Friday, November 16, 2018

#RRSciFiMonth Audiobook Review: The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin

The Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin (translated by Ken Liu)
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Release Date: 2014
Format: Audiobook narrated by Luke 
My Rating: ★ 1/2

GoodReads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

ThreeBody Problem is the first chance for English-speaking listeners to experience this multiple award-winning phenomenon from China’s most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin.

Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.

This book is a hard one for me to review because I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. I also want to point out that a 3 1/2 star review isn't necessarily a bad review, it just means I liked parts of it but struggled with the rest. 

This was the first sci-fi book that I can remember reading that is very non-Western, which I think is really interesting. It's also why I was interested in reading this book in the first place. The setting of this book is very much in China, and it takes a non-Western approach to scifi. A lot of the beginning of the book does a lot of introduction to show you the cultural background and political landscape of China. This certainly made me understand some of the characters better, and it also made me want to branch out and read more scifi outside of my own culture. If you are looking for something different in scifi, I would highly recommend this one for this reason alone.

The book also focuses heavy on hard science, and I was listening to this audiobook thinking, "I have no idea what they are talking about." I like sci-fi a lot, but I am not necessarily a "science person." Give me a good story and I can understand, but when it gets into the nitty gritty of true science I get kind of lost. So if you are someone that wants really hard science, this might be a better fit for you.

I feel like what really made this book give me a hard time was the pacing. I felt like there was a lot up front about the historical background, that it took a really hard time to get into the actual story. There was a lot of introduction of characters that I was wondering why I was supposed to care about them. It took a really long time to really get into the aliens and how the different humans were handling the situation they are in. By then, I felt a little drained from all the data dumping, that I do think I missed the things I should have been paying attention to.

I listened to this one on audiobook, and this is my first time listening to a Luke Daniels audiobook. I thought he did a great job, and had some great distinguishes voices. I definitely would listen to him narrate something again.

I'm not one hundred percent sure if I am going to continue to this series. I thought it was an interesting take on scifi, but there were things about it that made it hard for me to understand it. 

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Happy Reads Everyone!