THE DARK FOREST by Cixin Liu
Kirkus Star

THE DARK FOREST

by , translated by
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Second part of an alien-contact trilogy (The Three-Body Problem, 2014) from China’s most celebrated science-fiction author.

In the previous book, the inhabitants of Trisolaris, a planet with three suns, discovered that their planet was doomed and that Earth offered a suitable refuge. So, determined to capture Earth and exterminate humanity, the Trisolarans embarked on a 400-year-long interstellar voyage and also sent sophons (enormously sophisticated computers constructed inside the curled-up dimensions of fundamental particles) to spy on humanity and impose an unbreakable block on scientific advance. On Earth, the Earth-Trisolaris Organization formed to help the invaders, despite knowing the inevitable outcome. Humanity’s lone advantage is that Trisolarans are incapable of lying or dissimulation and so cannot understand deceit or subterfuge. This time, with the Trisolarans a few years into their voyage, physicist Ye Wenjie (whose reminiscences drove much of the action in the last book) visits astronomer-turned-sociologist Luo Ji, urging him to develop her ideas on cosmic sociology. The Planetary Defense Council, meanwhile, in order to combat the powerful escapist movement (they want to build starships and flee so that at least some humans will survive), announces the Wallfacer Project. Four selected individuals will be accorded the power to command any resource in order to develop plans to defend Earth, while the details will remain hidden in the thoughts of each Wallfacer, where even the sophons can't reach. To combat this, the ETO creates Wallbreakers, dedicated to deducing and thwarting the plans of the Wallfacers. The chosen Wallfacers are soldier Frederick Tyler, diplomat Manuel Rey Diaz, neuroscientist Bill Hines, and—Luo Ji. Luo has no idea why he was chosen, but, nonetheless, the Trisolarans seem determined to kill him. The plot’s development centers on Liu’s dark and rather gloomy but highly persuasive philosophy, with dazzling ideas and an unsettling, nonlinear, almost nonnarrative structure that demands patience but offers huge rewards.

Once again, a highly impressive must-read.

Pub Date: Aug. 11th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-7653-7708-1
Page count: 480pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 2015




BEST SCIENCE FICTION AND FANTASY OF 2015:

Sci-FiDARK ORBIT by Carolyn Ives Gilman
by Carolyn Ives Gilman
FictionTHE LIBRARY AT MOUNT CHAR by Scott Hawkins
by Scott Hawkins
Sci-FiLIGHTLESS by C.A. Higgins
by C.A. Higgins
Sci-FiANCILLARY MERCY by Ann Leckie
by Ann Leckie

MORE BY CIXIN LIU

Sci-FiDEATH'S END  by Cixin Liu
by Cixin Liu
Sci-FiTHE THREE-BODY PROBLEM by Cixin Liu
by Cixin Liu

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

Sci-FiTHE CITY & THE CITY by China Miéville
by China Miéville
Sci-FiTHE AFFINITIES by Robert Charles Wilson
by Robert Charles Wilson
Sci-FiTHE GRACE OF KINGS by Ken Liu
by Ken Liu