Part of the reason why I was a little apprehensive to start a sci-fi novel written by Chinese Author, Liu Cixin, is the distorted impression Chinese Movies had made on me when I was a teenager. Over the top action sequences. Kung-fu fights that are more sound than action. And super-natural fights that were a visual treat without substance. These are some of the elements of Chinese Sub-Culture that are ingrained in mind as if etched in stone.
Also, there is another issue of the effectiveness of translation. A lot gets lost in translation. Prose writing is more than an assembly of words. And to translate some other’s work is challenging for exactly this reason. A brilliant thought-provoking sentence or a scene can become a drag because of a soulless translation. Too much focus on words on paper rather the soul that invoked behind them.
But you can get an idea how misplaced my apprehensions were (and how good the book “The Three Boy Problem” was) by the fact that I ended up finishing the book in three days! That’s including a night of the party at a friend’s place and the next day of hangover that left me useless for half a day.
It starts from the period in the nineteen sixties when China was suffocating in the wake of a cultural revolution. It was a time when the right wing has clutched the growth of science and left Chinese intellectuals covering for their lives. To the recent times when the world finds itself in throes of cutting-edge technology of fundamental particle research.
In-between the book is a roller coaster ride that touches upon various things. Reading it, you are at once transported to the idyllic villages of China. Then to the high-profile meetings involving high government officials and leading scientists.
All this while, the characters trying to survive rough times through every way possible. Some by clutching on to their beliefs, others by changing sides for their conveniences. Each character is fleshed out very beautifully that even though the Chinese names appeared tedious to remember but through the power of writing easily get etched in your mind.
Anything that I tell would be a spoiler, and injustice to this brilliant book. So I won’t get into the detail. The only thing that I would tell that it is recommended by the likes “Mark Zuckerberg” and “Barack Obama.” The latter is so enamoured by Liu Cixin’s writing that he had asked him when he is going to publish his next novel.
And my advice, don’t even read the book summary at Amazon or Goodreads. They are major giveaways. Instead just get started on this journey.
For the prose of the book is simple, yet effective. The book has a soul, that connects so many disparate themes under one novel, and which never felt forced. And I guess that’s the power of good writing. A must-read for anyone who likes a good novel, and a must-read for anyone with interest in science fiction.
Check out the novel at Amazon here
Book a week Challenge # 3 continues for the third week.
- – Book I read – The Three Body Problem.
- – Who should read this book – Sci-Fi Lovers. one of the best books in the contemporary Sci-Fi Genre. The writer, Liu Cixin, is already being compared to the likes of Arthur C Clarke.
- – The USP of the book – Easy Prose. Likeable characters. And a plot that keeps you on the edge. It’s not a drag like other contemporary sci-fi attempts. But a very original and fresh take on- Sneak Peak – It starts from the period in the nineteen sixties when China was suffocating in the wake of a cultural revolution. It was a time when the right wing has clutched the growth of science and left Chinese intellectuals covering for their lives. To the recent times when the world finds itself in throes of cutting-edge technology of fundamental particle research. ANYTHING ELSE I REVEAL WOULD BE A SPOILER- Final Take – don’t even read the book summary at Amazon or Goodreads. They are major giveaways. Instead just get started on this journey.
Also published on Medium.