This is the golden age of Chinese science fiction

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/09/12/xixin-liu.html

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Really enjoyed the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy. Reminded me a lot of Sir Arthur C. Clarke’s novels, but with a distinctly Chinese cultural perspective and a modern sensibility. My only real critique is the infodumps (endemic to most Western SF as well) which while interesting did pull me out of the story a bit. Not sure if this is a translation issue. I’ve been lobbying my wife to read The Three-Body Problem in the original, as she can read Chinese and I can’t, but she’s not a big into SF.

Really hope the movie comes out at some point and is subtitled so I can watch it.

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Sad to say, almost none of it has been translated into English

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There was a point in Cixin Liu’s novel that kind of irked me. Three Body Problem was written in a serious manner but the portion where they raided the meeting place and, inexplicably, the SWAT force had a scale to really make certain that what the opposition had was a nuclear device, was like something out of a tongue in cheek anime.

If that was the least of the problems you had with that series, then you were lucky. I read all three and enjoyed parts of each, but there were also long stretches of each that a good editor would have removed or agressivly shortened. I don’t regret reading the series, but I’m not going to recommend it to anyone.

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Scientific fiction - with Chinese characteristics.

I just completed the Three Body Problem and I think it is far from the worst SF book you can buy today. I would give it 7/10. Its worth much more than the 3 AUD I paid for it.

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I finally finished 3 Body Problem after giving up halfway through, and starting in on the Broken Earth series (now there’s a series that deserved its awards). It did finally start to move right at the end, but before that, what a slog. Not being able to read Chinese, I can’t tell if the problem was the translation, the writing, or just that writing styles don’t translate well between the cultures, but it was terrible; stilted, poor characterization, long boooooring stretches where little happens; pulpy; and generally just plain bad. Some interesting ideas, but the writing … I can’t really explain how it could win the Hugo. But then again, the Hugo’s have often been a bit odd; Iain Banks never won one, but J.K. Rowling did.

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If your German is up to it, there is a good1) adaptation of The Three Body Problem as a radio play.
https://podtail.com/en/podcast/wdr-horspiel-die-drei-sonnen/

1) Well, I liked it. Reading the comments, I now suppose they tightened it up a bit in the editing, but thinking back it didn’t feel like anything was missing.

I’m about half way through Three Body Problem right now and I’ve quite enjoyed it so far. Maybe because it exceeded my expectations (I wasn’t even aware of it until I found it amongst so much scifi garbage offered by Overdrive)

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