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Three Body Problem Book by Liu Cixin Review (Spoilers)

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu Book Cover


  • Shows a relatively realistic theory of how humanity will react against an alien invasion.

Recommended for:

  • People who are interested in reading about Sci-Fi
  • People interested in VR, gaming themes
  • People interested in extraterrestrial life and other space themes


  • Pendulums – The pendulum theme comes up frequently in the book.

Finished Rating: 3 out of 5

Recommended?: YES!

There are a lot of interesting concepts and ideas introduced in this book that you might not have seen or read in other published media. It is not a dry read and holds your attention as you read through the chapters.

Good Reads Scale

Entertainment Value – The book is captivating and introduces a lot of interesting ideas in how humanity will react if there was an Alien invasion.

Characters – It felt like many of the characters in the book weren’t really that important. They were just pieces to create the historic moments of how the events unfolded for the Trisolaran invasion. In terms of character development of the characters, I felt most characters were still the same. Most of the book was to lay the groundwork for the backstory of how Earth discovered the Trisolarans.

Book Ending – The ending of the book is a huge turn of events. It transitions to the point of view of the Trisolarans and their journey to invade earth. They created Sophons and sent them to Earth since they predicted that by the time that they arrive, Earth’s tech will be far too advanced for them to deal with. The Sophons were created to block Earth’s technological development.

I thought this was an appropriate ending. It was one of the most captivating moments of the book, reading about how they were designing the Sophons and how they were preparing for their arrival on Earth. It’s a good groundwork for the next series in the book (which I haven’t read yet.)

Post Reading Summary (More Spoilers)

Beginning starts with an explicit description of the Chinese cultural revolution. Provides backstory to the main characters of the story.

Wang is a scientist whose research is developing Nanomaterials which is a really strong material.

A V-Suit is given to Wang to play a virtual reality game called Three-Body. He goes through a series of different games throughout the rest of the book. The goal of the game is to come up with an accurate calendar for the planet in the game. The planet goes through different climates ranging from extreme cold to extreme heat.

Game 1 of Three-Body

Wang discovers that there are Chaotic and Stable Eras. In Chaotic Eras, the weather changes from hot to cold sporadically. Stable Eras are closer to what we have on Earth. It is moderate, habitable weather where everyone can do things without worrying about freezing or burning to death.

The natives have an ability of changing hydrating and dehydrating themselves to survive the weather. 

The natives of the world inform Wang of the shooting stars. 2 Shooting stars means a stable era. Wang mentions 3 shooting stars must be a really good era. The natives freeze in terror and tell him not to speak of such things. 

Fast forward a little and everyone thinks it is going to be a long stable era. So everyone hydrates and gets ready to get to work on developing their civilization. Unfortunately as they are finished hydrating, 3 shooting stars fly by in the sky. Everyone basically sighs and the King tells everyone to dehydrate immediately. 

3 Shooting stars begins an era of intense heat and burns everything.

Game 2 of Three-Body

Wang meets a man named Mozi who criticizes Confucius and says he was wrong. But Mozi claims that he has figured out the answer to the Three-Body Problem. He explains that the universe is a ball within a ball. There are holes on the surface of the spheres. Outside of the spheres is a sea of fire which essentially illuminates the holes in the spheres.

Wang listens and asks for an explanation on the shooting stars. Mozi says they are not important and that he has an accurate calendar. He predicts a stable era is about to start.

Eventually the entire world becomes dark and cold. The world is freezing. As Mozi freezes, he continues to claim that he was correct. Suddenly the sun emerges and the entire world is bursting into flames. Mozi continues to predict a stable era is coming as he burns.

Game 3 of Three-Body

Wang plays the Three-Body game again. This time he explains his theory to the natives. His theory is that there are 3 suns in this world. The natives laugh at him and say kill him immediately. It’s the worst theory so far. They say nobody has ever seen 3 suns in the history of Three-Body. Wang explains that that is because whenever there are 3 suns, there is no time to record it into the history books. Anyone who has ever seen 3 suns has died immediately.

Soon, 3 Suns emerge and the entire world burns again.

Game 4 of Three-Body

In the 4th game, Wang is in a period of Three-Body where they are attempting to create a real life computer made of humans. Over 30 million people are assigned to raise flags when they are told to. Those who counted wrong were immediately killed. 

Eventually it becomes a stable era and all is well.

Suddenly they realize that there are Three Suns. And they are all lined up. It is a rare Syzygy of the suns. The gravitational pull of all the suns lined up causes everything on the planet to float and get sucked out of the atmosphere.

After the game ends, the game tells Wang to provide him his information or else he cannot continue to play. After submitting his information, the game says that there is a meeting the next day.

Game 5 of Three-Body

Wang comes back and notices that there is a moon that he has never seen in the sky. He finds out that the suns ripped a large piece of the planet off and that has become the moon.

Wang says that he has figured out the solution to the Three Body problem and has all the documents for his work.

The natives say they have given up trying to figure out an accurate calendar. They have accepted that it will never be solved. They have decided that they are leaving the planet in hopes to find another habitable planet in the galaxy.

Game 6 of Three-Body

All the Trisolarans board the ships and leave the planet.

The Trisolarans

The book ends with a POV of the Trisolarans who have received the signal from Earth and created ships to be on their way to Earth. On their voyage to Earth, the Trisolarans begin building AI that are named Sophon’s. These AI’s are created with the purpose of infiltrating Earth’s particle accelerators  with the objective of disrupting it to stop Earth’s technological development. The Sophons are protons that have been folded into multiple dimensions. The Trisolarans folded the protons 3 times before they built it correctly.

First Unfolding: They messed up and quickly began questioning this project. They were questioning if it was worth wasting resources building this or creating more ships. They determined that it would be worth it because they calculated Earth’s rapid technological development. By the time that they arrive on Earth, the Trisolarans will probably have problems taking over Earth. It was a risk worth taking to create the Sophons.

Second Unfolding: Failure and began burning everything. They had to destroy it.

Third Unfolding: They succeed in creating it. They create a total of 4 Sophons.

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