Book Report: The Three Body Problem, by Cixin Liu

Overall Impressions

A coworker recommended this to me and I'm so glad that he did. I borrowed an e-copy for my Kindle as well as an audiobook to listen to while exercising, both from the public library. That ultimately may have been a mistake for reasons I'll get into in a bit, but the book itself was excellent. I'm eagerly awaiting my turn to read the next two books in the series.

The Good

You really don't know where this is going for the first half of the book or so but there are still really interesting things happening to keep you interested. It does a good job of jumping between different timelines and you can tell that they're related to each other but you don't really get how - until it all comes together and suddenly you're saying to yourself "wow, I did not see that coming!".

The last 20% or so gets into some pretty hard science. I felt myself fortunate that I've read a handful of books in the past few years about quantum physics and string theory. Much of the discussion on elementary particles and extra dimensions did not fly over my head, and while I'm not exactly a great person to fact check the science for accuracy, it was true enough to what I knew to seem alright.

The Bad

So I made a mistake in trying to read this while also listening to it while running. This book was originally written in Chinese and when it was translated, the original names were preserved - but I'm not sure how to pronounce them all, and there are enough characters that appear in different timelines that at times I found it hard to keep track of who was who - I'd finish a run and associate different voices with characters but not really sure how their names were spelled - and then I'd read and have the opposite problem. At times I think I got things messed up in my head, but I think I got it straightened out by the end. That was on me though.

I got to 93% and thought there was still more book to go - and then my Kindle told me I was done and the rest of the book was a letter from the author, another from the translater, some footnotes (that I wish were included inline rather than all at the end) and then a chapter of another book. I was not ready for it to be over!

Final Thoughts

4.5 / 5 stars. Just really great stuff.