Best Books to Read: The Three Body Problem (Liu Cixin)

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The Three-Body Problem is a Chinese science fiction novel that was translated into English. I am a bit hesitant to recommend this book because I think it is the type of book readers either really enjoy or really dislike, with no middle ground. I thought it was good, but I honestly do not think I understood the full meaning of the book. I am interested in learning what other readers think (it has won awards and gotten a lot of recognition, so I want to see if people thought it lived up to the hype).

If you do not like to think too hard when reading, or if you enjoy books that are easy to digest and understand, I do not think this is the book for you. However, if you enjoy science fiction or thinking about extraterrestrial life, I think this could be a good book for you.

The story is complex and hard to explain without spoilers (I would recommend reading the summary); just to give a brief overview though, there is a Chinese military project that discovers the existence of aliens. The government, wealthy individuals, and scientists all disagree on how to handle the situation. Ultimately, there is a power struggle between the human race to decide on the best course of action.

The book starts off slow, and the first 1/2 is kind of confusing. However, the author does a really good job of bringing everything together in the last half of the book, and it all begins to make sense at the end. I personally enjoyed the book, and I liked that it challenged my preexisting thoughts on extraterrestrial life. The storyline had just enough truth to it that it could be plausible (in the most unlikely of circumstances), but also far-fetched enough that it seems like science fiction.

Overall, it was a good enough book that it has been recommended by Barack Obama, and a good enough book that I will be reading the second book in the series, The Dark Forest.

The Three Body Problem Recommendation Rating (Science Fiction Fans): 5

The Three Body Problem Recommendation Rating (Non-Science Fiction Fans): 2

This post has now been updated to reflect a new ratings system that I have implemented, which is scored as follows:

1: Something worth checking out if you have time

2: Something that is a hit for some people, but not a must for everyone

3: Something worth prioritizing if interested

4: Something worth making time to check out

5: An absolute home run, worth going out of your way for


6 responses to “Best Books to Read: The Three Body Problem (Liu Cixin)”

  1. […] a previous post, I wrote about the Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin. The Dark Forest is the second book in the […]


  2. […] I would rank it 1. The Dark Forest (the second book), 2. Death’s End (the third book), and 3. The Three Body Problem (the first book). Still, I would say that #1 and #2 are much closer than #2 and […]


  3. […] The Three Body Problem, Liu Cixin (Book 1: a good introduction book, but not on the same level as Books 2/3) […]


  4. […] fiction, and they are all super thought provoking and interesting. After recently reading the Three Body Problem series, I have high expectations for science fiction novels; Exhalation definitely met these […]


  5. […] I have written in the past, The Three-Body Problem Series by Liu Cixin is one of my favorite book series of all […]


  6. […] too heavy into the details I tend to not understand) and have been looking for a book similar to The Three Body Problem series by Cixin […]


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