Sunday, September 21, 2014

Science Fiction that Relies Heavily on Physics

Ye Wenjie, a young astrophysicist, suffered during the Chinese Cultural Revolution seeing her physicist father killed by an out of control group of young students. For awhile she buries herself in the forests as part of the Construction Corps, sawing down irreplaceable old trees. This experience like the Cultural Revolution convinces Ye Wenjie that humanity is not redeemable.

Her father's past as a famous physicist follows her into the Construction Corps. Before she is convicted, she's whisked away to a remote antenna station to serve as a technician. She intends to spend the rest of her life there, but events push her into the forefront of a new revolution, one to discredit science.

The book moves back and forth between Ye Wenjie's experiences and Wang Maio's. Wang is an applied physicist working on nanomaterial. He is drawn into the investigation of why so many famous scientists are committing suicide. At first he doesn't see how he fits the mold, but as the investigation progresses he gets caught up in the three body problem.

This is one of the best science fiction books I have ever read. The background relies heavily on physics which makes it fascinating. The author does an excellent job of weaving real concepts into his story. If you enjoy physics, this is a must read.

Wang and Ye are good characters. Wang grows as he faces the looming catastrophe. Ye is an enclosed woman who hides deep secrets. However, my favorite character was Da Shi. Unlike the scientists, he is a pragmatic observer who doesn't worry about theory. He looks at life. His common sense is one of the most refreshing parts of the book.

I highly recommend this book. It's the first book in a trilogy. The other two books are not available yet. If you like reading really good science fiction, you'll love this book.

I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.