Saturday, October 8, 2016

Remembrance of Earth's Past

Two Christmases ago my lovely wife bought me a few books from a small bookstore. Fortunately, she kept the receipt, so I brought them back to exchange them for some books I actually wanted. As I was browsing their relatively small science-fiction section, I found The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu, a work translated from Chinese. I immediately grabbed it: I'd heard about this book and this author and had put it on my list of books to get. Liu is a lauded science-fiction author in China (actually, his name is Liu Cixin, but since the Chinese put the family name first, when he was translated into English, they put the family name last in order to not confuse us), and this book is the first of a trilogy that makes up his most famous work, Remembrance of Earth's Past.

Anyway, I bought it, read it, and loved it. LOVED it. So when the second book in the trilogy was translated, The Dark Forest, I bought it immediately. Incidentally, I never do this: I'm always patient enough for a book to come out in a mass market edition, or at least for it to become less popular so I can buy a cheap used copy of it. But I couldn't wait. And Dark Forest was absolutely amazing; it presents a brilliant solution to the Fermi Paradox involving game theory. Independently, both of these books are among the best books I've ever read.

So of course I pre-ordered the third book in the trilogy, Death's End. (This was my first time pre-ordering a book by the way.) It came out at the end of last month, and I got it about a week and a half ago. I have a bunch of things on my plate at the moment, but I'm still going through it when I can. So far it's exceeding my expectations, which were pretty darn high. So I encourage everyone to get these books as soon as you can and read them. Just check them out from the library if you have to. They are so beyond worth it, I can't even express it. Liu has managed to very quickly become one of my all-time favorite fiction authors; I don't actually rank them, but I'd have to say he's at least in my top three (lucky him). I also note a collection of Liu's short stories has also been translated, The Wandering Earth, which I'm going to get as soon as I can justify it. And Three Body Problem is being made into a movie, due to be released next year.

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