Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Three-Body Problem, Final Verdict

In an earlier post I gave my initial reactions to Liu Cixin's novel, The Three-Body Problem, which I had just begun reading. I've finished it now and can give my final opinion. I would give the novel a B+. (Damn professors, always handing out grades...)

On the plus side, the novel had some very interesting ideas, and the portrayal of life in 1960s China was fascinating. On the other hand, the "metaphysical speculation" that I alluded to in my earlier post didn't really pan out. I also found the narrative disjointed, and I couldn't really sympathize with any of the characters. The whole cultural milieu seemed very alien to me, and I couldn't figure out whether it was because the novel was Chinese, or if the author was deliberately presenting a very "alien" setting. Not knowing which was the case left me unsettled. Of course, that's not the author's fault.

So on the whole, a fun read, but not the best novel I've read in the past few years. There are two sequels. I was interested enough to read their plot summaries on Wikipedia, but not interested enough to actually read them myself.

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