The Dark Forest

(Remembrance of Earth's Past)

Paperback, 550 pages

English language

Published Aug. 1, 2016 by Head of Zeus.

ISBN:
9781784971618

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4 stars (7 reviews)

This is the second novel in the "Remembrance of Earth’s Past" near-future trilogy. Written by the China's multiple-award-winning science fiction author, Cixin Liu.

In Dark Forest, Earth is reeling from the revelation of a coming alien invasion—four centuries in the future. The aliens' human collaborators have been defeated, but the presence of the sophons, the subatomic particles that allow Trisolaris instant access to all human information, means that Earth's defense plans are exposed to the enemy. Only the human mind remains a secret.

This is the motivation for the Wallfacer Project, a daring plan that grants four men enormous resources to design secret strategies, hidden through deceit and misdirection from Earth and Trisolaris alike. Three of the Wallfacers are influential statesmen and scientists, but the fourth is a total unknown. Luo Ji, an unambitious Chinese astronomer and sociologist, is baffled by his new status. All he knows is that he's …

10 editions

The Dark Forest

2 stars

Reading about an ant painstakingly tracing each character on a gravestone signals the early slog. The flatness of the first two parts cannot be pinned entirely on the alternate translator either. The details are dull and offensive. Women squeal and fuss, and when they’re overeducated they calcify. The ones with speaking parts admit that the protagonist is better at their work than they are, or are dismissed as small with no air of authority, or remain nameless and/or are dispatched by violence, or are pure fantasy, insistently innocent and childlike. Colonisers are labelled art-preservingly advanced and the colonised backwards. If you can wade through the carrying over of misogyny and non-Trisolaran imperialism in Liu’s vision, there are some rewards in part three (the teardrop and the cosmic fight for resources are thrilling), still diluted by legitimising a character’s manipulation by threat of suicide, a despair orgy, and rumination-attempts on the …

Wow

5 stars

This book is in a lot of ways more of everything that Three Body Problem was. It's a huger sweep, a pretty intense exploration of how getting thrown into responsibility can break people, and it builds on a lot of the ideas of the first book about how ununified people would be in response to a threat like this - stuff that now looks rather prescient after a year and a half of covid. It does also suffer from the same weaknesses, perhaps even intensified. In particular there's not much dialogue that is really characters being theirselves as opposed to Liu exploring an idea through his characters. But the good parts were so compelling that this was far from ruining the book for me.

I was left with a few questions, two of which seem like weaknesses of the book: 1) Why did Ye pick Luo to have the conversation …

"I guess I have to read the whole story now"

3 stars

That was my first thought after finishing the first novel in the trilogy. This second book didn't change that much in my thinking. It's still okay, I liked some aspects, such as the whole 'Wallfacer' idea, but it still had a few very weird subplots, that just seem so out of place. The whole romantic subplot made me cringe, it reminded me of mail order brides. The feelings, decisions and personality of the woman in question are unimportant. Maybe that's a cultural thing but there were so many pages about this whole thing and it's just weird.

The whole idea of the dark forest is interesting, the droplet was also a good part. I wish he put more time into the characters and the story, not just into the science. That's the thing, I remember most of the science, but the characters are all very much replaceable.

In the end, …

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