Anybody read the Three Body problem trilogy from Cixin Liu? (SPOILERS)

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I would like to know, how it ends? You can give me spoilers. As far as i know, he goes even to end of the universe, and right now, i am not interested in a total depressing ending. It looks like, that in his vision, the universe is such a hostile place, that it would make Lovecraft proud.
 

DEvens

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I talked about the whole trilogy. Including Deaths End.
The first book is about the nasty aliens coming. And some humans are helping them.

The second book finds a way to cope with them. Not win, mind you, but cope. The title _The Dark Forest_ is a big hint there. In a dark forest, you hide because you are afraid of wolves. If somebody is harassing you badly enough, you can make noise and attract wolves. Then you will both die.

The third book includes the really nasty aliens coming because humans made enough noise to attract them. Both the aliens from the first two books and humans get the smack-down. A very small number of humans manage to escape. Two of them manage to get into a "pocket reality" kind of thing, where they are basically cut off from the rest of the universe.

However, many different species have done this hide-in-a-pocket thing, and so the total mass of the universe has been affected. The big crunch was therefore prevented. A call goes out on pocket-reality-radio to come back out of these holes so the mass is available for big-crunch. Enough entities do so to restart the big crunch. The two humans leave only a single souvenir in their pocket reality. It's a glass bubble containing a pocket ecology with some green plants and small critters. The pocket reality contains a light source, so this pocket ecology in a pocket reality should be able to continue for some considerable time.

The trilogy ends with the end of the current big-bang-big-crunch cycle.
 
816
47
The first book is about the nasty aliens coming. And some humans are helping them.

The second book finds a way to cope with them. Not win, mind you, but cope. The title _The Dark Forest_ is a big hint there. In a dark forest, you hide because you are afraid of wolves. If somebody is harassing you badly enough, you can make noise and attract wolves. Then you will both die.

The third book includes the really nasty aliens coming because humans made enough noise to attract them. Both the aliens from the first two books and humans get the smack-down. A very small number of humans manage to escape. Two of them manage to get into a "pocket reality" kind of thing, where they are basically cut off from the rest of the universe.

However, many different species have done this hide-in-a-pocket thing, and so the total mass of the universe has been affected. The big crunch was therefore prevented. A call goes out on pocket-reality-radio to come back out of these holes so the mass is available for big-crunch. Enough entities do so to restart the big crunch. The two humans leave only a single souvenir in their pocket reality. It's a glass bubble containing a pocket ecology with some green plants and small critters. The pocket reality contains a light source, so this pocket ecology in a pocket reality should be able to continue for some considerable time.

The trilogy ends with the end of the current big-bang-big-crunch cycle.
Ok thank you. Sounds really interesting. :)
 
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I wrote my review on Amazon ages ago, but I honestly thought it lost a lot in translation. The entire opening sequence was cultural histrionics that did not resonate with me as a Western audience member, the stoic motivation of cast members seemed unlikely, and the physics that allowed the first book ending to occur felt entirely deus ex machina.

Summary, I did not like it, really didn't understand the hype, and will always wonder whether the 'China factor' underpinned its success.
 
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When I read it, I got the cultural shakes too. On the other hand, it gives you some insight into Chinese Communist culture from the inside, something we never learn much about.

It reminded me of a trip to a historical site of a fort in Canada only to learn that the bad Americans crossed the water and massacred everyone and burned the fort to the ground not something you expect to hear usually and so a bit unsettling.
 

DEvens

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When I read it, I got the cultural shakes too. On the other hand, it gives you some insight into Chinese Communist culture from the inside, something we never learn much about.

It reminded of a trip to a historical site of a fort in Canada only to learn that the bad Americans crossed the water and massacred everyone and burned the fort to the ground not something you expect to hear usually and so a bit unsettling.
Don't sweat it. We Bad Canadians did similar things. Apparently the story about the White House being white because of us is not correct. We did do some burning, but that's not why it's white. Anyway, things were very different then. Everybody would look across a border or frontier and imagine what they could do and get away with. And sometimes they would just go for it. You find the same sorts of things at pretty much every border that has existed for a century or more.

The descriptions of the Cultural Revolution were harsh and stark and upsetting. I have no idea how accurate they were, but I have read other things that make me think events such as were depicted did happen. And many times. Many thousands of times.

The reason I think these depictions are good art is because it was important to the structure and plot of the book. And to the character development of important characters in the book.

There are other challenging things about the books. For example: a big part of the first book was this virtual reality computer game. Most of the scenes about the on-their-way-to-invade aliens were introduced through this VR game. So it was never clear whether these scenes were meant to depict the actual nature of the aliens or whether they were just a bunch of hazy metaphors. The second book continues on with this idea of major plot points being described through hazy metaphor used to communicate an important issue right under the noses (did they have noses? not sure) of the invading aliens. It's kind of like going to visit your buddy who is having marriage trouble, and in the middle of sitting with him discussing these issues, the two of you take time off to watch a romantic comedy movie.
 
816
47
I wrote my review on Amazon ages ago, but I honestly thought it lost a lot in translation. The entire opening sequence was cultural histrionics that did not resonate with me as a Western audience member, the stoic motivation of cast members seemed unlikely, and the physics that allowed the first book ending to occur felt entirely deus ex machina.

Summary, I did not like it, really didn't understand the hype, and will always wonder whether the 'China factor' underpinned its success.
Maybe it was awarded due to Chinese factor (nowadays i dont care about awards and barely about critic review, since they gave Hugo to Wonder Woman...) But reader reviews praised the trilogy as really hard SF.
 
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But reader reviews praised the trilogy as really hard SF
It is hard sci-fi but beyond the realm of our understanding, so not in the same category as Alastair Reynolds Revelation Space series, for example which accounted for GR. I can't immediately think of a comparable author, perhaps Greg Egan when he's writing QM-related stories in the sense of 'hard', but it was the cast who were entirely off kilter for me.
 

stefan r

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Maybe it was awarded due to Chinese factor (nowadays i dont care about awards and barely about critic review, since they gave Hugo to Wonder Woman...) But reader reviews praised the trilogy as really hard SF.
Chalk is much harder than soap or pudding. :)

It is hard sci-fi but beyond the realm of our understanding, so not in the same category as Alastair Reynolds Revelation Space series, for example which accounted for GR. I can't immediately think of a comparable author, perhaps Greg Egan when he's writing QM-related stories in the sense of 'hard', but it was the cast who were entirely off kilter for me.
Alastair Reynolds is not granite hard either. The characters are still pushed around the galaxy in magic boats. Relevation Space reveals how confused a story line becomes when relativity is included. If you make it through more than half of Revelation Space it does eventually make sense why the story had to jump back and forth in time.
 

stefan r

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Who writes hard sci-fi in your opinion, @stefan r ?
I like TV tropes Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness.
Star Trek is obviously harder science fiction than the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Both Three Body Problem and Revelation Space are in the 3 range. Cixin Liu takes a very hard approach to logic and strategy.

The movie Apollo 13 would be hard science fiction. Andy Weir would get at least a 5.5. Science Fiction and Futurism with Isaac Arthur has plenty of hard science fiction. Arthur tells the audience any time he is deviating into what he considers soft science fiction.
 
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It can be hard to predict how 'hard' a novel will be, unfortunately, even from reviews - which I find increasingly useless as they are trending to one or two line "this was great..." comments rather than critiques. My preference is for science that hangs together, but it's always the story in the end. If that's complex and well written, with engaging characters and a logical flow to events within the narrative, I'm happy to suspend belief in pretty much anything.
 

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