Friday, October 28, 2016

The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin

3 body problem

What I drank: few brews and a half bottle of the literal world’s best Malbec. I’m not lit but I’m classy with it so, pish posh, hoe.

Spoilerfree: OK I borrowed The Three Body Problem from my roommate, Frank, who borrowed it from his brother, who stole it from their dad’s cabinet. None of them knew what it was about. It’s a work in translation from Chinese, and the first, apparently, of a trilogy or some shit, by Liu Cixin. Who knows. All I know is this:

·         It’s a sci-fi novel in the purest sense of the word
·         Apparently it’s the all-time most read sci-fi in Chinese history
·         It’s not the “easiest” read, for a number of reasons (which I shall attend to, calmate)
·         This entry’s spoiler free section will be particularly free of spoilers, just because when I wrapped my head around what was actually happening in TBP  I WAS GODDAM FLABBERGASTED. But maybe I’m dumb; in any case I wanna leave no clues

The novel takes place in China between the cultutral revolution and “present” day, and it’s characters are all goddam profesors and/or generals, (there’s a character list on page, like 1, so no spoilers yet; don’t fret) so you get the impression some real shit is poppin off. Readers see a number of time/plot lines unveiled for them simultaneously, starting with the murder of Ye Zhetai in the 1940s, the ascencion of his widower, Ye Wenjie, into the ranks of a military surveillance base in the ‘50s, and the abrubpt and the hallucinations of a nanomaterials expert, Wang Miao (three bodies, get it?) in the year 2007. Ze Winjei and Wang Miao meet up in present day in the context of an open source, online, VR computer game/real time physics experiment called “The Three Body Problem” wherein they have to deduce some wild fuggin physics (google “three body problem” and check it out, it’s actually crazy to conceptualize and Liu Cixin does a phenomenal job explaining it to laypeople).
Hilarity and murder and madness ensue. Yeah. From a game. It’s like halo or some shit, but real ppl are waking up dead when they “lose”.

Writing Style
There is a fuckton of like cultural references and historical events for which the narrator, Ken Liu, leaves ample and enthralling footnotes. Between them, the characters’ involvement and understanding of the major plots at hand are unveiled. To be honest, this novel was NOT easy to read. A large part of it was the  frequent and deep scientific language. I’m not an idiot. I’m good at words, and I love science. However comma I found myself rereading numerous passages to try to understand exactly what the author wanted to convey. Paragraphs about microwave radiation and the function and fashion of nanoparticles were hard for me to follow. But das me doe.

Additionally, and more what I think bothered me, was the pacing, the syntax, the dialogue. I found them hard to fall into, if that makes sense. I mean, I’m a native reader of English, the novel was written in Chinese, and the translator worked to adhere to the structure and feel of a Chinese novel. It was an accomplishment in that regard, and It was work to read. I wanted to read it, so I did, and the unveiling of these spoilers was ultimately  sexy as hell. I was mad happy with it though, At a few points I had to put her down and sit back and, like, reflect on how I didn’t see the shit coming.
 Impressive. no bullshit.

Spoilers: quick and durty

Pairing: a dope ass red wine because it’s tasty, then you get to the last quarter of the bottle and realize YOURE FUCKED, YO.

RATING: 3.55/5 I mean it’s a cool read but I finished it because I WANTED to finish. I was never compelled to do so. that being said i'm not ready to give up on the series. vamos a ver.


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