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597 Liu Cixin: The Three-Body Problem

A thought-provoking and imaginative science fiction novel that explores contact with an alien civilization and the complexities of humanity.



"The Three-Body Problem" is a captivating science fiction novel that delves into the mysteries of the universe and the profound implications of first contact with an extraterrestrial civilization. The story unfolds in three interconnected parts, beginning during China's tumultuous Cultural Revolution and spanning several decades.


Title: The Three-Body Problem 

Author: Liu Cixin 

Publishing Year: 2008 

Publisher: Tor 

Books Length: 13 hours and 26 minutes 

5 main ideas

  1. First Contact: The novel explores the ramifications of humanity's attempt to make contact with an advanced alien civilization, leading to unforeseen consequences.
  2. Scientific Concepts: Liu Cixin weaves real scientific theories and principles, such as the Three-Body Problem in celestial mechanics, into the narrative, adding depth and realism to the story.
  3. Political and Social Turmoil: The backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution serves as a crucial setting, influencing the characters' motivations and actions throughout the novel.
  4. Ethical Dilemmas: As humanity faces an existential threat from the Trisolarans, characters grapple with moral dilemmas related to survival, loyalty, and sacrifice.
  5. Cosmic Themes: The novel delves into profound questions about the vastness of the universe, the possibility of other intelligent life, and the nature of humanity's place in the cosmos.

5 funny quotes

  1. "You're wrong. The universe is a dark forest. Every civilization is a hunter with a gun in the forest."
  2. "What is hell? Hell is yourself."
  3. "When night falls, it starts to get crowded in the three-body world."
  4. "It was only then that he realized the true meaning of the numbers. A new day, a new calculation."
  5. "Heaven isn't waiting for us. The time between dusk and dawn is all the time heaven gets."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "In a universe that's vast beyond imagining, what could be more valuable than a human life? We're nothing but a thin layer of bacteria on a ball of mud hurtling through the void."
  2. "Every civilization is an armed hunter stalking through the trees like a ghost, gently pushing aside branches that block the path and trying to tread without sound. Even breathing is done with care."
  3. "Mankind has stood at the verge of unknowable times and looked back at a seemingly infinite past. Through the silence, he hears faint voices from his distant ancestors. We are all brothers in the wilderness of the universe."
  4. "Science and technology are primary productive forces. They are not only the keys to the wealth and power of a nation but also the foundation for the prosperity of the people."
  5. "As long as they are a mathematical model of the world, they cannot be completely wrong."

5 dilemmas

  1. The Dilemma of First Contact: Humanity grapples with the ethical and existential challenges of making contact with an advanced alien civilization with potentially hostile intentions.
  2. The Political Dilemma: The novel explores the impact of political ideologies and social upheaval on scientific pursuits and international cooperation.
  3. The Three-Body Problem: The complex gravitational dynamics of the Trisolaran system pose a unique scientific dilemma and a threat to Earth.
  4. The Survival Dilemma: Characters face difficult decisions as they try to navigate the impending Trisolaran invasion and protect humanity.
  5. The Philosophical Dilemma: The novel contemplates the role of human civilization in the vastness of the universe and confronts profound questions about existence and human nature.

5 examples

  1. Ye Wenjie - The protagonist, a brilliant astrophysicist who plays a pivotal role in the novel's events.
  2. Red Coast Base - A top-secret government project where Ye Wenjie becomes involved in sending a message into space.
  3. Trisolaran Civilization - The advanced alien civilization from the Trisolar System, responding to Earth's message.
  4. International Fleet - An organization formed to deal with the Trisolaran threat and coordinate efforts among nations.
  5. Da Shi Group - A prominent scientific organization in the novel, focusing on astrophysics and astronomy.

Referenced books

"The Three-Body Problem" does not explicitly reference other books within the narrative. However, the novel's themes and discussions on scientific and philosophical concepts may resonate with fans of classic and contemporary science fiction

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"You're wrong. The universe is a dark forest. Every civilization is a hunter with a gun in the forest."

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