Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Dark Forest

I preferred this sequel to Liu Cixin's The Three-Body Problem to the first installment. Both books are sci-fi on a grand scale, featuring an evolving cast of largely Chinese characters as well as the mysterious and menacing aliens who have left their own doomed solar system and are en route to colonize earth and presumably exterminate humanity. What makes The Dark Forest a better book? Partly the translation from the Chinese, in this case by Joel Martinsen, which is more fluid and vivid than Ken Liu's competent but dry version of The Three-Body Problem. But I also found more compelling the story of Luo Ji, the unconventional hero of this tale. A dreamer, he conjures a love for himself, and a spell to save the world. Can they become reality?

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