Liu’s perspective on the possibility of how contact with extraterrestrial life might happen is extremely frightening–but very plausible. The unfolding story of how humans and our closest neighbors react to discovering each other rings true emotionally and should give the reader pause. The Earth is a biodiverse planet in the middle of our star’s Goldilocks zone. It’s covered with water, mineral wealth, technology, and some pretty violent apes taking their first steps out into space. Surely our planet would make a tempting prize in a Universe where such planets are hard to access since they’re an untold number of light years apart. Maybe we *shouldn’t* be sending out directions to our nice, rich, wet Eden?
Like Station Eleven (which I reviewed yesterday,) the book bounces back and forward through time with more than one protagonist, but it’s never confusing. The science, as near as this English major can tell, is good and explained well enough to get the point across. I certainly felt a sense of wonder reading it. You might even call it a sense of dread! Even though this is science-heavy, you still find yourself worrying over the characters and how they’re coping with what’s happening around them.
As a nice bonus, this book is translated by Ken Liu, the noted SF short story writer and translator. His first novel, The Grace of Kings, was just released and it sitting at the top of my to read pile. Also, let’s pause for a moment and consider the cover. Isn’t it beautiful? I love it!
I’d recommend The Three-Body Problem to pretty much all SFF readers out there. Keep it down, though. We really don’t want our cosmic neighbors to hear!