Ball Lightning is a gripping tale of obsession from the biggest name in Chinese sci-fi

In 2015, Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem (translated into English by Ken Liu), earned science fiction’s highest honor: the Hugo Award for Best Novel. The award was the first for a Chinese author, and put Liu in the global spotlight. Sequels to that novel, The Dark Forest and Death’s End, also received widespread acclaim, and now, Liu has a new book out in English: Ball Lightning, translated by Joel Martinsen. Like The Three-Body Problem, it’s a gripping tale of technology and physics, one that explores the nature of obsession and the dark places it can lead.

Spoilers for the novel ahead.

As a story, Ball Lightning is a bit more of a grounded read than The Three-Body Problem. There are no aliens in this story, which follows the life…

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Author: Andrew Liptak

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