it was me not the books. Clearly impossible things happened and I was writing it off as lazy writing, until the story explained in explicit terms exactly how the "impossible" things were happening. Then I realised it was me, not the story smile

I also thought it suffered from that thing where people not familiar with video games portray them in simplistic and ignorant terms, and of course the story put me right about that, the video game is like that for a precise reason. These two events made me like the book a lot as I really enjoy having my preconceptions & assumptions overturned. (The video game thing is not the central premise for the story, only a detail. It's not a story about a video game.)

Below is not a spoiler, it describes why the video game thing was like it was, but in case you'd like to figure it out for yourself I wrap it up in tags:
The vide game is presented as a bit weird and really not a very good video game at all. The thing I realised was that the video game is looking for people with a specific mindset, not people looking for entertainment. Problem solvers, scientists, industry experts etc.


It also provided so many great sci-fi ideas. It's what I would term "hard science fiction" so everything in it has a good decent amount of technical plausibility, which I always enjoy. Think Greg Bear.
So many good sci-fi ideas that each one would make a pretty good story in itself, but they're all wrapped up in one book, a great achievement IMO.

The totality of all 3 books is a pretty wild ride, and very thought provoking.

I recently watched the Chinese TV production of The Three Body Problem and found it very competent indeed. I know there is a Netflix version in the works but I can only wait & see how they manage to mangle it, I can't see how they can do it better than the Chinese TV production as they almost nailed it.
I say almost, it's a 30-episode series (first book only) and toward the two-thirds mark it got a little slow and expositiony, and the two most startling scenes in the book were crammed into the last 2 episodes. But the 1960s & 1970s scenes were done very well and gives a probably quite realistic taste of what government funded research work was like in China at that time.

In summary, I recommend the TV series, but if you're interested in both the TV & book, I recommend reading the book first. The book was really amazing, while the TV series was merely a good adaption.

Last edited by DM; 02/19/23 12:31 PM.

"They might look the same, but they don't taste the same."
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#4621570 - 02/27/23 12:13 PM Re: The Three Body Problem [Re: DM]  
Joined: Aug 2012
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Not so long ago someone posted a link to the Chinese series with English subtitles:

#4623155 - 03/19/23 09:03 PM Re: The Three Body Problem [Re: DM]  
Joined: Jun 2008
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Behemoth Offline
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Loved the first book, haven't started the second yet!

-B


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