Monday, June 6, 2016

The Three-Body Problem

I devoured this sci-fi novel by Liu Cixin this weekend. That could mean one of two things: (1) It kept my attention, or (2) I'll do anything to avoid grading. In this case, a little of both. The Three-Body Problem is your typical Cultural Revolution meets virtual reality meets alien encounter mashup. It is certainly entertaining—plot-driven and clever—but the political mise-en-scène never really meshes with the sci-fi, which is too bad given the possibilities, and it made me wonder whether the Chinese censors had something to do with it. The best scene involves a large-scale guzheng (zither): I don't know if it is scientifically plausible, but it is a great concept. The ending, involving the unfolding of a proton, is unconvincing.

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