The Three-body Problem

The Three-body Problem

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"With the scope of Dune and the commercial action of Independence Day, this near-future trilogy is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this multple-award-winning phenemonenon from China's most beloved science fiction author. Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision."--
Publisher: New York : Tor Books, [2014]
ISBN: 9780765377067
Branch Call Number: Liu, C
Characteristics: 399 pages ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Liu, Ken 1976-- Translator


From Library Staff

Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planni... Read More »

A Sinocentric view of a traditional science fiction plot about an alien invasion of earth. An interesting yet challenging read that is improved by the extent of the reader’s knowledge of math, physics and Chinese history. A close reading makes for a better of understanding of this illuminating co... Read More »

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Oct 18, 2018

I read this three book series in Chinese. The first book really made me sleep and I almost gave up. The series gets more and more mind-blowing starting from the middle of the second book. This is the best sci-fi I've ever read.

Aug 03, 2018

One of the most engaging and original science fiction novels I've read in a long time: an alien contact story that's a mix of hard sci-fi (physics-based), cyberpunk, and epic; set against the background of the modern history of China. The descriptions and style of dialogue seem a little unusual; this may be due to the novel's being translated. Thoroughly enjoyable, though a little nihilistic ("I started the fire, but I couldn't control how it burnt") and psychologically frightening in places. This is a chronicle of how the world does indeed end not with a bang but a whimper.

Jun 21, 2018

If you like Neal Stephenson novels, especially "Seveneves," then you will probably like this novel, which is the first in a trilogy. It's a plot- and science-driven book; the author really likes explaining science and engineering, and works hard at making the science as realistic as our current understanding of physics permits. It's hard to say much without giving things away, but it's safe to say that this is something of a first contact novel.

Mar 30, 2018

"Lost in Translation" may be a better title for this book. The feeling that I was observing events rather than immersed in a real environment could not be shaken The most memorable of the characters were minor, like the chain-smoking policeman and the un-apologetic Red Guard fanatic. I think that may have a lot to do with not being able to keep track of Chinese names without a scorecard. The video game read more like a motion picture or television series, because human participants did not appear to be able to influence the outcome. Then again (spoiler alert) that may have been the point of the gaming aspect.

If this is the first book of the trilogy, I may read the others in a format where I can take notes. It was interesting enough to be outside the conventions of American sci-fi, and I am inspired to look into Russian and European authors to expand my scope, or to venture into the worlds of South Asian authors in the genre

Mar 11, 2018

You do need a little bit of high school physics (or being kind of physics fan) to read, but that is all the hurdle there is.

First and second installments are mostly about plots, stories. Amazing setup, unprecedented imagination, deep logic and mind blowing twist.
Third installment, OMG .... the unexpected, unique and keen observation on humanity, politics and

For many days I cannot stop thinking about the characters and their quotes.

Someone should really really really make movies from it.

Feb 25, 2018

The first part of this hard science fiction novel reads a bit like a Dan Brown novel, well, if Dan Brown was obsessed with astrophysics instead of symbolism. And then in the second part of the book, things get really strange. But it's these unique ideas and fresh perspectives that make this imaginative book so interesting. This is a hard science fiction novel, so don't expect a huge focus on the characters. The writing is awkward at times, perhaps stemming from the translation from the original Chinese text. My favourite part of the book was the historical depiction of the 1960-era Chinese Cultural Revolution.

Feb 05, 2018

Perhaps a physics course never taken would have eased reading this. Incomprehensible.

Jan 26, 2018

This book is fantastic, and is one the most clever pieces of science fiction i had read.

But beware, because Ciu Lixin tends to be a bit dense when explaining the "science" part and he tends to drags a little in the fiction department. This is not soft science fiction and he doesn't use science to fill plot holes. The whole plot is driven by scientifical discoveries and the consequences of them.

Jan 02, 2018

Great book. Looking forward to checking out the rest of the series.

Dec 14, 2017

Lots of science in this Chinese sci-fi novel, the first in a trilogy by China's most popular sci-fi writer. I will say it is possibly the best Chinese sci-fi novel I've read.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

Jun 21, 2018

tungster thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


Add a Summary

ArapahoeKatya Oct 17, 2016

A contemplation on the first contact with extraterrestrials. Very imaginative and almost cinematographic. The setting in China of the Cultural Revolution and contemporary China is fresh and exciting. The action unfolds quickly, the characters are interesting . Hard SciFi.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at BPL

To Top