Off Top’ estratto del Disruptive Talks podcast S01E03. Ascolta l’episodio in Audio Podcast.
The trailer of the series "The Three Body Problem" (March 2024, Netflix) at the end of the article.

On this episode S01E03, we conclude with an “Off Topic” dedicated to Liu Cixin.

I already talked about it during Newstalk, recounting this recent scientific discovery by two planets sailing in starless space, making comparisons with the film The Wandering Earth, inspired bynovel of the same name published in 2000 by Liu Cixin (while the sun is dying, humans manage to get the Earth out of the solar attraction thanks to giant thrusters, to leave for the edge of space in search of a new star).

I therefore took the opportunity to delve deeper into Liu Cixin, who has been my absolute favorite science fiction author for a few years (I prefer him to Asimov, Herbert, Barjavel and others, so to speak...) and to highlight his masterpiece, The Problem of the Three Bodies. And strong considering Liu Cixin's significant weaknesses in character characterization; the strengths of history go far beyond these gaps.

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The Three Body Problem

Published between 2006 and 2010, thismonumental work He obtained a global success after the translation into English, culminating in winning the award Hugo 2015, the most important science fiction award.

The three novels begin during the Cultural Revolution in China, when Ye Wenjie, a young astrophysicist victim of persecution and violence in that turbulent period, conceives the idea of sending signals into space, and end billions of years after that fact, during... the end of the universe.

This is a work of grandiose ambition, supported by uan immense amount of scientific research which make the narrative plausible and engaging, capable of changing the way we look at the universe.

Now this masterpiece is about to land on the small screen thanks to Netflix, which will turn it into a TV series eagerly awaited by science fiction fans. With a stellar cast and production from the authors of Game of Thrones, “The Three-Body Problem” will arrive on the platform in March 2023. This series will therefore compete with the Chinese series (Tencent) “Three Body", Already available on Viki.

Although I read it relatively recently, I can say that it is a work that has had one of the strongest impacts on my imagination and on my subsequent readings.

What struck me most is the author's ability to outline the sociological, psychological and behavioral aspects associated with the narrated events in an extremely realistic and plausible way. Throughout the reading a considerable part of my mind remained focused on analyzing the verisimilitude of each event, collective reaction or choice of characters.

Liu Cixin proves himself to be a master in the art of shaping incredible plots and at the same time building a coherent and believable world around them. Perhaps it is precisely this ability to blend unbridled imagination and logical rigor that is one of the elements I most appreciated about this work.

The three books, although very different from each other, all shine with their own light. The trilogy as a whole left a profound impression on me, giving me a new perspective on the universe (his “dark forest” theory can really give you sleepless nights…) and on human nature. A journey to the edge of reality that no science fiction enthusiast should miss.

Reviews of the trilogy and trailers for the future Netflix series

Review selection of the book The Three Body Problem” (source):

“Science fiction fans often pride themselves on the diversity and universality of their favorite genre. Now they have a classic example to point to, one that embodies that diversity with its own unique perspective. It's not a detective story, but it's full of wonder and human experiences that few of us have had to face.”

Tom Shippey, The Wall Street Journal

“Extraordinary extrapolations of known science and fascinating comments on the intertwining of science and politics in China today. Stories on a grand scale and wildly ambitious, which can evoke a sense of wonder unique to the genre.”

Michael A. Morrison, World Literature Today

“A modern classic that fans of hard science fiction will appreciate, despite weak characterization that is too artificial to engage emotionally.”

Matt Hilliard, Strange Horizons

“Liu offers a variety of adventures along the way. And the clash between those who believe in science and those who seek to undermine it creates an engaging tension, with an ambiguity between good and evil that gives depth to the story.”

MA Orthofer, The Complete Review

“Perhaps the most surprising thing to me is that a novel structured and told in this way is one of the most successful novels I have ever heard. It is extremely readable, engaging and engaging, despite being almost hostile in the way it refuses to invite the reader in.”

Edward J. Rathke, Entropy