‘The Three-Body Problem’ by Liu Cixin

If you’re in need of a good sci-fi novel to read, might I recommend Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem? This Hugo Award-winning science fiction novel — which was first published in China in 2006 and translated into English by Ken Liu in 2014 — centers around an age-old question: What would it mean for humanity to make contact with an extraterrestrial species?

From the book description:

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.

I’m so tempted to add more to that description, but I must refrain because any more would spoil things. All I’ll say are these three things:

  1. This is one of those books that will make you rethink how you look at the universe (particularly the field of physics).
  2. It’s fascinating, at least as an American reader, to read about an alien invasion from the perspective of Chinese scientists and the political system they live under.
  3. The story does take a little while to find its footing, but once it does, you’ll be hooked. Don’t give up early on! I mean, this book got Obama’s stamp of approval, if that means anything to you.

The Three-Body Problem is the first in a trilogy of novels called Remembrance of Earth’s Past, with the second and third novels being The Dark Forest and Death’s End, respectively.

Start the series in any of these formats: