The Three Body Problem by Cixen Liu

Modern science fiction story by Cixen Liu and translated to English by Ken Liu

This story, written in Mandarin by Vixen Li and translated by American author and winner of Hugo award Ken Li. Apparently Cixen Liu (or big Liu) now recommends the English version even to those Chinese readers versed in English as he feels little Liu's translation added to the story more than was lost in translation.

The story starts during the Chinese cultural revolution but is mostly set in the current day, of central importance to plot is the importance of scientific research and progress. Many philosophical and historical elements are brought into the story, including much speculation and conspiracy. This changes and difficulties in China during the cultural revolution set the stage for major disturbances to humanity revealed as the is developed.

The use of a parallel world in a computer game is used as a plot device and part of the mystery to explain the necessary background. The story develops in a series of Chapters shifting focus between different elements. The style seems similar to other modern American science fiction such as Snow Crash and Crytonomicron by Neal Stephenson.

The story starts with theoretical physicists being so frustrated by the latest experimental results that they end up committing suicide believing that the universe will always be fundamentally unexplainable, only a practical experimental materials scientist can resist despondency and drive forward science to save the day!