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112 Liu Cixin: The Three-Body Problem

The first book in the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy, The Three-Body Problem is a science fiction novel that explores themes of physics, technology, and humanity’s place in the universe.

Liu Cixin: The Three-Body Problem


The Three-Body Problem follows the story of a scientist named Wang Miao as he becomes embroiled in a complex conspiracy involving a virtual reality game, a secret society, and a looming alien invasion. As Wang struggles to understand the true nature of the threat facing humanity, he must also grapple with the implications of advanced technology and the mysteries of the universe.


Title: The Three-Body Problem

Author: Liu Cixin

Publication Year: 2023

Publisher: Tor Books

Length in Hours: 14 hours and 46 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. The novel explores the nature of scientific inquiry and the role of technology in shaping our understanding of the world.
  2. The story also delves into the human condition and asks fundamental questions about what it means to be alive and conscious.
  3. Liu Cixin incorporates elements of Chinese history and culture into the narrative, providing a unique perspective on the impact of science and technology.
  4. The Three-Body Problem is the first in a trilogy, and as such, it sets up larger themes and conflicts that will be explored in subsequent books.
  5. The novel incorporates real-world scientific concepts, such as the titular three-body problem, and presents them in an accessible and engaging way for readers.
Liu Cixin: The Three-Body Problem

5 funny quotes

  1. "People who know their wine love to talk about it. People who know their tea hardly ever mention it."
  2. "The more powerful a weapon, the more complex and vulnerable its trigger."
  3. "Isn't it true that the greater a person's power, the greater their sense of humor?"
  4. "Science fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world because it's the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself."
  5. "The vastness of the universe was nothing compared to the vastness of human stupidity."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "A scientist should never give up hope, even if the outlook is bleak."
  2. "To effectively contain a problem, you must first determine its cause."
  3. "Every era puts invisible shackles on those who have lived through it, and I can only dance in my chains."
  4. "Evolution has no foresight. Complex machinery develops its own agendas. Brains - cheat. Feedback loops evolve to promote stable heartbeats and then stumble upon the temptation of rhythm and music. The rush evoked by fractal imagery, the algorithms used for habitat selection, metastasize into art. Thrills that once had to be earned in increments of fitness can now be had from pointless introspection. Aesthetics rise unbidden from a trillion dopamine receptors, and the system moves beyond modeling the organism. It begins to model the very process of modeling. It consumes evermore computational resources, bogs itself down with endless recursion and irrelevant simulations. Like the parasitic DNA that accretes in every natural genome, it persists and proliferates and produces nothing but itself. Metaprocesses bloom like cancer, and awaken, and call themselves I."
  5. "The universe is a dark forest. Every civilization is an armed hunter.

5 dilemmas

  1. The Trisolaran Dilemma - how to survive in a world with unpredictable sunspots and long periods of chaos.
  2. The Wallfacer Dilemma - how to develop a plan to save humanity from the Trisolaran invasion without revealing it to anyone else.
  3. The Sophon Dilemma - how to communicate with a species with vastly superior technology and intelligence.
  4. The ETO Dilemma - how far can humans go to ensure their own survival, and at what cost?
  5. The Gravity Dilemma - how to harness gravity as a weapon without destroying the planet.

5 examples

  1. Ye Wenjie - a physicist who experienced the brutality of the Cultural Revolution and initiated the communication with the Trisolarans.
  2. Wang Miao - a nanomaterials researcher who becomes involved in the conspiracy surrounding the Three-Body game.
  3. Luo Ji - a charismatic astronomer who becomes the target of the Trisolaran's attempts to sabotage human attempts at resistance.
  4. Mike Evans - a billionaire who funds the construction of the Wallfacers.
  5. Shi Qiang - a detective who helps the Wallfacers uncover the conspiracy against them.

Referenced books

  1. "Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions" by Edwin A. Abbott
  2. "Foundation" by Isaac Asimov
  3. "Solaris" by Stanislaw Lem
  4. "Childhood's End" by Arthur C. Clarke
  5. "The War of the Worlds" by H.G. Wells

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"Every era puts invisible shackles on those who have lived through it, and I can only dance in my chains."

Liu Cixin: The Three-Body Problem
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