Starts several years after The Three Body Problem and ends 200 years later, shortly after the first (brief, horrific) physical contact with alien technology. The future’s clean, white, Apple-y aesthetic was annoying enough for me not to feel too badly after it imploded, and the humans of the future were just as grating, but I assume that was one of the big points Liu wanted to make (that we are more closely related temporally than we are geographically or genetically, that is, not that Jony Ive is a future-human).

Another point: a book about humanity’s impending demise has a good quarter of it dedicated to one man’s delusions about art and love. Those passages end up being directly relevant to the plot, but if anything, that takes away from them.

Finally, the character who ends up being the book’s main proponent of historicism dies in the best standoff since the Gotham prisoners’ dilemma, which ends up being only the second-best of the many standoffs the book presents. It is a beautiful, self-referential standoff heaven.

Written by Cixin Liu, 2015