The Dark Forest by Liu Cixin

I didn’t find The Dark Forest as compelling as its predecessor, The Three-Body Problem. I think a lot of it has to do with how I disagreed with Liu Cixin as to the behavior of future humanity, particularly in terms of the outlawing of Escapism, as well as the way in which the victors of the Battle Of Darkness were labeled as being inhuman and how that was attributed to their loss of a home planet. I also felt that the narrative dragged quite a bit, particularly after Luo Ji was forced to apply himself as Wallfacer and right up till he was awoken from hibernation. I also didn’t feel that the science was as gripping as in T3BP, but found that forgivable given what a tough act T3BP would be to follow in that regard.

There was a lot that I did love, however. The entire scene around the explanation of why this book is called The Dark Forest was brilliant and brutal, and I was shocked at the (much earlier) discovery of who Hines’ Wallbreaker was (even as I still don’t understand why Hines did what he did. I just don’t get how that would have saved humanity. What was the point of it?) And I was so. fucking. mad at what happened to Zhang Beihai. That badass deserves all the marbles — kudos to Mr Liu for making me care about an utter bastard. I did also greatly enjoy how Mr Liu dragged me to the brink of utter despair at the fate of humanity only to… well, you should read this book. It’s not as easy or breathtaking as book 1 in the series but it’s still worthwhile. Plus, there’s Da Shi being as awesome as he was in T3BP, and I’d read about his exploits any time.

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  1. […] Maybe I’m too much of an optimist, a believer in both survival and elevation through cooperation. Honestly, I liked the ending. I wasn’t at all bothered by the effects of the light tomb towards the end: bad shit happens, and we should all do our best in the little time we have. I just find it too hard to reconcile the note of hope in the ending with the “everyone is out to kill us” tone of the rest of the book. It’s lazy and stupid and just reads like Mr Liu wants to impress with flash instead of substance. A fucking terrible coda to a dazzling first novel and problematic but brilliant second. […]

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