Book review: The Three Body Problem trilogy

The Three Body Problem - book trilogy

Monash Student Space Newsletter November 2019

Article by Wesley, 14 years old

The Three Body Problem reflects the culture of China as it explores the rich history of such a nation.

Written by Cixin Liu and translated by Ken Liu, this creative series of science fiction has drawn international attention and even the eyes of former US President Barack Obama – who really enjoyed reading the trilogy! This book explores both modern day China as well as the cultural revolution.

The book starts off by giving the history of one of the main characters, the daughter of a physicist, Ye Zhetai, who taught at Tsinghua University. Caught up in the revolution between Reactionary China and the progressive Red Guards, Zhetai is killed, leaving his daughter, Ye Wenjie, fatherless. Fast forward many years and Wenjie is now bound to work in the Red Coast Base for the rest of her life as an Astrophysicist. This base studies the space beyond Earth, as it attempts to make contact with extra-terrestrial life forms.

Eventually, Ye Wenjie finds out a way to transmit a signal to a planet millions of light years away, the Trisolarans. The Three Body Problem is actually a mathematical problem of three balls, and how their gravitational force makes them rotate around each other. Put a planet in the middle of the balls, and you have a planet with three suns. The Trisolarans are the ones who have to deal with this problem.

Editor’s note: there is one set available to borrow via the Monash Public Library Service – make sure you reserve it today!

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Last updated: 31 October 2019