The Three-Body Problem (Chinese SF Series)

elvet

Easily amused
Supporter
Joined
Feb 21, 2006
Messages
2,989
Location
Ontario, Canada
I have access to American PBS streaming here in Canada via Passport. This Chinese SF TV series has become available (subtitled). It is 30 episodes long. Has anyone started to watch it yet? I am not familiar with the book it is based on.
 

hitmouse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2011
Messages
4,016
There is a trilogy of books. They divide opinion. Some hate them. I thought they were some of the best sf I have read this side of the millenium.

I would be interested to see the tv series.
 

THX1138

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Mar 11, 2022
Messages
1,442
Location
Land Locked Ocean Dream
I'm in the states and heard of the book and TV program but have not seen either yet. I believe we have Passport, but will have to see...
 

elvet

Easily amused
Supporter
Joined
Feb 21, 2006
Messages
2,989
Location
Ontario, Canada
I'm 8 episodes in, with each episode averages 40 minutes.
First, just watching a foreign made series always takes some orienting. I watch a lot of subtitled detective mystery series from all over the world through Walter Presents at PBS. Every country has its differences (weather, transportation, degree of urbanization, etc.) and the translation to English can vary from seamless to rough. Mandarin must be difficult to translate smoothly, because I sometimes miss the meaning of what was said. Add in the amount of science that they discuss, and it can get a bit confusing. So far that hasn't kept me from getting the gist of what I need to know.
All that aside, the premise has me hooked. All over the world scientists are dying by suicide, evidence showing that their certainty of the laws of science has been shattered. The world had come together to investigate what is happening and why they are losing a huge amount of leading edge scientists. The story is about China's part and their efforts working with a detective and a targeted nanotechnologist to unravel the mystery.
While this is likely going into SF territory, right now, it is a murder mystery, which is right up my alley. :)
 

Foxbat

None The Wiser
Supporter
Joined
Jul 24, 2003
Messages
10,365
Location
Scotland
My thoughts on the first book of the trilogy:


I finally finished reading my first ever Chinese SF novel - Cixin Liu's The Three Body Problem and I'm left with mixed feelings about it. I struggled to engage with it in the first few chapters but as the story began to emerge, found myself starting to enjoy it a bit more. By halfway through, I was struggling with it again because of the amount of exposition. I don't mean a few paragraphs here or there. At the 50% mark, there were three chapters dealing purely with mostly unnecessary back story. There was a lot of exposition throughout the book but this centre section was the biggest chunk. What made things worse is that what needed to be said could have been done so much more succinctly. It was like being confronted by a person who over-explains a joke. It just knocks the stuffing out of the punch line. This author doesn't give the reader any room to think for themselves.
The Three Body Problem is part of a trilogy and I'm not sure if I will continue any further. Despite there being a decent alien/first contact tale in there, I suspect that when I reached the end of the novel and said to myself 'thank f*** for that,' is a good indicator that I shouldn't probe any further into this saga.

Taken from the June reading thread.

As for the series, I'd probably give it a look if it became available on Freeview.
 

BAYLOR

There Are Always new Things to Learn.
Joined
Jun 29, 2014
Messages
23,398
It sounds like an either or book ,in otherworld on either likes it or doesn't . It's a book ive been thinking of thinking picking up .:unsure::(
 

Foxbat

None The Wiser
Supporter
Joined
Jul 24, 2003
Messages
10,365
Location
Scotland
It sounds like an either or book ,in otherworld on either likes it or doesn't . It's a book ive been thinking of thinking picking up .:unsure::(
I think you’re probably right. It’s one of those trilogies with many fans so I’d definitely recommend you try for yourself:)
 

elvet

Easily amused
Supporter
Joined
Feb 21, 2006
Messages
2,989
Location
Ontario, Canada
I'm just finished episode 17 of 30.
I'm still very engaged, and as @Foxbat mentioned two posts up, there is a lot of back story. It plays out well on the screen, as the differences between the Mao period of China and the present day are interesting to see. There are whole episodes set in that time period laying out the very beginnings of the story. It is a slow burn, but in a way that makes the revelations more ominous and tangible to our present day circumstances.
There is also a lot of gameplay, that takes you into a CGI virtual game the protaganists play as part of their investigation. I found that part fascinating, and wanted to solve the puzzle with them.
I've read online that this adaptation is fairly close to the book (1st in the trilogy). I will not likely read this one, but may suss out the other two if screen adaptations are not in the cards.
 

BAYLOR

There Are Always new Things to Learn.
Joined
Jun 29, 2014
Messages
23,398
I think you’re probably right. It’s one of those trilogies with many fans so I’d definitely recommend you try for yourself:)
I might just have to put this one on my list.:unsure::)
 

elvet

Easily amused
Supporter
Joined
Feb 21, 2006
Messages
2,989
Location
Ontario, Canada
Well, it does pick up towards the end! I'd say that they packed a lot into the last 5 episodes, including a jaw dropping solution to retrieving some computer information.
Most of the series was about how the scientists were despondent that physics no longer existed, and the viewer has to get a sense of how devastating that is (with probably just basic science knowledge). I think they pulled it off, without over doing the info dump. The revelation at the end makes so much sense--stopping a civilization's ability to technologically progress while the alien's invasion is centuries away. The other part that fit in well with the Chinese back story is how Ye Wenjie opens the way for the invasion, given her disillusionment with Maoist regime and her lack of hope for humanity. It could make her 'The Bad Guy' , but the way the back story unfolds, I didn't see it that way. In fact, given our current headlines, you can almost sympathize with her despair.
I highly recommend watching this version. I'm going to be interested to see how it stacks up to the Netflix one.
 

BAYLOR

There Are Always new Things to Learn.
Joined
Jun 29, 2014
Messages
23,398
Well, it does pick up towards the end! I'd say that they packed a lot into the last 5 episodes, including a jaw dropping solution to retrieving some computer information.
Most of the series was about how the scientists were despondent that physics no longer existed, and the viewer has to get a sense of how devastating that is (with probably just basic science knowledge). I think they pulled it off, without over doing the info dump. The revelation at the end makes so much sense--stopping a civilization's ability to technologically progress while the alien's invasion is centuries away. The other part that fit in well with the Chinese back story is how Ye Wenjie opens the way for the invasion, given her disillusionment with Maoist regime and her lack of hope for humanity. It could make her 'The Bad Guy' , but the way the back story unfolds, I didn't see it that way. In fact, given our current headlines, you can almost sympathize with her despair.
I highly recommend watching this version. I'm going to be interested to see how it stacks up to the Netflix one.

Some have suggest that this show is vaguely Lovecraftain ? :unsure::(
 

Logan Selmes

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2023
Messages
66
The books are basically the literary embodiment of post-Maoist disillusionment.

There's this looming sense of the goliath monstrosity of the Cultural Revolution's legacy viewed in retrospect, but the author still has a starkly nihilistic view of the human future and of the universe as a whole. Not really my thing.
 

Christine Wheelwright

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2022
Messages
863
Location
Oh Canada!
The books are basically the literary embodiment of post-Maoist disillusionment.

There's this looming sense of the goliath monstrosity of the Cultural Revolution's legacy viewed in retrospect, but the author still has a starkly nihilistic view of the human future and of the universe as a whole. Not really my thing.
As I recall a main character has terrible experiences during the Cultural Revolution which cloud her attitude to human nature. This is a factor in her later betraying humanity to potential alien invaders (a 'cant-be-any-worse' philosophy). For me, that was about as interesting as this bland book got.
 

Orcadian

Lover of hard science fiction
Joined
Apr 3, 2022
Messages
336
Location
NW Europe
I have the audio versions of Cixin Liu books The Wandering Earth and To Hold Up the Sky. They're in the queue! Actually I've been wondering what my January read/listen will be. Anyone have an opinion on the translation?
 

BAYLOR

There Are Always new Things to Learn.
Joined
Jun 29, 2014
Messages
23,398
The books are basically the literary embodiment of post-Maoist disillusionment.

There's this looming sense of the goliath monstrosity of the Cultural Revolution's legacy viewed in retrospect, but the author still has a starkly nihilistic view of the human future and of the universe as a whole. Not really my thing.

The Dark Horizon website has a trailer for the series . It looks very disturbing . Like a combination of Vernor Vinge.. Peter Hamilton , Robert Charles Wilson and H. P. Lovecraft . :oops:
 
Last edited:

Similar threads


Top