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Book Review of Death's End




原创翻译:龙腾网 http://www.ltaaa.com 翻译:mahat 转载请注明出处

Mark Uhlar rated it it was amazing  Aug 23.2016

Mark Uhlar评为5星                   2016.08.23

Recommends it for: Science Fiction, Weird Fiction, Cosmic Horror Fans


Let me start by getting this part out of the way---this book is the real deal as they say---because after reading it, you will never look up at the night sky the same way again without thinking of some of the cognitively warping ideas delineated in this book.


I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of this novel, and I must confess that the book Gods were indeed kind that day, because this is one fantastic and mind expanding book---the best so far in the series in my humble view. The translation is impeccably done by the fantastic Mr. Liu and the story itself by Mr. Cixin is beyond description, and cliched words like "epic" utterly fail to do it justice. Cixin has a wonderful ability to infuse the different styles of his literary predecessors into something exotically new, combining the old-school philosophical and sociological scifi of Wells and Stapledon, with the hard scifi sensibility of Clarke and Asimov, while simultaneously giving it a judicious dose of the paranoid fevered dreams found in the works of Philip K. Dick, Lovecraft, or Tim Powers.

【赫伯特·乔治·威尔斯,上世纪著名科幻小说家,代表作有《时间机器》等,首创“时间旅行”“外星人入侵”“反乌托邦”等概念。奥拉夫·斯塔普雷顿,著名科幻小说家,代表作有《最后和最先的人》等,首创了“戴森球”等概念。阿瑟·C·克拉克,著名科幻小说家,代表作有《2001太空漫游》等。艾萨克·阿西莫夫,著名科幻小说家,代表作有《基地》等。菲利普·狄克,著名科幻小说家,代表作有《高堡奇人》《银翼杀手》等,首创“平行历史”概念。H. P. 洛夫克拉夫特,著名幻想小说家,代表作有《克苏鲁的呼唤》系列。蒂姆·鲍尔斯,著名幻想小说家,代表作有《阿努比斯之门》等。】

[copy]But what will really rock your metaphorical worldview though, is Cixin's beautiful and eerie depictions of alien life in the universe; one could make the argument that philosophically speaking, some of Cixin's speculations on the Fermi Paradox and the raison d'etre behind the unfolding strangeness of the Universe are spot on, and may actually provide theoretical answers to some the reasons why we haven't discovered intelligent life out there in the great beyond. 


As someone who is also a huge Weird Fiction/Cosmic Horror fan, there are some novel concepts and situations used by Cixin in this book that will send chills down your spine. Not only is it one of the top five best books I have read in 2016, but when also viewed holistically, it is easily one of the best scifi trilogies I have ever read. Rumor has it Ken Liu is also translating a spin off novel about the Three Body series, called "Three Body X", by another Chinese writer named Bao Shu. So I end this review with a warning, after reading the majestic Death's End you will probably want to cryogenically freeze yourself until that release date (of Three X), because you will hate waiting for it in real time, in this new 'Post-Three Body era'..... Just saying.... Oh, and btw, if this isn't nominated for a Hugo or something I would be absolutely SHOCKED. 


Finally just a small rant (if I may be so bold and pedantic):
We as readers need more people like Ken Liu and Jeff/Ann Vandermeer etc., who are willing to sacrifice their time, energy, and money to do these wonderful translation projects. Therefore, go out and buy this book so publishers like Tor, etc, will publish more translations, and we more provincial readers can feel like we are living in an ideal Borgian world of a truly 'Universal Literature'--- a vitally important project in my view as maybe it can form a counterbalance to some of the more contentious rhetoric and debates unfolding within the Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror communities; because as Cixin aptly reminds us, once we discover intelligent exterrestrial life, then 
humanity must face the consequences together, despite all our petty tribal biases. Otherwise our memorial on Pluto will read, "Human, all too human," but if we can transcend our lesser demons then books like Death's End remind us that the real show is only just now getting started. 


Barbara rated it it was amazing Aug 24.2016

Barbara 评为5星                   2016.08.24

After reading the first two books I couldn't imagine how the third could possibly be any better. The second book wrapped up the storyline quite nicely and any continuation seemed like it would have to create unnecessary drama for drama's sake. I am happy to report that I was completely mistaken.


It's been a while since I've read the first two, but I would argue that this book is the best of the three. While all three books contain a compelling story, numerous mind-blowing concepts, and a great cast of characters, they each have a different "feel" to them, as if each was written with a different sub-genre in mind.


The first book felt like a movie trailer, where the stage is set and we vaguely know what is going to happen, but we don't yet know how we're getting there. The conflict is clear, the villain has been sketched out, and the forces of good are rallying together. This book has all the makings of an epic fantasy, but Liu Cixin thankfully avoids the trap of having the story buckle under the weight of too many plot threads.


The second book felt like an action movie. With the background in place, Cixin delivers one revelation after another, keeping his reader glued to the pages as their eyes race though the words in an effort to quicken their journey to the next revelation. This book fulfills on the promise of the "trailer", taking the reader on an exhilarating ride that eventually reaches the promised ending (yay humans!).


The third book is completely unlike the first two. There is less of that frenetic energy to get somewhere. It takes on a more philosophical turn where it's not so much about how things end, but how we got there. It puts humanity in perspective, taking away its protagonist role and the presumption of victory. The timeline expands accordingly. Instead of focusing on events that span years or decades, the storyline in this book spans centuries and more. Through it all, the author successfully keeps the story grounded by skillfully intertwining the lives of several characters in a way that flows naturally. Finally, fairy tales, star-struck lovers, and tea ceremonies. Need I say more?


Bottom line. If you liked the first two books, definitely read the third. If you're not really a fan of science fiction, that's okay. Skip the first two books and read the third.


Samuel Lubell rated it really liked it Sep 01.2016

Samuel Lubell评为4星                   2016.09.01

Death's End by the legendary Chinese author Cixin Liu is the third in the trilogy that began in the Hugo-winning The Three Body Problem and continued in The Dark Forrest. Like the first book, Death's End is translated by the Hugo-winning Ken Liu (no relation). Even more than the first two books, Death's End is complex, grand-scale science fiction. Parts of the book, especially near the end, resemble Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men in scope. The book is full of old fashioned sense of wonder with some truly awe-inspiring scenes. Unfortunately, it also has moments where a big idea is undermined, leaving the reader wondering why the author did this.


The early chapters of Death's End are set during the early years of The Dark Forest with Earth struggling to find some way of defeating the alien Trisolarans. At the start, Yun Tianming, dying of an incurable cancer, purchases the rights to a star (though the Stars Our Destination project) as a gift to Cheng Xin, the one girl in his life who was kind to him. His attempt at euthanasia is stopped by Cheng Xin who has become an important aide at the intelligence agency charged with finding out more about the Trisolarans. She has proposed a way to send a lightweight spacecraft, housing only a human brain, to spy on the Trisolarans. Since removing the brain would kill a person, the mission requires someone willing to be killed for the cause. At this appeal from the woman he loves, Tianming volunteers for the Staircase Program. His brain is sent into space while Cheng Xin is put in suspended animation to act as liaison in the future.


[copy]In the book's second section, taking place after the events in The Dark Forest, Xin is revived because the UN wants to colonize the planets circulating her star. Luo Ji, the hero of The Dark Forest, has become the aging Swordholder, the person with control of the button that would announce the location of the Trisolaran's planet (and Earth) to a universe full of hostile lifeforms if the Trisolarans invade. This obvious analogy to the Cold War's Mutually Assured Destruction has ushered in the Deterrence Era. Concerned that Ji is aging, the UN chooses Xin as his replacement. Immediately after she replaces Ji, Trisolaran space probes attack, Xin has only minutes to decide if she can press the button to destroy two worlds.


The book is full of wonderful ideas and images. At one point, all of humanity is forced to relocate to Australia. At another, Tianming gets around Trisolaran censorship by telling Xin fairy tales that the greatest minds on Earth then try to decipher for hidden meanings. There's a horrifying scene of spaceships' lift-off blasts killing hundreds of people at a crowded spaceport. And the end of the book literally brings everything around to the end of time.


Unfortunately, the book has some flaws too. In several spots Liu seems to change his mind and retract a situation, restoring the previous status quo, essentially turning several chapters moot. His treatment of Xin sometimes seems sexist, implying she is weak because as a woman she is maternal. For instance, she has to turn over the management of her company to a man because she lacks "the skill or the will" to use the company to invent faster than light spaceships. There are also many places where the book talks at the reader, telling instead of showing what this future looks like. And, aside from Tianming and Xin, characterization is very superficial.


Death's End, as the final book in a trilogy, does not stand alone and should only be read after the first two books.


Death's End is the type of grand-scale science fiction that we rarely see these days. For most of the book, the fate of humanity is at stake and survival depends not on weapons or military tactics but on thinking, inventing, and interpreting clues. While some flaws exist, they are minimal when compared to so much that the book gets right. There is a reason why this trilogy is considered the best science fiction epic in China. We are fortunate that it has finally been translated for English readers.