Review of “The Three Body Problem” by Cixin Liu

threebodyI picked up a copy of this book after hearing and reading multiple recommendations from friends. The Three Body Problem was described to me as multiple people working together to solve an important scientific problem.

That’s certainly part of what the book is, but most of what it read like for me was a world building document. It’s not the first book to read like that. Lord of the Rings also read like that for me.

As a world building document, it’s exceptional. Cixin Liu has created a fascinating world that I won’t spoil by describing here. It all makes sense and seems to work from my limited understanding of the science involved. The problem for me was that the world is 70% of the content of the book.

There is a story, as I mentioned about. The main character, Wang, is trying to solve a scientific problem that seems to affect the entire planet. As the point of the book is the mystery involved, I don’t want to spoil any of what the problem is. After all, they don’t even learn what the problem is until about a third of the way through the book.

This book is 400 pages long and dragged a lot for me. The first third is mostly setting up the characters. Once they find out the problem, the book soared for a while, but they solve the problem at about the 55% mark and then the rest of the book is just more background on the characters.

That said, many people I know loved this book. I think anyone who enjoys realistic science fiction combined with a lot of background would like it. Think The Martian, if you’d seen all of Watney’s training, from when he first decided to be a scientist until the Mars mission.

I give The Three Body Problem 2/5 stars (3/5 on Amazon), meaning that it was okay.


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