Found 1 comment on HN
atombender · 2019-03-07 · Original thread
Personally, I actually liked the ideas, but everything else was a complete disaster.

The book is written in a very simple, juvenile style, at the linguistic level of a YA novel. There's zero depth to any characters. By modern standards, it's all "tell", no "show". I've read several reviews that suggest this is actually how most modern Chinese novels are written. That doesn't make it more readable, unfortunately.

The style seemed rather unintentionally surreal. My sense after reading was that I had just been reading Vonnegut's "The Sirens of Titan" but without any of the humour. Many of Vonnegut's books are breezy, somewhat outrageous fables that don't go very deep into their characters, of course, but they work because they're funny, colourful, inventive, well written, and are full of great ideas. I think Lui Cixin's book would have worked much better as a Vonnegut-style satire.

If you want a similarly dark look at the future of humanity's role in the universe, take a look at Peter Watts' Blindsight [1]. While it certainly won't win any prizes for literature, and it has some odd quirks, it's considerably better written, and might especially appeal to fans of Neal Stephenson's loose, ragged style of writing. Moreover, it's probably the creepiest sci-fi novel I've read. On the surface it's a somewhat straightforward story about a team of transhuman specialists who are dispatched to investigate an apparently alien artifact. But it goes deep into some fairly cynical ideaas about human consciousness that are somewhat existentially unnerving.


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