The other month ago I read an article in Wired magazine about the Hugo Awards (a pretty big deal in the world of science fiction). More specifically the article was about the lack of women and people of color who are nominated for and receive a Hugo Award. This isn’t because women and people of coloring write sub-par science fiction but because certain groups try and rig the voting to keep a certain type of science fiction author at the top of the list. (And yes, this “certain group” and “certain type of author” are white straight men.)
Thanks to this article I was pointed towards some Hugo Award winning science fiction by a diversity of authors. After reading some synopses and reviews online, I bought The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, a book that won the Hugo Award in 2015 after two other authors, both white, withdrew as they realized they were being pushed to the top simply to keep diverse authors down. (Seriously, someone should make a movie about that.)
To be honest, I was a little nervous about starting this book. Not because it’s science fiction (major geek over here) but because I didn’t know if I would be able to keep up with the context of the Chinese Revolution or keep track of so many names that I am so unfamiliar with. However, all of my fears were satiated once I began reading the book. Yes, the book revolves around the Chinese Revolution and yes it is filled with Chinese names. But the footnotes along the way did an excellent job of explaining the context (and teaching me many new things) and the names were much easier to remember and keep track of than I thought, probably easier than if they had been names I am overly familiar with.
As I came to the final chapters of the book, I found myself utterly satisfied with the story, only sad that I had so few pages remaining. The book lands well, leaving you satisfied upon completion, but I was curious to know more about the larger meta-narrative and the always looming “what happens next?”
After a quick google search I discovered that The Three-Body Problem is the first in a trilogy. And the English translation of the third book would be out this August! I bought the sequel, The Dark Forest, and will be reading the finale, Death’s End, once it is released.
All this to say, go read The Three-Body Problem. It will remind you why science fiction is an amazing genre and introduce you to a diversity of amazing scifi authors in the world.
And if that’s not enough to convince you, President Obama took a copy of this book with him over the holidays!
Oh, and I love this book so much that I gave it a shout out in my latest sermon at Middle Church (as well as comparing the book of Revelation to science fiction). Enjoy!