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Nick Richardson reviews The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu, The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu, translated by Joel Martinsen, Deaths End by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu, The Wandering Earth by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu and Invisible Planets edited and translated by Ken Liu LRB 8 February 2018

Cixin himself has been at the forefront of the scene since the 1990s. He is the first Asian writer to receive a Hugo award (in 2015), and the author whose work best captures the giddying, libidinous pace of the Chinese economic boom. His monumental Three-Body Trilogy first published between 2006 and 2010, and recently translated into English by Ken Liu, a Chinese-American sci-fi writer is Chinese science fictions best-known work. Barack Obama is a fan, and the forthcoming movie adaptations are already being described as Chinas Star Wars . The trilogy concerns the catastrophic consequences of humanitys attempt to make contact with extraterrestrials (it turns out that the reason we havent heard from aliens yet is that were the only species thick enough to reveal our own location in the universe). It is one of the most ambitious works of science fiction ever written. The story begins during the Cultural Revolution and ends 18,906,416 years into the future. There is a scene in ancient Byzantium, and a scene told from the perspective of an ant. The first book is set on Earth, though several of its scenes take place in virtual reality representations of Qin dynasty China and ancient Egypt; by the end of the third book, the stage has expanded to encompass an intercivilisational war that spans not only the three-dimensional universe but other dimensions too.