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Publisher's Summary

Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilisation on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth.

Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them or to fight against the invasion.

©2006 Cixin Liu (P)2015 W F Howes Ltd

Critic Reviews

"A milestone in Chinese science fiction." ( New York Times)
"The best kind of science fiction." (Kim Stanley Robinson)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    73
  • 4 Stars
    54
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    17
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    10
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    2

Performance

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    50
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    26
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    5
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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Excellent

I'm hesitant to give it five stars for a few reasons. The main ones being odd plot devices, narration not being perfect (albeit good) and the book not leaving itself to be accessible to all.

If you want to get this book, do. You'll love it.

If you're hesitant, ask yourself this: "Am I prepared to listen to a lot of physics explanations and other hard sci-fi content?" If yes, then get this book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic perspective on sifi

A great story, with some good twists. An interesting Chinese cultural undertone.

Narration was ok. A little distracting.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

I really wanted to like it

It had all the elements of a good story, but it didn't quite get them together well enough for me. Plus it was a really depressing outlook on life. There was an ever slight hope at the end, but all in all, it highlighted the futility of a life without God.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

captivating story

Loved it. the story expanded my mind and took me to places far away that may be true after all. the narrator was music to my ears, could do so many different voices and unlike others could pull off female voices quite well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Very good!

Fantastic epic story, one of the best scifi book I read in the recent years.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Abner
  • United States
  • 25-08-2016

Incredible book, so different from everything

Would you listen to The Three-Body Problem again? Why?

Definitely, I listened to 3-Body and Dark Forrest twice now. and I am completely obsessed with the story. I can barely wait for Death's End

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Three-Body Problem?

The idea of the Siphons is amazing

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Any part with Shi Qiang

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

They want to exterminate the human race, and we are helping them.

Any additional comments?

Please bring out Death's End, can't wait to listen to it

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Good if you're a science nerd!

I found this book a bit tedious. The narrative begins well but then takes a back seat to extended explanations of particle physics. Not for me... Struggled to get through it.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Deeply detailed story with an unending

You start to learn of the true antagonist towards the end and before you realise the book has ended you try to piece together all the details the book described. It’s like the stage has been set and the show gets canceled right before it starts. This criticism is not to say the novel is bad, in fact I thoroughly enjoyed it and may listen again soon

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

brilliant written story

a little hard to follow at times but it's well done and really brings out the suffering that the Chinese people when through at the time and how it changes people and how drove this story I loved it

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Slow paced but deeply engaging

was a little slow going at first but became completely engrossed by the end. Hang in there.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jay Dante
  • 12-12-2016

Strange & wonderful

Keeps you guessing and doesn't disappoint. It's like Ender's Game meets The Mote in God's Eye in a Murakami novel. Hard sci fi, but not pedantically so, with beautiful prose.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • J.
  • 06-04-2016

Great

What did you like best about this story?

This book has a wealth of great ideas, and it manages to combine great scientific ideas with interesting cultural and social ideas as well. Particularly, the Chinese Cultural Revolution plays a significant role in the story, which has a great impact on one of the main characters. As a westerner (from northern Europe), the Cultural Revolution is not an even I know much about, but seeing it presented from a Chinese viewpoint (albeit with great hindsight) was very interesting.

The scientific ideas are also fantastic. They are complicated (for a novel), and one of them takes several chapters to introduce, but you won't even realise you're being introduced to it. It's absolutely brilliant.

What does Bruno Roubicek bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narration is wonderful in my opinion. Roubicek is quite mellow and perhaps even delivers a tint of depression in the tone, but it suits the book. The book has a eerie sense of mystery and despair, and Roubicek's narration enhances this atmosphere.

Any additional comments?

I'll mention the only downside I noticed: One of the main characters is a bit flat and uninteresting. I'm not sure if this is intended to increase immersion (it's easier to fill and empty pair of pants, so to speak). He is interesting for what happens to him, but many of the supporting characters are more complex and interesting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-01-2018

Captivating science fiction

superb book, very interesting, great details and story, great narration, imagination is ultimate, must read

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Sonia
  • 02-01-2018

Ok, but can get boring

I found the story rather interesting, particularly given it is set in China, and partly in the cultural revolution. So that part of it I found great - very different from the usual American centered SF. I like that it was different, and therefore formed a good 'background' for the story.

The trouble was that there was not much 'story'. I read a review that said that Characters are really only there to explain the science basis. I agree with that view.

Thus, it got boring. I am in two minds about whether or not I will grab book two, or return the book (I am unlikely to re-listen to it).

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 26-08-2017

Brain candy

Amazing book! Very good quality of science fiction and a bit of detective story. Looking forward to reading the second book of the trilogy.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • alpha_es
  • 18-08-2017

Barely convincing at times, but still interesting!

Very good, yet unconvincing at points. It rightfully gained its awards, I yearn however for a book that will understand contemporary reality (e.g. computer gaming) as well as it projects on science fiction.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ove Oksvold
  • 25-04-2017

chinese sci-fi

particularly liked that it was chinese. makes me want to investigate and read chinese contemporary literature. most interesting character reveals himself late in story...

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Thaur
  • 01-01-2017

Great story

Great narration. The story mixes real world physics and science fiction in a very pleasant and captivating way. Awesome book!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Easy Writer
  • 08-12-2016

Great and imaginative!

Hard science fiction at it's best.
Only downside is that, as a westerner, it's hard to distinguish all the Chinese names.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Thomas
  • 07-03-2018

Dont be put off by the science!!

If you could sum up The Three-Body Problem in three words, what would they be?

Complex, Intriguing and Mysterious.

What did you like best about this story?

At the start of the story I was confused however as the plot unravels all becomes clear!

What about Bruno Roubicek’s performance did you like?

All of the voices were unique without any feeling over done and cringy.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Despite its length I was keen to listen as much as possible to find out what was going on.

Any additional comments?

Be warned that this is a trilogy and only Book 1 & Book 2 are currently available as audiobooks. I am hoping the 3rd will be available by the time I finish the second instalment otherwise I will be buying the 3rd to find out how this thrilling story ends.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • C. Campbell
  • 14-11-2017

Fascinating perspectives but felt quite long

Occasionally brilliant observations of the dark side of humanity and an interesting portrayal of a period of history I know little about. Bold portrayal of advances in physics. A book of many different textures. Sometimes dark, sometimes cartoonish. But with a tendancy to run long.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • TB
  • 16-01-2017

Recommended

An unusual and wonderful book. Full of intriguing ideas. Beautiful writing. Was sad when the book ended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Roy Elmer
  • 06-12-2016

New Perspectives

I loved this, genuinely. It's an entirely new perspective on a usually quite Western dominated genre. What an excellent idea!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • matt hall
  • 07-03-2018

Exposition-heavy, clunky at times

So this is decontamination an important book. It's the first science fiction to cross over from the Chinese sci fi community and receive recognition in the west, and as such is definitely worth a read. It's definitely full of ideas and has a certain playfulness about it and these are some very interesting historical aspects centering on the cultural revolution and life as an intellectual in 20th century China.

What I found hard to get past, though, was the science. For a book that feels so heavily on hard science, the author's research is sloppy and scientific notions are often confused or just plane wrong. Relating these ideas is often done in the form of one character lecturing another quote dryly and this frequently becomes tedious. There's a lack of elegance to it which makes quite a bit of the narrative a bit of a slog.

The aliens are ultimately also quite disappointing as well. Initially they are utterly mysterious and their powers seem godlike to the point of extreme implausibility. We learn about their home system, which is an interesting setting, but we also learn that they are basically just like humans in their giving and reasoning with power structures which are instantly recognisable. It feels like a cop out.

This isn't a terrible book, but neither is it a particularly good one. It feels clunky and exps the sorts of tropes that were common in 50s and 60s sci fi. We also see clichéd characters laboring to solve quite simple problems. I won't deny there are some fun episodes but by the end I was just waiting for the book to end.

Not sure I'll bother with the sequels.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Abi Grove
  • 12-08-2017

Bad!

Not a story suited for audiobook and unless you're familiar with the science and with Chinese names it is phenomenally confusing. I did 4 hours then gave up.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • J Sims
  • 13-12-2016

Good story, wooden delivery

Whilst the story was a refreshing break from the my usual diet of space opera series', I struggled to get to the end of this as the reader made everything feel really quite dry and at some points even seemingly started reading in. a. robot. voice. even. though. it. was. a. real. person.

That said, I still recommend it to anyone looking for a thought provoking modern day sci fi yarn, and it's especially nice to see a story not based on the USA or Europe.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Kenneth
  • 19-05-2018

I struggled with this one

I had reasonably high hopes for the book given the reviews, but honestly I struggled with it throughout. I found the pace to be slow and there simply was insufficient tension, excitement and anticipation to keep me invested. There was certainly some interesting concepts and characters but not enough to keep me listening. I really gave this a chance and persevered, listening up to 3 hours to go at which point I gave up. I also wasn't a great fan of the narrator's voice - a personal thing for sure. In summary not all it was cracked up to be.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • David Burden
  • 17-05-2018

Fascinating insight into China

A complex and fascinating story full of new ideas.
Also great insight into the Cultural Revolotion and the effect it had on many people.
I need to listen to it again soon.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Harry S
  • 04-05-2018

So this is what the multi-speed playback options are for

Bruno Roubicek’s narration is brilliant, but he is a very deliberate speaker; listening at 1.25x speed helps massively with the flow of this otherwise brilliant production.