Reading process for the Remembrance of Earth’s Past:
- Ok, ok, I’m a bit lost, but it’s ok.
- Oh, I get it, it’s like a simulation game thing.
- Wow there’s a lot of science AND philosophy here. Nice.
- This was excellent. Totally different from anything I’d read before. I think I might continue with the series.
- Wow, this one is a bit different from the first book.
- I like the science, but the planning of the subterfuge is excellent.
- The plot within the plot within the plot! Rock on!
- OH MY GOD! I never knew a book could make you LITERALLY hold your breath.
- Ok, this is strange. RUN YOU IDIOTS!
- Everyone saw that one coming.
- NOBODY SAW THAT COMING! The hell is going on! I did nod sign up for this! Why you hurt me so, you stupid book?
- I really gotta finish the series.
- What? But? Aaaaaah, I sort of get it.
- Awwww romantic! Also there’s a little ray of sunshine. But I don’t trust you, Cixin, nope!
- She’s an IDIOT!
- The poor dying thing just wants a pet fish. Why you make me cry, Cixin? Why?
- You had it coming, you crazy droplet thing!
- Humanity is a very very fragile thing.
- Story time! Strange but ok, I’ll use my brain a bit more.
- Wade rules! And Humanity is screwed. There’s no way that will work.
- RUN YOU IDIOT!
- Awwww romance is back…. Oh wait, never mind, this book is written by a person who wants to hurt my soul.
- What? Ha?
And mind you, I read the last book in two days. I could not put it down.
The whole series is amazing. In my humble opinion one of the best SF series out there. And most certainly in the top 2 of SF series I’d read. But it’s not perfect, so let’s address that first.
Starting with the author – yeah I know that he’s sad some horrible things. I know. I’m (sort of) able to separate the author and the work. There are moments when the narrator just unnecessarily sexist in his statements. I noticed those and was annoyed, but not enough to put the book down. And the last one – there are moments when the editor could have been more active – there are paragraphs that are there just to make the book longer. It could have been some 30 pages shorter, I don’t thing the overall effect would have been diminished.
Some people have been commenting on Cixin Liu’s weakness when it comes to characters, and I disagree. In a book like this, where the main characters are representatives of the Humanity as a whole, we really don’t need an individual that jumps off the page. If you are aware of the scientific consequences of the actions and the plot you will get attached even to Cixin’s characters. I know I did.
Now onto the strong points. The IDEAS! Wow! Some people are character readers, some are plot readers, I am, it turns out, an IDEA reader. I just wanted to know what the next idea was going to be, I wanted to see what new things I was going to learn about our universe and the humanity. I loved it because of that.
There are moments when in conversation two people are discussing the nature of the universe and you see the defeat and the tiredness in the voice and statements of one of the scientists. Cixin is the first author I came across that is able to make me feel pain for the character because of string theory. I didn’t know that was possible!
There are also moments when the author just makes you aware of the naivete of your thoughts. The same thoughts you had all your life. When you think about the universe you see a pristine expanse just waiting for the humanity to explore it. Or you see it as a vastness dotted with civilisations, some capable of reaching out among the stars and others not. But even then, you see it as a immaculate universe with here and there some change caused by the inhabitants.
What Cixin proposes is a universe that has been used, misused, handled and mishandled by an unknown number of civilizations. Wars have been fought, environment has been affected and ruined in places by the activity of those civilisations.
Our idea of the universe is like living on a desert island in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by crystal clear waters and expecting the waters in New York to be just as clear. They are not. And perhaps neither is the universe.
I will not talk about the plot of the book, there’s not point – those who haven’t read the book should not have it spoiled for them, those that did read the book know what happened. I will just mention that it feels like the second book could have been the ending, some have even suggested that you should end the series there, but I strongly disagree. If you liked the first two books this one is a perfect mixture of those. There is action, there is suspense, there are characters and there are ideas.
So, yeah, after reading the entire day yesterday and sleeping only 4 hours these are my thoughts on the book and the series. And, yeah, this is one of those series that I plan to re-read in the near future.
I leave you with a quote:
“Weakness and ignorance are not barriers to survival, but arrogance is.”