Unlike anything I have ever read. It feels strange to make such a statement considering I’ve read a lot in almost every genre. The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu should appeal to hard core science fiction enthusiasts, especially those interested in physics and astrophysics, but it also weaves in fascinating information about the Cultural Revolution and its lasting impact on modern China, makes excellent use of familiar stereotypes in unexpected ways, and creates suspense seemingly out of nothing more than scientific curiosities. I could try to describe the problem of the three bodies, but would fail miserably, and in the process potentially ruin some of the subtleties of the problem as it manifests itself throughout the novel. One could argue that the novel’s distinctiveness stems from being written in Chinese. But I suspect that its complexity and uniqueness occur despite the translation rather than because of it. After all, the language of math and physics is universal. Or is it? The Three Body Problem is not a normal novel.
Jeffrey Penn May, author of Roobala Take Me Home, Where the River Splits, Cynthia and the Blue Cat’s Last Meow, No Teacher Left Standing, Eight Billion Steps: My Impossible Quest for Cancer Comedy, Finding Your Fiction, and more.