The Three-Body Problem

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‘’’The ultimate goal and ideal of the ETO is to lose everything. Everything that now belongs to the human race, including us.’’’ Ye Wenjie: Me to blame?

The Three-Body Problem
Original Name 三体系列/地球往事三部曲
Translation Name The Three-Body Problem/Remembrance of Earth's Past
Written by Liu Cixin
Region China
Published by Chongqing Press
Magazine Science Fiction World
Original Run 2006-2010
Volumes 3
State Finished
Series Remembrance of Earth's Past/The Three-Body Problem
Linked works Ball Lightning
The Wandering Earth

The Three-Body Problem, also called Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy, is a science fiction written by Liu Cixin between 2006-2010. There are three works, which are The Three-Body Problem, The Dark Forest and Death's End.

The Three-Body Problem has a lot of official and unofficial derivative works. However, because it is too difficult to adapt it, there are not many brilliant works. Currently, the authorized comic version by Huanchuang Weilai is serializing at a snail's pace. The animation authorized YHKT ENTERTAINMENT has not yet been finalized. Also, the live-action movie, network drama, etc. are the "Year of Life" series. Nonetheless, the progress of the audiobook, radio drama, and Minecraft animation Mine Threebody Animation are relatively gratifying.


As science fiction, it talks about the communication, life and death and rise and fall of civilizations of Earth and Trisolarans.

The first book has been awarded the 73th Hugo Award for Best Novel.[1]

Title origin: Under the influence of three stars, the orbits of the planets are unpredictable (except in certain special cases), which is called the "three-body problem". The aliens in this work are affected by the climate disorder caused by the unpredictable trajectory, and countless civilizations have been destroyed due to the severe cold and heat. As a result, they are desperate for safe land. In order to survive, the aliens have evolved to be extremely cold and united.


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This section may contain major spoilers!
Consider skipping these contents if you are not yet familiar with all the latest media releases.

The Three-Body Problem

This book has two narrative threads:

The overt plot happens in about 2007 in modern times. When nanomaterials expert Wang Miao and National Security Intelligence Officer Shi Qiang are investigating cases of scientists' suicide, they get the information of the alien civilization from a VR game from nowhere. They found "Earth Trisolarans Organisation" which regards the alien civilization as a god after further investigations, and this organisation is planning something…

The covert plot starts with the Cultural Revolution. In the "Red Coast Project", a top-secret project which the military used to find aliens, Ye Wenjie uses the sun as the centre, the existence of Earth is secretly broadcast to the entire universe. Four years later, this broadcast receives a silent warning from the South Gate II galaxy. Ye Wenjie, who have survived the Cultural Revolution, eventually chose to respond instead, hoping that the aliens will guide the transformation of humanity. Thus begin the countless stories of the two civilizations over the next three hundred years.

The Dark Forest

After the end of the first novel, human society finally becomes aware of the existence of this aggressive alien civilization. After a short period of panic, humanity begins to prepare for the invasion that will take place four hundred years later.

Due to the existence of the Trisolaran observer "Sophon", which locks human technology at the level of classical physics and provides pervasive observation of human society in areas other than thought, and the inability of Trisolarans to distinguish between thought and expression, the United Nations proposed the "Wallfacer Project", which gives four selected "Wallfacers" the power to mobilize as many human resources as possible without needing a reason, allowing them to think on their own against The Wallfacer Project's real strategic ideas, steps to completion, and final objectives exist only in the minds of the Wallfacers, who postpone the Trisolarans' realization of their true strategic intentions through carefully planned disguises, misdirection, and deception.

The ordinary and mediocre university professor Luo Ji, who has been inspired by his high school classmate's mother, Ye Wenjie, about "cosmic sociology" before the arrival of the Crisis Era, is unprepared. He is chosen to be one of the four Wallfacer. At the same time, this conversation is already known to the Trisolarans, who see it as a threat and order ETO to assassinate Luo Ji.

Eight years later, Luo Ji, who has experienced sorrow and happiness, finally realizes the existence of the "Dark Forest" and sleeps for two hundred years through hibernation technology…

Death's End

After Law established a deterrent relationship between Earth civilization and the Trisolaran civilization based on the Dark Forest theory, mankind once achieved a position of equality with the Trisolarans, whose technology was far superior to their own.

Luo Ji, the "Swordholder" chosen to hold the deterrent switch, grows old in solitude, and Cheng Xin, who awakens from hibernation, eventually takes over from Luo. However, the existence of the so-called "sanctimonious" sentiment in Cheng Xin makes her not a qualified "Swordholder". Eventually, the delicate balance is broken and the gravitational-wave system used to achieve the deterrent relationship on Earth is destroyed by the Trisolarans.

The deterrence era ended, and the human race on Earth was once on the verge of extinction, but the broadcast was finally launched by the Gravity that had already sailed out of the solar system, and the location of both Earth and the Trisolaran civilization was revealed, opening the Broadcast Era. Now humanity is facing not only Trisolarans, a civilization, and not only the Dark Forest, a bigger crisis is unfolding in front of humanity. On the battlefield humanity is just a baby in the universe. Death is the end or the beginning, everything is still unknown.


Main article: The Three-Body Problem/Characters

The Three-Body Problem

Wang Miao
Nanomaterials expert. Akkarin, no longer appearing after the first one.
Shi Qiang
Military veteran, police officer, promoted to national security intelligence after the incident.
Has been an extremely reliable soldier in the first two parts, with outstanding contributions in fighting ETOs and protecting VIPs. was also shelved under in the third book as a result.
Ding Yi
A famous theoretical physicist. The actual earliest appearance was in Ball Lightning, and in the first part Ding Yi also mentions characters and plots from Ball Lightning.
In the second book, he chooses to hibernate because the physics is no longer developable, and later dies in a suicidal probe operation on the Waterdrop.
Yang Dong
Theoretical physicist, fiancée of Ding Yi. Committed suicide after discovering the "truth of the world".
Ye Wenjie
Astrophysicist, mother of Dong Yang.
She participated in the Red Coast Project, discovered the Trisolarans, and was later elected as the ETO spiritual commander.

Mike Evans
One of the ETO leaders, the de facto controller, built the "Second Red Coast Base".

The Dark Forest

Frederick Tyler
The first Wallfacer, attempting to turn the space force into Quantum States against the Trisolarans[2]. the Lord does not care.
Manuel Rey Diaz
The second face of the wall attempts to threaten the Earth-bound Trisolaran fleet by crashing Mercury into the Sun with stellar hydrogen bombs, leaving the Trisolarans without their only stable home at the moment. the Lord does not care due to the same lack of implementability of the idea.
Bill Hines
The third face of the wall, ostensibly attempting to use the mental seal to leave a conviction of certain victory in the human brain and inspire people; but in fact secretly adding a small extra negative sign, thus contributing to the implementation of the escape plan and successfully preserving a part of the fire of civilization for humanity.
Keiko Yamasuki
Bill Hines' wife, and his Wallbreaker. Discovers the true purpose of Hines' use of the mental seal, but fails to stop it in time.
Luo Ji
The fourth Wallfacer, who is also his own Wallbreaker. Learned the two basic axioms and two basic concepts of the Dark Forest therapy from Ye Wenjie, and enlightened the contents of the Dark Forest therapy, finally achieving deterrence and becoming the penultimate first Swordholder.
Zhuang Yan
He was found by Shi Qiang as the love of Luo Ji's dreams. After the marriage, Luo Ji's mind is gradually recognized as an escape from responsibility, and he agrees to help PDC to force Luo Ji to take up his Wallfacer job.
Zhang Beihai
Former naval political commissar who became a political cadre of the China Space Force at the beginning of the Crisis Era. Outwardly disguised as a staunch triumphalist, but in reality a staunch escapist.
The real long-term attempt to assassinate the conservative old spaceflight was not seen through by ETO, and his thoughts were revealed just before the Doomsday Battle - to save the fire for human civilization and escape from the solar system by holding the Asian fleet Natural Selection hostage.
In a sense, he was the fifth Wallfacer outside the Wallfacer Project. His actions were far-reaching, and although he became a victim of the Battle of Darkness, he still contributed greatly to the continuation of human civilization along with Hines on the Blue Space and the Gravity.

Death's End

Cheng Xin
Scientist, the last the second Swordholder. Because of his "humanity" and "wrong" choices, she lived in a muddled state of self-recrimination, but by mistake became the last survivor of the solar system.
Doctor, Cheng Xin's best friend. During the Dimensional Strike, he escaped with Cheng Xin in the only light speed ship, the Star Loop, but eventually became completely separated from Cheng Xin due to the Black Domain.
Yun Tianming
He is a college classmate of Cheng Xin and is secretly in love with her. His brain was selected and sent to space in the "Staircase Project".After being captured by Trisolarans and recovering his body, he works as a spy to collect information. In the Broadcast Era, Yun Tianming was given permission to communicate with Cheng Xin, and through three fairy tales, he implied the hope of living on Earth.
Thomas Wade
Former UN official, worked with Cheng Xin in the Ladder Project, and was the author of the "Send cerebra only" motion. He is an extreme target-oriented person with a 100% deterrence level, and was the second candidate for the Swordholder, but was unable to stop humanity from choosing Cheng Xin. Later, he was funded by Cheng Xin to become the president of the Star Ring Company, and during Cheng Xin's hibernation, he achieved the success of the curvature experiment, but was therefore confronted with the government. Woken up by Vader, Cheng Xin could not accept the human infighting, because of the agreement in the first place, Vader obeyed Cheng Xin's instructions to abandon the plan, ending with a death sentence.
Guan Yifan
Observer on the original ‘’Gravity’’, cosmic sociology home. Galactic Humans as the Starship Earth civilization greeted Cheng Xin and Ai AA who were looking for Yun Tian Ming, but the four were separated due to the Black Domain. When Cheng Xin and Guan Yifan came out of the black domain, they had already missed 18.9 million years with Yun Tianming and Ai AA ......
Artificial robots, similar in appearance to Japanese women, Trisolarans ambassadors, remotely controlled by a wise son computer and artificial intelligence.

Table Of Eras

  • Common Era (Present-201X C.E.)
  • Crisis Era (201X-2208)
  • Deterrence Era (2208–2270)
  • Post-Deterrence Era (2270–2272)
  • Broadcast Era (2272-2332)
  • Bunker Era (2333–2400)
  • Galaxy Era (2273–unknown)
  • Black Domain Era for DX3906 System (2687–18906416)
  • Timeline for Universe 647 (18906416-…)


  • When the first part of The Three-Body Problem was first published as a serial in a magazine, it began with the chapter The Madness Years about the persecution of young Ye Wenjie's father during the Cultural Revolution. This is also a popular version of the novel reprinted on the Internet as well as the doujin anime Mine Threebody Animation which uses this adaptation. When it was published in a single volume, the first three chapters about the past were moved to the back, and the chapters The Frontiers of Science were directly followed by the appearances of Wang Miao and Shi Qiang as the beginning of the story, which is used in the official manga version, the audiobook and the radio play. Regarding the order change in the one-shot, some people think that this adds a suspenseful atmosphere to the story, while others think that it makes the line of Ye Wenjie slightly abrupt. However, despite the mixed reviews, it is certain that the altered version did not make any deletions.
  • During the Hugo Awards, The Three-Body Problem was not nominated for the award due to a malicious vote swipe by a right-wing writers' group, which disgusted nominated science fiction author Marko Kloos, who withdrew his work Lines of Departure from the competition and nominated The Three-Body Problem in its place.
  • After the first English version of The Three-Body Problem was published in the United States, the then president of the United States Barack Obama read the first part and loved it so much that he asked someone to write an E-mail Rush to Liu Cixin to ask about it, but as a result, Da Liu mistook it for spam and deleted it. Later through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to know that the mail is true. And Obama's interview, because of the mention of The Three-Body Problem, also caused The Three-Body Problem to soar in Amazon's sales ranking from more than 20,000th to more than 1400th (16th in the science fiction category).
  • In the pre-conference arrangement of "GES 2017 Future Education Conference", Obama, who is a fan of The Three-Body Problem, specially proposed to meet Liu Cixin, and on November 29th, Obama met with Liu Cixin at the conference site.
  • On the issue of making a movie of The Three-Body Problem, Da Liu said in an interview that "a major international director is not interested in The Three-Body Problem".
  • Renowned game producer Hideo Kojima admires Cixin Liu so much that his positive comments on the novel could be seen when the Japanese version of The Three-Body Problem was released, and had even managed to get the original manuscript of the Japanese version of The Three-Body Problem before. Since Hideo Kojima recommended The Wandering Earth on Twitter even longer ago, combined with the fact that there were few previous tweets from Hideo Kojima about the game he made - Death Stranding - Hideo Kojima was once again trolled by netizens mess around.

Related Derivatives

Main article: The Three-Body Problem/Derivative works

Notes and external links

  1. "2015 Hugo Award Winners Announced"
  2. The plan in the The Three-Body Problem canon was modified to use the Terror to take advantage of the opportunity to sneak up on the Trisolaran fleet using hydrogen bombs when the ETO sent ice to the Trisolaran fleet as a gift (since The basis for building the Quantum Fleet is based on the plot of Ball Lightning, and was probably modified in this way to accommodate readers who had not read Ball Lightning)