Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Book review: THE DARK FOREST by Cixin Liu

THE DARK FOREST (2008) by Cixin Liu

I have read and reviewed Cixin Liu's novel THE THREE-BODY PROBLEM, which ended in a huge cliffhanger: Can humanity survive an impending alien invasion?

I must read the third book in the series to find out how this story ends, because the sequel THE DARK FOREST leaves many questions unanswered.

THE DARK FOREST is mainly about preparing humanity for a terrible future - and how hope can survive.

The novel also develops the argument made in THE THREE-BODY PROBLEM - about the inherent danger of alien civilizations... I am not sure where I stand on that subject, but I think that far too much science fiction isn't taking it seriously.

THE DARK FOREST suffers from being the middle book in a trilogy. It is very clear about what it wants to say, but it is unevenly written (or translated??).

The "flatness" of the characters, a typical feature of "Hard" Science Fiction, gets worse here - because the author struggles to give the characters depth, but he doesn't completely succeed.

There are several plot twists - some are good - and a major one that is quite weak (humanity wandering stupidly into an obvious trap, with disastrous consequences).

Despite these criticisms, I just had to read the book to see what would happen next. I recommend it with a caveat: if you're not engaged in the main plot or the trilogy's "big ideas," THE DARK FOREST may bore you.

Me, I'm engaged and then some...

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