This near-future trilogy is the first chance for English-speaking listeners to experience this multiple-award-winning phenomenon from Cixin Liu, China's most beloved science fiction author. In The Dark Forest, Earth is reeling from the revelation of a coming alien invasion - in just four centuries' time. The aliens' human collaborators may have been defeated, but the presence of the sophons, the subatomic particles that allow Trisolaris instant access to all human information, means that Earth's defense plans are totally exposed to the enemy. Only the human mind remains a secret. This is the motivation for the Wallfacer Project, a daring plan that grants four men enormous resources to design secret strategies, hidden through deceit and misdirection from Earth and Trisolaris alike. Three of the Wallfacers are influential statesmen and scientists, but the fourth is a total unknown. Luo Ji, an unambitious Chinese astronomer and sociologist, is baffled by his new status. All he knows is that he's the one Wallfacer that Trisolaris wants dead.
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A New Favorite
The title of my review says it. If you enjoyed The Three Body Problem, you'll enjoy this too. There are good reasons why many science fiction fans around the world find Cixin Liu so noteworthy.
He writes highly distinctive and original space opera, on a grand scale and in an entirely modern way. And he does it while investing his fully-imagined characters with specific and very interesting complexities.
The society-building, world-building and alien-building here are equally outstanding. And if you like interesting science with your science fiction- it is offered in abundance.
Too many books these days are thinly-disguised clones of some other writer's original success. I'm so bored with copies of copies.
But that makes it exhilarating to encounter a new modern master of this genre, who tells his own tale on his own creative terms.
If a book is interesting enough in a sustained way, as this one is, there will be no such thing as a single favorite scene. This is not a question asked of a great whole. Also, this question solicits spoilers.
Far from it. This is a highly complex story which requires and deserves time and attention- not fast food.
Some may also like that there are a few common contemporary features absent in this trilogy so far.
The author doesn't feel a pressing literary need to add explicit sex, endless cursing, or gratuitous space battles to the clever unfolding of good ideas.
I haven't finished this book yet, and even if I had, I wouldn't describe more of the story itself here. Of all things book-review related, I dislike spoilers the most.
One can discover enough about the general story outline just from the publisher's description. I read reviews for some sense of what reviewers think makes a particular book worth buying.
So I am just here to try to say why I am enjoying this trilogy so thoroughly, and to lend support to a first-rate writer who is new to me.
The narrator this time is not Luke Daniels. When I saw that change I almost didn't buy the audiobook. I'm fed up with poor narrators, and will happily read a book rather than suffer.
The short audio sample only told me that P.J. Ochlan wasn't bad. I couldn't really tell how I would find his narration after a while. But I took a chance, and found I liked him just fine.
There is plenty to appreciate in the non-intrusive reading he gives here. He didn't stumble over words (even the Chinese), kept to a good flowing cadence, and has a very pleasant voice.
He reads intelligently, with full comprehension of what he is reading- and that alone has a high value. So I have no complaints. I will deduct one star simply because he happens not to be Luke Daniels.
In listening, you might at first find the sounds of the Chinese names and places a bit difficult to remember. You could write them down, but I learned them the easy way.
Just by paying attention and letting the story flow through me, it wasn't long before my mind remembered most of the characters and places by itself.
To sum it up: there is an exceptionally thoughtful and original story here, wrapped up and well presented in equally fine writing.